Readers, you may have noticed that I travel from time to time. And by time to time, I mean a lot. And by a lot, I mean I am averaging about one international trip per month these days (add to that that I already live abroad in Singapore) and I rarely, if ever get sick.
[Funny but notable aside: I actually did get sick last week in Singapore, after three unusual weeks without travel (sore throat and swollen glands; it was harsh but passed in three days with the aid of honey lemon, sleep, and one dose of DayQuil to get through a long workday).]
That being said, I am a really healthy person and I am very lucky to have always been that way – but I’m not without a few tricks up my sleeve for staying healthy when I’m out and about. Sure, a solid foundation of healthy habits (read: eating decent amounts of vegetables, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly) helps, but here are my strategies for getting through my travels healthfully:
Wash your damn hands. Seriously guys, this is the #1 thing you can do to combat the most common offenders (cold and flu) and especially when going through airports, where you’re constantly sharing germs between boarding passes, magazines, seats, and who knows what else, it’s a must.
Pop the herbal remedies. I am partial to plain ol’ echinacea (although I know others swear by Vitamin C or Emergen-C or Airborne) because for me, it works. Not only does it help stave off a cold, but it can actually cut down the days of suffering if you already have one, which ain’t too shabby.
Hydrate. Nothing makes you feel worse than getting off a plane feeling swollen, dry, and lethargic – all of which are symptoms of dehydration. I like to chug a bottle of water en route to the airport, take the empty bottle through security, then fill it up again and chug as I wait to board. One final fill-up for the plane and I’m set for the trip (related: skip the sodium-laden airplane food and snack boxes – go for coconut water, fruit, unsalted nuts, and packets of oatmeal for a quick hunger fix).
Sleep as much as possible. Got an hour flight? Zonk out with relaxing music (or noise-canceling headphones, if you’re bougie) and get a solid nap. Longer flight? Be “that guy” and do everything in your power to get comfy and steal a snooze, including using a neck pillow, taking a soft blanket, wearing fuzzy socks, and slipping on an eye mask (bonus points if it’s scented with something soothing like chamomile or lavender). There is no shame in this game, folks, and ye who sleep on planes arrive refreshed – not frazzled.
Know your health care options. When the best-laid plans to stay healthy go awry (case study: my massive head cold a few years back while flying in for my niece’s 1-year birthday party where I was a surprise guest and had to be “on” among a sea of friends and family members for many hours), always know where and how to find a reputable doctor, no matter where you are. I love Amino’s “find a doctor” service, where you literally just type in what you have/need (example: bronchitis), fill out a quick bit of information about yourself, and boom – you’re connected to doctors in your area that can help. It’s a lifesaver!
As the saying goes, the best offense is a good defense – so make sure to prep yourself for healthy holiday travel this year and spend the holidays feeling great – not sniffling under the mistletoe.
What are your best healthy travel tips? How do you stay well over the holidays?