Whether you’re travelling for a few weeks or a few months, your mental and physical health will be put to the test. Travel means exposing yourself to new environments, and with that comes all sorts of chances to get sick. While you can obviously never take away all risks, there are a few things you can do to minimise them and make your time away a little more pleasant…
1. Look at your diet and exercise regime a month or two before you head off.
If you like to walk a lot when you’re travelling and usually sit at your desk 8 hours each day for work, now is a good time to start walking a bit more each day. Start getting off the train a stop earlier, or get up an hour earlier every second morning for a walk before work. Also, pump up your veggie intake now – give your body every chance to be in the best shape possible and full of vitamins and anti-oxidants before you set off.
2. Get vaccinated.
Check with your doctor if it’s recommended to get vaccinated for any of the areas you’re going to. I think it’s a good idea to get a flu shot, too – sitting on planes, trains and automobiles with no airflow and lots of other people, someone’s bound to be sick! Especially if you’re travelling in winter like us!
3. Sort out your medications.
While you’re seeing your doctor, get any scripts for medications you may need while you’re away filled. Don’t count on being able to get what you need over the counter at pharmacies while you’re on the road, so if you can’t live without it, get it sorted out now. If you have a sad immune system like mine, it may also be a good idea to ask your doctor for a script for some wide spectrum antibiotics for anything you may encounter while you’re away.
4. Take a good quality multi-vitamin few a few months before leaving, and also while you’re away.
You’re generally not going to be eating as balanced a diet while you’re on the road, so if you can boost your system with some extra vitamins and minerals, that can only be a good thing.
5. Invest in good shoes .
If you’re anything like us and walk everywhere while you’re away, crappy shoes will make for a very painful adventure. And if, like us, you have flat feet, put even more thought into your choice of footwear – and maybe consider orthotics to bring with you.
6. Drink water, and lots of it.
Start your day with a glass of water before you leave your hotel or Airbnb, carry a water bottle around with you, drink a glass or two over lunch or dinner if you eat out, get it in however you can – your body will thank you later!
7. Spend 10 minutes each day doing some gentle yoga, or at least stretching.
Travelling takes a serious toll on your body, what with all of the walking and carrying bags and all. If you’re into your yoga, take a few minutes at the start and/or end of the day to run through a few poses. If you’re not into your yoga, just stretch – your hamstrings, calves, quads, back. It’ll only take a few minutes, but will make a HUGE difference.
Mental health is every bit as important as physical health when you’re on the road, especially for people like me who do suffer from mental health hurts. So, try starting your mornings with a short meditation session – even though the day is likely to get crazy at some point, you can at least start with a calm mind! You can download dozens of apps on your phone now with great guided meditations (my favourite is Insight Timer app), and even 5 minutes can make an enormous difference.