The spread of the coronavirus has people all around the world scrambling to cancel or change their travel plans. While that’s definitely a necessity in hard-hit areas like Asia or Europe, the United States remains on a Level 2 travel advisory at this time.
A Level 2 travel advisory doesn’t mean that you can’t travel. Instead, it means that the CDC recommends taking precautions, being wary of where you travel, monitoring your health, and limiting your interactions with large crowds.
But while you might want to rethink visiting large cities at this time, traveling to areas that offer plenty of space away from crowds, like a national park, isn’t off-limits, just as long as you practice caution.
In fact, the healthy habits you should be practicing now are ones that you should always practice while traveling, regardless of whether there’s a pandemic going on or not. Keep reading to learn more.
Boost Your Immune System Before You Ever Leave Home
When you travel, whether internationally or even the next city over, you’re exposing yourself to new germs and viruses that your body isn’t used to. Add in the effects of getting less sleep thanks to jet lag or an unfamiliar bed, an unhealthy vacation diet, and the added stresses of travel, and your immune system is under attack.
You can’t avoid most of these travel hazards. Instead, before you ever leave home for your trip, it’s a good idea to go ahead and give your body a boost. Strengthening your immune system is actually easier than you might think.
Start by lowering your stress levels in the days leading up to your trip. If you’re someone who obsesses over every detail, this might just be the hardest step. But preparing as much as possible by researching your destination, booking hotels far in advance, and gathering materials like maps and guides ahead of time can help with this.
Next, lower your sugar and alcohol intake, and increase your helpings of healthy, vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables. These will help give your body the nutrients and energy that it needs. Get enough sleep each night, even if that means going to bed extra early to still get up in time for an early flight. Finally, clocking some exercise can also help boost your immune system.
Choose Soap and Water Over Sanitizer Whenever You Can (And Wash Your Hands as Much as Possible)
Even when there isn’t a virus like COVID-19 going around, there are always bacteria and germs that you’re coming into contact with that could make you sick. That’s why it’s so important to wash your hands, wash them well, and wash them often.
Whether you are on the go or staying home, you should be washing your hands before and after you prepare food or eat, go to the restroom, handle garbage, feed your pets, and more.
While hand sanitizer is currently disappearing off of store shelves, it isn’t always the answer. A sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol can help you ward off germs when you’re on the go. But experts caution that even the best hand sanitizer is ineffective if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy. Also, good, old soap and water beat out hand sanitizer for killing germs every time.
Take Better Care of Yourself When You Get Sick
Most of us have found ourselves feeling under the weather while traveling. Maybe you wake up on the first day of your vacation only to find that you’re suffering from allergies. Or jet lag leaves you with an aching headache.
While it is tempting to push through your symptoms so that you don’t miss even a second of vacation time, it’s even more important to take care of yourself while you’re on the go.
Remember that weakened immune system we mentioned? Overlooking symptoms of an illness only gives it more time to take hold in your body while your immune system is down. Plus, because you are coming into contact with so many more people than you usually do, you run the risk of infecting others if you are contagious.
As soon as you notice that you’re feeling unwell, seek treatment or treat yourself. It’s a good idea to learn some basic first aid so that you can treat minor injuries or ailments on your own without disrupting your vacation.
If you’re traveling in the coming weeks, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of coronavirus. They include a cough, fever, and shortness of breath. If you exhibit all three, don’t rush straight to a doctor, or even your hotel lobby. Instead, quarantine yourself in place, and contact your doctor or a nearby hospital. They’ll be able to instruct you on how to seek treatment without running the risk of infecting others.
Keep Up Your Healthy Habits on the Go
Suddenly stopping your healthy habits, like eating well or exercising, when you travel is the last thing you want to do. While you don’t have to live on salads or hit the gym, look for other ways to sneak in healthy, nutritious foods and get in some heart-pumping exercise. Doing so will give your immune system an extra boost, and help you stay energized during whatever adventure comes your way.
Practicing Healthy Travel Habits
These healthy travel habits can help keep you safe no matter when you travel.
If you’re visiting Zion in the coming days and weeks, stop by the Zion Canyon Visitor Center to ask our staff your questions on what’s open and how the COVID-19 outbreak might be affecting your favorite Springdale destinations.