Stay Healthy While Traveling: Common Illnesses to Watch Out For and Prevention Tips
While it is easy to be distracted by COVID, with all of the new regulations and requirements, it is important to remember common traveler’s sicknesses too. Common illnesses caused by traveling, especially internationally, include food poisoning, traveler's diarrhea, malaria, and yellow fever. Traveling can be an exciting and enriching experience but there is nothing worse than becoming ill upon arrival at your destination.
To prevent these illnesses, taking precautions such as drinking bottled water, avoiding street food, and getting vaccinated before your trip is essential.
In addition to taking preventative measures, boosting your immune system before traveling can help protect you from getting sick. One way to do this is by staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water.
According to a doctor interviewed by Travel + Leisure, drinking two to three liters of water per day can help your immune system perform optimally. Another way to boost your immune system is by eating nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables.
Mental Health During Travel
Traveling is meant to be an exciting experience, but for some, it can also trigger feelings of anxiety and stress. The pandemic has added an extra layer of concern to travel, making it even more important to prioritize mental health during trips. In this section, we'll explore the concept of travel anxiety and its causes and provide valuable tips for managing them.
Travel Anxiety and Its Causes
The most common cause of travel anxiety is fear of the unknown. The unfamiliarity of new places, sounds, and smells can be overwhelming and cause distress, especially if the traveler is already anxious about the journey.
If you want to reduce anxiety, planning and researching the destination is essential. Depending on the traveler's preferences, this can be done beforehand or during the journey. It is also helpful to keep in touch with friends and family during the trip, especially if traveling alone.
Another common cause of travel anxiety is the stress of navigating unfamiliar public transportation systems. To reduce this type of anxiety, it is vital to familiarize oneself with the public transportation system before leaving home.
This can include researching:
- prices, and
- schedules online, or
- utilizing on-the-spot navigational tools such as apps or maps.
Leaving plenty of time to reach the final destination is also important, as rushing only increases stress and anxiety.
The busyness of airports and train stations can also cause stress and anxiety during travel. The remedy is to arrive well ahead of scheduled departure times and allow extra time for unexpected situations.
It is also essential to plan and arrive stress-free by managing expectations and being realistic about what can and cannot accomplish during the journey.
Health concerns are another common source of travel anxiety. The solution here is to plan and bring the necessary medications.
Tips for managing travel anxiety
Traveling can be an exciting opportunity to explore and discover new places and cultures. However, it can also be an anxiety-inducing experience for some people. Fortunately, there are some effective strategies for managing travel anxiety.
1. Plan ahead
Planning for your trip can help reduce stress and anxiety. Make sure you are organized and have all the necessary documents ready to go, such as visas, passports, tickets, and hotel reservations. It's also helpful to read up on the area and familiarize yourself with the local customs, language, and transportation options.
2. Make a list
Create a list of all the items you need to bring and check off items as you pack. That way, you won't leave behind anything important.
3. Practice relaxation techniques
Mindful breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce travel anxiety. Learn these techniques beforehand so that you can practice them while in transit.
4. Prioritize sleep
Make sure to get enough rest before and during your trip. Lack of sleep can lead to feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
5. Take breaks
Take time to rest and relax during your travels. If the journey is long, plan out stops along the way to stretch your legs and take a break.
6. Talk it out
Talk to a friend or family member about it if you're feeling overwhelmed. Talking about your feelings can help you destress.
7. Be prepared for unexpected delays
Flight delays and other disruptions can be a source of anxiety. Pack a book, music, or some activity to keep you distracted.
8. Set realistic expectations
It's vital to set realistic expectations for your trip. Don't feel pressure to fit in too many activities or take on too much responsibility.