If you traveled this Thanksgiving to visit friends or family, you know how hectic holiday trips can be. Between large crowds, traffic, and the planning that goes into the holidays in general, it can be easy to feel a little stressed about traveling this time of year. Add this stress to the fact that traveling interrupts your normally healthy routine and doesn’t always lend itself to the healthiest decisions, and you can come through holiday travel feeling a bit under the weather.
Of course, the last thing you want to feel when you arrive at your holiday celebrations is tired and drawn. When you’re seeing your friends and family for the first time this year, you want to feel your absolute best! Luckily, there are a few key strategies you can follow to feel healthy and happy during holiday travel.
- Commit to one fresh, healthy meal during the day. Unfortunately, airports aren’t known for their nutritious food choices. While airport restaurants are improving each year, it can still be difficult to find a vitamin-packed meal in a airline bar or on the plane itself. Combat this problem by packing up a small salad complete with fresh, leafy greens, water-and-fiber-rich fruits and veggies, and some nuts. The salad will stay good for at least one day, and you’ll be able to get through your trip feeling nutritiously fulfilled.
- Always pack a reusable water bottle. While you can’t bring a full bottle through airport security, you can bring an empty one and fill it at the water fountain once you’re at your gate. This bottle can be your savior during lengthy travel; the air in planes is notoriously dry and can easily dehydrate you, making you feel sluggish. As you go through your travels, use your bottle to drink more water than normal (8 ounces per hour is a good rule of thumb).
- Avoid sickness with a bit of prep. Ever come home from traveling with a cold? There may be a reason for that – when you travel, you’re often surrounded by many people in close quarters (think: your tight airplane row), which can make catching a cold easy. Add that to the dehydrating effects of airplane travel and a different sleep schedule, and a cold can easily make its way into your life. Ingest some extra vitamin C a few days before your trip as a precaution, and bring small cleansing wipes to remove bacteria from your airplane seat, folding table, headrest, and arm rests.
- Keep your sleep schedule in check. No matter how many time zones you’re traveling through, try to keep your sleep schedule normal. Sleeping on a plane isn’t always easy; check out this article for some great tips to sleep well while traveling. We find that a lavender-scented neck pillow is soothing and comfortable enough to do the trick, as well as wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
- Fit in some walking and stretching. During your layovers or after your flight, make sure not to sit immediately if possible – take some time to walk around the airport and stretch. Stretching your hip flexors, calves, and hamstrings is important after a long flight to avoid stiffness. Getting your heart rate up a bit is even better; do some speed walking through the airport or go for a quick jog when you get to your destination to get your blood circulating and your heart pumping.
- Stick with your routine as much as possible. If you take medications and vitamins on a daily basis, be sure to continue that routine throughout your travels. Do you use a specific face cleanser each day? Bring it with you (in security-safe bottles, of course). Keeping true to your everyday will instill a bit of normality into your day, even if your routine is off and your days are hectic.
How do you stay healthy while traveling? We’d love to hear your tips – leave them in the comments below!