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7 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling

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It can be hard to know what will actually keep you safe at home or abroad.  Stay healthy, travel safe, and have fun with these doctor-approved techniques!

Health news can be scary these days! With COVID-19 (aka coronavirus) spreading fast, it can be hard to know what will actually keep you safe at home or abroad. But you don’t have to let COVID-19 get in the way of your vacation. Stay healthy and have fun with these doctor-approved techniques!

Tip #1: Wash your hands!

Good hand hygiene is an effective way to avoid illness while traveling. Handwashing is the best way to stay clean. Doctors recommend washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Use plenty of soap, and focus on washing between the fingers, fingertips, and under the nails. Don’t forget your wrists, too!

If handwashing isn’t an option, hand sanitizer can also be effective. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using hand sanitizer with 60 to 95 percent alcohol content. We get our travel-sized sanitizers from brands like Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, Purell, and Bath & Body Works! Also: don’t forget to keep a pack of disinfecting wipes with you. It never hurts to give your armrest a good wipe-down! 

And, of course, try not to touch your face. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth.” After that, the virus is able to enter your body and make you sick.

Tip #2: Limit your exposure!

Surgical masks are a popular option for people trying to stay healthy. The CDC does not recommend daily mask usage for non-medical professionals. However, if you’re traveling, a face mask is a good idea. 

“Face masks can be considered for sick travelers to help reduce the spread of respiratory germs and for people sitting near sick travelers with respiratory symptoms when the sick traveler cannot tolerate wearing a mask,” Dr. Louis Morledge, an internist who specializes in travel medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told Healthline.

Make sure the mask covers your mouth, nose, and chin. There should be no gaps between your face and the mask. Press the mask down over your nose to create a seal. Also, avoid touching the mask when you’re wearing it, and don’t reuse single-use masks. Once you’ve removed the mask, wash your hands again right away!

Airlines are taking care to disinfect cabins between flights, but if you sit close to a sick person, you may still be exposed to airborne germs. A mask will help you get to your destination safely. The CDC recommends a Surgical N95 respirator for the best protection. You can find face masks at stores like Amazon, Office Depot, and Walmart.

Tip #3: Stay hydrated!

One of the best ways to stay healthy is to drink water! The recycled air on planes can dehydrate you. This weakens your immune system and makes you more vulnerable to disease. Avoid dehydrating drinks like alcohol, coffee, and tea. Bring a reusable water bottle to the airport so that you can stay hydrated in style--and keep it with you for your trip! (Staying hydrated is a good idea even when you’re not flying.) We love bottles from Hydro Flask, Soma, and S’well! Check out a couple of our faves below:

Hydro Flask 18oz Standard Mouth Water Bottle

Gallery Image 1781

Price: $29.95 via Hydro Flask

Soma V2 17oz. Glass Water Bottle

7 ways to stay healthy while traveling

Price: $30 via Soma

S'well 17oz Geode Rose Water Bottle

7 ways to stay healthy while traveling

Price: $35 via S’well

Tip #4: Get vaccinated!

No matter where you’re going, it’s important to be up-to-date on all recommended vaccines. Also: get your flu shot. Though it won’t protect against COVID-19, it will protect against influenza. The flu is very common, and a lot of its symptoms look similar to those caused by COVID-19. Knowing how to recognize the symptoms is the best way to fight disease. Staying on top of your health helps you avoid any surprises. It also keeps you from unintentionally spreading COVID-19 if you do become infected. Pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens have free flu shots--no appointment needed!

Tip #5: Get some rest!

Another great way to keep your immune system working is to get plenty of sleep. Sleep is great for your overall health. The body works hard to protect itself while you sleep. Take the appropriate precautions, but don’t be afraid of a little shuteye! Grab a comfortable neck pillow and a good sleep mask for a relaxing nap. Check out some of our faves below!

Casper Nap Pillow

7 ways to stay healthy while traveling

Price: $35 via Casper

illumy - The Smart Sleep Mask

7 ways to stay healthy while traveling

Price: $99.99 via Sound Oasis

Trtl Travel Pillow

7 ways to stay healthy while traveling

Price: $29.99 via Trtl

Tip #6: Know the signs!

The best way to protect against COVID-19 is to know what it looks like. Symptoms include fever, chills, headaches, difficulty breathing, and a sore throat. The CDC recommends avoiding contact with sick people, animal markets, and live or dead animals (including uncooked meat). Also, be sure to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve any time you cough or sneeze!

If you develop any of these symptoms, seek medical advice right away. Even if you don’t have COVID-19, these are potential signs of a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Be sure to call in advance and notify your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers. Calling in advance lets your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility and helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

Tip #7: Listen to your body!

If you’re not sure you’re able to travel, don’t be afraid to reschedule your trip. If you aren’t in good health, or if you’re planning to travel to a country that’s currently on the CDC’s watchlist (Italy, China, Iran, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan), then it doesn’t hurt to play it safe.

When you typically cancel travel plans last-minute, you can expect to be hit with some nasty fees. However, many major airlines are waiving their fees in the interest of public health. Many major carriers like United Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest, and Delta are suspending change and cancelation fees for customers concerned about COVID-19. Check with your specific airline for details.

Not traveling by plane? Although there have yet to be coronavirus-related travel restrictions on the railway, Amtrak is also waiving fees for canceling and changing trips made up until April 30.

We hope you found these tips helpful. We wish everyone good health and safe travels.


About This Article

Eliza Shamshian

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