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Wherever you travel, these tips should help you stay well and enjoy the journey. Always get international travel insurance before you travel, so that if you need a doctor or worse still, hospitalisation, your emergency medical expenses will be covered.
It’s almost summer, which means it’s almost time for you to head for the airport and jet off on a summer holiday. And, while that’s all very exciting, you also know that an airplane can be a haven for germs —germs you don’t want to pick up on your way to what’s supposed to be a relaxing, rejuvenating vacation.
So, how can you stay healthy while you travel? Here are 10 of the easiest ways to make sure you’re in tip-top shape from start to finish this getaway season.
Table of Contents
- 1 10 Pre-boarding Secrets to Staying Healthy When You Fly and Travel
- 2 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
10 Pre-boarding Secrets to Staying Healthy When You Fly and Travel
1. Rest Up
No matter how hectic your packing and prep schedule may be, you need to get rest before you get on board an aircraft. Sleep deprivation causes your body to slow down its production of antibodies that fight infection. And, if you do end up catching a bug, sleep helps you recover faster because you produce proteins that fight inflammation or infection. So, rest up and head to the airport with ample Z’s in the bank.
2. Drink Up, Too
Again, your to-do list might keep you from maintaining your normal healthy routine before you fly out. Don’t let yourself get dehydrated because water is just as important to your immune system as sleep is.
A healthy dose of water helps your body remove any lingering toxins. It keeps blood flowing, too, which is especially important when you’re sitting still on an airplane for a long-haul flight. Water helps your immune system-strengthening cells to travel around the body more efficiently, too. Oh, and a whetted whistle will better repel dirt and germs floating around the cabin.
3. Clean Your Shoes
It sounds silly, but if everyone cleaned their shoes before they boarded an airplane, the entire vessel would be a cleaner place. Think about it: your shoes are on the ground and pick up a little bit of everything. You probably don’t clean them that often, either, which means there’s a chance they’re carrying infection-causing bacteria.
In fact, a study by the State of Arizona found that there were nine different kinds of bacteria on subjects’ shoes, which could easily transfer to carpeting. What kind of flooring do they usually have on planes? Yep, that’s right —time for all of us to start washing our shoes pre-flight.
4. Pack Hand Sanitizer
As soon as you reach your row, you likely grab hold of the seats in front to steady yourself as you make your way to your chair. You touch the armrest, the seat belt, and the cushion of your chair. All of these things have been touched by previous passengers, and you never know what kinds of germs they may have been transporting. That’s why you need to make sure you have hand sanitizer in your carry-on so you can fight germs throughout the flight.
5. Organize Your Bag Well
A big source of germs on the airplane is the seat-back pocket. And, despite this, so many passengers plunge all of their personal belongings deep into the pocket as soon as they board.
If you make sure to ready your purses, briefcase or backpack is well organized, you can avoid using the seat-back pocket entirely. Instead, you’ll be able to stow your bag beneath the seat in front of you and easily reach for your phone, tablet, book… whatever you need without using the plane’s built-in —and widely used —storage.
6. Layer Your Clothes Well
You never know if you’re going to get on a plane that’s ice-cold or stiflingly hot. Therefore, you have to layer your airplane outfit effectively. You can add and remove layers depending on the temperature, rather than reaching for the air-conditioning vent to open or close it: this tiny little device usually has more germs on it than the flush button in the airplane bathroom.
7. … or Pack Your Own Blanket (and Pillow)
If you know you’ll be tempted to curl up beneath an airline blanket or rest your weary head on a plane provided pillow, be sure to bring your own. The verdict is still out on how often these freebies are cleaned by the airline, so it’s best not to risk it. As an added bonus, the pillow you buy for yourself will probably be a lot more comfortable than the one that comes with your seat.
8. Pack a Nasal Mist
Remember how water helped keep dust and germs out of your mouth? The same goes for a nasal spray, which keeps your nasal passages moist and ready to fight off any airborne particles that might otherwise make you sick. If you don’t have one on-hand and you’re about to head for the airport, some people also dab a bit of Neosporin or Vaseline inside of their nostrils to moisturize and catch germs on the way in.
9. Prep Enough Snacks
On your long-haul flight, you probably get a nice, hot meal. But just in case your dish doesn’t come out piping hot, you need to have some backup food on hand. Undercooked airline dinners can be a source of bacteria that will challenge your immune system. You can send your plate back for something hotter or forego your plane-ready meal in favor of your self-provided sustenance.
10. Choose Your Seat Wisely
Finally, while booking your flight —or grabbing your seat on an open-call airline like Southwest —avoid taking an aisle seat where possible. Some experts believe that this seating position exposes you to more germs because more passengers walk by you, and walk by you with germs they’ve picked up from the airplane toilet. You’ll also get fewer contaminants on the seat by the window since fewer people scoot all the way down the row.
Now, It’s Time to Fly
These 10 tips should be enough to help you stave off any airborne illness on your next flight. Better yet, with proper sleep, hydration, and germ-fighting tactics, you might feel better than ever when you step off the plane and into a vacation —and that’s the way every getaway should start.
Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Founder of Pretty Wild World and one of the leading experts in Europe travel, the Nordics, and Scandinavia Destinations.
Evan Kristine has been mentioned in big publications such as The Huffington Post and the Thought Catalog has been sharing her useful travel tips and hacks to the world for more than five years now.
Nowadays, she is a full-time traveler exploring and documenting her journey around the world providing you the next best travel idea for your great next adventure.