Staying healthy while traveling isn’t always the easiest thing to do. There are long days of bus or planes travel, interrupted sleeps in dorm rooms and. Here are some of the things I do to stay healthy while traveling. I hope you find them as useful as me!
Carry activated charcoal. This is great for stomach bugs, I take one capsule the moment is feeling funny or sore or I have any kind of abnormal bowel movements and it clears it right up. I know it sounds a little weird but do a bit research and you’ll see its extremely beneficial.
Buy vinegar in every town I stop in and use it to wash my fruits and vegetables before eating them. I actually do the same thing at home – I fill a sink with cold water and a cup of vinegar and leave my produce to soak for ten minutes (or until I remember they’re there ha). Rinse them with some cold water and they’re ready to be eaten.
Exercise regularly. This is something I’m constantly working on, I mean who really wants to leave Netflix to get all hot and sweaty (especially when you’re already hot and sweaty from being in a tropical climate). But, I definitely notice an overall improvement to my health when I’m active; I sleep better, my allergies are better, my stomach is normal and I can still fit into my clothes (this is important because I only have a few clothes with me!). I do love walking around a new city exploring it so I do that a lot. Sometimes I’ll go for a hike, or a run along the beach or occasionally some yoga (I want to do more but I have a crappy wrist). Even if its just twenty minutes its something to get me moving and I always feel better after doing it.
I try to add garlic to at least one meal a day. Garlic has natural antibacterial properties meaning it can help kill off any nasty bugs lurking in your food. It’s also been found to boost your immune systems, lower your blood pressure and improve bone density. But more importantly it’s delicious! I add crushed or finely diced garlic to just about every dish I make. I add it to beans, soups, stir fry’s, salsas, frittatas, salad dressings, pasta sauces and even hummus.
I carry essential oils with me; specifically peppermint and tea tree, as well as coconut oil. I use peppermint oil for travel sickness, and if I have a blocked nose I’ll put a couple of drops on my pillow. I use tea tree oil (diluted with a little coconut oil) for any insect bites, grazes or chafing I have. I use coconut oil as a face and body moisturizer when I’m feeling really dry, and when I get sick of covering myself in insect repellent I’ll slather coconut oil over myself which seems to work just as well.
I eat lots of fresh produce. This is kind of a no brainer – it’s delicious (I can never have another mango because they taste so bland to the ones here in Mexico!), it’s delicious and cheap. When we arrive in a new city one of the first things I do is find a local market and pick up some basics to have on hand for snacks and breakfast. Guy has a knife that we keep in our daypack so if we’re out and about we’ll buy a mango or a papaya and cut it up to eat in the shade of a tree at one of the many parks. I also buy pre-cut fruit if I see it but I hate all the plastic waste so I try to buy in bulk whenever I can. I do struggle to get vegetables into my diet, especially when I’m not cooking, but I eat so much fruit I figure it kind of makes up for it :).
I drink lots of water – normally around 3 litres a day, sometimes more. I drink a lot of water at home too (if I have a water bottle, for some reason I hate drinking out of a glass) so this normally isn’t a problem for me to do when traveling. But if in hot places I feel like I’m not getting enough I’ll add some cucumber, lemon or ginger to my bottle to jazz it up a bit. In colder climates, I try drinking herbal tea or hot water with some lemon and honey. It warms me up and fills me up so I don’t snack mindlessly all day (I just snack half of the day).
Get enough sleep. I love sleep. I love it almost as much as eating, and just a little bit more than Netflix. I’m typically a pretty good sleeper in terms of noise but I find that I need to be the perfect temperature – a little too hot or cold and I’ll lie awake tossing and turning for hours. I find that wearing socks on a cold night does the trick, and when it’s hot I’ll get my sarong damp and lay that over me which cools me down enough to get to sleep. Staying in a dorm is an unavoidable disruption to my sleep but I use my towel or sarong to create a little cocoon wherever possible which not only gives me some privacy but also blocks the light out so I get a more restful sleep. I also try to get to bed a little earlier than I normally would since I know that I’m probably going to get woken up earlier than I want to in the morning.
Keep my hands as clean as possible. Did you know that a lot of stomach illnesses come from germs on our hands rather than in the food we eat? To combat this I carry sanitizer with me most of the time, and if I don’t I’ll try to find a bathroom nearby. If I’m really in a pinch I’ll rub my hands with a little water from my bottle in the hope that it gets the worst of the dirt off them.
Finally, I try to take some time for myself pretty often. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of traveling – rushing from one place to the next – and before I know it I’ve worn myself out and gotten run down. (I have a pretty crap immune system so it doesn’t take much to get sick once I’m rundown). To keep myself healthy I try to make sure I take a day or two every now and then to just relax. Sometimes that means sleeping in, watching Netflix all day, catching a movie, Skyping friends or doing some shopping. Anything that helps me to relax.
So there you have it, the things I do to keep myself healthy while traveling. I’d love to hear any tips and tricks you have, I feel like there’s always something else to learn!