7+ Ways To Stay Healthy While Traveling

No matter your age, one of the most challenging parts of traveling is staying healthy. You'll inevitably be exposed to new germs when you meet new people and explore previously unfamiliar areas. It doesn't help that traveling also commonly negatively affects one's diet, sleep schedule, and exercise routines. However, there are several ways for adults over 55 to help stay healthy while traveling. Following these tips can make your trip as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible. Read on to learn more!

How to Stay Healthy on Your Next Trip

  1. Be Sure to Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy while traveling. When you're tired, your body will likely not be as effective at fighting infection. Unfortunately, this means you're more likely to get sick during your trip. Traveling exposes you to new environments, experiences, and, sometimes, unexpected challenges. Amidst all the excitement, it's easy to overlook the crucial role of quality sleep in maintaining your health while on the road. Here are several reasons why getting enough rest is especially important while traveling:

  • Boosts Immune Function: Travel exposes you to germs and pathogens your body may not be accustomed to. Quality sleep is a powerful immune booster. Your immune system functions optimally when well-rested, helping your body fend off illnesses more effectively. This means fewer chances of falling sick during your trip.
  • Facilitates Physical Recovery: Travel often involves physical activity, whether exploring a new city on foot or engaging in adventurous activities. Sleep is the body's natural recovery process, allowing muscles to heal and recharge, meaning you'll have more energy for sightseeing and adventure if you prioritize sleep.
  • Manages Travel Fatigue: Long flights, bus rides, and hours of exploration can lead to travel fatigue. Sleep is your body's way of combating this fatigue. Getting enough rest during your trip will help you feel refreshed and ready for each day's adventures.
  • Adapts to Time Zone Changes: If your travel involves crossing time zones, jet lag can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. Adequate sleep before and during your journey can help your body adapt more quickly to new time zones, reducing the effects of jet lag.

  1. Don't Try to do Everything All at Once

When traveling, it's important to take things one step at a time. Often, traveling comes with a long list of must-see places and activities, but trying to do everything all at once can lead to burnout and stress. Here's how you can strike a balance and fully enjoy your journey:

  • Plan Your Day Wisely: Instead of cramming too many activities into one day, plan a relaxed itinerary. Select one or two key attractions or activities to focus on, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the experience.
  • Include Breaks: Don't forget to schedule breaks in your day. Use this time for relaxation, such as enjoying a leisurely meal or taking a stroll in a nearby park. These pauses can rejuvenate you and make the trip more enjoyable.
  • Embrace Spontaneity: While having a rough itinerary is essential, leave room for spontaneity. Serendipitous discoveries and unexpected adventures often make the best travel memories.
  • Stay Mindful: Practice mindfulness and be present in the moment. Engage all your senses when exploring a new place—savor the flavors, admire the scenery, and engage with the locals.
  • Prioritize Self-Care: Allocate some "me time" during your travels. Whether reading a book, taking a nap, or enjoying a soothing bath, self-care is essential for maintaining your physical and mental well-being.
  • Reflect on Your Journey: At the end of each day, take a moment to reflect on your experiences. What did you enjoy the most? What surprised you? This practice can help you appreciate the journey more fully.
  1. Exercise When Time Allows

Exercise is a vital component of staying healthy while traveling. It might seem challenging to fit workouts into your itinerary, but the benefits of staying active during your journey are well worth the effort.

To make exercise an integral part of your travel experience, consider exploring your destination on foot or by bicycle. Walking tours, hiking trails, and bike rentals are excellent ways to combine exercise with sightseeing, allowing you to immerse yourself in the local culture while staying active.

If time is limited, you can still incorporate short, effective workouts into your day. Bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups can be done in your hotel room or a local park, requiring minimal equipment.

Remember, the goal of exercise while traveling isn't necessarily to follow a strict fitness regimen but to stay active, enjoy your journey to the fullest, and maintain your health and vitality. By prioritizing exercise, you'll enhance your physical and mental well-being, ultimately leading to a more enriching and enjoyable travel experience.

  1. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is a cornerstone of good health, especially during travel. Dehydration can adversely affect your well-being and can be easily overlooked when you're busy exploring new places. Here's why hydration is crucial for your travel health and some practical tips to ensure you stay well-hydrated on your journey:

  • Optimizes Body Function: Hydration is essential for your body's systems. It helps regulate body temperature, aids digestion, and supports the circulation of nutrients and oxygen to your cells.
  • Prevents Fatigue and Jet Lag: Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, and even exacerbate the effects of jet lag. Proper hydration helps combat travel-related exhaustion and helps you adapt to different time zones more smoothly.
  • Reduces the Risk of Illness: Staying hydrated boosts your immune system, making it easier for your body to ward off germs and infections encountered while traveling. It's your first line of defense against travel-related illnesses.
  • Enhances Skin Health: Travel can be harsh on your skin, with exposure to different climates and environmental factors. Hydration from within keeps your skin healthy and radiant, even in varying conditions.
  • Mitigates the Effects of High Altitudes: If you’re traveling to high-altitude destinations, dehydration can worsen altitude sickness symptoms. Adequate hydration can help alleviate the discomfort associated with altitude changes.

Tips for Staying Hydrated While Traveling:

  • Carry a reusable water bottle: Always have a refillable water bottle with you to encourage regular hydration.
  • Set hydration reminders: Use your smartphone or watch to remind yourself to drink water at regular intervals.
  • Choose hydrating foods: Consume fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as watermelon, cucumber, and oranges.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine: Both can contribute to dehydration, so consume them in moderation and balance with water intake.
  • Hydrate for the climate: You may need more fluids than usual in hot and humid environments. Adjust your intake accordingly.

