Staying Healthy While Traveling – With travel restrictions slowly going away with the recent pandemic, travelers are looking at ways to stay healthy while traveling like never before.
Even if vaccines are rolling out at a more accelerated pace than we thought, other health hazards are hiding in crowded airplane cabins and many other public places that we still should be concerned about.
Jetlag and the stress of travel can take a toll on the body’s immune system, making you even more exposed to foreign viruses taking control of your body and ruining a vacation you have planned for months.
The reason for this article is I am not a germaphobe, but my wife is, and she always points out areas of concern while we travel that I never would have thought of before.
There are no guarantees that any product in this post will protect you 100% while on vacation, but there are some things you can do to protect your health when traveling.
Now, I don’t want this article to scare you off from traveling because I believe traveling is the best investment next to education that you can do for yourself.
This is why I am writing this article to help you avoid travel stress by protecting yourself by using certain products that can help you stay healthy.
To help you, here is a list of essential travel items meant to help you stay healthy while traveling.
Side note: All the suggestions mentioned in the article below are just tips to help you stay healthy while traveling and don’t guarantee you that you will stay healthy with every trip you take.
Also, if you are concerned about the spread of COVID-19, I will suggest checking out the CDC’s website for their advice on how to take caution while traveling.
Stay Healthy While Traveling – 20+ Essential Items You Need
Staying healthy while traveling on the plane
Before the pandemic hit, some of us may never have thought about how dirty a plane could get.
But with the recent pandemic, being in close quarters, and the multiple touchpoints we have to deal with during our time in the air may make a germophobe crazy.
Even though many travelers will be more conscious about the germs on the plane, things like the tray table on the back of airplane seats will still be an issue going forward. A past study has shown that tray tables are eight times dirtier than the toilet flush button on a plane.
That study alone should convince every traveler to load up on travel products that will help you stay healthy while traveling.
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According to Health Canada, to date, there are no hand sanitizers in Canada approved with COVID-19 related claims. Although they do not claim to kill viruses such as coronaviruses, hand sanitizers can help reduce the risk of infection by, or spread of, microorganisms.
While washing your hands with soap and water should be your go-to, hand sanitizers work in a pinch when trying to stay healthy while traveling.
So, what type of hand sanitizer should you use? The CDC confirms using alcohol-based sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol or higher because that is best at killing many types of germs.
If you are flying or traveling in confined spaces, consider using unscented sanitizer for those around you that may be allergic to scents.
Pack a couple of travel-size bottles of hand sanitizer in your carry-on, and through a couple of normal-sized bottles in your check-in luggage so you will always have a backup sanitizer when you need it.
Another sanitizing product to help you stay healthy while traveling is packing a package of high alcohol content wipes.
These are great especially for cleaning seats, armrests, seatbelt buckle, tray tables, and anything that passengers may touch while traveling.
I once wiped an airline seat with an alcohol wipe years ago and was amazed by how black the wipes looked after.
So if cleaning an airline seat with a wipe comes out black, imagine how dirty other areas around the seat can be.
I love packing travel-size packages of wipes in my carry-on because they are convenient for travel, and always will be ready for when I need them.
Welcome to the new normal.
The thought of using face masks before the pandemic on a plane or train was unheard of. But, now when you think of the past of the number of people sneezing and coughing on a plane, I am surprised how we survived up to this point.
As of now and possibly here to stay, face masks are required by airport authorities, airlines, and other public venues to protect yourself and others around you from harmful viruses like Covid.
Now, everyone has a personal preference on the type of face masks they use, but make sure that they are clean.
Cloth masks are fantastic because they are reusable and take up less space in landfills. But, the key to cloth face masks is during travel is to wash them daily. Which can be a hassle for longer trips.
If this might be an issue during your trip, packing a supply of disposable face masks in your luggage makes it easier to replace when you need a new one.
Have you ever been on a long flight, cramped in a middle seat in coach, and when you finally land, you find out that your ankles have swollen to twice the normal size and you can’t walk to baggage claim?
The unfortunate thing about traveling is can take a toll on your circulation. While the risk of forming blood clots on a flight is low, it goes up as travel time increases.
That’s where compression socks come into play. These socks help improve circulation and decrease the risk of swelling or worse deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and clotting on a long flight.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Compression stockings steadily squeeze your legs, helping your veins and leg muscles move blood more efficiently. They offer a safe, simple and inexpensive way to keep blood from stagnating.”
