Some of the Best Travel Advice available
The plane just touched down into the International Airport. With 6 hours to go before the next flight, he knew there was enough time to get some family shopping done and grab a meal as well.
Now, he carefully placed his laptop into the tray followed by his belt and wallet, carefully patting himself down for any remnants of metal on his person.
His kids and wife had already gone past the check point. He followed them past the metal detector and the guard, who flicked his head to indicate that he was clear. Now would remain immigrations and then to get through to the domestic flight to their destination.
The next thing he remembered however, is rushing past the boarding gate with his wife and children in tow, just as the doors were about to close. His futile plans of lunch and shopping were all destroyed, by the line at immigrations due to two other concurrent flights.
If you can relate to this scenario, you are not alone.
Whilst travelling things can get challenging. We find it hard enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle at home. When we travel this challenge is compounded.
As an avid traveler myself, Let us see what we can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle when we travel.
I have meant this guide to be a concise list giving you a means of checking that you have remembered everything, prior to setting out on your journey.
Thus it is long, so grab a coffee or a cup of tea. However, you can just skip to the area that interests you.
The first stage would be planning your trip. As the saying goes that the best laid plans fall to pieces, so you need to introduce flexibility in your schedules.
A good place to start with planning any trip would be websites like:
a) Trip Advisor for details about destinations, pictures of places, reviews of past travelers to the destination you are looking at. This can be invaluable as the reviews would mostly give you an unbiased view about hotels, agents, guides, etc. However, that being said you do find some reviews which you might need to consider with a pinch of salt.
b) Kayak.com for full packages of Flights, Hotels and rental Cars.
c) For hotels sites like Trivago which compiles list from various Hotel booking sites, like Booking.com and Hotels.com
d) Seatguru to find the best seats in an airplane
e) Seat 61 to find information about train tickets and resources in various parts of the world, be it Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, etc.
f) For train tickets in India, you can visit the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation website.
There are many websites available, but I have enlisted some of the best and relevant ones above.
2) Vaccinations and medical advice
Depending on the nature of your trip, if it is domestic or international and the countries you will be visiting, you might have to get various inoculations done.
So how do you know what inoculations need to be done?
Visit your doctor if you need to,
Firstly, your doctor can get your inoculation done himself, or if you need any special vaccine like that for yellow fever, he can direct you to visit a specific medical center.
Also you can ask your doctor for a list of medicines, you might need to carry during the trip. This is especially of concern when you are travelling with small children.
Also be careful and research about medicine regulations at your destinations and transits, as some drugs might come under different laws there.
You can also consult your travel agent for information about any vaccines,
but better still you can visit the website of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
On their website, the CDC gives information which you can access by country and type of traveler (with children, Pregnancy, Cruise ship, visiting friends and family). It is very simple to use and once populated it gives you a very concise list of information the travelling will need when travelling to that specific country.
3) During your Travel
a) By Air
When travelling by air, (unless you are tavelling by business or First class) you would be in a cramped up seat which reclines only to a limited extent. This is an ideal situation for conditions like deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, etc. You can read up on this, in greater details in the article 5 real hazards of Air Travel.
Depending on the airlines and the leg being travelled, various carriers have information about keeping fit during your trip available on the flight.
Virgin Atlantic for example has this information also available on their website with interesting names given to the exercises like The revolver, The ballerina, The ‘Where’s my pen?‘, etc. You might like to check out their page Inflight exercise
Another resource for exercises is airplane-exercises.
Also carry your own neck pillow and eyeshades. These might not always be provided for by the airlines. Also consider wearing compression stocking to counter deep vein thrombosis.
b) By Car or Bus
The ideal thing to do if travelling by car is stopping whenever possible after certain period of time. Then you can stretch your legs or visiting the restroom. You might want to plan these breaks beforehand into your travel schedule.
You might not always have this luxury by when travelling by Bus. Then, try following the exercises for air travel and some others indicated below to assist you in this area.
Of all the means of transport the train is the best as you have the liberty of moving around and are not stuck to a spot throughout the journey. It would be advisable to move around a bit.
This is not really applicable when you talk about trains in crowded cities, where you might be in, as bad a situation as the plane.
4) Eating right when you travel
Getting the right nutrition when you travel is a big challenge, as you mostly will be subject to whatever is available, where you are at that point of time.
But you can plan ahead of time, so that you do not fall into a situation, where your stomach directs you to make unhealthy choices.
Lets see how this can be achieved:
i) You can carry things like a small box of dry fruits, veggie sticks, some chicken sandwiches, Protein bars, protein powder, etc. These are still allowed on flight in your cabin baggage. You however, cannot carry liquids greater than 100 ml in your cabin baggage.
ii) Alternatively you can opt for healthy meals on commute, by booking ahead for them. Most airlines have this facility. Some trains do too, as well.
iii) If you are travelling by car you can check out what is available on your route beforehand, so you can plan your stopovers accordingly.
iv) Staying Hydrated – It is sometime easy to forget to drink enough water when travelling. This is only because you’re normal routing is disrupted. So carry some large bottles of water, and drink often. Also, limit consumption of alcohol to avoid dehydration, and also to keep your calorie count down. If you are driving, it goes without saying that you should not be drinking.
5) At your destination
If you are staying at a hotel, friend’s house, or guest house, or home stay, or any other place, you will be in a different environment than you are used to. Depending on your situation, if it is work or pleasure you might not have all the resources to do a proper workout or get the meals of your choice.
Here planning prior to your trip is also essential. Thus, you will know ahead of time, what your options are and how you can include them into your schedule.
i) Working out
If the place you are staying at has a gym, that is the ideal option. But if it does not, there is no reason to worry, there might be other options like a tennis court, a swimming pool, jogging track, etc. nearby which you might be able to use.
In the worst case you can always exercise in your room. There are various resources available, to help you out here. For example:
ii) Keeping unwanted creatures away
Depending on the place you are at, you may be subject to various creatures not indigenous to your home. For example: mosquitoes, insects, etc. You would have to have packed things like insect repellent etc. to cater to this.
You might also need to be on a course of Malarone, Lariam, etc if you are visiting a Malaria infected country. Your doctor will guide you in this area. Though I do not personally recommend taking any medication unnecessarily, you might have to take them depending on your immunity to a certain disease.
iii) Eating Healthy
You might need to scan the hotel or restaurant menus to see the healthy options. In many places you might not understand the menu. It is always good to ask the waiter to clarify.
At your destination you might want to try out the local delicacies. But depending on the place, it might be prudent trying them out from reputed sources. For example, you might not want to try out food from street vendors, for risk of Travellers’ Diarrhoea.
Jane Brody talks about “Bismuth subsalicylate” to counteract Travellers’ Diarrhoea. Read it in her article “Staying Healthy While Traveling the Globe – The New York Times”
Whilst travelling we find it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Proper planning is essential, so that we get the most out of our trip.
If you do the planning part right, most of the things will fall in place. You might find some upsets, but your plan would have a buffer to take care of that. So happy travelling.
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Do you think that I have left out anything or do not agree with anything, I have written. If so, kindly leave some comments to that effect.