6 Ways to Maintain Your Health While Traveling

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Jun 21, 2013 / 0 comments

When you’re traveling, it’s easy to fall out of your normal health and hygiene routines, often to your detriment. Getting sick or causing years of trouble isn’t worth letting go of your health routines! If you have kids, it’s even more important to keep both yourself and your kids healthy. It’s easy to do, whether you’re in a hotel, renting a home, housesitting, on a cruise, studying abroad, or even jetting off for the weekend.


Follow these 6 tips to maintain your health while traveling – your body will thank you!


1. Keep moving. Whether you’re on a long-haul flight or on sabbatical for a year, you need to maintain your exercise routine. It might not be the same as you do at home (where you know the route – and the safe places to go) – but it is important to use your body and keep your muscles strong. Go for walks (a good way to explore neighborhoods, extra points if you’re going on a photowalk with locals!), swim in the hotel pool or the ocean, and try new sports if they are available. Stretch while you're on the airplane. A healthy body is a happy one. 


whitewater rafting, Oregon

Whitewater rafting, Oregon


2. It’s all about the teeth! Regular brushing and the use of dental floss is critical to maintaining oral hygiene. Travel toothbrushes fit into a small purse, backpack, or even in your laptop case. If you’re on a long flight, remember (like you do at home) to brush your teeth after each meal. If the water is unsafe, use bottled water to brush your teeth. Make sure your kids are brushing, too – use a family-friendly toothpaste, like Oral B toothpaste in a child-friendly formula for the whole family to save on packing space.  


brush your teeth!

Photo courtesy of flickr creative commons: flickr.com/photos/ir0cko/


3. Wash those hands. Germs are everywhere. I’m not a germaphobe, but I do know that germs are different, everywhere, and you should take precautions. Wash your hands before eating, after going to the bathroom, and after handling items in public (like at a wet market, or after riding the escalator in a shopping mall). If you are around someone sick, be extra sure to wash your hands (but that goes without saying). 


How to wash your hands

How to wash your hands at chōzuya 手水のつかいかた. At Anazawaten shrine, Inagi, Tokyo. 稲城市穴澤天神社にて。Photo courtesy of flickr creative commons: flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/


4. Eat well. Eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible, and watch those high-fat restaurant meals. Take probiotics, as well as your regular vitamin supplements. Be aware of what makes you sick (street food makes some people ill, while others aren’t bothered at all), and what makes you feel good. Huge breakfasts might be a treat, but when eaten every day, they will weigh you down. Try to stick to your normal healthy eating routine – the ingredients and recipes might be different, but that’s just exciting to explore...and even tastier! You might have to drink only bottled water – ask around and see, or check out Can I Drink the Water. If in doubt, use bottled water, and skip the ice. Stay hydrated for optimum health. 


la boqueria

Fruit at La Boqueria Market, Barcelona


5. Bugs. I know, I know. But bring lots of mosquito repellant, if you’re going to an area where there is a chance for problems (including malaria). And don’t wait, if you’ve been bitten by a mosquito and show symptoms of malaria, or you’ve seen a tick on you – get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Remember, knowledge is power. 


Malaria awareness

Ellen and Jack, the Malaria-Awareness Mosquito
Photo courtesy of flickr creative commons: flickr.com/photos/jaytamboli/


6. There’s an app for that!  There are many apps for travel and health (we’ve compiled a list, here) that you can utilize while traveling. Whether you’re looking for a place to hike, health and safety, food (gluten free, healthy airport food, etc.),  or saving stress by not rushing (or knowing that you’ll be somewhere on time), chances are, someone has thought of it and it’s readily available to keep you on the healthy track. 


there's an app for that - checking times on the French TGV

French TGV is late again? No problem, there's an app for that.

Photo courtesy of flickr creative commons: flickr.com/photos/alextoul/






6 Ways to Maintain Your Health While Traveling
Written by Jessica Voigts