Taking the time to slow down and check in while traveling keeps us healthy. Photo by Jill Robinson.
Traveling can be taxing. Fortunately, there are simple steps we can take on a daily basis to stay healthy that won’t require an overhaul of our travel schedules.
While I’m a huge fan of DIY remedies, no amount of herbal concoctions will make a difference if we aren’t taking the time to be aware of what we need to remain physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy on our travels. The good news is that we can stay in top shape by checking off a few simple things each day.
How to Stay Healthy in 4 Simple Steps
Listen to Your Body
Your body is an amazing teacher. Your brain is not the only organ in your body sending you important messages. In facts, our guts have been dubbed the “second brain;” they’re filled with an extensive network of neurotransmitters.
There’s a reason why we say, “I had a bad feeling about ____.” Often times, though, we might dismiss these gut feelings to keep pace with our travel schedules.
Have a bad feeling about spending an evening with that new bunkmate? Find yourself getting aggravated at little things? Feeling exhausted and unmotivated to explore? These are all ways your body is trying to communicate with you.
It takes some practice, but the more we start to listen to these messages, the more healthy and in tune we are to what we need in each moment of our travels.
Take Time to Be Still
You don’t have to isolate yourself to get the benefits of meditating. A few moments of silent reflection can help you tap into how you’re feeling. Photo by Jill Robinson.
Taking the time to be still is a simple way to check in with how you are feeling and reflect on the day’s adventures. By taking at least five minutes a day for yourself, you can begin to notice if there are any signs warning you to slow down or adjust your course.
Here are just a few ideas to slow down without having to adjust a day’s travel schedule:
— Meditate while on the train or bus.
— Stare out a window.
— Sip your tea or coffee in silence.
By noticing without judgment your emotional state, physical conditions, and even the types of thoughts running through your mind, you can start to see if any patterns are forming.
We take such care in noticing the landscapes of new places while we travel, but we often forget to be equally curious about our inner states of being and overall health.
Catch Those Zzzzs
Getting quality sleep is one of the greatest challenges to staying healthy while traveling. For us budget travelers, red-eye flights and shared rooms in hostels might save money but usually compromise a good night’s rest. Add in jet lag and overall excitement at being in a new place, and sleep can be fleeting at best.
While you can’t plan when you’ll have a restless night of sleep, you can do what you can to set the right conditions for being rested:
— Pack earplugs and an eye mask.
— Schedule days to relax during longer trips.
— Keep itineraries flexible for naps or down time.
— Lavender oil, melatonin, and valerian root are all sleep options that don’t have the groggy side effects of sleeping pills.
— Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Staying hydrated is the simplest way to avoid getting sick while traveling. Photo by Jill Robinson.
When I start feeling sick, the first thing I ask myself is, “How much water have I been drinking?” Usually, the answer is “not nearly enough.” Getting sufficient fluids can be a challenge when tap water isn’t safe to drink or travel schedules involve lots of activity during the day.
While staying hydrated takes effort, here are some ways to make it a bit easier:
— Make your liquids easily accessible by stocking up on water bottles or keeping your water bottle full at all times.
— Don’t underestimate the power of leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits. Your water intake can include healthy sources of food.
— Start hydrating before your trip.
— Look at your pee. You know the drill: If it’s dark yellow, start pounding that water.
By taking time to check in with your overall health while traveling, you are on your way to keeping your immune system in top shape before, during, and after your adventure. And that’s the ultimate DIY remedy you can take anywhere you go!