Who else loves to travel? I am going to assume you have your hand up! I love to travel! There is something so fun about finding the perfect destination, picking out the details, planning excursions, and packing the right wardrobe pieces. Every part is just so fun and exciting.
The less fun part of vacation is sometimes the traveling to get there. A crowded plane or cramped train is a much less exciting part of travel. What about getting sick right before you leave or often getting sick seemingly as soon as you arrive at your destination?
This has happened to me more than a few times. I am all excited to go away but arrive at my destination feeling crummy and wind up sick a couple of days into the trip. So what gives?
Is it the germs on the plane? Is it the travel itself? Honestly, who knows! It could be any number of things.
After one vacation, where the bf and I both got really sick after arriving at our destination, I knew something had to change. I did some research and came up with a strategy and routine to help me stay healthy and arrive at my destination feeling great!
Healthy tips for traveling!
Getting a jump start on being healthy is key before your trip even takes place! A good routine is to get in the habit of taking a multivitamin and a probiotic every day for at least 2 weeks before your trip. It’s also a good idea to bring these with you (and remember to take them) while you are on your trip.
Staying hydrated it key for warding off sickness! Did you know that the number one item sold at airports is bottled water? It’s a great idea to buy a bottle once you are through security. Or, you can bring an empty (reusable) water bottle from home and fill it once you are through security. I do this all the time and there are plenty of water fountains around the airport so filling it prior to takeoff shouldn’t be an issue.
Hand sanitizer and wet wipes.
I am that person on the airplane. I have arrived at my destination feeling sick too many times to care what other people think about my obsessive cleaning of everything I touch on the plane. Plus, I’ve read a few articles about how infrequently airplanes are truly ‘cleaned and disinfected’ to justify my scrubbing.
I like to wipe down everything from the tray table, to the armrests, the seatbelt buckle, and even the air vent. You can’t be too clean.
I also try to wash my hands as often as possible, and when I can’t, I use hand sanitizer. The plane is a breeding ground for bacteria. Even people around you who may not appear sick could be carrying germs your body is not familiar with. Taking a few extra minutes to ‘sanitize’ your area can’t hurt.
One courtesy: Please try to get unscented products. The airplane is indeed a tiny space and you don’t want anyone that is sensitive to smells/fragrances to be affected.
Avoid the airplane coffee / tea.
This is another surprising piece of advice I came across when researching getting sick after air travel. The cleanliness of a coffee pot in an airplane is questionable at best. Think about it, the quality of water in the system is variable and there isn’t really anywhere to wash the pot. The food and beverage carts may be changed out between flights, but often the coffee pot is neglected.
It’s continuously filled with hot water (which is sourced based on the area the flight just returned from and if the flight was international, there can be varying levels of cleanliness and sanitation for public water). This water is then brewed for multiple passengers on many flights.
So my rule is nothing from the ‘hot pot’. Grab a coffee or tea before you board or wait until you arrive at your destination. It’s just not worth getting sick.
After reading about the coffee pots, I decided to stop drinking the coffee on the plane and (in addition to implementing these other steps) I haven’t been sick yet! It may just be a coincidence but in the case that it’s not, I would rather avoid getting sick.
I am the first to admit, I need snacks when I travel and being on a plane is no exception. I like to bring mixed nuts or a low sugar granola bar as a snack. Another great option is fresh fruit cups found in the shops after security.
Fruit is a great choice because it both a healthy and hydrating option. You can read all about the hidden water content and hydration found in fruits and vegetables in one of my previous blog posts HERE. I find that anything low sugar with a high water content has me feeling better and doesn’t upset my stomach so that’s a win-win.
Hydrate your skin.
One habit I have gotten into is packing a facial mist or hydrating mist. This is a great refresher to spritz on your face. Airplanes use recycled air that often lacks humidity. This, combined with the thinner atmosphere at higher altitudes can make your mucous membranes dry and irritated.
When things are dry, they are more susceptible to bacteria. Our mucous membranes produce fluid to help keep germs out, so naturally when they are drier, the body has a harder time trying to keep these ‘invaders’ away. This is another great time to opt for un-fragranced or unscented sprays.
I like EVIAN FACIAL SPRAY Natural Mineral Water Facial Spray, 10.1 fl. oz. this one for my checked luggage and La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water, 1.69 Fl. Oz. which is the perfect size for my carry on.
A step further.
If you want to expand your hydration to skincare (and arrive looking glowing and rested) try a sheet mask. I bring a sheet mask with me on most longer flights. This is another thing that may get a few strange looks, but it’s worth it. I use a sheet mask on any flight over two hours. My skin definitely thanks me for it and I arrive looking dewy and fresh. A great option to try that wont leave you feeling sticky or oily is this mask.
Lips and fingertips.
I also pack a small (unscented) travel size hand lotion to moisture my hands in flight. We already chatted about dry skin when traveling and your hands are no exception. Plus the hand sanitizer can be drying! Dry areas are more prone to barrier break-down which makes it easier for germs and bacteria to invade and make you sick! The same goes for your lips. Dry lips are not your friend. Toss some chapstick or lip balm in your carry on. Apply it liberally though-out travel, you’ll be glad you did.
Once I land, I keep the germ control going until I get to the hotel. I’ll do a final stop at the restroom, thoroughly wash my hands again, and then fill my water bottle at the water fountain before heading to baggage claim. I like to hydrate on the way to the hotel too!
This may seem excessive, but after getting sick on a few too many flight, and some long haul flights of 14+ hours, I really hate being sick on the plane. Or sick at my destination.
These tips help me stay healthy and ward off sickness so I can enjoy my destination! Let me know how you stay healthy when traveling!