13 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling During the Holidays

This holiday season, more than 38 million people will travel on domestic airlines, according to industry trade organization Airlines for America. That means it’s more important than ever to stay healthy during the winter travel period, which also coincides with the peak of the flu season, between December and February.
Here are 13 ways to stay healthy while traveling during the holidays:
1. Get vaccinated. Before you head out, get vaccinated for the seasonal flu, H1N1 and any other vaccines your doctor might suggest before you head off to your destination. Some destinations require certain vaccinations, so leave yourself time before you go to get those.
2. Pack a health kit. Keeping yourself healthy during travel doesn’t just entail keeping away from colds and flu. Include pain relievers, antiseptic wipes, bandages, a cold pack, antibacterial ointment and anything else you feel might be necessary to bring along. Having a mini first-aid kit with you can be helpful no matter where you are.
3. Sleep. Getting plenty of rest both before you travel and during your trip is essential to staying well. Your body needs rest so that it can fight anything it might be exposed to.
4. Drink water. Keeping hydrated is essential to staying healthy. Drink water, not soda or alcohol during your trip activities. Hydration is essential to fighting infection, so include plenty of water among your drink choices.
5. Take vitamins. Many travelers swear by extra vitamin C as a way to help their immune systems and fight infection. Specialized vitamins, like Airborne, are available and claim to enhance your immunity against illness.
6. Wash your hands often while traveling. Use soap and water and wash for about 20 seconds (sing the Happy Birthday song once through). Try not to touch your face while traveling, as this will introduce unfamiliar bacteria to your most sensitive germ-receiving areas (eyes, nose, mouth).
7. Wear glasses instead of contact lenses. Contact lenses can dry your eyes and make them vulnerable to microbial invaders. Wearing glasses also makes you less likely to touch or rub your eyes.
8. Stay at least six feet away from people who are coughing, sneezing, or who simply look sick. That’s the distance tiny virus-filled droplets can travel when exhaled by a flu-infected person—landing in your eyes or nose and ending up in your respiratory system.
9. Treat public bathrooms as the germy cesspool they are. Do not put your bags on the floor, or your toiletry kit on the counter (if you must, then use disinfectant wipes afterward). Do your business without sitting on the toilet. Close the lid before flushing, or, if there isn’t one, flush as you leave, to minimize spray-back. Avoid touching surfaces with hands. Wash hands with soap and water for a full 15 seconds before you leave. Use your drying towel to exit without touching the door handle (if you can’t, then use hand sanitizer after you leave the bathroom).
10. Exercise often. When you’re traveling? Yes! Studies have shown time and time again that exercise can help to increase the effectiveness of your immune system. You don’t have to hit up a fitness center to make an effort to exercise. This could be as simple as scheduling a biking tour into your plans, walk to your dinner reservations instead of take a cab or walk the beach with your honey during sunset. On a business trip? Check out the hotel swimming pool and do a few extra laps before grabbing your morning coffee from the buffet!
11. Don’t stress out. This will have the exact opposite effect of all that exercise you did! You can do this a myriad of ways. We recommend staying worry-free by investing in travel insurance, but that may only take you so far. Try to start your winter travel plans early. This can help you organize your plans as well as save money! It’s a win, win.
12. Pack the right clothes. Be sure to check out the weather at the location to which you are traveling. If you are escaping the cold this winter, good for you! Make sure you have enough clothes in case you hit some mid-season rain storms. If you are staying where it’s chilly, bring clothes to bundle up and stay warm.
13. Foods that are high in salt can cause constipation, and put added pressure on the circulatory system. Eat foods with high nutritional value, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Supplements that include garlic, Echinacea, ginseng and probiotics can also bolster the immune system.
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