Staying Healthy on the Road

July 24, 2019

Taking a vacation means good things for your health, right? Right—unless you get sick, have an accident, or neglect your usual healthy routine. While you can’t avoid all illnesses and mishaps, you can keep up with good habits, and those can help keep disaster at bay while making sure that you return home in fine shape.

Drink water

Making sure you drink enough water is always important; doubly so when you’re traveling. Even if you’re just driving to the next county, you need to be prepared for the worst in water; if you’re going farther (especially overseas), you drink the local water at your peril.

Avoiding ice and tap water, even for tooth brushing and pill taking, will help you stave off diarrhea. If you’re unsure about a bottled water, choose a carbonated one, or a soda. If bottled water is unavailable, boiling water for at least five minutes will make it potable, as will purifying tablets.

Choose foods carefully

First, try to maintain a diet and meal schedule as close to your normal one as possible; if you’ve never tried a food before, you may not know whether or not you’ll be allergic to it. Sticking close to the tried-and-true will also make it easier for you to avoid overindulging, which can cause illness, weight gain, and sleep problems.

Second, consider the old adage: “If you can cook it, boil it, or peel it, you can eat it—otherwise, forget it.” You may still choose to eat a salad—but ask about its preparation. Always a good bet: yogurt, especially the kind with cultures. Always a bad bet: seafood, especially shellfish.

Schedule rest stops

No, we’re not talking about bathroom breaks; we’re talking about downtime, siestas, naps. Whether you’re on a short business trip or a  three-week  vacation, you need to pace yourself. Changes in air quality, time differences, hectic itineraries, and unfamiliar routines all take their toll on your body.

If you “pencil in” some rest, you’ll be less likely to suffer ill effects from jet lag, poor diet, and all-day sightseeing. Get up early, take care of business or touring, then settle in after lunch for a doze. When you venture out again, you’ll be refreshed and ready for more.

Get some exercise

Two words: pack sneakers! Even if you can only fit in a morning walk to get a cappuccino, a little exercise goes a long way toward maintaining your hard-won fitness. You say you’re a confirmed sloth? A brief walk or bike trip will still benefit your digestive system, and you may pick up a good new habit for home.

More and more hotels and resorts have fitness centers, but if yours doesn’t, or you’re staying with friends, consider packing a lightweight workout gadget, like stretch bands or a jump rope. Exercise also combats long periods of inactivity that are hard to avoid, on airplanes and in automobiles. Two more words: extra socks.

Lay in supplies

From chewing gum (to relieve cabin pressure) to sunscreen, there are many products available to relieve common traveling woes. Before you leave, take stock of what you have on hand, then supplement with a trip to your local drugstore or health-and-beauty aisle. Needs vary, but it’s absolutely vital to bring regularly taken prescription medications, extra contacts and/or eyeglasses, and specific over-the-counter preparations that you might not find where you’re traveling.

Consider packing your medical history, a medical alert bracelet if you have one, and doctors’ contact information, as well.

The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice. Nothing in this article is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2018 Beacon Health Options, Inc.