Updated November 29, 2020
When you’re away from home it can be hard to remember to take proper care of yourself.
The simple habits that you keep up at home to stay healthy are easily forgotten as you’re distracted by wonderful new sights and experiences.
You may not even be sure how to stay healthy while travelling when there are so many other things to think about.
But making good health a priority is even more important when you’re travelling, as your body won’t be used to its different surroundings and the new routine.
As long as you’re being conscious of your health, it’s actually quite easy to incorporate those habits into your life on the road.
In fact, all you need to do is follow these 7 simple steps to ensure you stay healthy while travelling.
1: Hydration, hydration, hydration
We all know that staying hydrated is important in our daily lives.
Add a change in climate, an increase in sun exposure, a bit of jet lag and a few alcoholic beverages, and it becomes even more so.
If you’re in a country where you can drink the tap water, grab a reusable bottle and keep it topped up at all times! Drinkable tap water is your best friend.
If the tap water is unsafe for drinking you’ll have to buy bottled water or, better yet, bring your own bottle with a water filter or a method of water sterilisation.
Yes, you need to stay hydrated, but don’t make yourself sick by drinking untreated water!
Be aware of anything that may have been washed in untreated water and isn’t cooked, like salad, as well as ice that has been made in the establishment rather than being brought in, as it could have been made with the tap water.
Also, be aware of the water you’re using to brush your teeth!
2: Keep your hands clean
It can be hard to keep your hands clean while travelling; you never know when you’ll find yourself in a bathroom with no soap.
Keep a small bottle of hand sanitiser with you at all times for moments just like this.
You can’t possibly go all your time with your hands in your pockets (and who would want to?), but you can make sure your hands are clean before you eat.
After all, travel is best enjoyed when you really experience it. So feed that elephant, climb that temple, shake that local’s hand! And before you tuck into those delicious spring rolls, grab your hand sanitiser and stay healthy.
Another option is dissolvable soap strips, which come in a small container that will fit in your pocket. Just run one under water to turn it into soap!
3: Catch up on sleep
Probably one of the best ways to stay healthy while travelling is to ensure you’re well rested.
It may be tempting to stay out partying every night (and I’m not saying you shouldn’t) but you DO need to make sure you catch up on your sleep.
Your body will be having a hard enough time as it is trying to get through the jet lag, so try not to make it worse by staying out into the early hours every night and not allowing yourself to adjust to the new time zone properly.
Chances are you’ll want to be out participating in activities, sightseeing and meeting new people during the day, which can all take its toll on you if you’re not well rested.
Sleep is often underrated, but it’s incredibly important. Don’t burn yourself out by trying to do ALL THE THINGS on a low energy reserve.
4: Eat fresh & eat local
It can be SO hard to eat healthy when you’re travelling.
The first time I travelled in South East Asia, I put on a lot of weight from spending most of my time lying on beaches, eating noodles and drinking beer (it was a hard life!). 😉
If you can, try to shop for fresh fruit and veggies in local markets and cook your own meals.
If this isn’t an option, try to opt for fresher, healthier meals as often as you can when eating at your favourite restaurant or street food stand.
I LOVE a fresh fruit smoothie in the morning; it starts my day off perfectly!
5: Stay active
If, like me, you’re not too happy with watching your bikini body get rounder by the day from all the carbs and no exercise, it’s probably a good idea to get moving.
Take some time each day to be active and exercise, whether you go for a run, do some yoga or just go for a walk.
Walking is a great way to see any destination as it allows you to really focus on what’s around you, and it can also be great for your mind if you’re feeling a bit low.
6: Look after your skin
If you’re spending a lot of time in the sun, you need to make sure you’re protected.
Sunburn is always uncomfortable and an unnecessary burden to your trip as it is easily preventable.
It’s pretty easy to remember to use sunscreen if you’re sunbathing on the beach, but what about if you’re walking to the shops?
My sunburn usually happens because of some trivial trip I made in the sun without even thinking about it because I didn’t think I’d be out for long or that I’d even be exposed.
The easiest way around this is to make it part of your daily routine; soon you’ll be covering up without even thinking about it!
It’s also a good way to make sure your skin doesn’t dry out.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to protect the backs of your hands if you’re going cycling, riding a motorbike or a jet-ski! It’s an area I always forget about and I’ve ended up with hands like crispy bacon after all of these activities!
7: Protect yourself from insects
Mosquito bites can be more than just an annoying itch; some mosquitoes carry horrible viruses or parasites that could land you in hospital from malaria, yellow fever or dengue fever, to name just a few.
Prepare yourself before you go with tablets and vaccinations if required, and make sure you cover up with repellent and use mosquito nets while on your trip.
Check out this article on essential planning tips for more advice on preparing for your trip before you leave!
Final thoughts on how to stay healthy while travelling
It’s easy to stay healthy while travelling as long as you’re sensible about it; these tips might seem pretty obvious when reading them at home, but it’s very easy to get carried away and burn yourself out too quickly once you’re abroad.
Listen to what your body is telling you and take care of it. If you follow these simple tips then you’ll be able to make the most of your trip without any worries.
Take it easy, be sensible, but most importantly, enjoy yourself!
What are some ways that you plan to take care of yourself while you’re travelling? Would you add anything to this list? Let me know in the comments! 🙂
Want more like this? Check out these articles:
- Travelling with anxiety: a personal experience story
- 13 essential planning tips for long-term travel
- 14 easy ways to save money while you travel
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Hi Sarah, I love this list! I like bringing my hand sanitizer/alcohol with me all the time – even pre-COVID. I’m such a hygiene freak haha! And it does come in handy for those times where there is no soap in the bathroom during travels! 😂 I also like bringing mosquito repellent as I do get tons of insect bites all the time. 🙁 I need to stay active and eat more healthy fresh food when I travel. I’ll definitely keep those in mind. 🙂
Thanks Hazel! I know, it can sometimes be so hard to feel clean when travelling so I always have hand sanitizer too! Ugh, insect bites are the worst aren’t they? Yeah I definitely recommend eating fresh food when you can, it pretty much always makes you feel better 🙂
These are great tips! I feel like I always forget to drink enough water when I’m traveling, and it’s so important! Eating healthy, local food is also a great tip. It’s so easy to eat too many treats while on vacation, and fresh fruits and veggies are so much better! (of course, treats in moderation too!)
The fruit and veg always seem more exotic in different countries too! It’s a great way to experience something new. And yeah, it’s definitely good to have a few treats as well 😉
I’m good at staying active when I’m travelling, mostly because I want to see and do everything that I tire myself out. I need to work on getting enough sleep and eating fresh food though. These are great tips!
I’m the same, I always find myself walking for miles because I want to see everything! 🙂