Traveling for the holidays? Follow these 8 tips to support immunity and stay healthy during the most wonderful time of the year!
November and December can be a whirlwind of family gatherings, community events, and social celebrations. It’s a time of gratitude and giving! However, it can also come with less festive activities like long car rides, air travel, and a major routine shake-up.
If you’ve ever come home from vacation and found yourself feeling run-down, you already know what we’re talking about. Even when it’s for fun holiday events, traveling can wreak havoc on your immune system. Luckily, with a few tips, you can travel, be merry, and come home without immediately needing a day off (although we highly suggest you take one).
Read on for eight holiday travel tips for better immunity.
Why Do We Get Sick While Traveling?
Perhaps you start your travels with a healthy immune system, but by the time you’re back home, it’s a different story. You’re fatigued, have body aches, your digestion is WAY off, and you’re relying on over-the-counter meds to feel alive. These are all signs of a weak immune system. And it’s no wonder!
Research has shown that you’re more than 100x as likely to get sick on a plane, occasionally riding a bus makes you more susceptible to the common cold, and riding on passenger trains is nearly just as risky. So, WHY do we get sick while traveling?
Honestly, there are a TON of variables. If you’re traveling during the winter months, it’s already cold and flu season. So, if your plans include public transportation or air travel, you’re likely to come in contact with these illnesses.
But it’s much more than that. Even during warmer months when cold and flu season isn’t much of an issue, traveling can leave you feeling run-down. Oftentimes, this happens because of the perfect storm of routine-altering events. We’re talking about disrupted sleep habits, changes to your diet, new allergens, etc.
Maybe your current routine isn’t perfect, but it’s likely you already maintain several regular habits. These habits, whether they’re related to exercise or how much water you drink, give your immune system some structure. That means it knows when to do certain tasks based on your routine.
When you travel, however, your regular habits tend to go out the window. This can leave your immune system playing catch-up, which often results in weakened immunity.
8 Tips for Staying Healthy During Holiday Travel
Yes, there will always be some risk involved in traveling during the holidays. However, it’s unlikely we’ll ditch our beloved holiday traditions anytime soon. You know, things like watching the Macy’s Day Parade while the smell of oven-roasted turkey drifts from the kitchen. Or putting up holiday decorations way too early. No way we’re giving that up!
That being said, there are still several things you should do to protect yourself AND your loved ones this holiday season.
1. Start Preparing Your Body for Travel Early
Like right NOW. It’s nearly impossible to maintain your exact routine while traveling. So, giving your immune system extra support NOW will help it react and respond efficiently to whatever the holidays throw at you. This can mean anything from getting extra hydrated, taking pre-emptive immunity supplements, and filling your body full of nutritious foods.
2. Pack For Wellness
Essentially, this just means that you should pack anything and everything you might need to keep you feeling your best. While minimalism is desirable and you might even be thinking “I can just grab it at the store,” having these items on hand will save you time and a serious headache.
- Hand sanitizer
- Hand lotion
- Sanitizing Wipes
- Multiple face masks
- Refillable water bottle
- Climate appropriate attire
- Wellness supplements
When it comes to immune support supplements, we recommend a high-quality beta-glucan supplement. Not only does beta-glucan have powerful immune support, respiratory, blood pressure, and digestive benefits, but it may also provide allergy relief against certain allergens. Just make sure you’re opting for supplements that specifically use Beta-Glucan 1, 3/1, 6-D from Baker’s Yeast.
We only use this particular molecular chain of beta-glucan in our Glucan85Plus supplement. Plus, unlike other beta-glucan supplements that only guarantee 70% purity, we guarantee 85% purity and have added additional immune-boosting ingredients like Vitamin C and D3, Zinc, Organic Echinacea, and Organic Elderberry.
So, if you’re looking for an all-in-one immunity supplement, we’ve got you covered!
3. Stay Hydrated While Traveling
Yes, staying hydrated before your travels is important. However, it’s also important to drink plenty of water DURING your travels. This is essential if your travels involve getting on an airplane.
