Let’s face it. Traveling is a dirty business.
Germs and bacteria are everywhere, from public buses to questionable guest houses and when you travel your body is in all the action.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
As an avid traveler I know a LOT of simple tricks anyone can use to stay healthy on the road. In fact, I’ve survived South East Asia, India, South America, U.S. and Canada and have never had any stomach problems.
My husband calls me “iron guts” but it’s really more about following some basic tips to keeping yourself safe…
# 1. Keep Your Fingernails Short
Did you know that fingernails house the most germs and bacteria on the human hands. One of the best ways to reduce the bacteria and germs on your hands is to keep your fingernails as short as possible, especially in countries where you eat with your hands or that are hot and humid.
# 2. Blow Your Nose Daily
Throughout the day, your nose hairs catch dust and particles that can carry germs and bacteria. If you blow your nose throughout the day (or at least once a day), you can reduce the risk of breathing in bacteria and germs.
#3. Don’t Travel without Hand Sanitizer or Wipes
Hand sanitizer might arguably be the best travel invention since the backpack. I personally love the wipes because you can remove dirt from the skin, but the gel is just as effective.
#4. Eat Only Where It’s Busy
A sure fire way to catch a stomach bug is to eat at restaurants with a low turnover. If there is a high turnover in the restaurant, there’s a better chance the food will be fresh and safe. It doesn’t matter where you go, from street food stalls to fine dining, just make sure the restaurant is packed.
#5. Listen to Your Body
The older you get and the more you travel, you’ll learn how to listen to your body’s warning signs of what not to do or vice versa. Understanding these signs can help you prevent getting sick. For example, if my husband eats a lot of meat, it can sometimes lead to digestive problems or if I don’t drink enough water on a long travel day, I sometimes get a cold.
# 6. Don’t Drink (Tough… I know)
I hate to sound like a mom, but I’m just going to mention that drinking can weaken your immune system making you more susceptible to getting sick. That’s all.
# 7. Be Prepared
Even if you follow all of these tips, there’s still a chance you could get sick on the road. Be prepared by bringing antibiotics with you. Call your doctor and let them know where you’re going and that you’d like a general antibiotic in case you catch a stomach virus. Be sure to read the instructions carefully, but generally antibiotics need to be taken consecutively for at least 5 days, without the consumption of alcohol in order to be effective.
Do you have other tips, you’d like to recommend? Please leave a comment below…
Burt Kramer is the agency director for KHM Travel group, which trains individuals on how to become a travel agent.