Happy healthy holidays! That’s right, the holiday season is officially upon us, and who wants to spend them feeling under the weather? That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite healthy holiday travel tips. So when you hit the road with your loved ones this season, you can focus on fun, rather than germs and sniffles.
In general, the best way to stay in tip-top shape while traveling is to take care of yourself. Stick to your routine as much as possible—and that includes everything from nutrition, to sleep, to hygiene practices. Sure, it’s tempting to keep late nights and blow off your healthy eating habits while you’re traveling. But with a little bit of planning and forethought, you can keep your family healthier with minimal effort. Keep reading to see if any of our healthy holiday travel tips could work for your family. Here at Opear, we wish you happy holidays and safe travels!
Pack nutritious road trip snacks
If you don’t do anything else this holiday season, heed our advice here. Bringing your own food along for the ride if it’s at all possible will pay off in spades if you’ll be traveling by car. Roadside eating establishments are sub-par at best; and that’s even the case for chain brands that you might visit on occasion at home. My family travels up and down the East Coast several times each year to visit family in New England, and one of our kids has ended up with food poisoning from eating rest-stop food not once, but twice!
Packing food for a road trip doesn’t have to be difficult or overly involved. Things like Go-Go Squeeze, Ritz crackers, dried fruit, nuts and seeds and portable peanut or almond butter packets are a great way to fill up when you’re on the go but can’t swing a full meal. Failing that, places like Panera, Whole Foods or Chik Fil A make better food choices than fast-food burger joints.
Check the cleanliness rating of hotels
Traveling home for the holidays? Looks like about 50% of us would prefer to stay in a hotel room rather than with Mom and Dad. While the extra space to stretch out is nice, remember that those pristine-looking hotel rooms could be hiding tons of germs. Of course they’re cleaned between visitors, but that doesn’t change the fact that hundreds, potentially thousands, of people have slept there prior to you. That means things like carpets, light switches, furniture and even cups and glasses have been touched tons of times with not much more than a light wipe-down. Kind of a yucky thought. The best defense? Just keep your hands clean like you normally would when you’re out in public. And if you use the hotel’s stuff, like the glasses for instance, a thorough hot-water rinse prior to using is probably a good idea.
Use elderberry or emergen-C to boost immunity
Especially if you’ll be flying, travel is a great way to pick up germs. That’s because germs love lots of people packed into tight spaces. Your best bet if you’ll be jostled around like a sardine on your holiday travels is to start an immune-boosting regimen a week or so before you leave. Supplements like Emergen-C and Elderberry have been shown to have some ability to boost your defenses against common viruses like a cold. And both come in varieties that are safe for kids as well.
Get a flu shot
Traveling or not, it’s time to get your flu shot! The CDC recommends getting it by the end of October, but it’s not too late. Getting a flu shot is an easy, largely free way to avoid one of the winter’s biggest adversaries, and it’s especially important if you’ll be traveling.
Practice good handwashing techniques
The old adage holds true: the number one best way to stay healthy, no matter what, is to wash your hands. Nasty viruses like colds, strep and norovirus can linger on surfaces for hours, and if you touch one of those surfaces and your hands end up in your mouth, you can get sick. This, of course, is especially the case for little ones, who have a habit of touching everything in sight. So before you hit the roads this holiday season, give your kids a quick review of good handwashing techniques, and be sure to set aside time for the whole family to give ‘em a wash before and after you eat and use the bathroom, at a minimum.
Be sure to stretch your legs
Exercise is key to a healthy lifestyle, but it’s understandable to skip your sweat sesh if you’re traveling with the fam. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time out to stretch your legs every now and then. If you’re flying, occasional stretching helps prevent leg cramps or more serious complications like DVT (deep vein thrombosis). So if your flight is a long one, try to work in a few trips up and down the aisle (hello, airplane bathroom!). And if you’ll be traveling by car, build in time for a few stops along the way so your kids can get some fresh air and run around a bit. Trust us, it’ll make for a much saner car ride!
Drink plenty of water
Drink, drink, drink. No, not that kind—those days are mostly over, right? It’s important to stay hydrated while you’re traveling, even though it can be more of a challenge (ALL those bathroom breaks!). Since dehydration can lead to things like headache and fatigue, consider bringing along your own water bottles—one for each family member. If your little ones will be carrying a backpack of belongings, they can easily store their water there so you’re not lugging tons of water around. Two of our favorite water bottles for kids are the supremely leak-proof and adorable CamelBak Eddy and the Hydro Flask, which keeps water cold for, well, ever.