Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Iris Sinilong
You shouldn’t have to worry about a thing when you travel, especially your health! Here are some things to be aware of and tips to stay healthy on your journey.
Up In The Air
For most, air travel is a breeze. But for others, there are a few things that could impact your experience. Planes can place stress on your immune system because there are so many people in one confined space. But the risk of contracting an infection is the same as on a bus or train. Be wary of toilets, seat trays, overhead bins, aisle seats (that people touch as they walk by), and other surfaces. Bring disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer.
As the plane ascends or descends, you may experience discomfort in your ears like a popping sensation- yawning or chewing gum may help. There is less oxygen on board so you may feel drowsy or experience swelling of the legs and feet, so be sure to get up and walk around on longer flights. The cabin air quality can also cause dryness of the skin, nose, and mouth. If you feel motion sickness due to turbulence, recline your seat, moderate your food intake, and rest with your eyes closed. Some general advice? Get enough rest before leaving, pack some healthy snacks, drink lots of water, and try to avoid alcohol and caffeine to limit headaches, nausea, and fatigue. You’ll be fine!
What If I’m Pregnant?
According to the Government of Canada, the safest time for pregnant women to travel by plane is between the 18th and 24th weeks of pregnancy. Pregnant women can normally travel by air safely until 36 weeks but women with any complications should avoid high-altitude exposure. It’s important to consult a health care professional before travelling to discuss the details of your trip. Have medical records, extra prescriptions, and addresses of hospitals on hand. Be sure there is adequate medical care available at your destination and that you have medical insurance in place. It is generally advised to avoid live vaccines (like measles, mumps, and rubella), but always consult your doctor.
On the plane, rest and drink lots of water. Request an aisle seat and get up to walk around occasionally to stretch your legs. This will help avoid blood clots known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) caused by sitting still for long periods of time. If any motion sickness occurs, this can usually be treated with certain medications. In destination, take extra care to avoid mosquito bites to protect against malaria and take general precautions with food and water-borne illnesses. Always wash your hands before handling food, drink only boiled or bottled water, and avoid unpasteurized dairy products and undercooked meat or fish.
You Are What You Eat
Pack vitamins, supplements, energy bars, and healthy snacks. Bring some familiar foods from home in case your stomach gets sensitive and try to make your own food when possible. Avoid access sodium, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. Explore local markets for fresh fruits and vegetables. While you’re in the Caribbean, you’ll usually find a good selection at the resorts. Keep hydrated with water bottles and foods rich in nutrients like cucumber, watermelon, and fresh fruit juices. And while you’re abroad, seek superfoods native to the area like coconut water, papagayo, and ginger.
Keep Up The Pace
It isn’t as hard to maintain your work-out routine as one might think. In fact, people who are usually inactive may find themselves naturally exercising more. Many resorts offer activities such as tennis, volleyball, dance lessons, and water sports. You may also find walking or running more motivating when you’re on a beautiful beach. Many hotels (all-inclusive or otherwise) have a fitness center on-site. Alternatives like taking the hotel stairs or walking to your destination instead of taking a cab can also make a difference. On guided tours especially, you’ll be forced to explore by foot. If you’re stuck in a hotel room for business, practice yoga in the mornings or do some simple stretching.
There are some useful apps to check out to help you stay healthy while travelling. For exercise, Hatha Yoga has visuals and step-by-step voice instructions to help you do the moves while the Trailhead North Face app finds trails, hikes, and bike routes based on your location and tracks your distance and speed. Clean Plates lets you browse by cuisine, price, or diet to find healthy restaurants nearby and Allergy FT ensures that the food service understands your allergies or intolerances while you’re in a foreign country by translating them into the local language. If you take prescriptions, RxmindMe helps you remember medications, vitamins, and supplements while in a different time zone. With Travel Smart, the Government of Canada app, you can learn the health conditions of the region and access emergency contact information.
If you have any important questions, comment below or speak with your travel agent!
Read why travel is beneficial to your health here.