We’re coming up on the holiday season, which is the busiest time for travel year-round! According to the United States Department of Transportation, travel to a destination 50+ miles away increases by more than 50% over Thanksgiving weekend, and 23% during Christmas and New Year’s. That’s a lot of people moving through airports and stations, and some of them are bound to be afflicted with seasonal illnesses like the common cold.
All of us want to avoid getting sick at any time of year, but it’s especially important over the holidays, when all we want to do is enjoy time with loved ones. And if you’re traveling abroad, illness is especially unpleasant because it can mean wasting precious vacation time and money and it’s likely harder to get care as well as medications or prescriptions.
So, how do you stay healthy while traveling this holiday season and beyond? Follow these tips and tricks:
- Take healthy steps before you leave. Your chances of staying healthy while on the road are better if you depart as healthy as possible, so take your vitamins and supplements and visit a travel doctor to make sure that you are current on all of your vaccines. Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration, which can be a factor in causing blood clots.
- Keep your hands sanitized. This may go without saying, but it’s easy to forget to wash your hands while you’re on the move. Wash your hands often and carry some sanitizing wipes to use when you don’t have access to washroom facilities. You should also try to wipe down surfaces such as the tray table, arm rests, and door handles to prevent contracting and spreading germs.
- Boost your immune system with activity. After sitting in a car or on a plane for hours, your muscles are bound to be cramped and achy. Put together an exercise plan to follow while you travel, both to work off those extra pounds from Thanksgiving dinner and to boost your immune system. You can also do stationary exercises while on the plane or at your destination.
- Keep a healthy diet. With so much delicious food on the table for Thanksgiving and other holiday meals, it’s understandable that you might go a little overboard with goodies. But try to resist the urge and stay away from sweets and carbs. Protein actually helps boost your immunity, so go for protein rich dishes and snacks as well as those good-for-you fruits and veggies. Be sure to drink lots of water since travel can be dehydrating, and try to avoid or at least limit drinking any alcohol for the same reason.
- Rest up! Even though you’re in a different place and a different bed, do your best to get plenty of sleep while you’re away from home. As much as you might want to stay up late and celebrate, lack of sleep disarms and reduces the strength of your immune system. If you’re traveling far and will be experiencing jet lag, this is even more important.
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