3 Simple Rules to Avoid Getting Sick While Traveling


What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Whether you are traveling for the holidays or any other time of year, follow these three easy-to-remember cardinal rules for staying in tip-top shape.

I once flew home from Hawaii with more than macadamia nuts and memories.

Pain pierced my ears, my joints ached, and I couldn’t breathe through my nose or stop coughing. I certainly couldn’t sleep in that cramped airplane seat.  I swore I’d never do it again — get sick while traveling, that is, not visit Hawaii.

To help you avoid suffering the same fate on your next trip, let’s break down your travel regimen into three easy-to-remember cardinal rules:

  1. Watch what you touch.
  2. Watch what you eat.
  3. Watch how you sleep.

1. Watch what you touch

Common surfaces: Whether you travel by plane, train, cruise ship, cab or rental car, you’re probably one of many people to sit in that space on any given day. It’s probably harboring a lot of germs, including germs from other geographic regions to which your immune system is less resistant.

So be mindful of common surfaces such as:

  • Door handles and locks
  • Toilet flush buttons
  • Seat belts
  • Tray tables
  • Arm rests and any buttons on them
  • Drinking fountain buttons
  • Other types of buttons and knobs, such as overhead airplane vents and lights

Last year, a study by TravelMath.com found that tray tables are the most germ-ridden surfaces on airplanes, and drinking fountain buttons are the most germ-covered surfaces at airports.

Your hands: After touching common surfaces, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls hand hygiene “one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.”

Your face: When you’re unable to immediately wash or sanitize your hands, be especially careful to avoid touching your face — or letting someone else do so — and therefore transferring any germs from hand to face.

Germs often enter the body through the mucous membranes that line the eyes, nose and mouth.

2. Watch what you eat

Hydration: Bring and consume ample water on plane flights.

Staying hydrated while flying helps prevent irritation of the nasal passages and the pharynx, where your nasal passages meet the back of your mouth and your throat, according to the CDC. It will also help the eustachian tubes in your ears to function better during the pressure changes that are part of flying.

While you can’t bring bottles of fluids with you to take onto a plane, you bring an empty bottle or container and fill it at a drinking fountain or buy a bottle of water to take on the plane once you pass airport security. Some flights also still offer water free during flights.

Staying hydrated is also especially important for avoiding heat exhaustion in hot climates.

Filtered water: When traveling abroad, stick to bottled beverages and avoid ice that might have been made with tap or well water. The same goes for foods that might have been washed or otherwise prepared with tap or well water.

Unclean food and water can cause diseases such as travelers’ diarrhea, according to tips provided by the CDC. Food that is served steaming hot will usually be safe, but be wary of food that is cooked and allowed to sit at warm or room temperatures. Most germs require moisture to grow, so dry food such as chips are usually safe, the CDC says.

For more tips to prevent food-borne illnesses, check out “7 Keys to Dodging Deadly Bacteria That Lurk in Your Food.”

3. Watch how you sleep

Quantity: Lack of sleep has long been linked to sickness, whether you’re trying to avoid it or recover from it.

One study found that people who get six hours or less of sleep nightly are four times more likely to catch a cold they’re exposed to than people who get more than seven hours of sleep.

Lead author Aric Prather, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, said of the findings:

“Short sleep was more important than any other factor in predicting subjects’ likelihood of catching [a] cold. It didn’t matter how old people were, their stress levels, their race, education or income. It didn’t matter if they were a smoker.”

Quality: I always travel with earplugs in case of loud-mouthed passengers or thin-walled hotel rooms, because sometimes I struggle to fall asleep again after being awakened.

Travel presents more challenges to sound sleeping. So before you leave home, think about which aids you would want in the worst-case scenario. A sleeping mask to block light? A travel pillow to prevent a sore neck? Headphones and relaxing music?

What’s the best way you’ve found to avoid getting sick while traveling? Share your ideas by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: 8 Ways to Get Your FICO Score for Free

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,872 more deals!