5 Tips for staying healthy while traveling

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With the new surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, travelers (rightfully so) have a heightened awareness of the ways in which they can stay healthy while on the road. Even without a worldwide pandemic, if you are trying to stick to a regimen of healthy diet and exercise, traveling can be hard. Without access to your own kitchen or gym, hectic schedules can get the best of you. Here are five tips to better health while flying.

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Follow these five tips to stay healthy on your next flight. (Image by rfranca/Shutterstock)

Staying healthy while traveling

Wash your hands

Planes are full of germs. If piling a bunch of people into a small, enclosed space isn’t enough, your seat, armrest and tray table have probably been touched by hundreds or thousands of people without much cleaning. To combat this, take the precautions you might use in a hospital or doctor’s office: Wash your hands frequently, watch what you touch and try to minimize how much you touch your face with your hands. There is no surefire way to avoid getting sick, but basic hygiene can help reduce the risk.

Drink plenty of water

Staying hydrated is important every day, but especially when you’re flying. Airplane cabins are set at a lower humidity than most homes or offices and your body will lose much more water in the air. Guard against this by drinking plenty of water before and during your flight.

There have been conflicting reports about the quality of tap water stored on airplanes. Some sources claim that the tanks holding the water are not cleaned frequently. If this is a concern, ask for bottled water.

Move around on the plane

Some health experts have suggested that sitting for extended periods can be worse for you than smoking. Sitting on a flight is inevitable, so get up a few times to stretch, use the lavatory or just move around the cabin. If you are on a longer flight, this is especially important in order to keep blood circulating in your legs to reduce the risk of clots.

If you are not seated on the aisle and don’t want to be a nuisance to the person next to you, stretching out your arms ands legs in your seat can be helpful.

Eat healthily

Sticking to a diet on the road is hard. There are lots of fast-food options in the airport and a limited food selection on the plane. Many people give up trying to control their eating while flying. Instead of yielding to temptation, pack some healthy foods for your next trip. Liquids are restricted at security checks, but you are generally allowed to bring most food items along with you.

Alternatively, you can buy healthy foods at the airport or on the plane.

Pass on the snacks/meals

Almost every airline offers food for purchase during flights and many offer free food and snacks, especially on longer flights. Don’t be afraid to skip them.

Some travelers may dismiss skipping a meal as unrealistic or even unhealthy, but there is actually a good deal of scientific research showing that short periods of fasting may be healthy once in a while. And even if you typically eat every 2-3 hours, there does not appear to be any evidence that skipping a meal will have a negative impact on your health.

So if the airline is only offering unhealthy food, don’t be afraid to go hungry for a few hours.

Don’t forget about travel insurance

One of the best ways you can protect yourself from the unexpected is to use one of the top credit cards with travel insurance to book your travel.

Many of the top cards for travel insurance, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, cover things like any sickness experienced by you or a travel companion which prevents you from going on the trip.

Credit card insurance doesn’t cover pandemics. But thankfully, and especially during situations like the coronavirus pandemic, airlines and hotels are usually very helpful in accommodating travelers with free changes and cancellations.

Bottom line

Flying makes it harder to stick with any sort of diet or fitness regimen. Give these tips a try to stay on track during your next flight.

Do you have other tips for staying healthy while flying? Let us know in the comments!

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Meghan Hunter is an editor for Million Mile Secrets. She covers points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. Her work has also appeared in The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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