I remember a time I planned a road trip with my friends. We took our time planning our road trip itineraries and routes, mapping them all out down to accommodations, we even opted for unique road trip accommodations on the way all pumped up and ready to have the best adventures of our lives. You won’t believe that as soon as we hit the road one of us fell ill! And what was worse? We didn’t make reservations for taking care of emergencies like a sickness. We didn’t just think any of us would fall sick.
With our friend falling sick as a result of food poisoning from a quick pit spot at a restaurant, we figured it would have been best if we went through some healthy road trip food ideas to make some road trip breakfast and carried along some healthy road trip snacks and drinks to stay safe on the road. Most importantly, it led me to think and come up with this little guide for you to know how to stay healthy and avoid sickness on your road trip.
I have covered some pre-trip preparations to in-trip habits and avoiding sickness, which will go a long way to help you stay healthy and safe on your road trip. No, this isn’t only for when you are traveling with friends but will go a long way to help you whether you are traveling solo or with family.
Pre-Trip Preparations to Avoid Sickness
There are some things you have to put in place before embarking on your trip in order to stay safe. You might be wondering, so what if after all these checks something still happens? Anyway, it is best to just go ahead and put these tips on how to stay healthy and avoid sickness on your trip to be sure that you are on the safer side, other than leaving everything to chance. Here are some pre-trip preparations for staying healthy and avoiding sickness on your road trip.
Checking Your Overall Health and Visiting a Doctor Before Leaving
- Schedule a check-up with your doctor before your road trip to make sure you’re in good health and to address any medical issues you may have.
- Bring any necessary medications and make a list of any medical conditions or allergies to carry with you.
- If you have any chronic medical conditions, make sure you have enough medication to last the entire trip and consider obtaining a medical certificate or letter from your doctor.
Preparing a First-Aid Kit
- Assemble a first-aid kit that includes essentials such as band-aids, pain relievers, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and any prescription medications.
- Consider adding additional items to your list of road trip essentials based on your personal needs, such as insect bite ointment, sunscreen, and anti-diarrhea medication.
- Store your first-aid kit in an easily accessible location in your vehicle.
Stocking Up on Healthy Snacks and Drinks
- Road trips can often result in snacking on junk food, but it’s important to make sure you have plenty of healthy options on hand.
- Pack snacks such as fruit, nuts, and whole-grain crackers to provide a balanced mix of nutrients and energy.
- Bring water and other healthy drinks, such as herbal teas or fruit juices, to stay hydrated during your trip.
Planning Out Your Rest Stops and Overnight Stays
- Plan out rest stops and overnight stays in advance to ensure you’re taking breaks and getting enough rest.
- When choosing rest stops and overnight accommodations, prioritize cleanliness and hygiene to reduce the risk of exposure to illness.
- Consider staying in hotels or other overnight accommodations that provide amenities such as on-site restaurants and fitness centers, so you can continue to maintain healthy habits while on your trip.
In-Trip Habits for Staying Healthy
There are habits and things you must keep on to stay safe while in transit. These in-trip habits range from staying hydrated, eating healthy, having enough sleep, taking some breaks to rest, and other healthy habits.
staying hydrated will help your body function at its best and reduce your risk of getting sick on your road trip. Water helps to regulate body temperature, transports nutrients and oxygen to cells, and removes waste and toxins from the body so make sure to drink enough water. Also, there are certain road trip apps and tools that can be used to keep track of your water intake. Keeping track of your water intake is an effective way to make sure you’re getting enough water throughout the day which will help you in staying healthy and avoiding sickness on your road trip. Here are some tips for tracking your water intake:
- Bring a refillable water bottle with you and refill it throughout the day.
- Set reminders on your phone or a smartwatch to drink water at regular intervals.
- Use a hydration tracking app that can help you keep track of your water consumption and remind you to drink water.
- Keep a mental note of how much water you’re drinking and aim to drink at least 8-10 cups of water per day.
- Avoid drinks that can dehydrate you, such as alcohol and caffeine.
Eating Healthy and Balanced Meals
Road trips are not an excuse to eat poorly or stuff yourself with unhealthy road trip foods and snacks from gas stations. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is important for maintaining overall health and avoiding sickness while on a road trip. Make sure to pack some healthy road trip lunch to have a balanced diet or better still research to make stops at healthy eateries on your route.
A balanced diet can provide your body with the nutrients and energy it needs to function optimally and support a strong immune system. To make sure you’re eating a balanced diet while on the road, try to pack or purchase healthy snacks and meals. Here are some healthy road trip snacks and meals ideas to guide your choice:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots, and celery sticks.
- Whole grain crackers, bread, or rice cakes with peanut butter or hummus.
- Nuts and seeds, such as almonds and sunflower seeds.
