Top 10 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling
Avoid getting sick on your next trip with these tips from the experts.
Wash Your Hands“Hand washing is the single most important thing anybody can do to protect their health,” advises. Dr. Philip Tierno, professor of Microbiology and Pathology at NYU School of Medicine and author of The Secret Life of Germs. He says you should spend 20 seconds washing, including under the nail beds.
If you can’t wash your hands right away, Dr. Tierno warns against touching your face to prevent germs from entering via your eyes, nose or mouth. Additionally, Dr. Tierno and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend using hand sanitizer as an alternative to soap and water. 960 1280
Visit a Travel ClinicPhyllis Kozarsky, MD, professor of medicine and infectious diseases at Emory University, recommends visiting a travel clinic beforehand, particularly if you’re traveling to a developing country. The International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) provides a list of travel clinics across the world. “It’s virtually impossible for even an outstanding general doctor… to keep up to date with all the things going on internationally.”
She suggests visiting a travel clinic 4-6 weeks prior to a trip. In addition to receiving any pertinent travel inoculations, Dr. Kozarsky also advises getting up to date with routine immunizations, such as tetanus and flu shots. 960 1280
Boost Your Immunity Before a Long FlightTravel expert Wendy Perrin, Founder of WendyPerrin.com, suggests taking Vitamin C before boarding a long flight. “Air is recycled on planes, and there are so many germs that can spread through the air on a plane.”
Emergen-C is also convenient since it comes in packets and can be added to water.
Carry a Medical KitDr. Kozarsky advises packing whatever you use on a regular basis at home, including prescriptions, in a carry-on bag. She says Tylenol, Ibuprofen, cold medications, Neosporin, cortisone cream, first aid, Band-aids, gauze pads and medical tape are among the items in her kit.
Perrin says when traveling to developing countries she also brings Immodium for an upset stomach and a prescription antibiotic such as Zithromax or Cipro. Of course, ask your doctor what’s best for you. 960 1280
Prevent Bug BitesThe extent to which you protect yourself depends on where you’re traveling, and the types of activities you’ll be doing, says Dr. Kozarsky. For example, Zika virus is currently prevalent in South America, the Caribbean and more. Check the CDC site for the most recent updates. However, Dr. Kozarsky cautions there are other serious mosquito-borne diseases to protect against, like malaria or dengue fever. In those cases, she recommends using an insect repellent containing between 25 and 35 percent DEET.
For more complete coverage, clothing may be treated with permethrin. She also suggests Picaridin, which is newer and considered milder on skin than DEET, but questions the effectiveness of more natural products in preventing bug bites. “Use an EPA-recommended product.” 960 1280
Stay HydratedLong flights, activity-packed days and hot climates require more liquid than typically consumed at home. Opt for bottled water over sugary drinks, and strive for the equivalent of eight 8 oz. glasses during the course of a day. Certain foods, including watermelon, yogurt and cucumbers, also contain a high water content. 960 1280
Be Careful What You Eat and DrinkDr. Kozarsky notes that the CDC provides a lot of general recommendations, but “it’s not clear how much they work, as it depends on contamination of the food or beverage at any point when it could be handled.” That said, experts agree eating hot, steaming food is the safest option. In developing countries, the CDC suggests avoiding raw food, fruits and vegetables washed in tap water and food from street vendors. It’s okay to drink boiled or bottled water, hot beverages and carbonated drinks, but be careful of ice cubes made from tap water.
Dr. Tierno also warns against drinking the water in airplane bathrooms. “It is contaminated… it’s teeming with bacteria,” he says. He personally uses a hand sanitizer instead of washing his hands with it. 960 1280
ExerciseIf a regular fitness routine is part of a healthy lifestyle at home, try to maintain it while on the road. Many hotels include fitness centers, and in-room fitness programs are a growing trend. For example, celebrity yoga instructor Tara Stiles teemed up with W Hotels to provide short, instructional yoga videos. Depending on the area you’re in, running or riding bikes are also great ways to sightsee. 960 1280
Use Common SenseExperts say to practice the same behaviors while traveling that you would at home. For example, Dr. Kozarsky doesn’t think it’s realistic for people to sanitize everything around them, and it also infringes on one’s ability to enjoy a trip. She cites how many germs we encounter in our daily lives, from the mall to the movie theater, “yet, somehow we become paranoid when we’re out of town.” 960 1280
Atlantis Paradise Island Resort
The legendary underwater world bearing the same name has nothing on this Bahamian resort that beckons children and their parents with luxurious resort surroundings and outrageous kids' activities. Kids can choose their own adventures at the stellar AKA (Atlantis Kids Adventure) program. Aspiring chefs can twist pretzels or make pizza in culinary classes and budding architects can don their hard hats and get building in the Lego Construction room. Wizards? Check. There's a cozy tree with perfect nooks for reading the latest magical tale. Extravagant tea party? Atlantis has this one covered, too, in the life-sized Victorian dollhouse equipped with the highest quality in pretend kitchens. There's gaming systems galore, a performance gallery complete with costumes and equipment to make movies, and arts and crafts to rival the best art institute. If the kids ever choose to leave the club, parents might squeeze in a fast family meal before the wee ones are off to the water slides, river rides, rock climbing or marine habitat.960 1280
Smuggler’s Notch Resort
