6 Easy Tricks That Could Keep You From Getting Sick While Traveling

Healthy Vacation
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After months of saving, researching, planning, and anticipating, it’s finally time for your vacation. You send your last work email. You set an out of office message. You pack your bags, hit the airport, fly thousands of miles and… Ugggggh! Is that cold you feel coming on?

We’ve all been there, including Rebecca Davis, the wellness-world vet behind The Glassy (named after the surfer-coined term for a perfect wave-riding conditions), a new digital destination for health-focused travelers. Inspired by Davis’s own struggles to eat clean and stay active on the road, the site offers editor-vetted city guides filled with mind-body hotspots—from the tastiest local grain bowls to the best hotel gyms—and insider tips to help you feel like your best self anywhere in the world.

Which brings us back to that annoying little issue of getting sick during a well-deserved getaway. Why does it always seem to happen and how can we stop the cycle? Below, Davis breaks down her best tips.

1. Stress less.

“Traveling is supposed to be relaxing—at least, it is if you’re going on vacation (traveling for work is a different story)—and yet it can be incredibly stressful. Planning, scheduling, and booking the trip itself? Stressful. Getting all your work done before you leave? Stressful. Packing your bags? Stressful. Getting to the airport—and even navigating airport check-ins, security, terminals, and layovers? Stressful! Which leads to one of the major factors that contribute to people’s immunity being low when they travel: They’re stressed out. Studies have shown that stress—even just a few minutes of it—can impact immunity. It might sound really simple, but getting stressed out before and while you travel is not going to do you any favors if you want to stay healthy.”

2. Sleep More.

“The very same things that cause stress in the lead up to a trip—finalizing travel details, having to get ahead on work before you leave, packing at the last minute—are often the things that we prioritize over getting a good night’s sleep. I joke that no matter how prepared I am for a trip, I inevitably end up packing at midnight the night before. Studies have shown that sleep is closely tied to immune function. So if you’re like me and not getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night in the lead up to a trip, you’re compromising your immune system.”

3. Have a back-up plan for clean hands.

"I always carry a non-toxic hand sanitizer with me (I like CleanWell and EO’s hand sanitizers) in case there’s not a bathroom or running water easily accessible, along with wipes that I use to wipe down my airplane arm rest, tray table, and remote control (or screen, if it’s a touch screen). The wipes also come in handy if, say, I’m out for a hike and need to clean my hands. Another travel favorite are these soap sheets from Buly."

4. Prepare for stomach trouble before it starts.

"This is an all-too-common experience for travelers, and it can definitely put a damper on a vacation. Of course, if you fall ill and it’s more than getting sick for a day or two, you should see a doctor. But for general digestive woes, I’d suggest a worst-case-scenario kit that includes Imodium (or, if the problem is that you can’t go—which is surprisingly common when you are traveling and out of your eating routine—flaxseed oil pills)."

5. Have your cold remedies locked and loaded.

"I swear by Gaia Herbs’ Quick Defense pills. I have taken them while traveling when I start to feel a tickle in my throat and every time have avoided a full-on cold. I also always pack one of those immune-boosting juice shots in my TSA-approved liquids bag: They’re under three ounces, and give me a nice dose of ginger, turmeric, and garlic in one easy shot. Most juice bars sell them in tiny grab-and-go bottles, and you can find versions at Whole Foods and other supermarkets."

6. Be flexible.

"Don’t beat yourself up for having to, say, skip out on a planned excursion or losing out on beach time. Curl up in your super-cozy hotel room bed and read a book, watch a movie or TV show you normally don’t have time for, or just appreciate the fact that you’re not at home, you’re not at the office, and though you’re not feeling 100 percent, you will soon. Basically, the only way your vacation is ruined is if you let yourself become convinced that it’s ruined."