7 Tips to Stay Healthy During Business Travel
tl;dr: Do you have trouble staying healthy while traveling for business? If so, you are far from alone.
There are many reasons travelers struggle to stay healthy. Causes can include over-scheduled days, lack of hydration, and germ-y accommodations. In this post, here are our top seven tips to stay healthy while traveling.
Travel Tip #1 - Hand Sanitizer and Wet Wipes
Many people end up getting colds following commercial flights. The Wall Street Journal wrote a whole article about the germs on airplanes and cited a study which found the risk of catching a cold increases by 20% while flying. Another study found that transmission rates for colds increase a whopping 113 times the normal ground-level transmission rate. Ultimately, the odds are stacked against you when it comes to staying healthy.
One of the best ways to avoid airplane germs is by using hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. When using disinfecting wipes, be generous! Wipe down the seat, TV, tray, armrests and everything else that someone might touch. If you’re wondering what is the most important thing to disinfect, it would be the airplane tray tables. According to a 2015 study, tray tables beat out lavatory flush buttons and seat belt buckles, as the most bacteria-filled surfaces in the airplane cabin.
Healthy Tip #2 - Stay Hydrated 💧
Staying hydrated is always important, but is especially a concern when traveling. This happens because travelers are taken out of their typical routines and environments where water might be more readily availalbe. The environment of an airplane at 36,000 feet is far different from ground-level with humidity levels in-flight typically being 10-20%, essentially is like walking in a desert environment. In order to help you stay hydrated while traveling, here are some pro tips:
- Drink at least eight ounces of water for every hour you’re in the air - the Aerospace Medical Association claims this is an adequate amount to keep you hydrated while flying - this is not an easy task when offered an eight-ounce bottle. You can ask for more water, just make sure it is bottled.
- Bring a reusable water bottle to fill up at airport refill stations.
- Eat hydrating foods such as fruits, vegetables, soups, and prepared oatmeal in the airport. Or, bring them with you onto the airplane.
- Consider buying a beverage with electrolytes such as Smartwater, Powerade, or Vitaminwater
- Avoid sugary drinks, alcohol, and caffeine on the flight. They dehydrate. The opposite of what you want.
Travel Tip #3 - Walk or Bike 🚲
Many people fail to stay active while traveling because they are cooped up in hotels, offices, or conference rooms. One of the best ways to stay active is to walk or bike to meetings, conferences or events instead of calling an Uber or Lyft. Walking and biking are not only forms of exercise, but they also allow you to spend more time outside where you can enjoy fresh air and better immerse yourself in the city. Moreover, they are cheaper and more environmentally friendly. Walking or biking is truly a win-win-win! 🎉
Healthy Tip #4 - Pack Healthy Snacks 🍌
According to a survey from the travel risk management company On Call International, “44% of business travelers say they’re way more likely to eat unhealthy foods on the road than when they’re at home.” This usually happens because airports are full of fast food establishments and convenience stores that primarily sell processed foods. Also, airplanes and hotels offer a very limited number of snacks, many of which are unhealthy.
In order to maintain a healthy diet while traveling, be sure to pack healthy snacks. Some of our favorite foods to bring are fresh fruits, nuts, bars, and dried fruits. These snacks are packed with nutrients and help you stay satisfied and energized while traveling.
Travel Tip #5 - Workout 💪
When traveling for business it can be hard to get in exercise. A report found that 54% of people are less likely to exercise while traveling for work. (Forbes) It is important to schedule time to go to the hotel gym on business trips. And, don't forget to bring your sneakers!
If you are staying at a hotel without a gym, you can go for a run or pack a yoga mat and opt for an in-room workout. I recommend downloading a few free fitness apps to help you workout while traveling. Some of my favorites are Sworkit and Freeletics for bodyweight workouts and stretching, as well as Asana Rebel for yoga.
Healthy Tip #6 - Get Better Sleep 🛌
Sleep is extremely important, but It’s not always easy to get your 8 hours while traveling for work. Many people lack sleep while traveling due to uncomfortable plane seats and hotel beds, as well as busy schedules and a lot of sitting around. If you are having trouble sleeping while traveling there are several recommendations I have:
- Workout to tire yourself out - Charlene Gamaldo, M.D., medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital said, “We have solid evidence that exercise does, in fact, help you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality.” (Johns Hopkins)
- Download a sleep tracking app - One of my favorite apps is SleepScore which monitors your sleep data and provides you with personalized advice and recommendations for improving sleep. Also, using a sleep sound app, such as Relax Melodies, can help you fall asleep quicker.
- Avoid late night screen use - When traveling for work, most people are usually looking at screens for a prolonged time. These screens include airplane TVs, conference room screens, and cellphones. The National Sleep Foundation found that usage of electronic devices before bed delays your body’s internal clock and suppresses natural melatonin. Ditch the screen and wind down after a day of business by reading a book, listening to music, or hanging out with co-workers.
Travel Tip #7 - Wash Your Hands
When it comes to traveling it is important to remember to constantly wash your hands to get rid of germs. Travelers touch a lot of things that others touch and because of this, many objects are loaded with germs. One example of this is how hotel sinks and toilets have been shown to have just as high levels of bacterial contamination as the TV remote and bedside lamp switch. (American Society for Microbiology)
What do you do to stay healthy while traveling for business? Tweet #HealthyBizTravel to @lolatravel.
This post is part of series written by the Lola.com interns in an effort to promote Wellness.