How can you stay healthy while traveling? You might think it’s impossible if you read the news. This time last year the headlines were screaming “Ebola!” An epidemic was ravaging West Africa, infected patients were appearing in U.S. hospitals, and lawmakers considered implementing travel bans.
The outbreak that killed thousands is now contained, according to recent reports from the World Health Organisation, but epidemics like this make travelers consider staying home because, in the skies and on the road, you’re destined to come in contact with stuff that will make you sick.
By taking the right precautions, you can stay healthy and happy on your next vacation. Here’s how a number of road warriors stay healthy while traveling.
Germs, Germs, Go Away
Popular travel blogger Johnny Jet recommends wiping away germs with anti-bacterial wipes. “When you fly, wipe down your surrounding area including the seat belt, tray table, and overhead bin handle.” If you’re carrying the wipes, you might as well use them on your rental car steering wheel and to touch up your hotel bathroom too.
As the Stomach Churns
Digestive disruption can fell a traveler quicker than any other road woe. Adam Richman, host of popular food/travel shows like TravelChannel’s Man v. Food, offered tips for avoiding Delhi Belly during his presentation at last year’s NY Times Travel Show. He advocates for the liberal use of hand sanitizer, like Purell and using your own spork for eating in countries with questionable water supplies. And, when disaster strikes, Imodium.
A Good Night’s Sleep
Easier said than done, given that your regular routine is disturbed when you’re sleeping in a strange place in a strange bed. A glass of red wine or a mild sleeping aid can help, but I find getting plenty of exercise and fresh air is the best defense against insomnia. Since walking is my favorite way to explore a new destination, I suggest slapping on a pedometer and getting your 10,000 steps before returning to your hotel to for the night.
Manage Like a Rock Star
On the road, you may drink…too much. Dr. Gabrielle Francis, who works with musicians, recommends “harm reduction strategies” that include eating protein and drinking electrolyte-enhanced water. I limit my alcohol consumption on the road because I’m usually disoriented enough when I’m in a strange locale; adding booze to the mix makes me even more confused.
Believe it or not, I have something in common with Jessica Alba. Before traveling, I begin a regimen of extra Vitamin C to make sure I’m in top condition. One or two doses a day of Emergen-C for the two weeks before departure help to keep my co-workers’ sniffles and coughs from infecting me.
And, if you do get sick, try to take it easy. Drink lots of water, eat bland food, and rest. It could be worse. Like if a zombie pandemic were to break out on your plane mid-flight.