No one wants to get sick while traveling, and yet it's all too common to come down with a cold or the flu. This is especially true during holiday travel when temperatures are colder and germs are more prevalent.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to avoid getting sick while traveling. Here are five tips:
1) Wash your hands often and thoroughly
This is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick in general, but it's essential when traveling and coming into contact with new people and environments. The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or roughly the length of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice). When you've finished washing, dry your hands with a clean towel or with an air dryer. If you want to take things to the next level, then apply some hand cream or an ointment, as keeping your hands hydrated can also help ward off germs.
2) Avoid touching your face
We touch our faces more often than we realize — to adjust our glasses, rub our eyes, and cover our coughs. Once these germs are on our hands, it's only a matter of time before they make their way to our mouths, noses, or eyes — the entry points for many illnesses. So do your best to avoid touching your face while traveling. If you must, make sure your hands are clean first. When you can't immediately wash your hands, keeping a hand sanitizer with you at all times can help reduce the risk of getting sick. Just know that while hand sanis are useful, they're not a replacement for soap and water.
3) Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of fluids can help you stay healthy during your holiday travels (or whenever you decide to hit the road). If you want a break from drinking water, try herbal (caffeine-free) teas. Some are rich in antioxidants that can help boost your immune system. You could also try a light hydrating snack like watermelon chunks, as they're 92% water. Also, be sure to limit your alcohol and caffeine intake, as these can contribute to dehydration.
4) Get enough sleep
A good night's sleep can help improve your mood, increase your productivity, and reduce stress levels. Not to mention boost your immune system, making you less susceptible to illness. But getting enough sleep is easier said than done. If you're struggling to catch more of those precious Zs, avoid tablets, smartphones, and computer screens at least one hour before bed, as the blue light emitted from these devices can inhibit your body's production of melatonin (the "sleep hormone"). Also, try sleeping in a dark room and using earplugs or a white noise app to block out any unwanted noise.
5) Stay active
Exercise is important for overall health, so try staying active while traveling. This doesn't mean you have to hit the gym every day. Just take a few brisk walks, do a quick yoga flow at your hotel room or Airbnb, or go for a light jog when the weather permits. Not only will this help improve your physical health, but it can also help clear your mind and reduce stress levels — two essential things to make the most of your travels.
If you do happen to come down with a cold or the flu, then make sure to get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and take over-the-counter medication if necessary. With a little bit of care, you can avoid getting sick while on the road or get back to enjoying your holiday travel in no time.
What's your favorite way to stay healthy while traveling? Share it in the comments below, and have a happy and healthy trip!