The Cleveland Clinic says, “Airplane cabins have very low humidity levels…because about 50 percent of the air circulating in the cabin is pulled from the outside, and at high altitudes, the air is almost completely devoid of moisture. This might cause your throat, nose, and skin to feel dry.” It’s not just air travel that you have to worry about though.
Other aspects of traveling (dietary changes, extra activity, climate change, etc.) can make it harder to stay hydrated. That being said, consider keeping a water bottle on you at all times and sipping it throughout the day.
4. Get Plenty of Sleep While Traveling
Depending on your travel plans, sleep might be something you sneak in here and there between social events. While we can’t blame you for throwing yourself into the holiday spirit, we URGE you to do your best to get plenty of sleep.
Without enough sleep, your immune system will quickly crash. A 2015 study found that, over just one week, people who got fewer than six hours of sleep each night were 4X as likely to get a cold than people who got 7+ hours. So, yes, sleep is pretty important when it comes to immunity. If you need a few pointers on sleep hygiene, check out our proven tips for better, deeper sleep.
5. Eat a Balanced Diet While Traveling
Your first response to reading this headline might have been “HA!”
Honestly, we can’t blame you. One of the best parts about the holidays is all the delicious seasonal food! However, it’s often carb-heavy, laden with unhealthy fats, and full of sugar. Don’t get us wrong, we understand how delicious all that stuff is. That being said, moderation and healthy snacking can go a looong way.
If you’ve been dreaming about your Dad’s honey-glazed ham all year, eat some! Just balance it out with plenty of vegetables. If you know you have a calorically dense dinner coming up, eat a lighter breakfast. Feel a bit foggy after gorging on Thanksgiving? Try a Ginger Lemon Turmeric Iced Tea to combat inflammation and promote healthy digestion.
Everyone’s nutritional needs are different, so we’re not here to say you CAN’T do this or you MUST do that. In the end, just do your best to get plenty of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and proteins, and insoluble fibers with beta-glucan. This will help your digestive system function more efficiently PLUS you’ll have better energy to keep the party going!
6. Stay Active While Traveling
Whether you’re flying, riding a train, or driving in a car, a big part of traveling involves a lot of sitting.. Granted, once you arrive at your destination there’s generally a lot of running around…and then sitting…and then moving around a bit more (sometimes). Basically, your activity levels are going to be quite different from what you’re used to.
Whether you’re MORE or LESS active while traveling, it’s important to stay somewhat active. If nothing else, it will help keep your body healthy, keep your energy levels up, and promote a healthy lymphatic system.
Your lymphatic system helps maintain body fluid levels, protects you from germs and viruses, absorbs fats from your digestive tract, and it even removes cellular waste. If it’s not functioning properly, you could experience digestive issues, swollen lymph nodes, sinus infections, and more.
Luckily, staying active helps keep your lymphatic system circulating and functioning properly. Something as simple as a morning walk or evening stretches can help you keep this essential system working well.
7. Practice Good Hygiene While Traveling
This one should go without saying, but it’s so important that it’s worth repeating. Practice good hygiene while traveling…that’s it. That’s the advice.
In practical terms, here’s what good travel hygiene looks like:
- Regularly wash your hands
- Shower regularly
- Keep your nails trimmed and clean
- Keep any wounds clean and bandaged
- Take all prescribed medications
- Sanitize your phone regularly
8. Plan a Recovery Day Upon Returning Home
Once you’ve finally wrapped up your trip and you’ve made it home…give yourself another day to recover. First, this is just practical since you’ll likely need time to do laundry, unpack, etc. Second, even when you’ve done EVERYTHING to stay healthy while traveling, you deserve to sleep in and ease your way back into your routine.
Trust us. Start scheduling an extra recovery day after all of your holiday travels. You can thank us later.
Happy Holidays from Haka Life Nutrition!
We’re wishing everyone safe travels and a heartwarming holiday season. Stay safe, and stay healthy!
If you’re interested in learning more about health and wellness, be sure to join the Haka Life Tribe down below by subscribing to our weekly digest.
Every body may be different, but everybody deserves health and wellness.
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