Click here to learn more about how to stay hydrated

Remember that the signs of dehydration may not always be obvious, so make a conscious effort to prioritize hydration during your travels.

  1. Staying Mindful of Alcohol: Moderation is Key

While traveling, it's common to want to partake in the local drinking culture, but doing so responsibly is essential for maintaining your health and well-being during your journey. Here's a closer look at how you can enjoy alcoholic beverages while staying mindful of your limits.

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration, impaired judgment, and the unpleasant effects of a hangover. By staying mindful of your alcohol intake and respecting your limits, you can fully engage in the cultural aspects of your travels while safeguarding your health and well-being. Responsible drinking allows you to create lasting memories without compromising your journey.

  1. Travel Insurance: Protecting Your Journey and Health

Travel insurance is a valuable investment that goes beyond safeguarding your trip against unforeseen disruptions. It's a crucial aspect of ensuring your health and well-being while traveling. Here's an in-depth exploration of how travel insurance can provide comprehensive protection:

  • Medical Coverage: Travel insurance typically includes medical coverage that extends beyond your regular health insurance. This coverage can prove essential in case of illness or injury during your trip. It ensures that you receive proper medical attention, whether it's a minor ailment or a more severe health issue. It also covers doctor's visits, hospital stays, and prescription medications, reducing out-of-pocket costs.
  • Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation: In a severe medical emergency, travel insurance often covers the cost of emergency evacuation to the nearest suitable medical facility. It can also include arrangements to repatriate you back to your home country for further treatment if necessary. These provisions can be lifesaving, especially when traveling to remote or unfamiliar destinations.
  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption: While primarily related to trip logistics, trip cancellation and interruption coverage can indirectly affect your health and well-being. Suppose your trip is canceled or cut short due to unexpected events like illness, injury, or a family emergency. In that case, this coverage can help you recover non-refundable expenses and potentially avoid additional stress during an already challenging time.
  • Lost or Delayed Luggage: Travel insurance often covers lost, stolen, or delayed luggage. This can mitigate the inconvenience of lost personal belongings and provide financial assistance for necessary replacements, ensuring you have essential items during your travels.
  • Travel Assistance Services: Many travel insurance policies offer 24/7 travel assistance services. These services can help you locate local medical facilities, provide translation assistance, and offer guidance on medical concerns in foreign countries. Having access to these resources can ease any anxieties related to navigating the local healthcare system.
  • Pre-Existing Conditions: Some travel insurance policies offer coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, provided certain conditions are met. If you have pre-existing health conditions, it's essential to carefully review policy terms and consider policies that offer suitable coverage.
  • Customization: Travel insurance policies are often customizable to meet your specific needs. You can select coverage levels and add-ons that align with your health concerns, travel plans, and personal preferences.

Before purchasing travel insurance, thoroughly review policy details, including coverage limits, exclusions, and deductibles. Consult with the insurer to ensure the policy adequately addresses your health-related concerns, especially if you have pre-existing conditions. By doing so, you'll protect your journey, your health, and your peace of mind while traveling. Click here to learn more about minimizing travel risks! 

  1. Local Healthcare Information: Your Guide to Well-Being Abroad

Access to local healthcare information is essential to staying healthy while traveling. Understanding your destination's healthcare system, facilities, and available services can be invaluable if you require medical assistance.

  • Research in Advance: Before your trip, research the healthcare infrastructure of your destination. Understand the quality of healthcare services, the availability of medical facilities, and any potential language barriers. Online resources, travel forums, and guidebooks can provide valuable insights.
  • Emergency Contacts: Save emergency contact numbers in your phone and a physical document, including local emergency services and the nearest embassy or consulate. These contacts can be critical in emergencies or when seeking medical assistance.
  • Travel Health Clinics: Locate nearby travel health clinics or hospitals that cater to international travelers. These facilities often have English-speaking staff and experience treating common travel-related health issues.
  • Healthcare Phrases: If you're traveling to a destination where you don't speak the local language, consider learning basic healthcare phrases or carrying a translation app. Being able to communicate your health concerns is essential when seeking medical help.
  • Prescription Medications: If you require prescription medications, ensure you have an ample supply for your trip. Carry them in their original containers, along with a copy of your prescriptions. Be sure to research local regulations regarding medication importation, as rules can vary by airline.
  • Travel Health Kit: Pack a travel health kit containing essentials like bandages, pain relievers, antiseptic wipes, and any prescribed medications. These readily available items can significantly impact your comfort and well-being during the trip.
  • Travel Insurance Coverage: Familiarize yourself with your travel insurance policy and its coverage for healthcare services. Be aware of policy limitations, including any pre-existing conditions clauses.
  • Emergency Evacuation Plans: In destinations where medical facilities may be limited, consider having a plan in place for emergency evacuation to a nearby city or country with more advanced healthcare resources. Your travel insurance may provide coverage for such scenarios.

Staying healthy while traveling isn't always easy, but it's worth it to avoid any unpleasant surprises during your trip. As we get older, it becomes more challenging to maintain our health. That's why taking precautions to stay healthy while traveling is so important. Following these tips can make your trip as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible.

More travel tips! Click here to download the 55+ Travel: The Why, Where, and How eBook!