- Yogurt with fruit and granola.
- Sandwiches that are made with whole grain bread, lean protein, and fresh vegetables.
- Rice and bean bowls with grilled chicken or tofu.
Getting Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is important for staying healthy and avoiding sickness on your road trip. Sleep helps to rejuvenate your body, boost your immune system, and reduce stress levels. Here are some tips for getting good sleep while on the road:
- Plan rest stops and overnight stays in advance and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
- Create a comfortable sleep environment in your vehicle or wherever you’re sleeping by bringing a pillow, blanket, and eye mask.
- Avoid screens (e.g., phones, laptops, and televisions) for at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Make your sleep environment as quiet and dark as possible.
- Try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule as much as possible.
You know you can still engage in road trip games involving stretches and sports while in transit. You just have to make some stops to refresh and exercise while on the go. These exercises are definitely some of the most important activities that could also pass as fun things to do on a road trip.
Regular exercise is essential for maintaining good physical and mental health. It helps keep your weight in check, reduces stress, improves your mood, and strengthens your immune system to stay healthy all through your trip. Wondering how to stay healthy and avoid sickness on your road trip? Here are some simple road trip exercises you should indulge in.
- Simple exercises you can do while on the road: There are many simple exercises you can do while on the road to stay healthy and avoid sickness. These include:
- Stretching: Before and after driving, take a few minutes to stretch your muscles and improve your circulation.
- Yoga: Yoga is a great way to exercise while also reducing stress and tension. Many hotels have fitness centers with yoga mats, or you can bring your own mat and practice in your hotel room.
- Calisthenics: Simple bodyweight exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, and squats can be done anywhere, without any equipment.
- Walking: Taking a walk after a meal or when you stop for a break is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air.
- Jogging: If you’re staying in a scenic location, consider going for a jog to take in the sights and get in some exercise.
Tips for Avoiding Sickness
Here are other tips you must keep in mind as they are essential to your staying healthy and avoiding sickness on your road trip.
Maintain Good Hygiene
- Hand-washing and sanitizing: This is probably the most important step to avoiding sickness while on a road trip. Make sure to wash your hands regularly, especially after using public restrooms or touching shared surfaces. You can also bring along hand sanitizer to use when soap and water aren’t available.
- Avoid touching your face: Our hands touch a lot of things throughout the day, and we often forget about them. But, when our hands come into contact with germs and bacteria, it’s easy for them to spread to our faces and cause illness. Try to be conscious of not touching your face and keep hand sanitizer nearby to help prevent this.
Stay Away From Sickness Hotspots
- Avoiding crowded areas: Crowded areas are often prime spots for illness to spread, so try to avoid them as much as possible. This includes busy public spaces like shopping centers, amusement parks, and public transportation.
- Avoiding public restrooms and shared surfaces: Public restrooms and shared surfaces can also be a breeding ground for germs, so it’s best to avoid them as much as possible. If you do need to use a public restroom, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterward. Also, try to avoid touching shared surfaces, like door handles and shopping carts, without first sanitizing your hands.
Take Care of Yourself During Cold and Flu Season
Getting a flu shot is the most effective way to protect yourself from the flu. It is especially important during the flu season, as it can greatly reduce your chances of getting sick and spreading the flu to others.
Find Ways to Deal with Motion Sickness
Motion sickness is caused by the mismatch between what your body senses and what your eyes see. It is common in car and boat rides, as well as on rides at amusement parks. To prevent motion sickness, here are some tips you should consider:
- You can try looking out the window.
- Taking breaks and getting fresh air.
- Avoiding heavy meals or alcohol before traveling.
- Over-the-counter medications such as Dramamine can also be used to relieve symptoms.
- Deep breathing, ginger, and acupressure can also help alleviate motion sickness.
- If symptoms persist, it is best to seek medical attention.
There are various ways to stay healthy and avoid sickness during a road trip. First and foremost, it is important to check your overall health and visit a doctor before leaving. Preparing a first-aid kit and stocking up on healthy snacks and drinks are also crucial steps in maintaining good health. In addition, staying hydrated, eating healthy and balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly at different points during the trip are all key habits for staying healthy on the road.
Moreover, maintaining good hygiene, such as hand-washing and sanitizing, and avoiding crowded areas and public restrooms can help prevent the spread of sickness. Getting a flu shot and being aware of the signs and symptoms of the flu can also help keep you healthy on your trip during cold and flu season. Finally, try to understand the causes of your motion sickness if you have one, and know the prevention and treatment methods that can prevent you from becoming sick during long car rides.
In the end, taking care of your health during a road trip requires planning, preparation, and self-awareness. By following these tips, you can stay healthy and enjoy your road trip to the fullest. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and have a great and healthy journey!