Self-Care

Staying Well While Traveling

By: Rasheedah Billups

Do you love to travel? I mean who doesn’t love to travel. Whether for business or pleasure, there’s certainly more of us in favor of a short or extended change of scenery. We all need a break from time to time. As much as we all love traveling, we don’t talk enough about what traveling means for things like our skin, immune system, or stress levels. Is there more to jetsetting than what meets the eye? Yes!

Why does traveling take a toll on me?

Traveling takes a toll on the body because of the increased exposure to germs, being closer to the sun, the sudden change in healthy habits, and added stress. A 2015 study done by Travelmath showed that parts of an airplane contain as much as 2,155 bacteria colony forming units per square inch. Unfortunately, all these areas aren’t sanitized after each flight. But even before you make it onto the plane and to your seat, you pass through security checkpoints where the bins that hold your personal items have tested positive for traces of bacteria such as E. Coli, klebsiella and acinetobacter.

After the seatbelts click and we head into the sky, we find ourselves exposed again, this time in a different way. Did you know that UVA sun rays are powerful enough to pass through airplane windows? According to Travelandleisure.com, traveling at an altitude of 30,000 feet, 56 minutes of exposure to harmful carcinogens (UVA rays) is equivalent to what you’d get from a 20-minute tanning bed session.

We touch down, hop off the plane and get right to it! Without taking a moment to pause, we’re off. Whether for work or play, caution gets thrown to the wind. By caution, I’m referring to the intentional bedtime, moments of silence, workout routines, balanced meals, the eight glasses of water, the daily smoothie, and the multivitamins you forgot to bring along. The routine you crafted, back home, to make sure you stay well from day to day is broken and your body is taking notice. In addition, some people experience stress just from the act of traveling alone.

Alone, each of these probably wouldn’t have a substantial affect on us, but bacteria, sun passing through planes, and the stress on our body all working against us, can leave us feeling out of it – or actually sick – by the time we make it back home. Not hydrating properly, getting enough sleep, or skimping on nourishment, makes it more challenging for our immune systems to defend our bodies against things like the germs waiting in the seat-back trays.

How can I stay well while away?

Knowing what we’re up against gives us the advantage to prepare for our next trip so we don’t return home feeling like we need a break after our trip. Here are a few tips:

Fight airport and airplane germs

Wash your hands frequently. Travel with hand sanitizer and wipes for cleaning your hands, seat-back trays, and other surface areas you’ll be using.

Protection from the sun

Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun rays. You should apply sunscreen lotion before boarding the plane and reapply after 80 minutes. Try Black Girl Sunscreen with SPF 30. It’s formulated with carrot seed oil, cocoa seed butter, and avocado oil, to help protect, nourish and hydrate your skin.

Photo via BLK + GRN

Balanced body

Don’t deviate too much from the good habits you created at home. Make healthy selections while away. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and remember to pack your vitamin supplements. Taking a daily multivitamin is a great daily practice, whether at home or on the road. Try Women’s Daily Multivitamin by Movita.

Photo via BLK + GRN

Keep your mind right

Find time to take a moment for yourself and just breathe. Carrying along essential oils or mist can be helpful for keeping you balanced throughout your trip. Try Aromatherapy Mist by Aseede, made with water and essential oils to rejuvenate and relax.

Photo via BLK + GRN

Airports have a lot of foot traffic and even more bacteria. Take precautions to protect yourself while traveling. Incorporating a travel wellness routine will have that vacation glow sticking around a little longer.

What are some practices you incorporate to stay well while traveling?

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