Nobody likes to get sick on the road.
Feeling poorly when you’re away from home means problems trying to access medicine when you may be away from your luggage, unpredictable language barriers at the local pharmacy and more.
Factor in long travel days and limited time to enjoy yourself once you get where you’re going, and the prospect becomes even more miserable.
Here is a handful of tips to stay as healthy as possible while traveling.
• Supplies: In addition to packing basic first-aid supplies for wound care, it’s a good idea to pack simple sanitation items as well. After all, hand washing is still one of the most powerful things you can do to stay healthy in any country. In addition to a travel-sized container of hand sanitizer and a small bar of soap in case the café you’re lunching at doesn’t stock it, baby wipes can be handy in a pinch.
Additionally, a medium-sized nail brush fits easily into your toiletry kit and allows you to deal with any incidental dirt buildup that may occur during your daily adventures. It can also be used to assist with travel laundry in the shower, making it a multipurpose piece of budget travel gear.
• Nutrition: I try to avoid getting run down from poor nutrition on the road. While this is easier on some trips than others, there are a few tricks I use regularly. Packaged seeds such as sunflower kernels or pumpkin seeds are easy to pack and can be added to a basic house salad for lunch if you are saving your calories for a more decadent dinner.
In fact, making sure you keep up with your consumption of green veggies in general is a good idea.
Broccoli is generally available in restaurants throughout North America, whether as a steamed side, a main ingredient in stir fry dishes or even as a common topping choice for baked potatoes. Since it’s typically affordable for restaurants to buy in bulk, most of the dishes incorporating this vegetable tend to be affordable as well.
Fruit cups or sides of sliced fruit are a common substitution choice at many family restaurants. It may not always be the most glamorous selection, but even a bowl of grapes with sliced banana and a few raisins beats a greasy serving of fries or onion rings. If you are traveling to a place where the cleanliness of certain fruit is suspect, the Food and Drug Administration recommends selecting thicker-skinned fruit such as bananas, oranges or even grapefruit.
• Precautions: It pays to plan ahead with regard to vaccinations and preventive efforts against any possible disease outbreaks in the country you will be exploring. The travel page on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has a helpful resource that allows you to index health recommendations based on your destination country and whether you are pregnant, traveling for an extended period, vacationing with a child or working on a particular disaster relief project.
Personally, I think scheduling an early flu shot is a good idea as well.