Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling

After months of planning and anticipation, who wants to get sick while traveling? Many of these tips are common sense, yet it's worth reviewing each time we travel.

Before Your Trip

  • Avoid stress by planning ahead. It also helps in getting preferred flights, accommodations and excursions.
  • Walk, exercise and stretch for several weeks before your trip so you'll be prepared to lift suitcases, use public transportation, walk through airports and stand in lines with ease.
  • Get plenty of sleep before you leave
  • Eat well-balanced meals with little alcohol consumption
  • Break in comfortable walking shoes.
  • Pack one week before to avoid last minute rushing, another source of stress.

Medications and Prescriptions

  • Carry enough of all of your medicines in your carry-on luggage.
  • Ask your doctor whether you should change your dosages if your eating and sleeping times will change at your destination. Bring enough medicine to last your whole trip. Take extra medicine with you in case your return trip is delayed.
  • If you have diabetes or epilepsy, carry a notification and identification card (such as the "Diabetes Alert Card" from the American Diabetes Association). Have the name and phone number of your doctor with you in case of an emergency. Remember to bring along the names and dosages of all of your medicines.

In the Airport

  • Arrive early (at least two hours for international flights)
  • Do not touch your face, nose, ears without washing hands thoroughly beforehand.
  • Bring along your iPad, book or crossword puzzle, something you enjoy while waiting.
  • Savor the fact that your trip has begun. Appreciation is good medicine.

On the Plane

  • Turn the air vent away from your face.
  • Wipe the surfaces around your seat with anti-bacterial wipes.
  • Use Purell or other hand cleaner often - do not touch your face, nose, etc.
  • With clean hands, apply lotion to face and hands frequently.
  • The air in airplanes is dry, so drink decaffeinated beverages and lots of water to avoid becoming dehydrated.
  • No alcohol is recommended, but I sure love that glass of wine to celebrate that I'm traveling again!
  • Move around - walk the aisles when allowed; rotate your head; shrug your shoulders; flex your hands, feet and ankles; stretch your legs; elevate feet by placing on travel bag - do it often.
  • Rest and relax doing it. Meditate, doze, sleep, whatever works for you. Enjoy the journey.
  • My best tip ever - For earaches caused by changing air pressure, insert earplugs designed for airplanes about an hour before landing. A good brand is "EarPlanes." They really work! Chewing gum helps relieve pressure ​too.
  • If airline food is not your favorite, bring your own snacks or food. Check with the airlines to see what meals, if any, are provided.
  • Even healthy people can get blood clots in their legs after long flights. Try to walk every now and then during your flight (unless the crew tells you not to). It also helps to drink water, stretch your calf muscles while you're sitting and wear support stockings.
  • If your doctor wants you to take oxygen when you travel, remember to tell the airline about this well in advance of your flight. The airline will probably provide oxygen for you for a fee. Federal air regulations don't allow you to carry your own oxygen unit on a plane. You'll have to make arrangements ahead of time for oxygen at your destination and also for layovers between flights. You can also arrange for special meals or a wheelchair ahead of time if needed.

At Your Destination

  • Keep your routine as much as possible - sleep, exercise, food, drink, drinks lots of water, etc.
  • Overeating, as tempting as it is, hinders good sleep, energy and well being.
  • Walk to see the sights as much as possible. You'll feel better, sleep well and see more.
  • Use sleep medicines for only a few days. Consult your doctor beforehand for sleeping aids recommended for your personal needs.
  • Get used to a new time zone by going along with the local meal and bedtime schedules.

SOS for all emergencies in France

Dial 112 from any phone

For other emergencies and vocabulary in France

This information is provided for convenience only and can change at any time without notice.