How to Stay Healthy While on Vacation

Taking a vacation is a fun, relaxing way to spend time by yourself or with loved ones. After booking your travel arrangements, creating your perfect itinerary and packing your bags, the last thing you want is to come down with the flu or a stomach bug.

Being in a new environment can make your body sensitive to digestive and sinus issues. You can start practicing a healthy lifestyle now so you can enjoy your vacations to the fullest. Explore how to avoid getting sick while traveling.

1. Research the Travel Advisories for Your Destination

Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for details about travel guidelines for your desired location. This site has valuable information about protecting yourself from getting sick in areas with viral outbreaks or mosquito-borne diseases. Think about your likelihood of contracting an illness in the country through insect bites or being near others. In some cases, you may also need to quarantine when you come home from your vacation, so you’d have to make the proper arrangements.

Before you depart for your vacation, you may also want to research what medical services are available if you need them. Consider what could happen if you needed to go to the hospital or see a doctor overseas. Making these arrangements offers peace of mind to help you enjoy your trip.

2. Buy Travel Insurance

Insurance may be an additional cost, but it could end up saving you money if you need it. You can conveniently get it online or ask a travel professional for recommendations. This protection is more necessary for people going overseas who aren’t sure what medical care is available.

Besides offering protection while you’re on the go, travel insurance also covers the cost of your trip if you get sick and have to cancel. Even if you end up not using it, you’ll have peace of mind that you have coverage in your desired destination if you need it.

Make a First-Aid Kit

3. Make a First-Aid Kit

While it’s possible to get sick while on vacation, you can quickly get over it with the right medicine. As you pack your bags, bring the medications you usually take, along with what you might need when traveling. Keep a bag handy of the following first-aid items:

  • Prescribed medications
  • Motion sickness tablets
  • Pain medication
  • Insect repellent
  • Bandages
  • Disinfectant
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Vitamins
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Nasal spray
  • Treatments for digestive issues

If you’re traveling on an airplane, keep your first-aid kit and medications in your carry-on bag in case your checked luggage gets lost in transit. You can use a nasal spray when you take an airplane, where the air is dry and leaves your nose exposed to germs. Moistening your nostrils with nasal spray provides an artificial solution until you’re back on the ground. 

4. Stay up to Date on Your Vaccinations

If you’re going to visit a place where tropical diseases are prevalent, you’ll want to protect yourself against these illnesses with vaccines. As part of your research for travel guidelines, you may want to read up on some of the vaccination recommendations for where you’re traveling. Your doctor can also tell you which vaccines to get before embarking on your adventure.

Make sure you book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible before your trip. You might need two rounds of shots to get fully vaccinated, or you may have to wait a few weeks before the vaccine is fully effective.

5. Prepare Yourself Physically Before You Leave

Avoid getting sick on your vacation by preparing yourself physically, mentally and emotionally at least two days before you leave for your trip. Get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, exercise, manage your stress and stay hydrated. It also helps to develop a healthy eating plan before your trip to get the proper nutrients, instead of processed food that could give you an upset stomach during travel.

Before your vacation starts, you may also want to take vitamin supplements and other immunity boosters to protect yourself against germs. Vitamin C is beneficial for your immune system and can give you peace of mind as you sit near others for long hours on a plane. Remember to keep up your healthy lifestyle even while you’re on vacation.

6. Be Considerate of Others as You Travel

If you get sick before or during your trip, you’ll need to be careful not to spread illness among fellow passengers on your plane or cruise ship. You may want to cancel your plans if you’re feeling ill before departure. If you develop an illness while traveling, stay in your hotel room unless you need medical care. It’s also helpful to avoid sick people so you don’t come down with anything.

You can avoid spreading germs even if you’re not sure whether you’re sick. When you have to cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with your sleeve or a tissue. Only touch your face if you know your hands are clean. It’s also best to wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer, especially before eating.

7. Practice Deep Breathing or Meditating

Stress can harm your health by weakening your immune system. Even though a vacation should be relaxing, the preparation and anticipation could give you anxiety. You may also be a nervous flyer or have trouble spending time in closed spaces.

If you feel stressed before or during your travel, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to hold your breath for a few seconds before exhaling to loosen your muscles. Meditating is also helpful if you’re worried about traveling. Imagine how much fun you’ll have exploring a new destination instead of worrying about what could go wrong.

Make Time for Sleep and Rest

8. Make Time for Sleep and Rest

When you have an itinerary full of activities and excursions, you might have to get up early or stay up late. Sleep is critical when you want to stay healthy, especially if your body clock hasn’t adjusted to your new environment. If you’re traveling to a new time zone, try gradually shifting your bedtime a week before you leave to get used to your new bedtime routine.

You can also try to stay awake during the flight and when you arrive so that you’ll be tired when you go to bed at night. While you’re on vacation, make sure you get those seven to nine hours of sleep your body needs. This routine may be challenging to follow when you’re in a new place, but getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system.

Make room in your itinerary to take a nap or spend time in your stateroom before your next excursion. Think of your favorite ways to rest and make them part of your vacation. When you come home, you may also want to take a few days off work to recover from traveling and exploring.

9. Stay Hydrated Throughout the Vacation

Your cruise ship or resort may have a wide selection of delicious cocktails and drink options. While you’re sipping on your favorite alcoholic beverage, remember to carry a water bottle with you. Drinks with alcohol and caffeine can make you dehydrated, tired and weak. It helps to drink two full glasses of water when you first wake up to give you energy during the day.