The best way to stay healthy while traveling is to take care of your feet, and your body will thank you.
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Studies have shown that lack of sleep can lower brain performance by up to 20 percent. That’s why every traveler crossing time zones must rest as much as possible during the flight.
For travelers like me who have a tough time sleeping on a plane, sleep masks are essential in staying healthy while traveling. Sleep masks are a proven way to help travelers adjust to different time zones and reduce the effects of jet lag.
Not having enough sleep can make or break a trip, so whether you are on an airplane, sleep masks give your body a better chance to rest from the stress of airplane travel and help you stay healthy while traveling.
Since you have an eye mask for sleeping, another important thing to do is ensure that you are going to be comfortable.
Traveling on an airplane is considered one of the most uncomfortable travel experiences, especially if you are in an economy seat. The seats are close to each other, and there’s almost no place to move.
Traveling in a car or a train is no different. However, packing a travel pillow supports the neck to make the traveling experience comfortable.
Help your neck stay healthy while traveling with a great travel pillow.
Regardless of what cabin class you are seated in during a flight, the chances of having a clean blanket to keep you warm are very slim.
Airline workers have confirmed that they rarely wash the blankets provided on flights.
So what do you do to stay healthy while traveling while you try to sleep on a plane? Packing a travel blanket that can roll into a compact size is the answer.
The key to having the right travel blanket is to make sure that it is made from a lightweight material, and able to withstand multiple trips through a washing machine.
Plus, make sure that it’s made from a dark-colored material, stain-resistant, and water-resistant for times when there is a bit of air turbulence that sends your coffee sloshing over the side of the cup and onto your travel blanket.
Have you ever been on a flight where you were cursing yourself for not investing in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones?
Depending on the length of a flight and you want some shuteye to feel rested when you land, you don’t want to be wakened up by the blood-curdling cry of a baby, or the endless chatter of intoxicated passengers around you.
If these examples are bringing back painful memories of past flights, maybe now is the time for you to find a pair of noise-canceling headphones that work for you.
Flying can be a stressful time for some travelers, and stress on the body can lead to your body being more susceptible to catching colds or touches of flu during your journey.
Of course, a great pair of noise-canceling headphones is not only for flying, they can be put to good use at home when you need some escape from the sound of your family while you trying to enjoy a good audiobook or podcast.
Bring Healthy Snacks
Staying healthy while traveling isn’t limited to avoiding viruses while traveling, you need to keep your body running smoothly with healthy food along the way.
While packing your own food for flying may sound crazy, but packing at least a few healthy travel snacks on your next trip could be a lifesaver.
I was recently on a plane ride where I was stuck on a plane, while the plane sat on the tarmac for three hours with limited water and no snacks.
And if you travel enough, this situation is bound to happen to you and you will be grateful to have a snack while you are stuck.
Packing healthy snacks also helps you resist the lure of buying something unhealthy at the airport.
Plus, if you are trying to stay on track with your diet or following a specific meal plan, packing healthy travel snacks assures you will stay on the right path.
UV-powered Self-sanitizing Water Bottle
To stay healthy while traveling, you need to stay hydrated.
Especially on an airplane where the low humidity in the cabin causes moisture to evaporate from the body quickly, which can lead to dehydration.
Plus, when air is dry, the throat’s broom-like cilia become less effective at sweeping out viruses and bacteria, so you may be more susceptible to illness.
Having a reusable water bottle is great to have while traveling, but they are tough to clean. That’s where a UV-powered self-sanitizing water bottle comes into play.
They are easy to keep clean which means you have clean drinking water without germs or harmful bacteria.
Unlike filtered water bottles, which use a variety of mechanisms to catch sediment and pathogens, self-cleaning water bottles use UV technology to completely zap waterborne microbes and keep them out of your drink, regardless of your water source.
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Staying healthy while traveling in a hotel
Several of the travel products listed above will help you stay healthy while traveling in your accommodations as well. Here is a list of essential travel items to help you stay healthy and happy when you have reached your vacation destination.
Public showers, thanks to their generally moist nature, are breeding grounds for biofilms—slimy patches where multiple groups of microorganisms stick together.
Expert advice, including that from the CDC, recommends wearing shower shoes in any public or communal shower to avoid negative health effects of highly contagious bacterial and fungal infections, including Athlete’s foot, Ringworm, Staph, and MRSA infections.
