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Staying healthy during your holiday travels

A woman wearing winger gear looking up at the sky while standing in the snow.

The holiday season is upon us and, for many of us, that means taking a well-deserved break to celebrate with family and friends. But hopping from one climate to another, especially between cold and warm, and spending time around others, can be a recipe for sickness. This season, make sure to prioritize your health—and the health of your loved ones—with these tips.

Acclimate to different climates

Making a sudden switch from warm to cold (or vice versa) may be a shock to your system. Prepare by:

  • Staying hydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of water before and during your trip, especially if traveling by air. Different climates can affect your hydration levels differently. And if you enjoy alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, remember they can be dehydrating.

  • Wearing layers. Dress in layers when transitioning from a warm to a cold climate. This keeps you warm but lets you shed layers if you get too hot. If you’re traveling from a colder to a warmer climate, keep a change of lighter clothes handy.

  • Taking care of your skin. If traveling to cooler climates, the cold weather can dry out your skin, so lather on the moisturizer. Of course, if you’re heading to a sunny destination, take plenty of sunscreen.

Avoid the bugs

Cold and flu season tends to coincide with the holidays, but some preparation can help you sidestep the sniffles. Be sure to: 

  • Get vaccinated. Ensure your flu shot is up to date. And check with a medical professional about any other recommended vaccinations for your destination.

  • Practice good hand hygiene. Regularly wash your hands with soap and water, especially before meals and after using the restroom. Carry alcohol-based sanitizer for when soap and water aren’t readily available.

  • Boost your immunity. Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Consider taking vitamin supplements like Vitamin C or zinc if you’re prone to catching colds.

Prepare for indoor gatherings

Holiday gatherings often mean indoor spaces full of people. Protect yourself and others with these tips:

  • Ventilate the space. If you’re hosting an event, make sure your space is well-ventilated. Open windows periodically if you can or invest in air purifiers to help keep the air clean.

  • Limit the guest list. It may be tempting to invite everyone over, but think about the size of your space. Hosting a smaller, more intimate gathering can reduce the risk of spreading illness.

  • Practice safe greetings. As much as we love hugs and handshakes, consider elbow bumps or waves. Be sure to communicate your distanced greetings with guests beforehand to set expectations.

Listen to your body

It’s important to take a pulse on how you’re feeling, both mentally and physically, while you’re traveling. Make sure to:

  • Get plenty of rest. Try to maintain the same sleep schedule you keep at home. If you’re exhausted after traveling, take naps if you need them.

  • Stay active. Try to get some exercise, whether walking on the beach or building a snowman. Staying active can help boost your immune system.

  • Minimize stress. The more you can plan in advance for your travels, the less last-minute stress you’ll experience. Also, reserve space for flexibility and try to adjust your schedule as needed.

Home after the holidays

Holiday travels are meant for relaxation and rejuvenation. When you return home, monitor yourself for any signs of cold, flu or COVID. The earlier your detection, the faster you can recover without spreading it to others.

Use these handy tips to ensure you return to work not just with great memories but also in optimal health. Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday season!