The COVID-19 pandemic has closed borders and brought travel and tourism to a temporary halt. But as local lockdowns begin to ease around the world, more people are thinking about their next trip once it’s safe to travel again. Our health and safety will be our top priority once we do travel again, so it’s important to know how to stay healthy on your next trip. From packing a travel hygiene kit, to keeping your immune system strong, here are our top travel health tips on how to prioritise your health and wellbeing on your next trip.
Know before you go
One of the best ways to prioritise your health and wellbeing on your next trip is to stay informed. Before you travel, check where quarantines are in place, find out what’s open or cancelled, and get updates on any disease outbreaks in your destination. You should also check to see if you need any vaccines or medication, and how to access healthcare in the destination you’re visiting.
You can get up-to-date travel recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and also your national travel health advisories like Fit for Travel in the UK and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US.
Don’t travel if you’re sick
You should always avoid travelling when you’re sick, whether it’s a suspected case of COVID-19, a stomach bug or something else easily transmittable. Not only will the trip be miserable for you, but you risk spreading your illness to other people.
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Carry a travel hygiene kit
Healthy travel means extra hygiene, so come prepared for any situation by bringing a travel hygiene kit. You can include face masks, disposable gloves, sanitiser, antibacterial wipes, tissues, mouthwash, nasal spray, eye drops, and sunglasses.
Avoid exposure to coughs and sneezes
If you notice someone coughing and sneezing near you, try to move away when possible. When you’re on a flight, you can ask the flight attendants to move you to a different seat, if there are any available. If you can’t get any space, you can always offer your health gear for them to use, like a spare face mask or sanitiser.
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Wash your hands
There’s a reason everyone’s talking about washing their hands. It’s one of the very best ways to protect yourself from contracting and spreading diseases. The most effective way to wash your hands is to lather up with soap and water and scrub for 20 seconds, then rinse and dry. You should always wash your hands after going to the bathroom, before and after eating, and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
In between, take care to avoid touching your face, as the mucous membranes around your mouth, nose and eyes are more likely to pick up a disease. You should also use a hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol for when soap and water aren’t available.
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While air circulation is really important to prevent the spread of the disease, you should also avoid getting too cold when travelling as this can leave your immune system vulnerable. Carry a sweater, thick socks and bring your own blanket to avoid the air-conditioned chill of aeroplanes, buses and trains.
Aeroplanes are super dry places, which can dry out your mucus membranes in your mouth, nose and throat. This keeps them from trapping germs and bacteria, leaving your natural defence system much more vulnerable to catching viruses.
Studies show your body can be deprived of up to 1.5 litres of water on a three-hour flight alone, so make sure you drink plenty of water before your trip and keep drinking water throughout your flight. Avoid drinking alcohol, coffee, tea and soft drinks as these will only dehydrate you further. You can also pack some moisturising eye drops and nasal spray to help soothe them from the dryness and give your mucus membranes a little extra love.
Disinfect your space
Since there are two ways to catch infectious diseases – by droplets in the air and by touching contaminated surfaces – one of the best things you can do to prioritise your health when travelling is to disinfect the surfaces around you. Use antibacterial wipes to clean the dirtiest areas on an aeroplane including tray tables, seatbelts, armrests, seatback pockets, overhead air vents and buttons, window shades, bathroom door handles and toilet flush buttons.
Once you get to your hotel, keep the hygiene precautions going and make sure you wipe down objects with a high touch rate including light switches, door handles, TV remotes, telephones and bathroom taps and sinks. Avoid throwing clothes and towels on the floor and reusing them without washing first, as carpets can carry a lot of hidden germs!
You should also wipe down other common surfaces when travelling like handrails on public transport and restaurant menus, and be cautious when using swimming pools as these are breeding grounds for germs and the chlorine doesn’t kill all bacteria.
Keep your immune system strong
The best way to prioritise your health when travelling is to boost your immune system before you go. You can do this by getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, managing stress and eating healthy foods packed with vitamins and minerals.
Sleep is extra important to keep up your body’s natural immunity, so wear comfy clothes, pack your eye mask and pillow, and try to get some quality shut-eye while travelling too. When you take care of your body and mind, they’ll take of you too!
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Take a deep breath
We’re all feeling the stress in these unprecedented times, but it’s important to prioritise your health and wellbeing by trying to relax and reduce your stress and anxiety. Read up on relaxation techniques that can help reduce stress, like meditation, going for a walk or talking it out with a friend.
When we take care of our wellbeing, it helps the whole community, so take a moment to pause, breathe deeply, and remember that we will get through this global crisis together.
How will you prioritise your health and wellbeing on your next trip? Let us know in the comments below!