8 travel tips for staying healthy this summer

by Kaiser Permanente |
Friends wearing backpacks taking a summer hike

As the days grow longer and the weather heats up, summer is the perfect time to hit the road for an adventure. The last thing you want on your travel itinerary? Getting sick. Whether you’re hopping on an international flight or car camping, here are 8 travel tips to help you manage your health while you’re away from home.

Check in with your doctor

It’s important to schedule a doctor visit about 4 to 6 weeks before a big trip — especially if you’re traveling outside the country. Your doctor may suggest certain vaccines or medications, such as a COVID-19 vaccine or booster. And depending on your destination, you may need to get a COVID-19 test before you go. So be sure to leave enough time to get your results. Also check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest information for travelers.

Refill prescriptions and bring over-the-counter medications

Running out of prescription medications when you’re away from home can cause unnecessary stress. So, remember to refill your prescriptions before you leave and have a list handy in case anything gets lost. And don’t forget the over-the-counter medications you typically travel with — they might not be easy to find elsewhere.

You’ll also want to keep your medications where you can easily get to them — like in a purse, backpack, or carry-on bag. This is especially important if you’re traveling by plane. You won’t be able to access checked bags during your flight, so keep your medications within reach. Along with your prescriptions, make sure to carry paper and digital copies of your COVID-19 vaccine card with you.

Know your health coverage

Find out if your health care provider offers a travel clinic in your area to contact before you go as well as other care options at your destination. If you get sick or hurt while traveling, contact them as soon as possible to get care.

Eat and drink in moderation

Being on vacation can make it easy to overindulge. So it helps to strike a balance between nutritious meals and occasional splurges. If you have a hearty dinner planned, consider eating lighter, plant-based foods during the day. An added plus: Eating a healthy mix of foods, including vegetables and fruit, can boost your immune system and even improve your mood. You can’t go wrong with a side of berries and dark, leafy greens, like kale or bok choy. But remember to stay healthy during your travels by avoiding undercooked food and unsafe tap water.

Stay hydrated

When you’re outside enjoying the sun, you can sometimes forget to drink enough water. This can make you dehydrated, which can cause fatigue, headaches, and serious health problems in severe cases.

Stay on top of your water intake by:

  • Keeping a full bottle of water with you — and bringing extra water for any children or pets traveling with you.
  • Bringing an empty water bottle through airport security and filling it at a drinking fountain.
  • Using a mobile app to track how much water you’re drinking.

Stay active

Even if you’ve planned your vacation for pure relaxation, try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Exercise can help you improve your energy level and reduce stiffness from an unfamiliar bed.

Research beforehand to see what’s available where you’re going. Your vacation souvenir just might be a new favorite workout.

Rest up

Traveling can take a toll on your body — especially if you’re headed to a different time zone. You might feel tempted to push yourself because you want to see and do everything. But exhaustion puts you at a higher risk for illness and injury.

That’s why it’s important to listen to your body. Rest when you’re feeling mentally, emotionally, or physically tired. Even a power nap can help you feel refreshed and renewed.

Make sunscreen your best friend

Hours spent outdoors sightseeing or at the beach mean more time in the sun’s harmful rays. Sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is recommended for good coverage. And it should be reapplied every 2 hours. This will prevent sunburns and reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. You can also wear a hat for added protection.

Feeling your best while on vacation is an important part of making lasting memories. So, remember to follow these tips — and have lots of fun.

Prepare for a healthy trip

You never know what might come up when you’re away from home. Learn how to get care while you’re traveling.

Learn more