How to stay healthy on the road

Staying healthy when you travel is so important but it can be a difficult task. We all know the advice when you travel: don’t eat ice-cream, avoid salads and don’t ask for ice in your drinks, but there are many other ways that you can look after yourself on the road. Here are some tips on how to stay healthy on the road.

N.b. If you're ready to plan your solo trip but are unsure how to do it, read my how to plan a solo trip article. 

starIf you’re feeling tired it’s often just because you’re dehydrated. Make sure you drink enough water and stay hydrated especially in hot climates where you lose more fluids. Two litres of water a day is a good amount.

starIf you’re feeling faint or lacking in energy, a rehydration formula can really help. Ensure that you are getting enough vitamins and minerals and take a daily supplement if you need to. (For those who travel frequently, IV therapy in Dallas or any nearby location, can be an excellent method to ensure optimal health on the go).

starBe careful when under the influence of drink and drugs and doing something reckless such as tubing down rivers or fire rope skipping. If you get offered anything abroad, be very cautious as it may be stronger than you’re used to.

starIf you are in a hot country and about to enter your room, remain at room temperature for a few minutes before turning on the cool air. Going straight from a hot temperature to cold can cause stomach upsets.

starWear mosquito repellent in known mosquito ares and take antihistamines with you in case you have an allergic reaction to an insect bite. Mosquito repellent with Deet is the best.

starDon’t underestimate altitude sickness. No matter how fit you are you can still feel the symptoms once you get over 2,000 metres above sea level. Acetazolamide is good for altitude sickness. If you have any symptoms don’t go any higher for at least a whole day.

starEven on a cloudy day at a higher elevation you can still get burnt so if wear sun protection if you’re out for longer than 20 minutes.

starBe careful when crossing roads and cross when the locals do. Health and safety does not really exist in developing countries and driver indication can be rare with people riding on top of trains and buses, so always choose a seat inside.

starBeat jet lag by staying awake until it is night-time in your current time zone. Avoid taking a nap in the afternoon and keep hydrated as your body settles into a new time zone.

starIf you suffer from peanut or any other allergies, find out the word for peanut for example in the local language before you travel.

Food and Drink

starDon’t drink tap water. In some countries such as those in Western Europe, drinking water straight from the tap is perfectly fine but if you’re really not sure, buy bottled water instead or take a water filter with you.

starSampling the cuisine is all part of the travelling experience but just be careful if it’s something you haven’t tried before as it won’t be something your digestive system is used to. Avoid foods that may have been cooked some time before. Eating food which is prepared in front of your eyes, such as street food is perfectly fine.

starBe wary of any food which has been washed in tap water. If unsure – do not eat or drink it. It’s not worth the risk especially when you’re by yourself. Buy fresh fruits that can be peeled and check that your plate is dry before using it to avoid any contamination or parasites. Don’t eat reheated food.

starIf you’re not used to spicy foods then be careful, but if you’re feeling unwell then some spices are known to have healthy benefits and can help if you have a cold.


starDon’t clean your teeth in tap water, use bottled water instead, and avoid letting any water go in your mouth when having a shower.

starExchanging cash is one of the worst ways to contract bacteria, especially notes in countries where they don’t take their hygiene very seriously like Egypt or India. Take a portable hand gel with you and use it before and after parting with cash.

starAvoid eye infections with your monthly contact lenses by rinsing them in solution each day if you’re in a developing country. Wipe your hands on towels which aren’t micro-fibre.

starToilets may not be what you’re used to and you’ll be surprised how many varieties you can find from just holes in the ground (literally) to the Asian squat toilets. Many countries don’t have a developed sewage system so paper goes into a bucket by the side or there may be a hose to flush yourself down with. Don’t expect the hygiene to be the same as at home and always carry toilet roll with you.

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