Summer’s Here! Tips to Stay Healthy While Traveling

School’s out, and summer’s here! Thankfully, this year, these warm-weather months align with the end of COVID-19 restrictions in many places and the ability to safely travel again. Summer vacation, here we come! 

Five General Travel Tips

Given that many of us have been hunkered down at home and practicing social distancing for the last twelve months, I wanted to share some tips to help you stay healthy while traveling.

  • Stay home if you’re ill: To start, if possible, avoid traveling when sick. Staying home can prevent you from getting sicker or spreading your illness to others. Note that airlines are permitted to turn away passengers who are visibly sick. 
  • Wash your hands: Be especially mindful of your personal hygiene when traveling. As long as you’re healthy and wash your hands frequently, you shouldn’t be too concerned about getting sick during a vacation.
  • Keep your immune system strong: First, focus on high-quality sleep during trips. Your immune system needs the rest to stay strong! Pack ear plugs and an eye mask to ensure that you have a quiet, dark spot to rest, and make an effort to stick with the same bedtime and wake time each day. Other helpful tips include staying hydrated and taking vitamins C and D. 
  • Follow your normal routine: Maintain your regular routine as much as possible to stay healthy and balanced. Be mindful during your meals and do your best to opt for healthier menu items at restaurants. Pack snacks to avoid grabbing something at the airport or gas station. Try to work exercise into your daily schedule too: You can log extra steps at the airport, use the hotel gym, or simply explore your destination on foot. Be sure to pack your daily medications and supplements as well. 
  • Have a plan in case you get sick: Have the phone number for your primary care physician and your insurance cards on hand in case something comes up. Your insurance may not cover you during travel, but it’s important to bring them along anyways. If you become ill on an airplane or cruise ship, alert the crew if you need medical attention. If you’re staying in one place for a number of days, research options for medical care before you leave home. 

Health Tips for Airplane Travel

Traveling by plane this summer? Here is some advice to consider before you step aboard:

  • Practice stress management techniques: You may feel overwhelmed as you venture into a busy airport again. Your mental health matters just as much as your physical health. Pop your headphones in and take a few minutes to meditate or listen to your favorite podcast as you take a stroll. If you have space, consider doing a few stretches to prepare your body for the flight ahead.
  • If possible, pick a window seat: Unfortunately, if you sit within a one-row distance of someone who’s sick, you’re likely to catch their illness. Experts believe that the best way to avoid germs during air travel is to pick a window seat and stay there for the duration of your flight.  A middle seat is your second-best option. 
  • Pack sanitizing wipes in your carry-on bag: Once you board, wipe down your seat, seatbelt, arm rests, and tray table. If you get up to use the restroom, be sure to wipe down the bathroom handles as well.

Reach out to Dr. Asha Tota-Maharaj, MD at Platinum Primary Care — referred to as “Winter Park’s best kept secret!” — with all your healthcare needs!