Coming down with a cold while traveling happens to the best of us. Yes, it’s as inconvenient as it is uncomfortable but a fact of life that needs to be dealt with when it happens.
Fighting a cold while traveling isn’t just about alleviating symptoms. It’s also about being a courteous traveler and avoiding the spread of germs to those you come into contact with. Here are tips to help you stay healthy while traveling.
If you’re flying with kids be sure to check out tips for flying with kids!
The very first thing I do when boarding the plane is wipe down every single surface my family and I are likely to touch with an antibacterial wipe. Neurotic? Maybe, but we rarely get sick after flying.
Drink Lemon Water and Other Warm Liquids
Even in hotels, especially if I’m feeling run down or jet-lagged, ordering lemon water first thing in the morning kickstarts my system and is thought to boost immunity. Plus, I’ve never been charged a dime for it via room service or any hotel restaurant.
It also doesn’t hurt to ask for a slice of lemon in your regular water throughout the day, if the opportunity permits. Drink herbal or green tea along with plenty of other liquids to help stay hydrated. I find flavoring water helps get it down when I’m sick. While I love cucumber water, I’ll toss berries and whatever I can find to jazz it up.
I pack medicine from home, especially if traveling internationally, so I don’t have to worry about sourcing it on my own. Simple cold medicine isn’t always available in grocery stores and it’s a hassle sometimes to hunt down a chemist. (I’ll never forget the time I needed pain reliever in Tokyo. The Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi went to the chemist on my behalf to get it because I can’t read Japanese.)
Lozenges for a sore throat and cough are travel companions that I keep at the ready in my handbag when I have a cold.
If you take vitamins at home, your vacation habits shouldn’t be any different. Pack enough to see you through your trip. We toss in some extra vitamin C for good measure.
Congestion prohibits your middle ear from adjusting to changes in cabin pressure and can be quite painful if not managed properly. Be sure to take a decongestant or use a pair of ear planes (these specialized earplugs help regulate pressure — there are adult and child versions) during take-off and as the plane starts to descend.
Take it Easy
It seems wasteful not to maximize every moment of a trip by seeing every attraction, museum and recommended boutique. But, when under the weather, it’s extremely important to slow down and sleep well.
Take an inventory regarding what healthful solutions might be on offer where you are. If I’m feeling under the weather in Hong Kong, for example, I seek out foot reflexology or acupuncture to help right the ship. Some travelers swear by hotel saunas as a way to detox. Just be mindful of your germs.
Cover Your Tracks
I’m a big believer in covering your tracks to prevent spreading illness to hotel staff and other travelers. If you are already sick, why not wipe down high touch areas around your plane seat before disembarking. This also applies to hotel phones, remotes and things that you know aren’t regularly sterilized especially if other people in your party aren’t sick yet. When you have a cold, being a courteous traveler is even more important.
How do you fight a cold while traveling?
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