Comprehensive Travel Health And Well-Being Advice From Those Who Travel Full Time Or For Long Periods Of Time.
For many, travel is an essential part of who we are and for some it is simply a way of life. Here are some well documented tips essential for anyone looking for different ways to uphold a healthy lifestyle whilst on the road or how to travel with an illness, condition, or disease. Travel health and well-being is an important aspect of one’s wandering lifestyle.
TRAVEL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING TIP #1
by Erin Michaela @ Arrive Well
Travel gets us out of our comfort zone; it heightens our awareness, stimulates our senses, and breaks the monotonous daily routines that we settle into. While invigorating at first, this lack of structure in our day, especially when we are away from home, can leave us feeling a bit like we just stepped off a tilt-a-whirl. Here are some 2 ways to keep you energized and feeling ready for adventure wherever your journey may take you.
Alternate Nostril Breathing: This is one of several techniques you may find helpful to get through stressful situations when away from home. Here’s how it works: With your preferred hand, make a “peace” sign, then curl those fingers in towards your palm. Then take your ring finger and thumb and bring those fingers around to either side of your nose. With your eyes open or closed, gently cover one nostril with your thumb, take a deep breath in through the opposite side of your nose. Close both nostrils at the top of your breath, then slowly lift your thumb and release the breath through the opposite nostril. Repeat the whole thing, this time starting on the other side. Keep this going for a few breaths, until you are feeling relaxed, calm, and comfortable.
Play with Essential Oils: When dealing with stress, sadness, or chronic pain, give essential oils a try. They are great to help you relax, wake up, get energized and more. In my travel bag, I usually have tea tree oil for its antimicrobial properties and peppermint to invigorate. I love blending a few drops of peppermint into my lotion and rubbing on sore feet or legs after a long day of walking. And lastly, eucalyptus and lavender to give your morning shower that spa-like feel, even if you are staying at a local motel. Use just a couple of drops of both in between your fingertips and take a soothing breath. Try out different blends and find what you like best. Simple, affordable, creature comforts for life on the road.
TRAVEL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING TIP #2
Travelling With A Disease
by Iulia Falcutescu @ The Traveling Tulip
I have been traveling for the past 10 years now. Up until two years ago, I had absolutely no travel routine. I would usually pack just before the day of the journey, would not bring any medication with me at all and, overall, would not organize anything for the trip. Everything changed when I was diagnosed with thrombophilia and venous insufficiency. Since then, I have an entire travel routine, which includes exercises for my legs, administering medication and needing to be very careful.
Thrombophilia is a disease that coagulates the blood at a faster rhythm than normal. Combined with venous insufficiency, this may cause blood clots (thrombosis). Due to the air pressure when flying, the possibility of clots forming is even higher. Two, three hours before flying, I administer some anti-coagulants, as prescribed by my physician. During the flight, I need to get up from time to time and perform some exercises, meant to make my blood circulate. Since I cannot use compression socks (I am allergic to the material used for producing those!), I must amplify the exercises once I land and massage my legs with a cream, which contains anti-coagulant medication. Another injection with anti-coagulant medication after 24 hours completes my routine.
For some, this entire routine might appear exhausting and hard to achieve, but for me, it has become a habit, which makes me think more of the things that I really enjoy in life, like traveling.
TRAVEL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING TIP #3
Food and Exercise for Full Time Travellers
by Monique MacPhail @ Honeymoon Backpackers
We’ve been on the road for almost two years now, travelling the world on our honeymoon. Keeping fit and healthy is something that we both consider to be important. Back in 2013, we spent a year in Central/North America and both came home 10kg heavier! We eventually lost the weight again, however, it took a big toll on our mental health. So this time around we were determined to look after our health and wellbeing whilst travelling. The two main area’s we focus on to keep healthy is food and exercise.
We have found the local markets a godsend for keeping healthy while travelling. Although you’re in a foreign country and you’re not familiar with the local cuisine, you’re bound to find delicious fresh produce at the local markets! We’d treat ourselves in Thailand with exotic fruits like mangosteen, lychees, and mangos for breakfast, and locally grown greens and mushrooms for dinner. This enables us to make healthy diet choices without compromising learning the local culture. Eating healthy is all about balance and moderation, by shopping for food at the local market, we’re able to get the goodness and nutrients we need. It’s hard to stick to a diet when you’re travelling as you want to try all the delicious local food. By making sure you get your daily intake of fruit and vegetables, you’re free to indulge in delicious local cuisines.
