Travel is hard on the body, no matter what your age. Instead of relying on a plethora of drug store remedies for indigestion, insomnia and sore joints and muscles due to travel stress, think prevention. With some forethought and planning, you can prevent most ailments, or at least keep them from becoming too uncomfortable or making you really sick.
The most effective prevention starts in the morning — whether you are hitting the road for business or pleasure. If you start your day on a healthy note, you'll be far less likely to be plagued by health problems.
If you can rise even 15 minutes early to do some Pilates moves or yoga asanas, or to take a brisk walk outside, you will feel the benefits all day. Getting the blood moving, especially if you have spent the previous day in transit, will help you feel better almost immediately and will wake you up naturally. If you can get outside to take bit of activity, even better, as your eyes will adjust to the local time zone more quickly if you expose yourself to the natural light.
Stretch it out
Hamstrings and other leg muscles get very tight when we fly, and if you are lugging bags, shoulders might be sore and tight too. Taking time in the morning to breathe and gently stretch will ground you and put you back in touch with your physical self. Doing some deep breathing while stretching will encourage your body to feel more relaxed in unfamiliar circumstances and will calm any underlying nervousness.
Eat a protein- and fruit-rich breakfast
You can find eggs and fruit pretty much anywhere in the world, and they are a great way to start the day when you are on the road. Fruit will keep your digestion regular, is packed with vitamins and antioxidants and is filling; eggs are a protein powerhouse and the healthy fat in the yolks will sustain you for hours. Opt for hard-boiled or poached eggs if you are eating at a restaurant, diner or roadside eatery, since that way you can avoid any weird and potentially stomach-upsetting grease. If you are in a country where the water situation is questionable, find whole fruit with thick skins (oranges, bananas, mangoes) that you can peel yourself to avoid fruit that may be contaminated.
Take your vitamins
Whether you are a regular vitamin-eater or not, travel is a good time to avail yourself of their potentially helpful effects. When I travel, I keep vitamin C packets of Emergen-C and a supply of of B vitamins on hand, as well as some echinacea in case I start to feel under the weather. (Remember, echinacea needs to be taken as soon as you even think you might be feeling ill.) Finally, probiotics will ensure that there's enough good bacteria in your system to fight the bad ones. I always take my vitamins directly after breakfast.
Take time to pack for the day
If you can wake up a bit earlier (or pack up the night before), you will be glad you took the time to be sure that you have your extra batteries, snacks, full water bottle, journal, pens and an extra layer (or bathing suit). There's nothing worse than realizing halfway to your day's destination (whether that is a far-flung beach or a business meeting) that you don't have what you need to keep happy and comfortable.
Also on MNN: 6 tips for traveling on a budget