How to Prepare for Travel: 7 Pre-Trip Wellness Steps

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Travel can do wonders for your health. Vacations, if all goes well, can reduce stress and encourage relaxation. But research suggests that your ability to maintain healthy habits, such as clean eating and modest exercise, may decline more than you think once your travel plans kick in. The excitement of travel, coupled with the stress of being in a new place and out of routine makes you more likely to indulge in healthy behaviors, such as serial pastry eating or a few too many cocktails.

Before you travel, think about your personal, day-to-day challenges and plan for how to make smart choices during your trip. Think in advance about how to eat well, get enough physical activity or deal with feelings of loneliness. Planning ahead can help you be more strategic and avoid pitfalls while traveling.

How to Prepare for Travel: Pre-Trip Steps

Preparing your body for the demands of summer travel involves a combination of physical fitness, hydration, nutrition and general health maintenance. Here are some worthwhile tips to help you prep for a fun—and healthy—trip.

Stock up on stamina

The best thing you can do before a trip is lean into your exercise routine, starting to rev it up 4-6 weeks before your vacation starts. Incorporate a mix of cardio, strength training and flexibility exercises. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week.

Perhaps the most important thing to bone up on is stamina. Engage in activities like walking, hiking or cycling to build endurance. If you plan on being active during your trip, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.

Many people walk two to three times more on vacations than they normally do. It is not unusual to wall five to six miles a day on an average vacation. If you typically get in 10,000 steps a day, several days a week, you are ready for almost anything. However, if you haven’t been walking a few miles a day regularly, get out and get going.

Try: Work up to walking at least two-three miles a day before your vacation. Take it slow if you haven’t been exercising at all. A good rule of thumb is to increase your level of exercise or walking by 10-20 percent more a day.

Find your flex

Practice yoga or stretching exercises to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury.

Remember to slowly stretch and elongate your muscles while increasing flexibility. Imagine you are experiencing sore muscles from walking or even sitting on a plane in a weird position. A short yoga routine targeting the sore area will help you stretch your muscles and reduce soreness.

Try: For bonus points, do a ten-minute stretch workout before you board the plane. If it’s a long flight, do some laps in the aisle to boost circulation and pretend you are waiting for the bathroom while you secretly do a few discreet stretches.

Focus on hydration

Aim for at least 8 glasses of water a day. Increase your intake if you’ll be in hot climates or engaging in physical activities. Start the morning with a few glasses and carry around a water bottle for easy replenishing.

Try: Consider drinking beverages that replenish electrolytes, especially if you’ll be sweating a lot. Tuck a few packets in your purse and use liberally.

Indulge in moderation

Make strategic choices about how you will go off-piste with your diet. Allow yourself one indulgence a day, whether a sweet, a cheese or a special liquor. Focus on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains to provide sustained energy.

Try: Aim to try something new and local every day. Savor your treat—don’t eat it in a rush or on the go. Truly taste each delicious morsel or precious sip.

Stick to a sleep schedule

Good sleep leads to happy travel. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule even while traveling.

Try: Create a conducive sleep environment with a comfortable mattress, cool room temperature, and minimal noise and light.

Front load your health

It’s smart to have a general check-up before your trip to ensure you’re in good health and there are no rude health surprises you need to deal with.

Try: Check if any vaccinations are required or recommended for your destination. In terms of Covid, the older you are, the quicker your immunity wanes. If it’s been over six months since you were boosted, then you might want to get a booster immunization. Immunity starts to wane in three to six months. If you haven’t gotten a bivalent booster at all, it might come in clutch during travel, as its designed to enhance immunity against the current circulating strains.

Adopt a travel mindset

Organize your travel itinerary, accommodations and activities in advance to reduce travel-related stress. Print reservations out, or keep in a folder on your phone.

Try: Practice stress-reducing techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises or mindfulness. There will be plans gone awry—how will you deal with that disappointment? Practice taking things in stride, even before you go, and letting things go that would usually bug you. Set an intention for your trip for you and your traveling cohort, perhaps even write it down as a blessing. When things get dark, call upon your intention. Even the most epic fails might become you’re the highlights in retrospect.

By adopting these tips, you can ensure that your body is well-prepared to handle the demands of summer travel. Enjoy your trip to the fullest by stacking the odds in your favor.


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