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A Germaphobe's Guide To Staying Healthy While Traveling

If you're a germaphobe like me, you know the struggle of staying healthy while traveling all too well. The challenges to health and hygiene that air travel presents are unique and daunting. You want to arrive at your destination happy and healthy so you can cross off all of your bucket list activities. So how do you combat germs while on the go? While illness will occasionally happen, there are a few things you can do to ensure you don’t get sick while exploring. Let’s dive in!

Why Do You Get Sick Every Time You Fly?

When I first started traveling, it seemed like every time I hit the road, illness quickly followed. Air travel presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to health and hygiene. The close quarters, shared air, and constant movement of people in and out of the airplane create an environment conducive to the spread of germs. Many people believe that the dry air in the cabin can dehydrate your nasal passages and throat, potentially making it easier for viruses or bacteria to enter your body.

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that wearing a face mask is the way to go. While on the airplane, limit potential germs from being spread in close quarters by masking up. Additionally, wipe down your seat before you settle in, regularly wash your hands or use sanitizer throughout your flight, and avoid touching your face.

Start Preparing Before You Travel

Before you even set foot on that plane, there are a few essential steps you can take to fortify your defenses. Check with your healthcare provider to ensure your vaccinations are up to date, especially if you're traveling to regions with specific health risks. Additionally, make sure you have enough of any necessary medications to last through your trip. This includes over-the-counter remedies for common ailments like headaches, allergies, or indigestion, as well as prescription medications if you need them. Always carry extra in case of delays. Before you go, try to ensure you are getting plenty of rest and eating healthy to boost your defenses before you go.

Pro Tip: Make sure you put these Medications You Should Always Pack When Traveling in your carry-on luggage.

Woman sneezing

How To Stay Healthy While Traveling

Getting sick sucks no matter where you are. However, it is particularly annoying when away from home. Kick germs to the curb with these tips.

In-Flight Hygiene

It may surprise you just how little airplanes get cleaned in between flights. I once found a full barf bag under my seat because the turnaround time was so quick between two flights that the attendants couldn’t disinfect the plane. Before you even buckle your seatbelt, give your immediate surroundings a quick wipe-down with disinfectant wipes. Tray tables, armrests, and seatbelt buckles are often teeming with germs. Having a clean environment can make a significant difference.

Sanitize Regularly

Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer and use it frequently. Airport bathrooms, escalator handrails, and even your own luggage can harbor germs. Don't be shy about using sanitizer as a barrier between you and potential illnesses.

Eat Well and Stay Hydrated (With Something That’s Not Alcohol)

I understand that on vacation diets often go out the window. Still, you will want to nourish your body with a balanced diet as much as possible while traveling. Of course, treat yourself to local delicacies, but also eat a vegetable or piece of fruit when you can. Hydration is also crucial, especially if you are out and about walking all day. If you’re like I was in my twenties, this is your kind reminder that just because alcohol is a liquid, doesn’t mean it is hydrating.

Woman wearing mask in airport

Staying Physically Fit While Traveling

Usually when traveling I easily get my 10,000 steps in a day just out exploring. However, if your type of travel sees you sitting on tour buses, river cruises, or relaxing on the beach, try to fit some exercise into your day. It doesn’t need to be strenuous, but it can help keep you healthy.

Get Enough Sleep

Jet lag, time zone changes, and unfamiliar surroundings can make it challenging to get a good night's rest. Investing in high-quality earplugs, an eye mask, and noise-canceling headphones has been a game changer for helping me maintain a good sleep schedule while traveling. While it may be tempting to watch a movie during your flight, try to get on the correct sleep schedule as the country you will be arriving in. While I don’t rely on it regularly, using a sleep aid can help ensure you get the rest you need on your travel days.

Mind Your Mental Health

Always remember that mental health is of equal importance to physical well-being. When traveling, the stresses of the journey can take a toll on your overall health. Combat the negative effects of stress on your immune system by incorporating mindfulness, meditation, or deep breathing exercises into your routine to manage anxiety effectively. I make sure to factor in plenty of rest time in my travels to ensure I can recenter myself while on the go.

✈️ Pro Tip: Stay safe on the go by adding the Best Solo Travel Safety Gear to your luggage.

Don’t Let Sickness Stop Your Adventures

As you embark on your adventures with a keen eye on hygiene and health, remember that every journey is an opportunity to explore the world and discover new horizons. By adopting these precautions and practices, you not only shield yourself from the unseen threats that travel can bring but also empower yourself to savor every moment of your expedition. Your commitment to well-being, both physical and mental, is the key to unlocking the true potential of your travels. Happy and healthy travels await you! Bon voyage!

Do you have any tips to stay healthy while traveling? Drop your tips in the comments!


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