Staying Healthy while traveling

The term ‘jet-setting’ was originally used to describe an international socialite group of wealthy individuals who traveled the world participating in social activities unavailable to ordinary folk; café society,’ meanwhile, came from the lifestyle of traveling from one stylish or exotic place to another via jet plane.

Thanks to globalization and advancements in technology, air travel is now much cheaper and available to more people; you no longer need to be rich or famous to rock a jet-set lifestyle. Whether you long to see castles in the Scottish Highlands, Pyramids in Egypt, lions in the Serengeti, or feudal temples in Tokyo’, all you need to do is clear your schedule and hop on a flight.

The Increasing Need to Fly

It’s fairly typical for most people to take one or two holidays a year, and making the most of this may mean an exotic holiday abroad. However, with the growth of low-cost airlines, and improvements in safety and technology, it is now common to travel for a broader range of reasons, including:

  • Work and business travel, both international or domestically
  • Visiting family – with family members willing to move further away from home for work and/or a better lifestyle, we’re more willing than ever to fly across state lines or international borders to visit loved ones
  • Smaller city breaks and weekend trips – trying to make the most of our weekends and time off, we gladly hop on flights with family or friends, and are transported to another city, the countryside, a tropical beach, a sporting event, and so the list goes on
  • Education – there are now more possibilities for school trips, studying abroad, or research fellowships and graduate programs

With increasing reasons to travel, many people never stop for a beat and consider what’s involved in staying healthy while jet-setting.

Staying healthy and keeping up a healthy immune system is crucial to make the most out of your travels and avoid any unpleasant travel setbacks. Here are some tips and tricks to help you prepare and stay healthy when flying.

Staying Healthy While Jet-Setting

Pack Sanitizing Wipes and Hand Sanitizer

A study by Travelmath found that the tray table in front of your airplane seat is the germiest place on the plane; other spots include the toilet flush button, seat belt buckle, and overhead air vent. It only takes a few seconds to wipe down these areas with antibacterial wipes, and it could save you from catching a cold, flu, or who knows what else.


Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Hand sanitizer will ensure that you don’t pass on any germs to surfaces, and help keep your hands clean after handling so many different items and coming in contact with so many people on your travels.

Consult Your Healthcare Provider or GP

An oversight that many people don’t consider before traveling is scheduling a visit to their healthcare provider before heading off. Your provider can assess your general health and provide any necessary vaccinations or medications based on your travel destinations.

Pack a Travel Health Kit

Preparing a travel kit to take on your adventures is the best practice for preparing yourself for self-care and minor medical attention when needed. You decide what your essential items are to travel with, such as prescribed medications, a first aid kit, over-the-counter remedies, painkillers, antihistamines, and vitamins.

Whatever your personal care pack includes, don’t forget to throw in basic first aid items no jet setter should be without; bandages, antiseptic wipes, etc. Most pharmacies and airport shops sell compact travel first aid kits if you end up leaving this until the last minute.

Exercise Before Takeoff and Wear Compression Socks in Flight

When you sit for long periods in a cramped position (without the extravagant reclining benefits of first-class) you’re more likely to develop blood clots in your legs. If you are over fifty, overweight, or on certain birth control medications, you may also be at greater risk. So, before you fly, try a workout class or try and get a few steps of physical activity to get the blood and oxygen circulating.

If possible, try and walk around a little during your flight as well – taking care not to disrupt or annoy your fellow passengers. Also, it’s well worth considering wearing compression socks to encourage blood flow.

Eat Healthy on the Go

This is not a critique of airplane food – to each his/her own, as they say. Still, if you are a frequent flier who values your healthy habits and well-being, then be intentional about what you eat and drink.

Two things to remember:

  1. Hydration: Travel with a reusable water bottle and stay hydrated by drinking water throughout your flight and while you’re on vacation. Water has vital benefits for your body, your sleep, your mental health, and fighting infections. Remember that you cannot drink tap water in some countries, so ensure you drink bottled water.
  2. Healthy travel snacks: Travel with healthy snacks that contain plenty of nutrients, salts, sugars, vitamins, protein, and carbohydrates; the right snack or healthy food will boost your energy or reawaken the senses. You should absolutely treat yourself a little too; chocolate-drizzled popcorn is my personal choice! A little bit indulgent, but high in fiber and low in calories – great for travel snacking. That being said, try to avoid junk food and a late-night tipple that will cause your blood sugar to spike and prevent you from getting a full night’s rest. If you are not sure you’ll like the local cuisine on the airplane, bring your own meals but stick to a balanced diet.

Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health

Everyone has to manage their mental health in some way shape or form, so before you set off, invest some time in some useful vacation planning to minimize stress.

Here are a few helpful pointers:

Noise-Canceling Headphones

To avoid sensory overload, a good set of noise-canceling headphones could improve the quality of your flight. Remember, airplanes are not only loud but constantly vibrating.

Photo by Rafael Leão on Unsplash

Photo by Rafael Leão on Unsplash

Preferred Entertainment

Entertain yourself! The best way to relax and enjoy your flight is to make it that little bit special for yourself, so create a playlist of your favorite travel songs, or listen to a podcast, or audiobook; ideally, read a book or journal if you can, and avoid only looking at a screen.

Sleep and Comfort

Sleep is crucial! Especially on a long-haul or red-eye flight, you need to get a good snooze in. So, unless you’ll be kicking back in the sumptuous luxury of a private jet, think about taking a small travel blanket, as airplanes can get cold; a travel pillow can also help to avoid a cramped neck.

Additionally, think about what you will wear for optimal comfort. Many people overlook this and dress as if they are going out for the day, but the more comfortable you can make yourself while flying, the more relaxed and enjoyable your trip will be.

Staying Healthy while Traveling – Parting Thoughts

Remember that preparation and prevention are key to ensuring a healthy and enjoyable travel experience. By taking care of your well-being before and during your trip, you can make the most of your jetsetting adventures. To the skies!

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