Five Tips to Avoid Getting Sick While Traveling

Rows of empty seats on airplane

It’s that time of year—cold and flu season! Air travel is even more affordable now with plummeting oil prices, which could mean an increase in travelers. If you plan on traveling anytime soon, here are some tips that can help boost your immunity.

1. Minimize Stress 

Try not to overextend yourself, especially the day before or the day after you return from your trip. I understand it’s easier said than done. Trust, I’m guilty of doing way too much the day before a trip. My current job already involves a lot of travel so when I travel for leisure, most times, I’m still drained from the work trip. The day before I fly out for vacation, I’ve found myself running several errands (including going to a hair appointment), coordinating last minute travel plans and even scheduling a dinner meeting. Oftentimes, I’m still packing until the wee hours of the morning, right before my red eye flight. By the time I get to the airport, I’m out of it. The lack of sleep, physical exertion of running last minute errands and planning the fine details of a trip can increase stress levels. Instead, try to space out errands. Don’t run yourself ragged doing them all the day (or night) before and incorporate pre/post vacation blocks into your schedule. Adequate sleep is also beneficial. We’ve all heard the saying “I need a vacation from my vacation.” Try not to jam-pack all the “must-see” places in one day. If you’re traveling with friends and/or family, discuss a “free” day, where you all plan a day to just go with the flow. On this free day, there’s no itinerary. It’s a chance for you to lounge around in the hotel, take a walk nearby or do something more low-key than the group had originally planned. Minimize stress and get plenty of rest to keep your immune system strong.

2.   Hydrate Yourself and Maintain a Healthy Diet  

Drink plenty of water. Sure, it’s what we’ve all heard before. Lately, I’ve been drinking a lot of alkaline water, which is said to keep the body extra hydrated and regulate its pH levels. Sometimes, I’ll start my morning with freshly blended green juice, green tea or warm lemon water with apple cider vinegar. Increasing water intake eliminates toxins in the body. It’s challenging to keep a balanced diet daily, especially when being on the go frequently. I try to make extra effort (especially closer to my travel time) to incorporate more foods that are rich in phytochemicals (vegetable, fruits and beans).  Phytochemicals are found in plant foods. Some foods rich in phytochemicals include collard greens, kale, spinach, blueberries and cantaloupe.

3. Stock Up on Herbs and Vitamins 

Dandelion is an herb, which helps to cleanse the liver and it also contains calcium, magnesium and zinc. I personally prefer to use the dandelion root or leaves but you can find dandelion tea bags sold in most health food stores. Vitamin C supplements aide in preventing colds and I take decaffeinated green tea extract in capsule form. For me personally, the decaffeinated green tea extract boosts my energy.

4. Wash Your Hands Often 

Remember to wash your hands and carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you. The skin is the largest organ in the body and first line of defense. I’m always wary of touching surfaces or things and then touching my face. Experts recommended washing your hands before touching your eyes and/or nose, as this is the most common way for cold and flu transmission. Oh and be sure to pack disinfectant wipes to wipe down the tray tables on the plane or that remote in the hotel room.

5. Be Wary of Other Passengers 

If someone sitting near you sneezes, cover your nose and mouth with a scarf or tissue for 30-45 seconds. This helps to avoid the flying virus droplets in the atmosphere.