Travel is good for the soul. And, with a little planning ahead, you can return from your trip with a body as healthy as the day you left.
“Even healthy individuals may need to take steps to address their health during travel,” said Dr. Elizabeth Barnett, co-director of the travel clinic at Boston Medical Center. This includes gathering contact information for your doctors, insurance company and pharmacy, plus a list of any prescription medications you may take.
At a pre-travel visit with your doctor, make sure you have an adequate supply of medications and get any vaccinations you might need.
In your travel first-aid kit, Barnett recommends carrying prescription medications in their original containers, plus a list of those medications and other supplies, including:
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Anti-diarrhea medicine.
- Anti-itch cream to treat bug bites.
- Adhesive bandages.
- Insect repellent.
When it comes to nutrition, you’ll be more likely to eat healthy with a little preparation.
“I tell all my clients to pack snacks and look at menus before dining out,” says New York-based nutritionist Amy Shapiro, founder of Real Nutrition. “The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to overeat, eat unhealthy foods or overindulge at meals.”
Check out restaurant menus and room service options online and make healthy choices before you even depart.
Shapiro’s favorite snacks to pack for the road or the plane include healthy jerky, chia bars, nuts and seeds, individual packets of nut butter, cut fruit and veggies, hard-boiled eggs and string cheese. Or look for these same options at the airport.
“Starbucks always has healthy options,” Shapiro said. “I love their egg bites and their protein box.”
At restaurants, she avoids the bread basket, focuses on protein and veggies, and limits herself to two bites of dessert “if it’s worth it.”
Complete this healthy picture by planning to get a little exercise at your destination. If the weather is fine, maybe you can take a walk. Your hotel should be able to point you in the right direction, as will the convention and visitors bureau of the city you are visiting. They might also be able to direct you to a local gym or yoga studio.
Many hotels now offer bikes you can borrow and boast top-of-the-line gym equipment, and some will even deliver gear and workout videos to your room.
Be ready, eat healthy and get moving and you’ll return home feeling fine.
To read more articles about travel-related health topics, visit AAA.com/LiveWell.