International travel can be one of the most exciting experiences you will ever have. Visiting a foreign country, interacting with the locals, eating the regional cuisine, sightseeing — all of these activities add to the exhilaration of traveling outside of your country. Many business travelers also routinely go out of the country on work trips. Between meetings and dining with clients or colleagues, getting sick is never a part of the agenda. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, it is important to stay healthy while traveling internationally.
Being sick is never fun, especially when you are away from home. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent sickness and have a healthy, enjoyable travel experience — some even before you leave your house. There are some basic rules everyone should adhere to whether you are traveling across the state, across the country, or “across the pond.”
6 Tips to Help You Stay Healthy While Traveling Internationally
Wash Your Hands
Use soap and hot water. Wash before and after every meal and especially after using the bathroom. Proper hygiene is important for maintaining good health. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer for those times when soap and water are not readily available. Use it sparingly to help keep your hands as germ-free as possible.
Drink Lots of Water
Stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to muscle fatigue and cramping, nausea and vomiting, and lightheadedness. Avoid drinking tap water or getting drinks with ice cubes when dining in a foreign country. Ice cubes are usually made with tap water so it can contaminate your drink. Use bottled water to drink and brush your teeth. Do not drink or accept a bottle that has a broken seal.
Amp Up Your Immune System
Before your flight take a vitamin C supplement to give your immune system a much-needed boost. Germs can be airborne so also consider tucking a disposable respirator into your travel bag. You will encounter a lot of people in crowded airports and on airplanes and the unfiltered air can be a breeding ground for airborne germs. Protect yourself against coughs and sneezes from the passenger sitting next to you and travelers from other unfamiliar places.
If you experience fatigue from traveling try using a natural remedy like kratom. Its sedative qualities can help with sleep deprivation due to extensive travel and can give your immune system an added boost.
Be Mindful of Food Contamination
Make sure your food is being prepared properly and safely. Look out for cross-contamination. Make cleanliness a priority, especially when eating food from street vendors. If you are unsure about whether you should try something or not, go for hot food versus cold food. But don’t be afraid to enjoy the local cuisine whenever you can!
Always protect yourself against bug bites and sun exposure to stay healthy while traveling. Mosquitos, while annoying, can carry diseases like the Zika Virus, West Nile virus, malaria, and dengue. And prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to heat exhaustion and even heatstroke. Use products with 30-50% DEET and an SPF of 30 at a minimum — and reapply frequently. Wear loose-fitting clothing and cover as much of your body as you comfortably can.
Do Your Research
Whether you want to create an itinerary or be spontaneous, do your research ahead of time to stay healthy while traveling. Look up tourist attractions you want to visit, activities you want to do, and even the areas you want to avoid. Take note of travel tips from more experienced travelers and be prepared for anything. Leave yourself enough time to accommodate unexpected delays. Being over-prepared will minimize stress — and less stress means a more enjoyable trip!
Be cautious when traveling abroad by taking preventative measures against germs and illness but don’t feel the need to go overboard. After all, we are constantly exposed to germs on a daily basis and you can’t sanitize every surface you come in contact with.
Be prepared. Stay hydrated. Don’t stress. Adopt some basic, best practices for overall health and cleanliness. And above all else enjoy your trip!