Healthy living: How to stay in tip-top health on your holiday

washing hands

How often have you returned from a vacation with a lot more than a glut of photographs and incredible memories? You also return with a streaming cold. This can be as true for those who maintain a healthy lifestyle, and who keep up with the latest news and developments in healthy living by reading research-based information such as that found on websites like Authority Health, as it is for those who are less concerned.

It’s often the case that when a holiday has involved a long-distance flight, many people return home so sick, that they need another vacation to recover. In fact, some individuals and families shun vacations that require flying, opting instead to stay closer to home and drive.

However, the risk of getting sick on a flight or during a cruise isn’t unavoidable. By following the simple healthy living tips listed below, you can enjoy that once-in-a-lifetime trip – to Africa, for a safari for example – and return home safely and in perfect health.

Prevention is better than cure

Catching one or more long flights during your holiday is just one of the many prices you have to pay for the privilege, and convenience, of visiting exotic locations around the world. But it comes with health risks. After all, hundreds of people from all across the globe and in various states of health, are shoe-horned into a sealed tin can for hours on end. Who knows what dreaded lurgies lurk, waiting to attach themselves to you (and your family).

However, flight-induced illness need not be inevitable. Here are some tips to help you ensure your vacation does not come with any travel-related, unwanted, health surprises:

  • Arm yourself with a large supply of anti-bacterial wipes. Wipe down your tray tables, video screen, and remote controls as soon as you have taken your seats.
  • Take the wipes with you to the bathroom and wipe down the seat, the sink and the door handle (inside and out) before using it.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after every bathroom visit.
  • In addition, after every bathroom visit, and at regular intervals throughout the flight, use an anti-bacterial sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol content on your hands.
  • If you have children traveling with you, ensure their hands have been sanitized before they sleep – or wipe their hands down with sanitizer while they sleep – in case they touch their noses, eyes, and mouths in their sleep.
  • Some travelers wear surgical masks, but many people – particularly children – find them awkward and uncomfortable. As a compromise, use a moisturizing nasal spray to ensure the germ-catching, thin layer of mucus and hairs in your noses do not dry out, giving them the best possible chance of trapping errant viruses and bacteria before they could move through your noses, down your throats, and into your lungs.

One of the worst things about taking the family on a long distance flight is having to deal with tired, over-active children. Airport and airline food are serious culprits. To avoid miserable kids, travel with a hefty stash of healthy low-sugar snacks: nuts, organic pretzels (unsalted) and crackers, hummus to spread on the crackers, savoury muffins and so on. It’s better for the family’s health, too.

In addition, encourage children to drink lots and lots of water. Keeping well hydrated is a great way to keep germs at bay – and also fight jet lag. Sugary drinks, including fruit juice, are a no-no. As parents, you can set the example by declining coffee, tea, and alcohol, all of which are notoriously dehydrating.

crowded aeroplane

Aeroplanes can be places where germs linger.

Good health, happy holidays

With your health taken care of, you are well placed to enjoy every moment of your vacation. A safari is an ideal option for the entire family. It is possible to have a safari vacation in relative luxury at a price that won’t break the bank.

One affordable option is to fly to Johannesburg, South Africa. There you can pick up a rental SUV at the airport and, after overnighting at one of the many delightful, home-from-home guest houses nearby – most have wonderful swimming pools in lush gardens – set off early the next morning to drive to the world-famous Kruger National Park.

This park – which is about the size of a country like Wales – is extremely popular with tourists. It’s a good idea to make reservations for accommodation within the park well in advance. If you have children with you, choose one of the larger camps, like Skukuza, as these boast excellent facilities including swimming pools, children’s playgrounds, shops, and restaurants.

Although sightings of game cannot be guaranteed, the thrill of seeing the Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo – in their natural habitat, as well as all kinds of antelope, zebra, giraffe, is something you are unlikely to forget.

While most chalets come with well-equipped kitchens, open fire barbecues are the most popular lunch and dinner options for most park visitors. At the height of summer, however – November through March – it can get very hot. There may be days when eating and relaxing in the air-conditioned comfort of your chalet is welcome.

Keeping bugs at bay while on safari

As night falls, the mosquitoes come out – and so should your insect repellant and long sleeves and pants. Malaria is endemic to the Kruger Park, particularly in summer, and you should not take any chances.

Having taken all these precautions, you should be able to return home healthy, happy and ready to start planning your next family adventure.


If you’re going skiing rather than on safari, you can read some health tips here:

Top travel safe tips for your ski holiday

This is a collaborative post. All images are from Pixabay

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