Travel Health: 5 Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling

No one plans to get sick on vacation, but it happened to us. Last winter we traveled to Canada to ring in the New Year with my sister-in-law, and my son got sick. He picked up a bug somewhere along the way and it took him nine days to shake it off. Not fun. 

Since then, we have taken lots of precautions whenever we travel to keep germs and the like at bay. It might take a little preparation, but the extra effort is worth it. Here are some simple things you can do to ensure you’re staying healthy while traveling during the holidays:

Photo courtesy of Fotolita

Healthy Travel Tip 1: Boost Your Immune System

Supporting your immune system is a powerful way to help prevent travel-related sickness and disease. The foundation of a strong immune system is a healthy diet. Boost your immunity by eating a healthy travel snack like fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens like kale and brightly colored fruits such as berries. You can easily grab a salad or fruit cup at the airport, or pack some along in a cooler if you are traveling by car.

Photo courtesy of Fotolita

Healthy Travel Tip 2: Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is essential to our health and well-being. Research has revealed that people who don't get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick. So, getting proper sleep is very important before and during your travels. Consider packing a travel pillow and earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to help you sleep more soundly on airplanes and drives.

Healthy Travel Tip 3: Stay Hydrated

When traveling by air, the lack of humidity in the cabin air can lead to dehydration. Planes have extremely low humidity levels of 20 percent or less, which can dry out mucous membranes and make you more susceptible to germs. For this reason, it's very important to keep yourself hydrated while you're on a plane. Pack an empty water bottle in your carry-on. Once you’ve made it through security, fill it up at the nearest water fountain and aim to drink 8 ounces of water for every hour you’re in the air. Potassium-rich foods and drinks like bananas and coconut water are also great options to help keep you hydrated, and can often be found in airport convenience stores.

Photo courtesy of Fotolita

Healthy Travel Tip 4: Try To Stay Active

Whether you’re traveling by plane, train or automobile, one of the best ways to stay fit and healthy and fight off unwanted infections is exercise. Exercise will boost your energy and mood while traveling. Make time in your travel schedule to do something that gets your body moving and your heart racing, so you can reap the benefits of a healthy mind and body. You can start by scheduling your workouts into your traveling scheduling. Take advantage of the hotel gym. If there is no hotel gym, go for a walk or run to explore your new surroundings.

Healthy Travel Tip 5: Wash Your Hands Regularly and Sanitize Surfaces

This might seem like an obvious way to stay healthy, but it is surprising how many people forget how important it is to follow through. When you travel, you can come into contact with surfaces that many other people have touched. Using handrails, touching counters and opening doors are all things we do without much thought. Often, those surfaces are the dirtiest. Even if you don't think your hands are dirty, they probably are if you're traveling.

If you are traveling by plane, train or bus, it is important to sanitize your seating area. This is especially true if you are traveling with children. An adult might refrain from touching all the surfaces in an area, but the same cannot be said for children. Sanitize your seat, armrests, table back, headrest and airflow nozzles and buttons. It is uncertain how often these areas are cleaned.

Just a little common sense and a tiny bit of preparation can help you stay healthy during travel.

Vacation Stories

More Travel Hacks & Tips


10 Top Gifts for Travelers and Travel Lovers

10 Top Gifts for Travelers and Travel Lovers
Travel is the gift that keeps on giving, especially if you have loved ones who can’t get enough of it. 

8 Tips to Brighten Your Holiday Travels

8 Tips to Brighten Your Holiday Travels
The holidays are a special time when our hearts are warmed by the presence of friends, loved ones and the spirit of giving, but holiday travel?

House Guest Etiquette: How to Be a Perfect Guest

House Guest Etiquette: How to Be a Perfect Guest
Whether staying at a friend's or relative's house, proper house guest etiquette is a must. Use these holiday travel tips to ensure you're the perfect guest!

About the Author

Diane Nassy

Diane Nassy, a digital influencer and social media consultant, is the publisher of the lifestyle blog Juggling Family Life where she provides moms with practical tips and tricks related to parenting, health, home and travel. She is a busy mom who left Wall Street behind to focus on her family. Professionally, she holds a bachelor's degree in Urban Legal Studies and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law.