Traveling Healthy: 6 Tips to Get There in Style

We’re in the middle of the busiest travel week of the year.  Millions are going from point A to point B to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with loved ones and then to go plundering through malls searching for discounted goodies.  Holiday travel is full of stress, bad food, and uncomfortable seats.  Here are some strategies to survive it with aplomb.

Bring your own food. If you’re flying, you can’t pack liquids, but you can bring fruit, nuts, even a sandwich and tuck it in your bag.  If you’re driving, you can just stop for potty breaks and move quickly towards your destination.  If you’re on a train, they only sell a limited number of high calorie items.  And on a plane, you’re lucky if you get a bag of nuts these days. Avoid all the hassles by taking an extra 10 minutes to pack your own stuff.

Give yourself plenty of time. Pack the night before when you can take some extra time and plan wardrobe choices.  Make sure you’ve got all the toiletries you need.  Leave for the airport with plenty of time to go through the check-in process.  Remember, those newfangled scanners are in place now and they are slower than what we had before.  Everything takes more time.  Avoid the stress of being late and rushing and allow the time you need.  Don’t forget to calculate for airport traffic.

Take a pillow and blanket with you. The airlines had to change their pillow/blanket distribution routine in response to swine flu.  You can no longer get this former freebie from your stewardess.  Some flights are selling them inexpensively, but it’s not a rental; you have to take it with you.  So just tuck in a nice comfy pillow and blanket set instead.  You’ll be more comfortable when you need it.   I found this out the hard way on a red eye back from Vegas (thanks a lot JetBlue).

Stay hydrated. If you dehydrate, the membranes inside your nose dry out and leave you more vulnerable to germs.  It’s easier to catch a cold or the flu if you’re dehydrated.  Also being dehydrated can leave you more tired from the grind of travel.  I learned last year that flight stewards will sometimes swab the inside of their nose with petroleum jelly to create a barrier that germs can’t get through.  I’ve tried it a few times and didn’t get sick.  They swear by it.

Safe food to buy. If you’re at a terminal and have no choice but to the buy the food, stick with these: fruit cup, whole wheat bagel, grilled chicken sandwich (skip the fries and mayo), any kind of salad (put the dressing on the side and watch the cheese), or a package of nuts (try to avoid salted or sweetened).  This list will keep you reasonably okay and it’s better than most of the food available.

Wear comfy clothes. Let’s face it, when you’re traveling today, you’re really not much better than cattle.  Unless you are going straight from the tarmac to a cocktail party, just dress comfortably.  Slip-on shoes, a couple of layers so you can adjust to temperatures, and nice comfy pants.  If you can rest comfortably while traveling you’ll be refreshed once you get to your destination instead of tired and cranky.  Your friends and relatives will thank you for it.

If you have other tips for traveling well and arriving healthy please let me know.  I’d love to include them so we can share with each other.