How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

One of the busiest travel weekends of the year is upon us. Here's how to stay healthy.

crowded airportLuggage photo via Shutterstock

The holidays can be stressful enough, with out-of-town-guests taking over our homes, late nights taking over our sleep, and egg nog taking over our nutrition. The last thing we want to worry about is getting sick because the guy behind us in seat 11F won’t stop coughing on our heads. Fortunately, with one of the busiest travel weekends upon us, Dr. Jeffrey Linder, associate physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, gave us tips on how to decrease our risk of getting sick while traveling. Here are his five simple tips:

1. Get more sleep (if at all possible).

Traveling makes getting the recommended 7 to 8 hours a night of sleep a bit difficult and sleep is often the first aspect of health to suffer when the days get busy. Making sleep a priority while traveling will ensure your body is well rested.

2. Avoiding germs is impossible, so wash your hands.

Airports and train stations are especially busy during the holiday season and contact with all those people can expose you to more germs than usual, which can lead to developing a cold or other illness. Make sure to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. Use antibacterial lotion for times when you can’t get to a sink to wash your hands.

3.  Exercise will boost your immune system (even if it’s just a walk).

Just because you are on vacation, that does not mean you should stop exercising. Getting your heart rate up as part of your normal exercise routine will give you more energy and boost your immune system, even if it just means taking a few long walks with friends or family.

4. Bring foods that travel well like fruit and nuts.

Many people make the mistake of ditching their healthy eating habits when they are traveling, opting for unhealthy fast food options while on the road. Avoid this pitfall by packing good road food like fruit, nuts, and bottled water.

5. Stress is part of traveling, so breathe.

Anything outside of your normal routine can be stress-inducing, but this is especially true during the holiday season when traffic and canceled flights can add to the aggravation. High stress levels can affect many areas of health including your sleep and eating habits. Understand that things won’t always go the way you planned. If you are feeling stressed, exercise and talking with a friend can often help.

What are your stay healthy travel tips? Tell us in the comments!