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  • Writer's pictureDiann Schindler, Ph.D.

Steps to Ensure Healthy Travel Abroad. (An excerpt from "The Essential Guide to a Life of Trave

This following article is an excerpt from my latest book,

“The Essential Guide to a Life of Travel: the ABC’s of International Travel”

Healthy Travel

Traveling is medicine for the heart and the soul, but as anyone who’s caught the wanderlust bug knows, it’s not always glamorous. Many grand adventures, especially when venturing off-the-beaten-path come with their fair share of bumps, bruises, germs and stresses. It can be overwhelming and even intimidating when you begin to imagine how it will be to leave life’s comforts at home.

But thankfully, wellness travel is possible, for sure! To help keep your mind, body and spirit in full working order, I have some guidelines for you.

Guidelines for Healthy Travel

1. See a doctor first. This is always good practice, especially if you are under a doctor’s care, of course. And, seeing your doctor is especially important if you are a little older than the average free-spirited traveler.

2. Refill all your prescriptions and consider taking more than you will need, just in case you lose some or you end up extending your trip. Be sure to take specific information about your prescriptions with you, i.e., name, dosage, etc. Generally, you can get prescriptions filled most anywhere, unless of course you are alone in a desert or on a remote island. Still, you want to be ready for anything.

3. Always keep you medication in your purse or your backpack. Don’t pack in your checked luggage in case it gets lost.

4. Bone up on your basic first aid. This is most important especially if you plan to visit in less developed countries. But, you might decide to venture out in the countryside. You never know when it might come in handy.

5. Take your vitamins. Travel is taxing. Take care of yourself. Stick with your vitamin regimen.

6. Eat healthy. This takes discipline, but, it is so important. You want to feel good all the time. Too much sugar, for example, can zap your energy and strain your system. And, wow, that pizza! I swear pizza dough rises again in my stomach! And, watch your salt intake, too.

7. Don’t over serve yourself. I know what you are thinking. Just like me, the wine is wonderful and so many cultures start with a glass at lunch! Besides feeling woozy and needing a nap, the calories really add up. Remember: enjoy in moderation!

8. Eat your fiber! If you don’t pay attention and eat your fiber, you could find yourself alone in a lavatory for much too long. Pack a natural laxative, just in case.

9. Wash your hands, frequently. Avoid dodgy food situations. Take hand sanitizer with you. With all that dancing, touching, kissing and hugging, you need to pay special attention to fight germs.

10. Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water, much more than you typically drink at home. Make it a habit to take a bottle with you whenever you walk out the door, even if it’s for a short trip. You never knew where you might decide to venture off to see something wonderful. If you forget, buy a bottle as soon as you remember and be sure to remember to drink it.

11. Walk, walk, walk. Walking is easy and great exercise. Yes, a taxi is cheap and fast, but you can miss a lot of interesting sights by whizzing by in a car. Take your time and walk.

12. Hiking is the best workout. It is beneficial to the body, to the mind, and to the soul. If you have the right clothing and shoes, hike! And, breathe in great fresh air. Get your heart rate up, not only by moving your feet, but also by finding a breathtaking view.

13. Workout while traveling. If you aren’t walking or hiking very much, you need to find some time to build up a good, healthy sweat. Check out the Exercise Apps in Chapter Nine. Download one or two that you know you will use!

14. Learn some basic meditation techniques. Traveling can be very stressful. Admit it, you often are out of your comfort zone, in a strange country, where, often, everything is totally different. Even when everything is wonderful, it can create stress…good stress, of course…but, stress, none the less. You don’t have to become a monk or change your life style. Simply take time to channel some inner peace into their weary bones and tissues.

15. Embrace the sun light. The sun literally gives us life. Going out of your way to be surrounded by as much natural light as possible on your travels will enhance your spirits and warm your body and soul. Be sure to apply that sunblock!

16. Coconut oil is your friend. Using coconut oil is a really easy and travel-friendly way to keep your skin feeling nourished and fresh while on the road, especially when you are in that dry airplane air or in walking high altitudes.

17. Pace yourself. Don’t overwhelm yourself and get burned out. Balance your activity with down time. Include down time in your daily calendar.

18. Sleep! You need it, especially when bombarded by fantastic everything! Take time to prepare for sleep…no radio, television, or internet. Perhaps, soothing conversation and light reading. When you do close your eyes, you mind will be prepared for sleep.

19. Pack lighter. When it really comes down to it, you probably won’t need to bring anywhere close to the amount of stuff you think you’ll need. Shed the pounds of luggage that crimp your back and shoulder muscles, slow you down, and make your more tired than need be.

20. Stay connected. Reach out to family and friends over Skype, Viber, or WhatsApp.

(Apps are fully explained and described in Chapter Six.)

21. Go off the digital grid! Consider shutting down your digitals, for at least once a day. You will find how your mind can calm when not buried in your phone or in the internet news. Never fear, it will still will all be there when you return. Take this travel opportunity to focus on yourself and your adventure. Nurture your spirit. Let travel seep in and transform you into your even better self.

22. Open your mind and heart. Seriously, if you take a closer look, that’s probably part of what drives you to travel. Indeed, travel is about the incredible architecture, the vast oceans and seas, the spectacular mountains, the inspirational music, and the people…especially the people. And, it is your opportunity to be who exactly you are, to be free of the well-intended expectations of your family and friends. Embrace this realization and open your heart and your mind to experiencing other cultures. All of this travelling and time for introspection stamps out prejudice and brings peace and understanding.

23. WRITE! Take some time to write. Of course, I’m an author and value the benefits of writing, perhaps more than non-writers. Still, I’m compelled to encourage you to write because you come to understand what you feel and what you know when you write. Write about your adventures, your new friends…capture your memories for later consumption. It’s so good for getting inside yourself, finding creativity, and recording you adventures.

24. Indulge yourself! Live a little! Traveling is transformative. Allow yourself to experience it. Dance, sing, eat, and drink. Most important, let it saturate your mind and your body, even your pores.

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