Going on frequent family vacations is no doubt one of the best ways to foster a sense of adventure in your little ones and become more connected as a family. And while 37% of families say that vacations make them most happy, staying healthy is the absolute key to making the most of your time together. But can you sip margaritas by the pool, order room service, and still stay healthy during your next family vacation?
Of course you can! Here are some tried-and-true methods for staying healthy when you’re traveling.
Getting a good night’s sleep gives your body the opportunity to restore and heal itself. It’s also critical for having energy the next day — if your body doesn’t get enough restorative sleep overnight, you’ll be perpetually exhausted and incredibly fatigued, especially if you’re traveling to a different time zone.
Roger Wellington writes in an article on The Huffington Post, “The most important thing you can do while traveling is sleep. Your body needs rest when you’re physically traveling, crossing time zones, carrying luggage to and from destinations, walking all day, and so forth. Traveling is harsh on your body so make sure you get plenty of rest. How much is enough? Listen to your body.”
When you travel, you’re picking up germs from multiple places. To avoid sickness, wash your hands as often as you can and carry a travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer with you at all times. Being in so many public places throughout the day exposes your body to more germs than usual, so make it a habit to stay sanitized.
It’s also worth noting that hand-held electronic devices such as cell phones and tablets can pass on germs as well. With 25,000 germs on every square inch of smartphone surface, your cell phone is likely dirtier than a toilet seat, the bottom of your shoe, or your pet’s food dish!
Caroline Kee writes on Buzzfeed, “Studies have shown that most phones test positive for potential disease-causing microbes and fecal matter…And because you’re constantly touching your phone, all that grossness can get transferred right back to your face.”
To effectively clean your cell phone or tablet, fill a spray bottle with equal amounts of water and 70% isopropyl alcohol, spray a small amount of the solution onto a microfiber cloth, and rub it all over the device, even the buttons. This should be done about once a week for best results, but doing it too often could damage any protective coatings on the screen.
If you’re heading to a destination where you’ll have the opportunity to swim, it’s important to make sure the water is safe, whether it’s a hotel pool, a lake out in the wilderness, or the ocean.
That’s right — even if you’re staying at a hotel, it’s important to practice water safety. Even the typical backyard swimming pool should be cleaned once per week during the swimming season, but pools that get heavier traffic should be tested twice each day.
Prevention Magazine says, “If you’re not sure the pool’s chlorine level is being carefully monitored, it may be a virtual petri dish of bad bugs like norovirus, which can cause innocent swimmers bouts of vomiting and cramps.”
As for chlorine-free bodies of water, proceed with caution — if it’s cloudy, covered with algae, or has an odd smell, it’s best to steer clear.
Have An Emergency Plan:
Even if you take all of these precautions and more, there’s still a chance that something could happen that’s completely out of your control, like a freak accident or illness. That’s why it’s important to understand the medical treatments options for wherever you’re traveling to, even if you’re not leaving the country. Americans rely heavily on the 24-hour access to care provided by emergency departments — ER visits have increased by 22% over the past decade. Still, you’ll want to create and stick to a protocol in case of any freak illnesses or injuries.
Ultimately, the goal of any vacation is to enjoy yourself — the last thing you want to deal with is a health scare. By keeping these four safety rules in mind while on-the-go, you can keep your whole family safe and have the stress-free and relaxing experience you deserve.