It’s hard to believe but there is less than a month left until the majority of South Africans pack away their laptops and uniforms and head off on their annual holiday. With this in mind, I thought it would be the right time to remind you of some holiday travel tips to ensure that your holiday is spent enjoying the fresh air and not ill in bed.
Traveling brings people together; and not always in the most ideal ways. In essence, you are sharing confined spaces with others, which makes you more susceptible to infectious viruses and bacteria. The last thing anyone is planning is to fall ill while on holiday!
Be sure to keep the tips below in mind to ensure you are happy and healthy during your trip (scroll to the bottom to get these tips as an infographic).
Boost your immune system before and during your trip
Prevention is always better than cure, so bulk up on vitamins prior to your trip to ensure that you are less susceptible to infections. When we travel, we increase the risk of contracting airborne viruses, or coming into contact with contaminated surfaces.
It is always a good idea to take probiotics to ensure a healthy gut and good digestion and to support your immune system. Because we don’t necessarily follow our usual routine and diet on holiday, our stomach might not agree with what we are consuming. Probiotics are an excellent way of providing your stomach with healthy bacteria and helping to avoid any tummy issues. Remember to also supplement with a good immune booster.
Keep an emergency / travel hygiene kit
I have recently started putting together an “in case of emergency kit” as you never know what will happen. Fall and scrape your knee? I have plasters for that. Come down with a tummy bug? Here’s an anti-diarrheal product. Gross tray on your flight? Here are some antibacterial wet wipes! (Even if the tray isn’t gross, give it a good wipe down anyway).
It’s always good to be prepared, because you never know what kind of situation you might find yourself in and what you might need. Here is a list of helpful things to pack to ensure your health and hygiene remain in tip top shape:
- Ear buds
- Cotton wool
- Anti-diarrheal product
- Anti-nausea product
- Cold and flu medicine
- Aftersun / Aloe vera
- Hand sanitiser
- Antibacterial wet wipes
Hand hygiene is VERY important
Since 80% of germs are spread through touch, and can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours, it is essential you wash your hands regularly during and after your trip for at least 20 - 30 seconds (or as long as it takes to sing happy birthday twice!)
You have no idea what bacteria are lurking on the baggage trolley, the seatbelt of your plane, that donkey-eared inflight magazine. And after touching any of these things you might touch your nose or mouth, or even eat that sarmie with unwashed hands (be still my beating heart!)
Since we now have a good idea of what to pack - thanks to the handy list above - be sure to add hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes, perfect for those times when you don’t have the opportunity to wash your hands.
Eating and drinking while travelling
We don’t always plan what we are going to eat and drink, especially when travelling. When we’re hungry, it is most often the easiest to grab the first snack off the menu or opt for a coffee on the earlier flights.
I’ve heard an urban legend that the coffee canisters on airplanes are washed with grey water. I have no idea whether it’s true or not, but it doesn’t sound very appealing, nor do I know what the cleaning routine is like on fights. What I can say though is that it is better to be safe than sorry. Opt for bottled water to ensure you stay hydrated, as well as the vegetarian option on the menu (just to play it safe). Remember to wash or sanitise your hands before and after eating!
Basic personal hygiene
We all know how unpleasant it is sitting next to someone on a plane and noticing a rather pungent smell torturing your nostrils for the next hour or two. Be considerate to your fellow travellers and ensure your teeth are brushed, keep a few breath mints or chewing gum with you and ensure you’re wearing clean clothes and antiperspirant. And on the flip side; don’t go overboard with the cologne or perfume.
When planning a holiday, the last thing we plan for is to be spending most of our trip in bed. We might not always think about the role that clean hands and hygiene plays, but if overlooked it can have a negative impact on your health and spoil your trip.
Want to get all our latest articles delivered straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our blog and never miss a post.