Published on August 22nd, 2011 | by Guest Contributor
How to stay healthy while on vacation
Summer is about spending time outside, under the sun, enjoying nature, visiting places, and widening our horizons. In short, it is the season for traveling.
I took an awe-inspiring trip this summer through some of the most visited tourist destinations around Norway. The 14 days I spent on the road instilled in me the feeling of being part of a traveling tribe comprised of people I had never met and will hardly ever meet in my life again. They were from all over the world, but we were united not only in our hunt for the perfect light for our pictures but also in the knowledge of how to survive on the road.
The truth is that once you set your foot on the road, be it summer or wintertime, be it car, airplane or camping trip, you commit to the rules of the traveling tribe to see everything, be everywhere and try out all that is available. But while you keep your mind on breathtaking views and new locations it is easy to neglect your healthy habits. We tend to challenge our bodies with poor hygiene, less sleep and worse food while on the road.
So, here are a few simple suggestions on how to travel the healthy way.
Whatever the type of vacation you are taking, remember that walking is the best way to soak up the local atmosphere. What is more, it is pleasant, eco-friendly and free! Take every chance to walk around. If you take your camera on your walks you will surely take some amazing shots, and I guarantee that they will better the ones you would take from any moving vehicle.
Lack of sleep contributes to a myriad of health problems and that holds true especially when traveling. It is good to plan your vacation days so that you help your mind and body take the rest they need. If you regularly loose your daily dose of sleep, your immune system will suffer and you will be prone to illness and after all, who likes to be sick on vacation?
Remember to keep your hands. Most toilets in Scandinavia are equipped with mini posters reminding the visitors of the recommended hand washing technique and yet, I’ve met many fellow toilet goers who quickly rinse their hands without using soap and rush off. Keeping your hands clean, especially after visiting any type of a public place is one of the major factors to staying healthy. Make sure you have sanitary towels or sanitary liquid in your handbag, so that germs don’t catch you off-guard.
Intake of liquids is key to staying healthy. By keeping your body well hydrated, you will fight fatigue, stress, and jet-lag, making your feel better. But don’t forget that not all liquids are hydrating. Soft drinks, coffee and alcohol dehydrate you while the high level of sugar and caffeine burden your metabolism and fill you with toxins. Instead, drink what nature has intended for us – water, fruit juices and herbal tea. Make sure you always have a reusable water bottle with you for refills.
We are what we eat, even on vacations. If you want to feel fresh, do not over eat and stay away from processed and fatty foods. Try local fruits and vegetables, indigenous to the regions you are visiting. In addition, take a cooler and stock it up with yogurt, cheese, and natural fruit juice. Hotel rooms normally offer refrigerators, so it won’t be hard to keep foods fresh. Having a handful of nuts in your traveling bag will be of help in any surprising moments of hunger. And remember, if you deprive your body of healthy food you will neither feel well, nor will you enjoy your vacation.
Regardless of what the season is, vacation is the time to relax, recharge and rejuvenate; to come closer to nature, to see new places and to try new things. But it can also set some challenges to your healthy routine. The good news is that you can keep yourself and your family healthy while on vacation without sacrificing your established habits. It may take some extra planning but when you think of the long-term effects it is worth the efforts.
So tell us, what are your vacation habits when it comes to staying healthy?
Sonya Kanelstrand is a photographer and a creative artist who blogs from the heart of the Norwegian forest. That is where most of her inspiration comes from. She likes the close touch of nature, the colors of autumn and the smell of the sea. Sonya implements the knowledge gained from studying Philology and Pedagogy in her approach to sustainable and eco-friendly living.