There’s no excuse for not exercising when you’re travelling. No money, no equipment, no space and no time to exercise? No worries, there’s always options and variations to keep fit while travelling. We do a daily yoga flow usually outside, or where ever we can find space. Sometimes we mix it up with a mini circuit; consisting of planks, sit ups, push ups, lunges, squats, and burpees. We always travel with a resistant band to help keep fit while travelling. It takes up next to no room in our bag and enables you to push yourself that little extra. Setting a realistic exercise goal is important too. You’re not going to exercise every day when travelling, but you can aim for twice a week. Even if it’s just 10 minutes or 10 push ups, any exercise is better than nothing. Make choices that support your health and wellbeing, by walking instead of taking a taxi or riding a bike instead of a motorbike. The choices you make helps you look after your health and well-being whilst travelling.
TRAVEL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING TIP #4
by Heather Loewel @ With Wild Wonder
I absolutely believe in indulging while on holiday, but with a healthy balance. My favorite way to stay fit while traveling is to wake up one hour before whatever I’ve planned for the day (or before everyone else) and go for a quick jog around the city. This hour would include getting ready, a 20-30 minute jog and shower.
I especially like this routine because it gives you an early morning perspective of the life in the place you’re visiting.
In Venice, I ran past workers manually pulling carts full of rubbish from the previous evening to the boats for disposal. In Ronda, Spain, I ran past shopkeepers setting up their wares and sweeping the entrance to their storefronts. While jogging down Las Ramblas in Barcelona, I was cheered on by a group of men who were still partying from the night before. Because of the night culture, the streets in the Greek Isles would be quiet, and I’d get the peaceful morning perspective of the party beaches. I have run through farmland in Africa and I’ve also been able to train for marathons while on holiday with this quick morning routine. This habit doesn’t have to be running; brisk walking could be a modification to this routine.
TRAVEL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING TIP #5
by Amanda Zateh @ Health Nut Nomad
Eating healthy while traveling has always been a constant battle for me. I’m a person who absolutely loves food almost as much as I love traveling – the two are so intertwined in my eyes that if one of them falls off the rails, the other soon follows. I get stuck in this mindset that because I’m on vacation, I get a free pass to eat as much as I possibly can and I’ll worry about losing the weight when I get back. I’ve come to realize that this is a lose-lose mentality because I end up feeling bloated and lethargic while traveling and when I come home, I feel down-trodden and hopeless as I poke my pudgy belly.
After traveling to 63+ countries, I realized something: I am my very best self when I am exercising regularly, eating a plant-based diet, and traveling the globe. I have been traveling for the last five years and have been to obscure locations like Sierra Leone, Iraq, Myanmar, and I currently reside in Azerbaijan. Obviously, these places are not the easiest places to eat healthily. I can never find kale here in Baku, avocadoes and tofu are an upwards of $50 or more, and the winters are so cold that fresh tropical fruit is a faraway dream. But, that’s no excuse! In order to eat healthy, I rely on one thing and one thing only: I practice mindful eating.
Mindful eating is the practice of listening to what your body is craving at any given moment. And, after really, truly listening to your body, you then go and feed it exactly what it wants. Ideally, it will ask you for vitamin C when you’re fighting off a cold, so all you have to do is grab some citrus. Sometimes, my body asks me for some carbs after a hard workout, so I grab a healthy, low-GI version that won’t make my blood sugar skyrocket (helloooo soba noodles!) It is the practice of quieting your mind, so that the internal dialogue between you and your body can take place. Your body is a smart, crafty being and it is very good at knowing what it wants. All you have to do is listen. Exercise that internal dialogue.
TRAVEL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING TIP #6
Cortices or Tapping
by Theresa Ho @ Happy Free Lifestyle
This is a stress reduction technique called cortices. I often use it whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed and out of sort, and want to take a step back to get grounded and connect within. This is a technique that can be done as often and as frequently as you like and it only takes two to three minutes. It’s helps to bring awareness into your body, improves your thinking, your memory, your concentration and really has a general positive effect on the overall physiology of your body. What you are doing is re-booting your brain to improve your overall well-being.
Begin by placing one hand at the base of your skull where it meets the neck (keeping your fingers and thumb together). With the other hand you are going to spread your fingers, and begin gently tapping your head a few times, 1-2-3. Next tap your heart (located on the left side of your chest) a few times, 1-2-3. Alternate this for two full breath cycles.
Next you are going to move your hand up onto the head to the position just above the one you just used. And repeat the procedure – tapping and maintaining your deep breaths for two full breath cycles. Continue the procedure, until you cover the whole midline of head. One hand-width at a time –from the base of the skull until your hand reaches the front of your forehead (just above the eyebrows).
When we tap our head, we are restoring the communication between the right and left hemisphere of our brain. When we tap our heart, we are telling the heart to restore the changes we have made.
Once your hand has reached the top of your forehead and completed the tapping exercise. Move your two hands to cover the sides of the head. This is where a lot of your emotions are stored. Hold for 3 seconds. And then release one hand and tap your head and heart, remembering to breathe. Do this for two full breath cycles. Switch sides. And repeat.
