Sweet summertime means traveling for many of us. You may be counting down the days to your international adventure or the camping trip under the stars at your local campground. Regardless of where you are traveling this summer, you want to feel prepared, healthy and well. With more than 42% of American adults or 108 million people, traveling more this summer than the last, it’s crucial to take necessary precautions as you navigate crowded areas. The last thing you want is to be down for the count during your trip. By doing some prep work before you leave home, you can boost your chances of having a healthy and happy vacation. Check out these nine ways you can minimize your risk during travel this summer and all year long:
1. Visit your doctor.
Check-in with your doctor four to six weeks before big trips, especially if you are traveling outside of the country. Share any special conditions such as pregnancy, allergies or chronic health issues, your travel destination(s), type of accommodations such as hotels or hostels, type of travel such as a cruise or flight, timing and length of the trip. Your health care provider can get destination-specific vaccines, medicines and additional health information. According to the CDC, routine vaccinations can help protect you from infectious diseases such as measles — which can spread quickly in large groups of people. Additionally, take the time to discuss any health concerns and planned activities that you may have in case your doctor has any additional recommendations.
2. Refill prescriptions and pack over-the-counter medications.
You don’t want to be somewhere unfamiliar when the need for medication strikes, especially if you take prescription meds. Remember to refill all prescriptions ahead of time and have a list handy in case anything gets lost in travel. Over-the-counter medications may not be readily available everywhere so bringing some essentials is a proactive move. Consider packing acetaminophen or ibuprofen, an antihistamine such as Benadryl and antidiarrheal medicine. You can view a complete list of recommendations from the CDC here.
3. Plan out your meals.
Times of travel often lead to times of overindulgence. Whether that be from a big outing that day, skipping one meal causing you to overeat during another or just a lack of planning — it happens to us all. Plan out your meal times and restaurants ahead of time. Doing so will allow you to look over menus before getting to the restaurant as well as keep you full throughout the day. In addition, buffets are a popular restaurant option in many resorts but sometimes present too many options that may lead you to overeat. Stick to ordering entrees with healthy sides to stay on track and help keep you feeling your best. Also, pack your own snacks, so you know that you will have something on hand and ready when you need it. Try this healthy trail mix recipe from Healthy Maven:
- ¾ cup raw pecans (can be toasted in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 F)
- ¾ cup raw cashews (can be toasted in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 F)
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup unsweetened, unsulfured cherries
- ½ cup unsweetened, unsulfured raisins
- ½ cup chopped 82% dark chocolate
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
- Store in an air-tight container for up to one month.
This blueberry, oatmeal and flaxseed muffin recipe from Food52 is another easy-to-make snack that is handy and easy to transport.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 5 ½ cups rolled oats
- 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
- ⅔ cup plus 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup neutral oil (vegetable, olive or coconut)
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 cups blueberries (or other fresh or dried berries)
- Heat the oven to 350 F and line two standard-sized muffin pans with paper liners. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, flaxseed, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
- Add the eggs, oil, buttermilk and 3/4 cup water. Mix until the dry and wet ingredients are just combined, and then fold in the blueberries. Spoon the batter into the muffins cups, filling each cup right up to the top, and bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool completely before serving.
4. Drink in moderation.
Too much alcohol can lead to dehydration or a less-than-ideal hangover leaving you feeling miserable the next day of your vacation. Try some alternatives when you want something a little more than just water, like a diet soda or seltzer water with lemon or lime. This will not only keep the hangover at bay but also help reduce the number of calories you consume from beverages.
5. Stay hydrated.
According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated throughout the year, which only increases during travel. It’s easy to get dehydrated when traveling, especially if you avoid liquids to reduce trips to the restroom when flying or driving. However, drinking enough water throughout the day is more beneficial than waiting until you are thirsty or dehydrated. The Mayo Clinic recommends 15.5 cups of fluids daily for men and 11.5 cups for women. Carry a water bottle with you during the day and fill it up as often as you can to stay hydrated. You should also consider whether or not the place you are traveling to offers easily accessible, safe drinking water.
6. Get your movement in.
Even if you don’t hit the gym during vacation, you can still reap the benefits of moving your body by opting to walk places you might usually drive. Try grabbing coffee at a nearby coffee shop or shopping at a local convenience store. You may even be staying in an area that offers bike rentals that you could use to explore the city rather than taking a tour bus or public transportation.
7. Wash your hands frequently.
Handwashing is a simple and effective way to avoid illness. It’s important to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after touching anything that is used by many people — such as handrails and door handles. Make sure not to touch your face before handwashing, as germs can quickly enter your body through your eyes, nose or mouth. By doing so, you can prevent about 30% of diarrhea-related illnesses and about 20% of respiratory infections.
8. Wear sunscreen.
Hours spent outdoor sightseeing or catching rays at the beach means more time exposed to the sun’s harmful rays. Wearing sunscreen with at least 30 SPF can help provide your skin with added protection. Make sure to reapply every two hours to prevent sunburns and reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. Hats can also offer extra protection for sensitive areas like the face and the top of the head.
Getting enough sleep can be essential to having a safe trip but is often neglected during travel. Too little sleep can lead to poor concentration and judgment, making it more difficult to deal with any travel challenges, such as a delayed flight. This may be due to packing in lots of activity or fighting jet lag if traveling to a different time zone. Adults should still aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night as they usually would and at least nine hours per night for school-aged children. To combat jet lag, get plenty of sunlight and exercise, stay hydrated and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Keep Up With KC Wellness
Staying on top of all these healthy habits is easier said than done, especially after you just got home from a trip full of fun and adventures. As soon as that after-vacay exhaustion kicks in, keeping up with your routine becomes more difficult, but KC Wellness is here to help! Here at KC Wellness, we offer many services to help kick your daily routine back into gear. We offer weight loss services, including supplements, injectables and coaching. Our IV vitamin therapy is the perfect way to replenish any nutrients that may have washed away on your getaway. Through the use of IVs, we replace all the lost nutrients on a day-to-day basis back into your body for instant energy and relief. For more information on how to maintain your health this summer after your next trip, call us at 816-214-5276 or click here!