Travel smart: Tips for staying healthy during holiday travel
The holidays are right around the corner, and for most of us, we’ll be doing some form of traveling in the next few days. Whether going by plane, train or automobile, traveling can be stressful and put strain on our health. But have no fear! Follow these tips and you can stay well during your travels and enjoy the holidays in good health.
- Plan your meals in advance: Rest stops and airport food courts are not typically oases of healthy food. But eating well on the road is important for keeping your energy up and immune system strong. Don’t rely on fast food and vending machines. Fill your carry-on with good-for-you treats and mini-meals that you can munch on throughout your travels. Pack things that will last for awhile without refrigeration and don’t require extensive prep such as:
- Nuts or trail mix
- Low-sugar energy bars
- Durable fruit such as oranges
- Peanut butter and low-sugar jelly sandwich
- Bottled water
- Get plenty of rest: There’s nothing more critical to good health than sleep. Make getting a solid night of rest your top priority on the night before your trip. Studies have shown that skipping even a few hours of sleep can make you more susceptible to catching a cold or virus the next day. Get your laundry, shopping, cleaning and packing done a day or two in advance of your trip so you can have a low-stress day before departure.
- Wash, wash, wash….and wash again: From public restrooms to door handles, it’s guaranteed you will encounter plenty of germy surfaces during your travels. The best way to counteract this interaction is to wash your hands with soap and warm water as often as possible. Sometimes a sink may not be available, so consider bringing a travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer with you as well. And most important, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Keep moving: Traveling usually means hours of sitting. Being active will keep your energy up and stress down. Wear comfortable shoes and take a walk through the terminal while you wait to board your flight. Or do some jumping jacks in the parking lot at the rest stop.
- Accept stressors: Inevitably, there will be stressors during your travels. Flights will be delayed or traffic will be bumper to bumper. But if you mentally prepare yourself for these issues, you will be able to better deal with them and prevent unnecessary stress, which can weaken the immune system. Does it stink to be stuck in the airport? Absolutely. But it’s not the end of the world. Try to keep the holiday spirit in mind and remember how lucky you are to have people to visit during the holiday season.
For more ideas on how to stay healthy this holiday season and in the New Year, follow Mr. Blue, the Healthy Blue Snowman who is traveling throughout Michigan with Healthy Blue Xtras from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. And check out Healthy Blue Xtras. As a Healthy Blue Xtras member, you can save at Michigan retailers across the state.
Photo credit: ESPN