Preparing for a healthy trip: What to know before you travel

by Kaiser Permanente |
Person sitting on floor and packing luggage for a trip

Trips require planning. Transportation, hotels, restaurants, outfits. Whether you’re going away for work or vacation, there’s plenty to keep you busy before you go. And your health and wellness are no exception. As you prepare to go out of town, here are 8 travel tips to help you and your family stay healthy while you’re away.

Tip 1: Learn what you’re covered for when you travel

It’s important to know what your coverage and care options are when you’re away from home. Before you leave, ask your health plan if you’re covered for urgent and emergency care at your destinations. You may also have virtual care options, like video visits, online chat, or email.

Tip 2: Refill prescriptions early and pack your go-to over-the-counter medications

Avoid the stress of running out of medications when you’re away from home. At least 1 to 2 weeks before you leave, be sure to order prescriptions refills, contact lenses, and medical supplies so you have enough of them for your trip. This will give your pharmacy time to process your request — especially if you need more refills than usual. 

Here are other tips to consider:

  • Keep a written list of your medications and dosages in a safe place in case you need this information to refill a prescription while you’re away. 
  • If you’re traveling by plane, keep your medications and medical supplies in your carry-on baggage. That way you can access them if you need them during your flight and won’t be without them if your checked bag gets lost.
  • Bring along any over-the-counter medications you like to have on hand at home — they may not be easy to find elsewhere. 

Tip 3: If you’re going on a big trip, first check in with your doctor

Schedule a visit with your doctor about 4 to 6 weeks before your trip so your doctor can:

And make sure to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest information for travelers.

Tip 4: Build healthy eating into your daily itinerary

Eating rich, delicious food is a natural part of having fun on any vacation. But making healthy choices when you eat out doesn’t have to mean spoiling all the fun. Like with all healthy choices, it’s about balance.

For example, if you’re looking forward to a hearty dinner, you can eat lighter, plant-based foods during the day. Consider packing your own healthy snacks to munch on while you’re on the go.

Tip 5: Be sure to drink water — and plenty of it

When you’re running around having the time of your life, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water. Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, and serious health problems in severe cases. Be sure to stay on top of the amount of water you drink. You can:

  • Keep a full bottle of water with you when you’re out and about. Bring extra water for children or pets traveling with you.
  • Track your water intake in a mobile app and set up alerts to remind you when to drink more.
  • If you pack a reusable water bottle and are flying, make sure it’s empty before going through airport security.

Tip 6: Plan exercise into your trip

Even if you’ve planned a vacation of pure relaxation, try to find a way to stay active each day. Exercise can give you more energy so you can enjoy more of the time you have.

Before you leave on your trip, research ways you can be active where you’re going. Maybe it’s outdoors, hiking or biking a scenic trail. Or in your room, doing simple yoga posesfunctional fitness exercises, or quick bursts of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Either way, your vacation souvenir just might be finding a new favorite way to be active on your travels.

Tip 7: Schedule rest time into your days

Traveling can take a toll on your body, especially if you’re adjusting to a different time zone. You might feel tempted to push yourself because you want to see and do everything. But exhaustion increases your chances for illness and injury.

Listen to your body. If you’re feeling tired, take a break, nap, or unwind. You can try a guided meditation or other relaxation technique on a self-care app. And try to get a good night’s sleep so you can start your next day renewed and refreshed.

Tip 8: Pack the sunscreen no matter the season

Spending time outdoors increases your chances of getting sun-damaged skin. So, pack sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which can help prevent sunburn and reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. Long-sleeve shirts and pants, a brimmed hat, and sunglasses can also help protect your skin and eyes anytime you’re outdoors, whether cloudy or sunny.

Plan for healthy, happy travels

We hope these tips help you feel your best while you’re away from home. And remember, it’s worth your time to know how to get care while traveling in case you need it.