Sure, school is out, but the kids won't mind being students enrolled in the ski programs at Smugglers Notch. Aspiring snowboarders can learn the ropes on Burton snowboards equipped with a softer flex and beveled bottom that help with the learning curve. Cross-country skiers can hone their skills on the bumps and play area at the mini terrain park. The staff is so confident in their students at Snow Sport University that there's a refund if participants don't learn or improve. When class is out, kids can tackle a new hill -- the 22-foot giant double lane slide and the rest of the inflatable fun at FunZone. Indoor pools, dog-sledding, ice-skating and art classes are available to keep the entire family busy.960 1280
Rancho de los Caballeros
Saddle up for a unique spring break at an old-school dude ranch in Arizona. It's like sleep-away camp for the entire family, but with better food and cozier accommodations. Rancho de los Caballeros has been giving families an insider's look at cowboy life since 1947, so it's no surprise they've mastered the art of the family vacation. The children's club starts at 8:00 a.m. with breakfast before a ride on the trails or around the corral for the mini cowboys and girls. The kids are busy with swimming, crafts, hiking, sports and scavenger hunts while parents can spend some time relaxing or playing golf. After lunch, the family is reunited for some together time and more horseback riding or just horsing around in the pool. Then come dinner time, the kids are back to the club and a campfire while mom and dad enjoy dinner in the dining room. It's the best of both worlds and, best of all, most activities in the children's program are free of charge.960 1280
Sandy LaneSandy Lane Resort is a spring break destination to aspire toward with chauffeured luxury cars, palatial suites and chilled, scented towels on arrival. This exclusive resort is pricy, but a worthy investment if you're looking for a refined resort atmosphere with plenty of engaging activities to keep the little ones happy. Parents can enjoy a few rounds of golf on impeccably manicured fairways or slip into the spa for a massage or the moisturizing Rose Hydrating Cocoon. Kids will dig the Treehouse Club with themed events and activities like nature walks, sports, crafts and carnival days, complete with stilt-walking. Teens chill in the Den with pool, air hockey, video games and organized pool parties and water sports. The whole family will love swimming with the rare Hawksbill turtles in the reefs located just off the shore. 960 1280
Steamboat SpringsSteamboat Springs is a dreamboat for families with great children's ski instructions and a bundle of après-ski activities. The Kid's Vacation Center is the starting point for families with a streamlined check-in process and a spacious facility to prepare your young ones for the cold. Lessons are available for kids starting at 2.5-years-old, and there are 5 kids-only slopes where little ones can master the art of the wedge before moving on to the kiddies terrain park. The Rough Rider Basin is a nod to the Old West with teepees, a log-cabin playhouse and snack areas. The whole family will enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the Great Rockies followed with a soak in the area's natural hot springs. Kids Fly Free domestic packages coupled with Kids Rent Free and Kids Ski Free all reduce the price of one cool family vacation. 960 1280
Loews Coronado BaySan Diego is an ideal pick for families looking for spring break fun with loads of diversity. There's the beach, of course, but there are also great parks, cool museums and 2 fantastic zoos. The San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park is a sprawling and hilly enclave made up of 9 unique zones spread out over 100 acres. Plan on spending a few hours checking out the polar bears, elephants and gorillas, and hop on the guided bus to learn about the animals and give your legs a rest. The Wild Animal Park, 35 miles outside of the city, provides a safari experience as you traverse the 1,800-acre park in an open bus perfect for viewing the herds of wild animals like rhinos and giraffes in a more natural setting. The Loews Coronado Bay resort makes kids and teens feel right at home with club activities, water sports, surfing classes and gondola rides through the Coronado Cays canals. 960 1280
Kauai Surf School
If you can swim, then you can surf. At least that's what the folks at Kauai Surf School believe. Families can arrange for group sessions so the whole crew can wipe out and encourage each other to hop back up again. Group lessons maintain a ratio of 4 students for every instructor, ensuring that everyone has ample time to catch some waves. Parents must accompany children under 12 in group lessons. The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort is a family-favorite with an outrageous pool complex including saltwater lagoons and freshwater pools with waterfalls, grottos and a 150-foot slide. Parents don't need to feel guilty about dropping off the keiki, or kids, at Camp Hyatt where kids ages 3-12 can learn the hula, meet the resident parrots or make cool cultural crafts.960 1280
Kalahari Resort Wisconsin DellsWisconsin is king of water parks, and these monstrous slides aren't limited to the great outdoors. Families can save on the sunscreen and splurge on the fun at this indoor water wonderland made up of 125,000 square feet of slides, lazy rivers, wave pools and whirlpools. The Master Blaster uphill water rollercoaster and family raft river rapids are not to be missed. If you can get the kids out of the pool, there's an indoor theme park with a Ferris wheel, indoor go-carts, bowling and arcade games. Admission to the water park is included in the price for on-site accommodations, which include standard hotel rooms and roomier family suites. 960 1280
South Seas Island Resort
In the midst of hectic resorts and crowded beaches, Captiva Island feels like a secret spot where families can turn it down and enjoy a retreat from the everyday. Located on Florida's Gulf Coast, the area has unspoiled beaches and unique wildlife that can be encountered while kayaking through the quiet estuaries or touring the freshwater ponds. It's also a great spot for collecting seashells, so bring along a bucket. But don't confuse a bit of peace and quiet with boring -- there's plenty to do at South Seas Island Resort from sailing in the harbor to playing in the lagoon pool complex or sliding down the waterslides at H2Whoa!960 1280