Best Tips: Traveling during Coronavirus Pandemic

traveling during coronavirus
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Meeting our loved ones or having that long-awaited vacation were missed out by many of us this year due to the pandemic. However, since the travel restrictions have been relaxed; many people have started backpacking all over again.

Nevertheless; traveling comes with its own set of constraints and challenges. The body clock gets disrupted due to different time zones. There’s a constant battle with jet lag. The dramatic and sudden changes in climate, sleep patterns, work stress, irregular intake of food makes one prone to obesity, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels to name a few.

Here’s a guide to help keep your diet, workout, sleep patterns, and stress in check while traveling during Coronavirus pandemic. With a little creativity, firm commitment to self-care, and some proactive planning you can be on your way to healthy living while keeping coronavirus at bay.

Common challenges faced while traveling

  • Long periods of inactivity due to layovers at airports, extended days without a trip to the gym
  • Reduced sleep and disrupted sleep patterns due to irregular waking hours and changes in time zones
  • Increased stress levels due to work pressure and being away from family and friends
  • Excess consumption of junk and unhealthy foods

Dump the common excuses to avoid exercise during travel

  • No health club at the hotel/ airport
  • Meetings and sightseeing all day. So, no time for exercise
  • Having a mindset to exercise and get healthy after getting back from travel

Clothes: Check; Imp Documents: Check; Food Options: Check??

travel-food
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  • Pre-plan and pack along portable, healthy foods. Do not depend on airport/ airplane food. Carry snacks like nuts (unsalted peanuts, almonds, walnuts, raisins, pistachios, cashews), crackers with low fat, cheese, yogurt, energy bars, protein bars, hard boiled eggs, peanut butter sandwich as often as possible or choose wisely. Healthy Indian snacks like makhana (lotus seeds) or khakhras are good fillers.
  • If traveling by road, stock some fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, baked snacks, water in a cooler, or an insulated box. It would be a challenge to find healthy nutritious food at roadside eateries.
  • Do not give into overeating because of boredom due to long hours of travel. Keep along some stuff like a magazine and book player, and puzzles to keep you busy.
  • Smartly apply healthy habits at business lunches and dinners. Eat slowly; take in small portions of foods. Request some healthy changes in the food ordered like dressings on the side, swapping some fried toppings for something raw or sautéed. Have more of veggies, baked, grilled options, limit dessert intake and stop eating when satisfied.
  • Limit alcohol intake; remember they are loaded with calories apart from clouding our judgments’ in ordering food and other business decisions too. Kindly excuse yourself from hard liquor and stick to lighter choices like wine, light beer, or simply diet soda. Just get one drink with lots of ice and nurse it all night.
  • The most challenging task would be to stick on to a regular meal schedule. Even if it is 3 am and time for dinner, we have it, do not skip it. It will help you with a good nap. Small and frequent meals are the golden rule whether you are in the air or on ground.
  • Always stay hydrated. Low humidity and recirculating air within the cabin are set up for dehydration, which worsens jet lag and causes fatigue. As a thumb rule, we drink two 8-ounce glasses before boarding and then one every hour on the flight.
  • Avoid dietary disasters and punishing your body with free booze, snacks and heavy dinner.

Do not forget to exercise

treadmill
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  • Pack some comfortable shoes, sports clothes, easy to carry equipment like a jump rope, push up bars even if it’s a short trip.
  • If there’s a long layover at the airport, utilize the airport fitness facility, if available. Window shop or just walk around the entire length of the corridor so that you can kill time and calories both. Avoid moving walkways at the airport unless you are delayed.
  • Book a hotel with fitness facility. Plan work-outs in advance just as you would do with client meetings. If the hotels do not have gym facilities, check nearby health clubs where hotel guests could avail some discounts.
  • Exercises like stretching, pushups, squats, yoga and pranayama do not need any machines and can be done anywhere; within the hotel room.
  • At least look for some mini breaks to get going for a walk /jog. Encourage your colleagues to join in, maybe you will be pleasantly surprised.

De-stress and recovery from Jet Lag

  • Book daytime arrival as far as possible. Once there, do something active in daylight as early as possible. The early morning sun rays are still man’s best de-stressor. It fills us with immense energy and enthusiasm. This also helps to lessen the jet lag.
  • Walk the length of the plane every hour or two. This will keep the blood circulating well and muscles especially the back supple.
  • Rehydrate yourself well and have a simple local meal as soon as possible. Oxygenate the body by doing some deep breathing exercises.

It’s always the first step which is difficult; after that it becomes an ingrained habit. Apply these steps and prosper in your business and more importantly in your health!!

Guidelines for traveling during coronavirus times

  • Maintain a distance of 6 feet (2 meters) between you and others as much as possible.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick
  • Limit contact with frequently touched surfaces, such as handrails, elevator buttons, and kiosks. If you must touch these surfaces, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands afterward.
  • Wear a cloth face mask.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean your hands. It’s especially important after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub your hands together until they feel dry.

Apart from the above measures here are a few more reminders:

  • Keep the immune system strong by ensuring adequate sleep, healthy eating, regular exercise and stress management.
  • Ensure regular vaccinations are done as per schedule for children.
  • Stay well hydrated all the times.
  • Most importantly, avoid travel if you are sick.

References

https://www.who.int/news-room/articles-detail/public-health-considerations-while-resuming-international-travel

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html

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Renu is a Clinical Dietitian and Diabetes Educator. In her last 15 years of practice, she has focused on two things: making her clients learn the concepts of "right diet for them" and giving them "Happy to follow" diet programs by offering healthy alternatives, very close to their regular eating habits. This approach resulted in permanent change in the dietary habits and significant improvement in health status for over 7000 clientele of Renu. Apart from Weight Management programs, she has been successful in dietary treatment of diabetes, thyroid related issues, gut health related issues like acid reflux, constipation and IBS, PCOS and other hormonal imbalances, child nutrition, sports nutrition and all lifestyle related disorders.

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