After completing this practice, you should feel more at peace and more grounded. So why not give this technique a go when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, and if it helps, start to incorporate it into your daily success habits.
TRAVEL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING TIP #7
by Yamy Hartsough @ Gofamgo
Our family travels with my 80-year old grandmother who has End Stage Kidney Failure. This chronic illness comes with numerous restrictions and a requirement to be on dialysis. We do her dialysis daily at home. This did not hamper her passion for traveling. Instead, we make sure that we prepare for issues that could make her travel less fun. It’s a family effort like it should be.
Before traveling, we touch base with her health care team making sure that she is fit to travel and to let them know that she will be in a different location. It’s important to be mindful of what her difficulties could be, such as easy fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and more. We adjust our plans like taking breaks in between tours, seeing if our destinations would accommodate her needs for mobility, ensuring that our destination will have access to health facilities and medications like hers if we needed them, among others. As part of our packing essentials, we bring with us a printout that contains her doctor’s name and contact information, her medical and surgical history, medication list including generic name, dose, and frequency. This helps an unfamiliar healthcare team to spend less time figuring out who she is and more time to treat her if necessary. You could read about our recent travel to Walt Disney World and how we arrange for her to do dialysis there (external link provided). Most importantly, her happiness comes before her restrictions. What’s the point of being on vacation if she can’t enjoy the steak with the rest of her family?
TRAVEL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING TIP #8
by by Lara Sosanwo @ Her Backpack Bliss
We all love to travel, but let’s be honest. Sometimes it can get a tat stressful, for both your body and your mind. Doing a bit of bedtime yoga is a perfect way to remove some physical and mental tension. The big plus: you’ll only need your beautiful self and a bed! So you’ll be able to do it every day, no matter where you are.
Start by laying on your back on the bed, with your buttock against the wall and your legs up. By putting your legs up high against the wall the blood easily flows down, leaving you with legs as light as feathers. The next step is calming your mind. Do this by focussing on your breath, apply belly or abdominal breathing. Let your stomach come up with every long inhalation, and softly fall back down with every exhalation. Focus on your breathing, letting it be long and soft and flowing smoothly.
A lot of the tension of the day we carry are in our hips. So now bend your knees and place the soles of your feet together, creating butterfly legs. Try opening your hips by pushing your knees towards the wall with every exhalation.
Now bend your knees to your chest and hug them. To come out of the pose, roll on your right side, use your right hand as a pillow and stay here for a while if you like. When you feel ready, adjust yourself and curl up under your blanket for a good night’s rest.
TRAVEL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING TIP #9
by Amiekay Richrick @ Amiekay’s Adventure
I think staying healthy while traveling is one of the hardest things to do, especially if you are on a backpacker’s budget and don’t have health insurance. This is further complicated if you have an ongoing condition like I do with my anxiety.
I do a couple of things while I’m traveling and don’t have access to a doctor. These include taking anti-inflammatory supplements such as omega-3 and turmeric. Several studies have shown these substances help relieve some of the symptoms of disorders like anxiety and depression, and I have seen this to be true in my own personal experience. Honestly, I started taking them with very low expectations, and they have helped me more than regular meditation or exercise ever has. And the best things about them? You don’t need a prescription. Both are also inexpensive and readily available in most countries.
TRAVEL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING TIP #10
by Krystal Kelly @ Krys Kolumbus Travel
Be open minded to alternative medicine. I had a lot of health issues when I first started my long-term life abroad. I left the USA back in 2010 and although I was only 21 and had never been abroad, I ended up working with horses and traveling in countries such as Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Bhutan, Zambia, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar and more. In the first year of my life as an expat I discovered that although I was riding 8 horses daily to maintain my fitness, the exposure to the new foods and bacteria did a number on my body.
I went to various doctors and even had some very different experiences with alternative medicines. Since traditional medicine in the USA is expensive and requires doctors, I was surprised to discover that many of the brands I knew at home could be bought over the counter directly from the pharmacy while living abroad. I also discovered that experimenting with various treatments and alternative medicines made a huge difference in my health and day to day life in “crazy countries.” I began to seek out local traditional methods such as Ayurveda, homeopathy, reiki healing, yoga, breathing and meditation techniques, sound therapy, and more. Because medical treatments in countries such as India, for example, were a fraction of what I would have spent on insurance and treatments at home I even began to branch out on my long-term health treatments by seeking local dental care, dermatologists, traditional healers, guru’s, and craniosacral therapists. I wish I had trusted earlier on the quality of seeking local medical specialists in the countries that I lived and travelled. I suffered a lot in the beginning due to an array of health issues common for early travellers but these days I am confident to travel to ANY country and trust that the best people to ask advice when dealing with local illnesses is in fact, the locals!
This is a comprehensive collection of tips from bloggers who have travelled or are travelling on a long term basis. Travel health and well-being is essential in this day and age and I hope you have gained some wonderful insights.
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