Travel and wellness are really important. That’s something I learned the hard way many years ago. It’s difficult to appreciate the beauty around you when you don’t feel your best. Travel can take a toll on the body, the immune system and therefore on your health. If you’re someone who travels frequently or full-time you’ll know what I’m talking about. Long-haul flights that leave you dehydrated, spending all day in the sun unintentionally, not having access to the healthiest food or drinking water; these can all take a toll on your body, sometimes even leaving you feeling unwell, stressed and exhausted. Luckily there are many travel wellness tips you can consider right away to alleviate the journey.
There are basic travel wellness tips we can apply to stay fit and healthy and therefore feel our best when on the road. These are things we often forget to do when travelling as a result of getting caught up in beautiful moments and the excitement that travel brings, things that are second nature to us when at home.
The precautions you do take are quite country- dependant as each country has its own standard of cleanliness. Generally, the hotter and more humid the country, the more precautions you need to take as bacteria thrive in these conditions. Be aware of whether you can drink the tap water and other food/water-borne illnesses travellers have succumbed to. I find that the best thing is to ask at your hostel/hotel. Ask your fellow travellers for a restaurant recommendation as chances are they ate there recently and didn’t get sick.
In this post, I’ll be giving you all my basic travel and wellness tips in both staying healthy long-term through eating well and exercising as well as preventing short-term travellers sickness. The elements are super important to staying well on the road. Here are my tips for staying at your optimum health while travelling and most importantly avoiding trips to a doctor or hospital in a foreign country.
#1 EAT WELL
Eating well is paramount to a healthy life, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing*. Eating well while travelling does get a little more difficult. You don’t always know where the healthy options are or sometimes you find yourself in a place where there are none. There’s also the temptation to deal with and not really knowing how something is cooked. Some destinations are also easier than others for healthy options. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t find a healthy meal once or twice but do be aware of what you are eating on the whole. Been eating junk food for the last week? You may want to make a change.
I generally stick to a plant-based diet as this is what works for me and I’m a bit of a foodie so I always do my research about where is good to eat before getting to my destination. One of the things I hate most is having a disappointing meal. Being prepared definitely helps, as you’re more likely to eat well when you know what your options are.
*Eating well does mean something different to everyone. Some people go the plant-based route, others don’t and that’s ok- go with what makes you feel good. By eating well, I generally mean eating a diet full of natural, unprocessed foods, a balanced diet full of fresh fruit, vegetables, proteins and healthy carbohydrates.
#2 DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Staying hydrated probably should be at the top of this list in terms of importance. Being optimally hydrated generally means feeling more alive and having more energy to enjoy life. I’d recommend drinking at least 2 litres a day and more if you’re travelling in hot and humid climates. Try to take care with your water sources if the water is not potable in the country you’re in. Also, please try not to buy drinking water in plastic bottles as this contributes to the ever-growing mounds of plastic. Many hotels and hostel often have huge, locally filtered water that is safe to drink and free to re-fill into your re-usable water bottle. I would also highly recommend a reusable bottle with a filter- some of these filter 99.9% of all water-bourne germs, diseases and parasites meaning you can drink the tips water pretty much everywhere. For me, this is a game-changer. I use this one by Lifestraw.
#3 AVOID ACCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF ALCOHOL
No, there is nothing wrong with a couple of beers or glasses of wine, I’m talking about getting wasted and doing it often. We all know about the damaging effects of alcohol on the body and a hangover just isn’t fun. I love a cocktail or an ice-cold beer from time to time and that’s fine, but the key is to keep alcohol consumption down to a minimum. Balance here is key.
Along with eating well, exercising and moving your body are the key to health and happiness. I try to exercise or move every day whether it’s through a workout, a trek or some swimming in the ocean. Sometimes it’s not possible when you’re on a long-distance bus all day and that’s fine, but when you can, move as much as possible.
Need some inspiration for workouts? Check out my no equipment, travel workouts here.
#5 CARRY MEDICINE
Travel wellness tip number 5. Sometimes getting sick when travelling is inevitable and you are very likely to be hit by a bout of travellers diarrhoea, a headache or mild heatstroke at some point. Always have a basic medical kit with you with medicine at the ready for general aches and pains, diarrhoea or flu. If you have any pre-existing concerns make sure you carry the medicine for that too as sometimes the drugs you need can be hard to find in a foreign country. I suffer from migraines from time to time so I make sure I have some migraine-specific pain relief for when that strikes. Carrying it around with me is certainly better than having to go on a pharmacy crawl with a heavy head later.
#6 GO WITH YOUR GUT
Look around you! Does the restaurant seem clean? Are there many local eating in it? Can you see meat that’s obviously been sitting out in the sun all day? These are all warning signs of food hygiene issues. If you go to a restaurant and see any of these red flags or something you try doesn’t taste quite right, listen to your gut and don’t eat it. It’s better to leave it than regret it later. Try to always seek out recommendations from locals or other travellers for where to eat. Head to places that are generally full of local people. These are all sure signs that the food is good and hygienically sound. I like to use apps like Happy Cow and Trip Advisor to make sure places are traveller verified.
#7 WEAR SUN PROTECTION
This may seem like an obvious travel wellness tip but you’d be surprised how many people forget or just don’t bother applying sunscreen. I know I’ve certainly been one of them! Heatstroke, sunstroke or sunburn aren’t fun issues to deal with. They can leave you feeling unwell and uncomfortable- not really how anyone wants to feel. If you’re heading out for the day take a sun hat and use sunscreen, even if it does look a little cloudy. Your skin will thank you for it later.
#8 CARRY HAND SANITIZER
Hand sanitiser gel is a lifesaver, especially in places where there is no running water or soap. Use it after going to the bathroom, before eating or any other time you feel the need to get rid of those nasty germs you may have picked up.
#9 CARRY TUPPAWARE AND ECO-FRIENDLY CUTLERY
When travelling I like to carry Tupperware and cutlery with me. These are great for storing left-overs after hostel/restaurant dinners but it also means that if you want to eat something on a bus, and your hands aren’t exactly the cleanest, use the fork and knife and your hands don’t come into contact with the food. It’s also a great way to reduce your plastic consumption as you never have to use plastic utensils or plastic take-away containers.
#10 DO THINGS THAT MAKE YOUR SMILE
While it’s important to keep your body healthy, your mind matters too. Relax and enjoy the ride. Travel to places that make you feel alive and fill your days with what sets your soul on fire. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day, right?
What do you do to stay healthy and fit while travelling or which travel wellness tips do you swear by? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below.
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