Getting sick is even worse if you’re away from the comforts of home. We asked Virtuoso experts for their tips on how to stay healthy while traveling.
- “My pre-travel routine is all about boosting my immune system. A few days before my trip, I drink fresh juices to boost my intake of vitamins, ginger, Echinacea, and more. – Charles Wolfe, Virtuoso travel advisor
- “Check the CDC traveler’s website for destination specific guidance, recommended vaccines, and health notices.” – Jason Detar, Virtuoso travel advisor
- “Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. We all know to drink lots of water in flight, but I also make a point of swinging by a corner store – or even an airport newsstand – once I arrive at my destination to buy a couple bottles of water for my hotel room.” – Marika Cain, managing editor, Virtuoso Life
- “I always throw a handful of Emergen-C packets in my carry-on when packing. I down the first one with water on the plane, then I aim to take at least one a day while I’m on the road. I’m convinced the vitamin C boost helps strengthen my immune system, plus, the packets are easy to travel with. My other pro tip: Wash your hands all the time. It’s obvious, I know, but it’s important!” – Amy Cassell, associate editor, Virtuoso Life. Note: Similar supplements on the market include Airborne, Wellness Formula, EBOOST, and Wellness Fizz.
- “I’m a big believer in probiotics – good bacteria that help your digestive system. I start taking the supplements a week before traveling abroad, and I continue to take them throughout the trip. They are also found in some yogurts, so I try to include that in my daily breakfast.” – Melanie Fowler, design director, Virtuoso
- “Never touch the seat backs on an airplane, and whatever you do, DON’T put anything in the seat back pockets. Studies have repeatedly shown this is the dirtiest place on an airplane where sick bags are left, diapers, you name it. It is not a good place for your iPad, book, or anything you come in close contact with.” – Shelby Donley, Virtuoso travel agency owner. Note: Combat germs with travel-size packs of disinfecting wipes in your carry-on bag.
- “Water quality varies across the globe. Therefore, it is important to be aware of your destination’s tap water conditions. Research the water situation before you go, and if you don’t, make sure to ask about it when you arrive.” – Elisabeth Brown, VP of sales, Virtuoso travel agency
- “At the end of the day, sleep is crucial to your body fighting off viruses and bacteria. When your body gets run down, it’s far more susceptible to attack. Have a sleep plan when traveling in different time zones.” – Shelby Donley
- “I always try to eat a vegetable soup or grilled vegetables on the day I arrive. After plane food, it seems to work to keep me healthy.” – Annie Fitzsimmons, digital editor, Virtuoso
- “Try to limit your alcohol intake. Happy hour at a new bar in Paris may sound fine until you wake up with a head-splitting hangover the next day. Plus, excessive drinking impedes your immune system’s ability to keep you up and running.” – Rebecca Ratterman, assistant editor, Virtuoso
- “Get outside as much as possible and breath in fresh air, not air-conditioning! Vitamin D does wonders for the body.” – Traci Miller, account manager, Virtuoso marketing
- “Work out, wherever you are. I try to climb to the highest point in a city on the first or second day. It’s great exercise, gives you the best view of a city, and helps you get over jet lag. When I was in Florence a few weeks ago, I climbed more than 400 steps to the top of the bell tower next to the Duomo.” – Annie Fitzsimmons, digital editor, Virtuoso
- “When you vacation, try to truly unplug from the stresses of your job (that is why you work – to be able to enjoy life). I believe excessive stress will make anyone sick.” – Traci Miller, account manager, Virtuoso marketing
If you do end up getting sick while traveling, here are some pointers from John Gobbels, the VP & COO of MedjetAssist, which offers travel protection plans for medical emergencies around the world.
Pack Your Own Over-The-Counter Medications.
Some countries just don’t have the same medications we have available to us without a prescription from a local doctor. I usually plan for the basics: allergies, cold and cough, and the unfortunate traveler’s diarrhea.
Ask the Concierge.
We receive calls almost daily from members traveling abroad looking for hospital or physician recommendations. Our first response is always, “Have you asked the concierge?” This is in no way an attempt to shirk our duty, but the concierge usually has a direct line to preferred physicians and facilities, including some who will make “hotel calls.”
Buy Travel Insurance.
Purchase travel insurance that specifically covers direct medical costs while traveling outside your home country. Most domestic health insurance plans do not cover these costs.
Sign Up Before You Travel.
If you are diagnosed and admitted to a medical facility, call Medjet so we can begin the process of obtaining an initial medical assessment with your treating physician and start making arrangements to get you back to your home hospital, doctors, family, and friends. This peace of mind is priceless for our members.
Top photo by: Michael Blann/Getty Images