Whether you’re exploring faraway places or traveling closer to home, these ideas and tips can help you plan a healthy trip.
Air travel health tips
Airports and airplanes are busy places, full of sneezes and germs. Try these tips for avoiding germs and being more comfortable during and after your flight.
- Pack a small bottle of hand sanitizer and some disinfecting wipes. Use the hand sanitizer after touching security line bins and door handles, and use the wipes on your tray table and armrests.
- Use a paper towel when touching bathroom surfaces and wash your hands with soap and water, including when you leave the bathroom.
- Make water your choice of drink. The circulated air in a plane dries out mucus membranes, which can lower your body’s defenses.
- Even a healthy person can develop a blood clot on a long flight. Stretch your calf muscles while seated, and try to get up and move around when you can.
When traveling by car
A long road trip can be fun. Advance planning can keep it healthy.
- Reduce stress by planning ahead. This means setting a schedule that includes rest stops, avoiding rush hour, and switching drivers often.
- Avoid drowsy driving by getting enough rest ahead of time. If you feel groggy, pull over or take advantage of a rest stop.
- Practice good posture. Adjust your seat so that you’re not stretching to reach the wheel. Take frequent stretch breaks for good circulation. Get out of the car, take some deep breaths, and walk around.
- On long drives, opt for healthy car snacks instead of chips and candy.
Healthy eating on the road
You can still have eating adventures on the road, and eat for health at the same time.
- Check out the dining options on your route ahead of time. You can review online menus and see what’s available.
- Pack healthy snacks. Bring a travel-friendly supply of individually packaged nut butters, whole grain crackers, trail mix, or nutrition bars. Other good options are fruit slices, cut veggies, string cheese, or yogurt in a tube.
- Stopping at a gas station or food truck? Avoid foods that may have been sitting out for a long time.
- Make use of the hotel room refrigerator. Your stop at the local grocery store can be a tourist attraction.
Keeping kids healthy on the road
If you’re traveling with children, take a few steps to ensure they stay healthy and don’t wind up sick in a hotel bed.
- Make sure everyone is up to date on immunizations before you leave.
- Encourage frequent hand-washing, especially before meals. Make sure they take their time, and use plenty of soap and water.
- A swimming pool or water park can be a trip highlight. But chlorine doesn’t eliminate all bacteria, so have them rinse off before and after the fun.
- Encourage kids to drink plenty of liquids, especially water.
- Don’t skimp on sleep. Keeping a normal nap and bedtime will help them stay rested and healthy.
Traveling with a medical condition
If you have a medical condition, check in with your doctor before any trip. Discuss where you’re headed, and follow recommendations.
- Pack enough prescription medication for the trip as well as specific prescription information. Pack them in their original labeled containers and in your carry-on if you are flying. Avoid packing them in your checked luggage in case it goes astray.
- If you need oxygen when you travel, remember to tell the airline well before your flight. The airline will probably provide oxygen for you for a fee. Federal air regulations don’t allow you to carry your own oxygen unit on a plane.
International travel health tips
A trip abroad can be the trip of a lifetime. Keep it a healthy one.
- Talk to your doctor at least six weeks before you go so you have time to get any necessary immunizations.
- Check your health plan to make sure you understand what’s covered and how you will be charged when you are out of the country.
- Find out about health concerns at your destination by checking reports issued by the Centers for Disease Control.
- You can’t be certain about food safety in some countries. To avoid foodborne illness, you may want to drink bottled water, eat only food that is cooked or served hot, avoid raw fruits and vegetables except those you can peel, and avoid food from street vendors.
- Don’t let jet lag ruin your trip. If you’re crossing time zones, it’s best to get your body moving into the new rhythm as soon as possible.
Consider an international travel medical insurance policyOpens a new window, which can help you find a doctor and help cover costs at the time of service.