It should go without saying, but this year’s holiday season will likely look a little different than last year’s. In addition to actually leaving our houses, some of us may be travelling far and wide to visit family or friends to celebrate. And while (mostly) everyone’s excited for some quality family time, there are a few things we’re not excited about: Traffic, airport food, and the inevitable cold that follows a long day of travel. Here are a few quick steps you can take to avoid getting sick while travelling—for the holidays or otherwise.
1. Disinfect As Much As Possible
At a bare minimum, you’ll want to make sure you’re COVID-safe before you travel. In addition to checking your state or municipality’s COVID restrictions and guidelines (which could mean vaccine mandates, testing mandates, or quarantining once you’re there), you’ll also want to be sure you’re not bringing any harmful germs with you when you travel. This means disinfecting all your suitcases, bags, and other belongings with an All-Purpose Cleaner or sanitiser. Of course, wear your mask and stay six feet away from others traveling outside your party when possible.
2. Get Enough Water & Sleep
There’s a reason why you feel crappy after a day of bingeing on salt: It dehydrates you. Staying adequately hydrated and well-rested can help your body better fight off any germs or pathogens that you do encounter by maintaining a moist environment in your throat and nasal passages. Take a reusable water bottle with you and count the number of times you fill it up throughout the day. As a good rule of thumb, make sure you’re drinking at least 2.7-3.7 litres of water per day. Be sure to measure your intake in the days leading up to your trip, too.
Similarly, not getting adequate sleep can mess with your body’s immune system, too. Eight hours is a good rule of thumb, but it’s more important to be sure you’re getting equal to or more sleep than you’re used to in the days leading up to the trip, as well as while you’re there. (This might make a red-eye flight from one time zone to another a bad idea.)
3. Wash Your Hands—Often
This should go without saying, but it’s important to wash your hands with soap and warm water after every major travel touchpoint. This includes after you exchange paperwork with your flight agent while checking in, or when you get out of your Uber and arrive at your destination. If you’re driving or travelling by train or bus, this includes when you fill up for gas, stop for refreshments, or run your hands along any surface that others may have also touched. If you find yourself without a sink or soap, hand sanitiser will do in a pinch. This is especially true before eating or drinking, as that can transfer germs much quicker than you’d think.
4. Stay Prepared & Vigilant
It’s always a good idea to stock up on items like aspirin, couch medicine, and other items that can help you if you’re feeling unwell in a pinch—especially if you’re travelling somewhere you haven’t been before. While the holidays can be stressful, it’s important to take the steps that are within your control to avoid getting sick while travelling. Of course, no plan is a sure-fire guarantee, but you’ll be way calmer if you’re prepared.