Staying healthy when travelling
I’m heading off to France this weekend for a few days. Staying healthy when travelling can be tricky when you can’t rely on your ‘go-to’ shops and restaurants for food, your usual workout routine and your bed-time routine. It gets even trickier when, like me you suffer from an autoimmune disease and follow a restricted diet.
A lot of people find airports and air travel particularly stressful. From travelling to the airport (have I given myself enough time?), to checking in (will my luggage be the right weight / size?), to going through security (will I miss my flight due to the queue? am I carrying something I’m not supposed to? have I taken off everything I’m supposed to? have I collected all my belongings?), to finding healthy food and drinks in the airport have before the flight or bring on the flight.
Then there’s the actual flight itself which can be a stress on the body between the cramped conditions, dehydration and air pressure.
Here are the things I do when I travel to help keep me as healthy as possible.
- I like to be prepared with places I can eat. By the wonder that is Google, I usually look up supermarkets, health food shops, juice bars and healthy restaurants. Some places are obviously better than others for what’s available. When booking a place to stay, I like to stay somewhere that has at least a kettle and a fridge so I can make a tea and I can store snacks and food that I’ve bought in the supermarket.
- If I’m going somewhere where the language isn’t English I write down key phrases such as “I can’t eat gluten / dairy”, “No dressing / sauce etc” so I have them to hand when eating out. Much easier than trying to mime what I mean!
- I pack food into my suitcase and my carry-on so that I’m prepared for an emergency. Good things to pack are some tinned fish (sardines and mackerel in olive oil are my current favourites), herbal tea bags, vacuum packed olives, nuts, dried fruit and even sachets of green powder that can be mixed with water to make a green drink. I usually pack a light meal in my carry-on to bring on board and some fruit and healthy snacks. Then at the airport when I’m through security, I’ll buy a big bottle of water to bring on board with me.
- When it comes to planning my airport visit I’ll book and pay that extra money to go through security quicker. I think this is money well spent as it relieves so much stress on the day.
On the flight
- I make sure to stay hydrated throughout the flight. I avoid caffeine and fizzy water and drink water and warm herbal teas instead.
- I eat as light as possible throughout the flight to try to avoid bloating
- I get up and walk around to stretch the legs to avoid cramping up.
- I bring a little bag with toiletries so I can hydrate my skin with body lotion, moisturizer and water spritz and refresh myself before landing.
- I bring essential oils that I can use to help with travel and/or jet lag.
- If I’m feeling congested, eucalyptus oil is a great oil for clearing the sinuses.
- If I’m on a long haul flight I’ll try to sleep, I’ll meditate and try to relax as much as possible.
When I get to my destination
- I try to get on local time as quickly as possible (this may mean going straight to bed or it may mean staying up for a few more hours). If it’s the day time I’ll walk around to get the daylight and get the blood pumping. This is really helpful for getting over jetlag quicker.
- Again I continue to drink water to top up my hydration.
- If there’s a supermarket close by my hotel I usually go and buy some supplies.
- When it comes to eating, I just do my best. If my planning has gone well I should have a number of places that I can go to. I have my non negotiables (gluten, dairy, junk food) and then I have other foods that I can probably work around.
- When it comes to bed-time, if my hotel room has a bath, I try to have a bath before bed to help me relax.
- I usually pack ear plugs and a sleep mask so I can blog out noise and light when I am trying to sleep. Again essential oils are helpful here.
- I also pack some Magnesium Citrate tablets which I take before going to sleep. These tablets help get things ticking along as air travel and time differences can mess this up. Magnesium is also great for aiding sleep.
I’d love to hear your tips for travel.