How to stay healthy on holidays

Nothing ruins a trip quicker than getting sick. While you can’t prevent everything, there are many pitfalls you can avoid with a little preparation. Take your health into your own hands with these tips for your trip.

Stretch yourself

Whether frequenting planes and public transport or pounding the pavement, your body will be put through the ringer at some point on your travels. Give your muscles a little TLC with some gentle stretches such as lunges, upper-body twists and quad stretches. When you’ve got some space to spread out, draw on yoga positions like child’s pose to open up the hips, back, shoulders and chest.

Always pack snacks

Keeping a few healthy bites on hand will maintain your energy levels and avoid bingeing at meal times. Try raw nuts, dried fruit, protein balls, crackers, low-sugar muesli bars, edamame and pita chips. If you want something more substantial, and have access to a supermarket and kitchen, whip up a healthy wrap, smoothie or some hummus and veggie sticks.

Prioritise sleepy time

Will you be spending lots of time on flights and transport? Here’s a few essentials that will make the difference between a good sleep and a restless one. Pack a neck pillow, ear plugs, an eye mask and an outer layer, such as a wrap or jacket that can act as a cover. Don’t worry about how you look to others – if all goes well, you’ll be too busy snoozing to notice. For a little extra kick, try melatonin or a dab of lavender oil at your temples.

Be sun smart

Wear sunscreen every day. Period. Apply a matte facial moisturiser and slather high-SPF lotion everywhere exposed to the elements. A hat and sunglasses add further protection while you explore the outdoors.

Indulge, but in moderation

Of course you want to treat yourself on holiday – there’s no point denying yourself cocktails, gelato or delicious local meals. But try to keep some balance by adding nutrient-rich foods to your plate, such as pasta with a leafy side salad, or opt for a big lunch and a light dinner. This will allow you to enjoy yourself without feeling lethargic, bloated and weak.

Take some chill pills

To help fight against sleep deprivation, jet lag, germs and overexertion, selected vitamin and mineral supplements may be useful on your trip. Try vitamin B for energy, vitamin C and zinc for immune support, magnesium for muscle stiffness and probiotics for digestive health (particularly when travelling to underdeveloped countries).

Be all about hydration

From long flights to long walks, you’re going to need water. And lots of it. Dehydration is one of the biggest contributors to jetlag so ensure you have a bottle on board. Take a refillable container while sightseeing at your destination, and if you’re relaxing and drinking, be sure to down a few glasses of H20 in between. If it’s hot and humid where you are, up your usual intake.

Rise and moisturise

Hydration extends to your skin, which dries out in air-conditioning, sun exposure, saltwater and swimming pools – many scenarios that arise on holidays. Spritz yourself with a face mist (check the labels if you have sensitive skin) and use a moisturising sunscreen during the day. Apply after-sun lotion or a night body cream before bed.

Wear the right shoes

It’s not uncommon to walk several kilometres while sightseeing without even knowing. You might want to look stylish in a big city, but comfortable shoes are the only way to go for a day of walking. Stick to sneakers or supportive flats. Thongs or sandals are tempting at a tropical spot, but if you’re covering a long distance you’ll want to pack a practical pair as a spare.

Sharing isn’t always caring

Some budget accommodation involves shared bathroom facilities, which can be a breeding ground for nasties. Pack a pair of thongs for the shower, to avoid exposure to fungal infections, and a shower caddy so you can keep your toiletries off the floor.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite

These thirsty little critters can be a scourge in hotels, particularly in big cities. It’s always a good idea to inspect your bed linen and mattress – look for small blood stains or black dots, like ground pepper. Keep your suitcase off the floor too, in case they wander in from another room hunting for ‘food’.

Get travel insurance

Particularly if you’re heading overseas, be sure to take out travel insurance that includes health and hospital cover. If an accident happens or you fall ill, you’ll want to know you’re taken care of. It’s not worth the risk to your holiday without it.

From bed bugs to sunburn; you can’t control everything when you travel, but you can control how you manage your money. 

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