Summer is drawing to a close as children around the world glumly collect supplies and stuff their backpacks to head back to school, and disgruntled workers near the end of their available vacation days. Just because the official summer season is ending, however, by no means does that mean that your window of opportunity to travel has to end. In fact, according to travel advisor Lonely Planet, “There is no better month to travel than September.” It’s the perfect confluence of conditions as hot, balmy days give way to cooler yet still mild and pleasant temperatures.
If you’re planning a trip soon, or any time for that matter, you need to be prepared. It would be nice to take off in your car or plane without any preparation, but we all know that’s just wishful thinking. In addition to the usual stressors of traveling like packing, airport security, and booking flights and hotels, you should always be mindful of your health when traveling to a new place, especially if you are traveling overseas. When you’re constantly moving from place to place, trying new foods, and interacting with new people and environments, your body is more susceptible to infection. You don’t want your vacation to be ruined by spending it feeling ill in a hotel bed or, worse yet, the hospital, so keep yourself and your travel companions healthy on your next vacation by following these eight tips!
Prepare in advance
Whatever you do, no matter how busy you may be leading up to your trip, DO NOT, I repeat do not, wait until the last minute to prepare. Save yourself the stress, and give yourself plenty of time to get everything you need in line for the trip. Some trips, if they’re in a foreign country you’re unfamiliar with, will take weeks or even months of preparation, so be sure to account for this. For instance, if you are traveling abroad, make sure your passport is up-to-date; if it’s expired, you’ll have to allow yourself up to two months to get it renewed. Find out if the country you’re traveling to requires any immunizations. Get all of your documents in order and then start packing about a week in advance. You want to give yourself enough time to lay out all your outfits and purchase anything additional you’ll need, but be sure not to overpack. Finally, when all is said and done- relax! You’ve done all the legwork, and now it’s time to get excited for your trip!
Don’t skip breakfast
We’ve heard it before, yet so many of us ignore the fact that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is especially important when traveling to start your day with the proper nutrients to fuel you through the day. Many hotels offer complimentary breakfasts with your stay, but if they don’t, it’s easy to pick something up or make your own before embarking on the day’s adventures.
Fit in exercise
I’m not telling you that you need to go find a gym while you’re on vacation, but there are plenty of ways to fit in exercise. You’ll probably be doing a lot of walking as you take in the local sites and attractions- this is one of the best workouts you can get if you’ll be traveling long distances on foot! You can also take advantage of whatever opportunities are available in the area. If you’re near a beach, why not go for a morning run? If you’re surrounded by nature, go hiking. If your hotel offers fitness classes or has an onsite gym or pool, it’s easy to fit in a quick workout.
Staying hydrated is important for anytime of year, not just on hot days. To avoid dehydration, carry a water bottle with you at all times. During air travel, experts advise you drink 8 ounces of water per hour of flight- this will help prevent jet lag and stiff muscles. Also, keep alcoholic beverages to a minimum, as they’re full of calories and can disrupt sleep. It’s okay to indulge a little bit when you’re on vacation, but drink in moderation and always follow up with plenty of water.
Vacations are notorious for unhealthy eating, but you don’t have to give in and bust your diet! Physical therapist Dr. Karen Joubert advises starting your day with a protein-filled breakfast like egg whites and turkey sausage, which will keep you fueled and stave off your appetite until the next meal. You’ll probably be dining out more frequently than you normally would, but try to switch it up and prepare your own meals when you can, and when you do eat out, choose healthier, lower-calorie options for the menu. If you want to avoid that stuffed and bloated feeling many people get after a hearty restaurant meal, try practicing the Japanese method of “hara hachi bu,” or only eating until you’re 80 percent full and saving the rest for later. Keep healthy snacks like fruits and veggies on hand for when you get hungry.
Keep hand sanitizer or wet wipes handy
When you’re exploring a new place, you’ll probably be visiting a lot of public places, such as museums and historic sites, where it can be easy to pick up germs from other people. To prevent getting sick, keep hand sanitizer and/or wet wipes on hand- you may not always be able to access a bathroom to wash your hands. This is especially important before and after meals.
Protect your skin and eyes
Wherever you’re going and no matter how cloudy or sunny it may be, if you’re going to be spending any time outside, it’s essential that you apply sunscreen and also shade your eyes and scalp from the sun’s rays. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and don’t forget to reapply about every two hours. It’s also a good idea to wear a hat and sunglasses.
Get enough sleep
When you’re visiting a new place, it can be tempting to fit in as much as you possibly can in your limited time there, sacrificing sleep as a result. Getting enough rest is vital though if you want to be at your peak energy and health for all your adventures! Allow your body plenty of time to rest and recover in between outings and, if there’s a time difference, to recover from jet lag and adjust to a new schedule.