It’s finally upon us: the holiday season. And odds are, you’re going to find yourself hitting the road at some point to visit family or friends. Travel can take a serious toll on your physical and mental health, and doubly so during the hectic holidays. Whether you’re stuck in the car with cranky family members for hours on end or soaring cross-country with a bunch of strangers, without the proper precautions your health can take a beating. Add in the exhaustion and stress of travel, and the holidays suddenly aren’t looking so jolly. Luckily, there are ways to travel during the holidays with your health intact. We’ve got some simple and effective ways to ensure you get through the season in top condition, no matter how far you may travel.
We cannot overstate the importance of staying hydrated. It’s a good life tip overall, but it’s even more relevant when you’re on the road. Keeping hydrated will help your body stay strong and energized, and let it fight off any pesky diseases that may come by way of your fellow travelers. It can also help satisfy food cravings and keep you from snacking between meals, which is great if you want to watch your weight during the holiday season. Finally, sipping on water instead of imbibing alcoholic beverages helps keep you from getting dehydrated and hungover — not a great combination when you’re stuck on an airplane. Pro tip: If you’re traveling overseas, stick to bottled water whenever you can.
Keep It Clean
You probably pride yourself on being a hygienic person, but put that instinct into overdrive when you travel. Airports, rest stops, and other public places are a goldmine for all sorts of undesirable germs and bugs. Bring along hand sanitizer and wet wipes for emergencies, and make sure you wash your hands regularly. Using hot water and washing regularly has been shown to help fight off everything from the flu to norovirus. So wash up whenever you can; your fellow travelers (not to mention your family and friends) will thank you.
Give your immune system a fighting chance. In between packing presents and festive outfits, don’t forget to pack some vitamins. You should already be taking a daily multivitamin (talk to your doctor about which one is right for you), but adding some additional Vitamin C to your intake will help you stay strong and healthy during those rough winter months. You can also grab a saline nose spray the next time you stop by the pharmacy; this will help keep the cold, dry air from wreaking havoc on your sinuses no matter where you go this season.
When traveling, your regular schedule pretty much goes right out the window: you’re too busy having fun and exploring to worry about getting a full night’s sleep. This goes double for the holidays, when every waking moment seems packed with events and time spent with family and friends. And while you may be having a fun time, it’s important to get enough sleep — even when you’re in the midst of the holiday party season. Lack of sleep will leave you feeling run down faster than almost anything else. It ends up leaving your immune system compromised, vulnerable to all those travel germs you’ve been trying to avoid. So do your best to get a solid night’s sleep as often as you can. You’ll feel a lot better, and be able to appreciate the celebrations even more.