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Travel inspires, refreshes, and gives access to a wide range of experiences. In the excitement, it’s easy to leave a self-care routine at home, but with planning, you can make healthy lifestyle choices a part of your adventure.

Preparation

Review the Center for Disease Control’s website before you go so you are aware of the health risks in the area you are traveling. It is an excellent site that I routinely used as a reference when I practiced travel medicine as a flight surgeon in the Air Force.

Food

Eating out is an important and enjoyable part of exploring other cultures. Fine-tune your food choices for maximum well-being.

  • Consider bringing a healthy snack with you for munching in airports, trains, and long car trips. Portable edibles will save you from purchasing expensive or unhealthy food options. Try packing nuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate, vegetable strips, yogurt-covered raisins, energy bars, and healthy sandwiches.
  • When traveling abroad, research the rules for your destination regarding arriving with food items.
  • If you have food allergies, make sure that you’re able to communicate your needs in the language of the country you’ll be visiting.
  • When traveling with family or companions, communicate about your dietary goals and listen respectfully to others’ needs.
  • Heed the CDC recommendations for safe eating.
  • Wash your hands before meals.

Exercise

  • There are easy and fun ways to incorporate exercise into your travel routine.
  • Take a walking or biking tour of the city.
  • Work with the elements. If a body of water is nearby, then try swimming, snorkeling, surfing or boogie boarding. If it’s a winter wonderland, engage in skiing or sledding.
  • Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
  • Start the morning with some stretching and strengthing exercises to warm up your body and to excite your mind for the upcoming day.
  • It’s easy to throw a jump rope in your bag or fire up your phone and do a 7-minute workout.

Sleep
Sleep allows your body and mind to heal and process all the new stimuli that travel presents. For those who are light sleepers, a sleep mask and foam earplugs are an economical and lightweight way to block out the environment and facilitate rest.

Mindfulness Practice
Whether you are an avid practitioner of meditation or new to the discipline, mindfulness practice can enhance your appreciation of your environment, aid in processing new stimuli, and allow for the enjoyment of a centering ritual.

First Aid Kit
Be prepared for minor emergencies.

  • Customize a first aid kit. Pack a few bandages, and some aspirin or ibuprofen, disinfectant, mini hand-sanitizer, cold/allergy relief tablets, and an all-purpose bruise/bug bite balm.
  • Carry prescription medicine in your carry on so that if luggage is lost vital medicine is always on hand.