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It happens to the best of us. You spend months planning and fantasizing about your holiday, only to find yourself catching a bug within a few days of your trip. It might be a stomach bug, caught by eating something that wasn’t cooked to the highest health standards, or a cold after a long flight/bus/train ride, or just the feeling of being worn down. Getting sick can completely ruin your trip and deter you from traveling in the future!

We’ve been sick dozens of times during our travels. But even the nasty bugs and illnesses, can’t stop us from traveling.

Instead, we have learned how to prepare for the worst. So today we’d like to dedicate a post on how to stay healthy on vacation.

1. Get Vaccinated Before your Vacation

First and foremost, get vaccinated. Before you embark on your next adventure, visit a travel clinic and make sure you are up to date with your vaccinations.

Fit For Travel is UK based but a great resource on what vaccinations you might need for your trip. Vaccine Hub is another good source. But of course, a travel clinic will know best.

2. Avoid Jet Lag

Don’t let jet lag ruin the first few days of your trip. On trips with a significant change in time zones start adapting to the new time while you are on the plane.

Change your clock to the local time at your destination and adapt your sleep/eating patterns before you even board the plane. If you have to pull an all-nighter before your 14-hour flight, try to sleep on the plane so you can arrive at your destination already adapted to local time.

If you have trouble sleeping on planes, invest in a good a neck pillow and pop a few Gravol pills (aka Dimenhydrinate) or some sleeping aids to help you snooze. 

Good sleep is key to healthy traveling!  

3. Take Care to Not Catch the Dreaded Airplane Cold

According to the Journal of Environmental Health Research, colds may be more than 100 times more likely to be transmitted on a plane than during normal daily life on the ground.  

So take extra care. Stay hydrated and take multi-vitamins to boost up your immune system before you go. More on this later.

4. Prevent Traveler’s Diarrhea

We can’t talk about how to stay healthy on vacation without mentioning traveler’s diarrhea. While it’s not a fun subject, it’s very real and it deserves some attention.  

No matter how careful you are, we suggest that you plan for the worst.

Take Travelan

Travelan is a natural dietary supplement that contains antibodies to neutralize the e-coli bacteria, that causes traveler’s diarrhea. It is said to be 90% effective if taken before every meal.

How it works: Take one Travelan caplet before each meal with filtered clean water.  Travelan’s active ingredient, Hyperimmune Bovine Colostrum enriched with anti E.Coli antibodies, will line your gastrointestinal tract, neutralizing any harmful bacteria and preventing infection that frequently causes Traveler’s Diarrhoea.

Photo courtesy of Travelan
Photo courtesy of Travelan

Travelan is clinically proven with solid scientific research findings behind it (Clinical Studies by the US Defense Force) and requires no prescription. We’ve personally used it when we first started traveling and never had any stomach problems.  

It’s a popular medication in Australia, where it is a listed medicine on the Australian Registry for Therapeutic Goods but the rest of the world hasn’t quite caught on to its benefits just yet.

You can find Travelan in any major chemist in Australia, Passport Health if you’re in the US, as well as on Amazon

5. Learn to Treat Traveler’s Diarrhea

Travelan is a great preventative method, but if the worst has already occurred and stomach issues are in full flow… here are a few other remedies you can use:

Pepto Bismol

Pepto Bismol is useful for indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea. Pepto is so good that we stock up on it every time we’re back in UK/US/Canada. It can also be really helpful for mild indigestion.

Immodium

Immodium is less gentle when Pepto, so we don’t recommend using it much, but it’s necessary for fast relief. It’s fast-acting, usually, within an hour of taking it, your symptoms will start to ease off or stop completely.  

Probiotics

There are hundreds of different probiotic brands available around the world. Pop into your local pharmacy and find a shelf stable (the kind that doesn’t need to be refrigerated) probiotic to take on your trip.

The higher the bacteria count, the better. Aim to have at least 10Billion CFU per capsule. If you do end up getting travelers diarrhea, this is what is going to help you recover quicker (along with an ORS – see below).

Calcium

Calcium may seem a bit of a weird recommendation, but one that definitely saved us in India. When taken in high doses calcium causes constipation, a terrible side effect if you are just taking it as a supplement, but might be a good fix when you’re at your worst and need to survive a 6-hour bus ride without a toilet on board.

Electrolyte Drinks

Electrolyte drinks – or Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS), is basically just water with small amounts of sugar and salt, sold under the brand names: Pedialyte, Hydralyte or Gastrolyte.

These will not only help you rehydrate after vomiting and diarrhea but will also help you deal with hangovers and dehydration due to excess sweating and physical activity.

5. Eat Well, Eat Healthy

Another preventative measure for any health issues and a great way to ensure healthy traveling is through your diet. Of course, when you’re on vacation eating healthy can be difficult.

What to do in Byron Bay: over the table shot of food

The healthy eating routine sometimes takes a break too, or the foods you’re used to are harder to find while on the road. And sometimes, the cuisine is just too tempting that all will power goes out the window!

But over-indulgence or eating too much rich food can lead to feeling sluggish or worse (see above!)

Here are a few tips for healthy eating while traveling:

Pack Healthy Snacks

Whether you’re heading off on a long bus journey or hiking up a mountain, pack a few guilt-free snacks, like fresh fruit or veg if you can or opt for dried fruit and nuts instead of chips and coke.

A handful of almonds make for a great healthy snack!
A handful of almonds make for a great healthy snack!

They will keep your metabolism working in between meals, keeping the hunger at bay, give you the energy you need to explore, and stop you from gorging later!  

Hit up Local Grocery Stores and Farmers Markets

A great way to learn about a new place is to visit the local grocery store or the local fresh foods market. Not only is it a great way to explore the regional food it also gives you a break from eating in restaurants every night!

Farmers markets will be full of fresh items, organic produce, that is locally sourced.  

West End Market, Brisbane. Australia

Pack a Picnic

Avoid fast food and pack a small picnic with lots of good for you foods. Fruit, vegetables, a salad, dried fruit and nuts make up a perfect picnic and it’s an easy way to stay healthy on vacation.

Don’t Forget your Vegetables!

Try to eat as many vegetables as possible. It’s not only a great way to stay full, but they are packed full of vitamins which give your immune system a needed boost and ensure that you stay healthy while traveling.

Don’t Over-indulge

Ok sometimes those drinks just keep on flowing and the food is so amazing that you have to.  But try to not do it every single day.

6. Supplement Your Nutrition

When you feel your diet on the road isn’t very healthy top it up with some vitamins.  

  • Multi Vitamins are a great top up for when you know you are just not getting the right nutrition.
  • Vitamin B  Complex – can help you top up your energy levels
  • Magnesium  – can aid muscle recovery after a long hike, bike ride or a day of walking around

When you need help…

Even the most remote towns and villages will have a doctor or a pharmacist to help you in case of a serious illness. Don’t suffer on your own, especially if your illness lasts for more than 1-2 days.

And finally, please, take our advice with a grain of salt!  We are not doctors or healthcare professionals of any kind. The above tips and advice are based solely on our own travel experience and a few tips from some Naturopaths.

These are by no means solutions suitable for all. It is always best to consult with your doctor prior to your trip to make sure you are prepared on all fronts and purchase travel insurance that will cover you for any accidents or doctor visits along the way.

What other advice do you follow to stay healthy on vacation? 

 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Travelan, but all opinions and views shared in this article are our own. 

2 thoughts on “Essential Guide on How to Stay Healthy on Vacation”

  1. Oksana and Max,
    Your blog is so informative. I find the reasons why you are into sustainable travel. All these are crucial tips to staying healthy before and while traveling.

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