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8 Holiday Travel Essentials to Stay Healthy

8 Holiday Travel Essentials to Stay Healthy

December 19, 2022 Posted in: Health & Wellness  5 minute read time

 

It’s that time of year when many of us take time off work and travel to spend the holidays with family and friends. Or, maybe you’re planning your next solo trip in time to welcome the new year in some exotic location.

Whether you’re planning to travel by plane, car, or boat, it’s wise to be prepared. After all, no one wants their trip cut short or disrupted by pesky allergies or the common cold. While you can’t be 100% immune to viruses, these surprising packing tips can help make life on the road easier (and hopefully germ-free).

1. Compression socks

Compression socks are helpful for long flights or train rides. Sitting for hours at a time without stretching can lead to poor circulation. Compression socks work by squeezing your legs to move blood up your legs. They can help with swelling and prevent blood clots, aches, and a heavy feeling in your legs. There are many compression stockings in the market, and which one you need depends on how much pressure you need. Talk to your primary care provider about which one you need.

2. Shower sandals

Going barefoot in a public shower, such as the one you see at a hostel or swimming pools, may not be a great idea. If there are plenty of germs lurking around in doorknobs and countertops, imagine what’s on a wet floor. Shower sandals or flip-flops can help prevent fungal infections, including athlete’s foot–the most common one.

3. Water purification tablets

Drinking tap water in some developing countries can be risky, but so is dehydration. Staying hydrated is essential when traveling. You can disinfect tap water by boiling it, but that may not always be an option when traveling. A much easier way to purify water is by adding water purification tablets to your water. They come in liquid and powder and contain the disinfectants iodine or chlorine. They're the perfect emergency water purification system for hiking, traveling, or camping. Alternatively, you can buy a sealed water bottle. If drinking from a can, remember to wipe off the lip of the can before taking your first sip.

4. Water bottle humidifier

Dry air can be a problem for babies and adults with asthma or sinus problems. At home, it's much easier to whip out a humidifier to increase moisture. But packing a standard-size humidifier isn't what we’d call packing smart. Pack a water bottle humidifier instead. These come in compact sizes and can fit in your suitcase or carry-on bag. These are perfect for eliminating dry air on vacations or business trips.

5. Allergy medicine and saline spray

If you have allergies, allergy medicine is important to pack. You’d be surprised how many people with chronic allergies forget it at home. Pack your medication in your purse or carry-on bag, so it's easily accessible, and don’t forget the saline spray. It comes in handy on airplanes where the air tends to be dry. For medicines not sold over the counter, throw them in your bag in their original packaging and include the prescription or written note from your doctor.

Once at your destination, you may be able to check the pollen levels daily, so you know what to expect and can plan accordingly.

6. Small microfiber towel

Have you ever been in a public restroom only to realize there are no hand towels or hand dryers? Pack a small microfiber towel to keep in your bag while traveling or sightseeing. Next time the bathroom dryer is out of work or the hand towels are running low, you won’t have to go far to dry your hands.

7. Expanded first-aid kit

We live in a global world with COVID-19 and other viruses like the flu and RSV lingering in the air. Your first aid kit should include more than bandages, thermometers, or antibacterial ointments. Add disposable masks, COVID-19 home tests, and hand sanitizer to your kit. While no longer required on planes, wearing a mask on public transportation adds an extra layer of protection and makes others feel at ease.

8. Small disposable bags 

It may not sound like a traveling essential, but it will come in handy when you're stuck in the middle seat and need to blow your nose. Keep germs at bay by using hand sanitizer and throwing your used tissues in a small storage bag you can later toss when you get to your destination. Disposable bags have many other uses, so you won’t regret bringing a few extras.

The Takeaway

Traveling can indeed increase your chances of getting sick, but that shouldn’t stop you from making memories. If traveling out of the country, you may need specific vaccines. Check your destination country’s entry requirements and talk to your doctor or travel clinic. Regardless of your travel destination, you should get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines before going on your next adventure. Most vaccines take time to become effective, so get them as soon as possible.

Sources

Humidifiers and health: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

Traveler's Health: MedlinePlus

Travelers' Health | CDC

Survival Guide to Safe and Healthy Travel | Travelers' Health | CDC

Pack Smart | Travelers' Health | CDC

Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling | Travelers' Health | CDC

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