If you’re traveling out of the country, make sure the tap water is safe to drink. Otherwise, you can order bottled water to stay hydrated. When you have a full schedule in a hot climate, you’ll need to increase your water intake. You can also eat foods with high water content, such as cucumbers, watermelon and yogurt.

10. Practice Healthy Eating, Especially When You First Arrive

You may want to eat whatever you want because you’re on vacation, but loading up on carbs or spicy foods can adversely affect your digestive system, especially when visiting a new place. When you’re exploring the food in your exotic destination, start by eating a healthy meal. Fill your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains to strengthen your immune system as you travel.

Give your digestive system time to adjust after being on a plane before you dive into that new exotic cuisine. If you’re not used to your destination’s local ingredients, you may end up making a few extra trips to the bathroom. Start slowly and eat with portion control in mind before you indulge in a spicy, fried or acidic dish. A healthy diet will give you more energy and help prevent infections.

Be Careful What You Eat or Drink

11. Be Careful What You Eat or Drink

Some countries have bacteria in their food products that could harm your body. When traveling to far-flung destinations, only eat healthy food such as cooked meats and vegetables and pasteurized dairy products. The tap water might also not be safe to drink, so you’ll also need to make sure you order bottled drinks without ice.

If you have concerns about the safety of the foods and beverages available at your destination, you can consult with your travel professional. The food and drinks are safe to consume on a cruise ship or at a resort. As you travel by plane to your destination, it’s helpful to have healthy treats that you can easily digest, such as nuts, cheese, hummus and pretzels.

When you’re visiting a place where the food seems safe, try to eat at busy restaurants. Dining areas without much activity will most likely serve you reheated or older food. Go to a restaurant where they’ll cook the food as soon as you order it and bring it out piping hot.

12. Stay Active

Just as you need to make time for rest, it’s also necessary to get up and move around during your vacation. The idea of lying on the beach all day or resting in your stateroom or suite may be tempting. On the other hand, physical activity is more rejuvenating.

Exercising while on vacation helps fight against cardiac disease and releases endorphins that boost your mood. If you usually work out when you’re at home, it’s beneficial to keep up your healthy lifestyle even when traveling to keep your muscles, lungs and bones in excellent condition. You can use a fitness room, walk instead of taking a cab or do a quick workout routine with your travel companions.

13. Protect Your Skin From Sunburn

A sunburn does more than give your skin a painful, noticeable red mark. In some cases, you may experience other unpleasant symptoms, such as nausea, headaches and weakness. Stay healthy during your vacation by protecting your skin from the sun.

Bring a hat and an umbrella with you to use when you’re on the beach or the ship deck. You’ll also want to use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to protect your skin from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Always put on sunscreen before you apply insect repellent. If you get a sunburn, you can use aloe vera gel or anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce irritation.

14. Prevent Bug Bites

Flies, mosquitoes, fleas and ticks spread diseases that can have long-term effects on your health, such as Zika, dengue and yellow fever. When traveling abroad, use an EPA-registered insect repellent with active ingredients such as DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus. You should also wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when going on an excursion, especially during dawn or dusk. Even though it’s unlikely you’ll find mosquitoes on a cruise ship, keep your room air-conditioned so that it’s too cold for bugs to survive.

15. Be Safe Around Animals

Animals in other countries, even domesticated ones, can carry unpleasant diseases such as rabies. When you’re interacting with the locals in your exotic destination, avoid getting bitten by an animal by refraining from petting or handling them, including cats and dogs. If you get licked, bitten or scratched, you’ll need to wash the area as soon as possible with soap and water. You should also call a medical professional and figure out if you need medication or post-exposure vaccinations after coming into contact with an animal.

16. Wash Your Hands With Soap and Water or Hand Sanitizer

When traveling, one of the best ways to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands often with soap and water. After lathering your hands with soap, scrub them under warm water for at least 20 seconds, being sure to clean under your nails and any rings you wear. When soap and water aren’t available, you can also use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

If you can’t wash your hands, avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, eyes or nose. Touching your face could allow your mucus membranes to absorb any germs you have on your hands. You may want to bring a bar of soap, disposable gloves and sanitizing wipes with you if you’re concerned about contracting illnesses while traveling.

Choose Windstar for a Healthy Cruise Experience

You can stay healthy on your exotic cruise experience if you follow these tips. Check out the destinations where we travel on our ships to plan your next trip. Our attentive crew practices health and safety measures to make sure you’ll have a pleasant stay. You can speak with our travel advisors further about any concerns you may have. Browse through the cruise options we have available and book your getaway.

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Kathy Baker
1 year ago

I have sailed on Windstar previously and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I would have loved to have been one of the first to return to cruising and am fully vaccinated, but I will not board a cruise until all of the ridiculous “safety” measures are relaxed. I am not comfortable wearing a mask onboard and I enjoy interacting with other guests and meeting new people. It is a significant part of the experience. Wearing masks and social distancing creates insurmountable barriers between people and greatly diminishes the pleasure of cruising.

Nancy E Canavan
1 year ago

All passengers must be covid 19 vaccinated, but the entire crew is NOT? Windstar is “going through the motions” but not really protecting it’s customers.

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