8 Tips for a Healthier Vacation
Plot It Out
When booking hotels and tours, get good-for-you activities on the itinerary too—reserve a spot in workout classes nationwide on tourdefit.com, then click over to cleanplates.com and plan where you’ll eat. The website rates restaurants in New York City, Los Angeles, and Austin, TX, (more cities to come) based on how healthy their meals are.
Stow And Go
Avert a slowdown at security by toting meds in their original bottles (so guards can confirm your prescription). To prevent any possible bedbugs in a hotel from coming home with you, store clothes in resealable plastic bags and use hard-sided luggage.
Brown Bag It
Stash snacks like string cheese, nuts, and fruit in your carry-on. An easy, in-flight meal: instant oatmeal. (The flight attendant can provide hot water to prepare it.) “When you have to dine at an airport or a rest stop, choose a salad—but ditch the cheese and croutons and go light on the dressing,” says Elizabeth Somer, R.D., a SHAPE advisory board member.
Wash Away Germs
Like Boeing 747s, germs travel fast. Keep onboard illnesses at bay by using an alcohol-based cleanser, like Burt’s Bees Aloe & Witch Hazel hand sanitizer ($3.50; burtsbees.com), pre- and post-meal, and after using the toilet. Kevin Fleming, M.D., an internal medicine consultant at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, also suggests wiping down the tray table with the antibacterial liquid and using a newspaper as a place mat.
Shake a Leg
No matter your mode of transportation, make an attempt to walk around for five to 10 minutes every two hours or so. This will help prevent deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot that can form in your leg during long periods of sitting. (On a plane, opt for an aisle seat—you’ll be more likely to stand.) “If you can’t get up, bounce your knees up and down, and then move your feet in circles,” says Fleming.
Motion sickness occurs when your brain gets contradictory signals from the eyes (“we’re moving!”) and the inner ear (“I’m sitting still!”). “To keep your stomach calm, limit visual stimulation,” says Fleming. That means no books or iPads. “Put on sunglasses or lie down if you can.” If you’re prone to nausea, take an over-the-counter stabilizer like Dramamine II 30 to 60 minutes before departure.
Get in the Zone
Don’t sacrifice the beginning of your trip to jet lag. “To prevent grogginess, drink water and avoid alcohol during your flight—dehydration exasperates symptoms,” says Somer. Once you land, log on to the jet lag calculator at http://britishairways.com; using your usual wake-up time, sleep habits, and home time zone, it recommends when to bask in sunlight and when to hibernate in your hotel room.
The first step toward sleeping soundly in an unfamiliar place: Request the right digs. At hotels, ask for a room that doesn’t face the street and is far from the elevators and ice machine. On a cruise ship, steer clear of cabins below the pool deck. And stick to your usual nighttime routine— don’t watch TV or surf the Web in bed if you wouldn’t at home.