Handy health hacks from the experts to feel your best on holiday

There is nothing worse than falling ill when travelling. Keep your body and mind in mint condition on your next trip with these tips and tricks.

Bring an empty bottle to fill and rehydrate during long-haul flights
  • Penny Carroll
  • August 2019

Staying healthy while on vacation can sometimes be a challenge - whether it's because of getting a bit too experimental with new foods, or good old jet lag and travel fatigue. Here, a doctor, a dietician, a sleep coach and fitness guru Sam Wood give their advice on how to stay at the top of your game and avoid getting sick on holiday.

1. Plan ahead

Visit your GP before you go. “If you are travelling overseas, particularly to a high-risk area, chat to your GP about which additional vaccinations you might need,” says Dr Preeya Alexander. “You might require boosters of some vaccines, like typhoid every three years.” Your doctor can also clue you in on food and water safety and how to manage if traveller’s tummy strikes.

2. Drink up

Pack a reusable water bottle. On flights, drinking plenty of H2O can help you stay hydrated, while on solid ground, it’ll keep your body and brain running like a well-oiled machine. “Hydration is critical for your body to function at its best,” explains dietician Rachel Scoular. “Drinking water also helps us differentiate between hunger and thirst.” Translation: you’ll be less likely to raid the minibar.

Bring an empty bottle to fill and rehydrate during long-haul flights.

3. Walk it off

Pack your sneakers – walking is an ideal way to offset all that holiday indulgence. “Aim for at least 60 minutes a day of brisk walking, whether it’s through sightseeing or getting somewhere at your destination,” says Dr Alexander. Bonus points for getting a stroll in on the first day of your trip – the sunlight and activity will help your body adjust to its new time zone.

4. Beat the pests

Not only do mosquitoes deliver an irritating itch, they can also carry disease. “Simple measures like wearing light-coloured clothing, covering as much skin as possible – particularly at dawn and dusk, which are high-risk times – and using insect repellent are some ways to avoid being bitten,” advises Dr Alexander.

5. Squeeze in a work-out

Stay fit by bringing some clever kit. “My favourite pieces for travel are resistance bands and floor sliders,” says Sam Wood, founder of 28 by Sam Wood. “They’re lightweight, compact and versatile for a core or full-body work-out.” Use bands for bicep curls and push-ups, and sliders for reverse lunges and mountain climbers. Add squats and tricep dips and you’re set.

Bring an empty bottle to fill and rehydrate during long-haul flights
Ultra-portable resistance bands can be used in many exercises.

6. Take a nap

Nothing refreshes your mind and body like a siesta. “When your sleep tank is empty, it’s difficult to enjoy a full day of travelling,” says sleep coach Cheryl Fingleson. “A catnap for 30 minutes before 3pm could help get you through another late night.” Have a packed itinerary? “Don’t underestimate the power of a shower and a change of clothes,” she adds.

7. Eat smart

Prioritise one healthy, veggie-packed meal a day. “Veggies will up your fibre intake and keep your system on an even keel,” says Rachel. Aim for half a plate of veggies, plus some protein and complex carbs like brown rice. Fermented foods like kimchi, miso and kombucha can also maintain gut health. “Their friendly probiotics can strengthen your body’s defences via your gut,” she adds.