Not only are public showers a breeding ground but pools, gyms, and hotel carpets are as well. The key to keeping your feet healthy while traveling is to wear shower shoes, flip-flops, or sandals when walking around these areas for happy and clean feet.
I learned a lot about sun protection and witnessed firsthand how dangerous to one’s health unprotected sun exposure can be.
On the day I was to propose to my wife in Paris, I spent the whole day out in the sun walking the streets without a hat and sunscreen.
By the end of the day, I was so nauseous that all I could do was pull the ring out of my pocket, and barely whisper “will you marry me” without throwing up.
If you leave yourself unprotected over time, sun exposure can lead to the development of certain types of skin cancers and premature aging.
So for you to stay healthy while traveling, and choose to spend hours in the sun, please apply sunscreen. Your body will thank you.
Whether you’re brushing at home or on the road, you want to ensure your toothbrush is germ-free – as you do with all things you put into your mouth.
Studies featured in various dental journals have demonstrated the ultraviolet toothbrush sanitizers work reasonably well. They do reduce the number of bacteria and organisms on your toothbrush.
They do not eliminate living organisms entirely, however, because such organisms are everywhere!
What can a toothbrush sanitizer do for you while traveling? They can give you peace of mind, especially if you’re traveling with other people who not your family and sharing the same hotel bathroom.
They are simple and easy to use, and work like a charm while traveling or at home.
Think about how many times you touch your smartphone in a day looking at emails and searching social media. Now think about how many things you may have touched before grabbing your phone.
That’s why I came across the innovative UV Light Sanitizer which claims to effectively eliminate 99% of all bacteria that can cause the common cold.
The amount of bacteria and other filth that can become stuck to our smartphones must be cleaned to improve overall health.
How it works is the built-in UV Lights perform a sanitization process that quickly cleans your smartphone from harmful bacteria.
Does it work? It does. I took a UV light that picks up germs when shined on my smartphone, and in the light, I noticed my phone was contaminated. So, I ran my iPhone through the smartphone sanitizer device, and after ten minutes my phone was clean.
There are portable UV Light Sanitizer devices that you can find on Amazon that are easy to travel with and will help you stay healthy as you explore.
If you are planning on spending a lot of time at beaches, taking dips in waterfalls, and showering after hot sweaty days, and then taking in the sights of the city, a microfibre towel should be an essential item for your packing list!
Microfibre towels are tough, soft, absorbent, water repellant (quick dry), light-weight and often, antibacterial.
If you’re on the go all day and take various swim breaks, you don’t want to deal with carrying around a soggy towel. A microfibre travel towel will dry you off in seconds and won’t weigh heavy in your bag.
Plus a microfibre towel is a multipurpose towel that can be used after bathing, to clean up spills, to dry dishes, or even as a blanket when the bus driver has cranked the air-con just a little too high.
One important kit to always pack with you for travel to stay healthy while traveling is a first-aid kit.
What you need is everything you need to treat minor injuries, like a Surviveware travel first aid kit.
Plus, make sure you add antibiotic ointment, remedies for fever, pain, motion sickness, allergies, stomach aches, colds, and flu.
Electrolyte solutions or rehydration tablets are also a good thing to add to the kit, along with a digital thermometer.
Also, you should be prepared for any sudden travel restrictions, you should also pack an extra 14-day supply (or more) of prescription medication.
Products For Keeping Your Feet Healthy & Happy
The last on the list for staying healthy while traveling is proper foot care.
Depending on the type of travel you are planning, it’s essential to pack the right travel products to take care of your feet.
Proper footwear that is comfortable to walk around with as well as keeping your feet dry is important. Brands like Nike, ECCO, Allbirds, and New Balance make fantastic travel footwear that covers all the bases for keeping your feet going.
Plus, if you are looking for footwear to keep your feet cool on hot days, sandals are a great option. Brands like KEEN and Teva make amazingly comfortable sandals that keep your feet cool for days strolling the streets.
As for socks, look for moisture-wicking/anti-microbial socks that provide cushion for your feet. Side Note: Please don’t wear socks with sandals, it gives off an “I am a tourist” vibe.
And when the day is over, apply foot cream to minimize callouses. Your feet will thank you.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” The saying holds true today and cautions us to plan ahead to stay healthy while traveling.
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