5 Things You Should Do for Your Health Before Every Trip, According to a Doctor

2022-10-16 08:16:50 By : Mr. ShuLin Qiu

Stacey Leasca is an award-winning journalist. Her photos, videos, and words have appeared in print or online for Travel + Leisure, Time, Los Angeles Times, Glamour, and many more. You'll usually find her in an airport. If you do see her there, please say hello.

Travel is a beneficial activity for your mind and your soul. However, the act of getting on a plane or heading out for a long car ride can do a number on your body. That's why medical professionals like Kristin Wright McKitish, MD, who specializes in preventative medicine and concierge care, make sure to prep their bodies before heading out on vacation.

"People often overlook how stress can negatively affect the body," McKitish shared with Travel + Leisure. "Planning, coordinating, and packing for a trip can be more stressful than you think, so make sure to give yourself adequate time to prepare and, in turn, actually enjoy your travels."  

Here are five other things McKitish said she does before traveling to ensure she's physically prepared for the journey that you should do, too.

According to McKitish, getting the right amount of water is critical for overall health, especially before travel. 

"Staying well hydrated by drinking roughly two to three liters of water per day will help your immune system perform optimally," she said. "Every cell, tissue, and organ needs water to function properly — immune system included. Water helps support the barriers that protect areas inside your body — think nose, esophagus, lungs, and stomach. Water also makes up a key component of your lymphatic fluid, which is responsible for transporting cells that help fight infections." 

Flying, she noted, is particularly dehydrating, so remember to drink water throughout your flight. And, sorry coffee lovers, McKitish recommended avoiding highly caffeinated drinks and alcohol, as both will cause dehydration.

McKitish recommends her patients look into an immune-boosting supplement before travel to ensure their system is in tip-top shape. 

"I recommend all my patients take immune-boosting supplements for three to five days leading up to travel and continue to do so throughout their trip," she shared. "Specifically vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and probiotics." 

Prepping for a healthy and happy trip also means ensuring you catch enough Zs before you go. 

"Sleep is absolutely critical and, unfortunately, often takes a back seat leading up to travel, whether it be from the planning, stress, or excitement of the trip," McKitish said. "Your body does its most important work while you're sleeping, specifically strengthening your immune system. When traveling, you have the potential for exposure to viruses, bacteria, and other illnesses, depending on your destination. Therefore, make sure you're getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night so your immune system is optimal for your trip." 

You'll likely be getting a fair amount of steps in on your journey and may be carrying some heavy bags, which is why McKitish recommended getting in a few workouts leading up to your trip and one right before you depart to help ease any stress.

"Getting in a workout right before traveling is very important to me personally," McKitish said. "This helps to relieve nerves and stress, but also gives my immune system an immediate boost." She even takes it one step further by incorporating a visit to a concierge doctor for an IV drip packed with vitamins post-workout. "This ensures adequate hydration and floods the system with electrolytes, vitamins, amino acids, and peptides for the ultimate immune enhancement." 

Finally, it's important to lean into the joy of planning your getaway, as this, too, will lower your stress levels and leave you feeling great for the journey to come, according to McKitish.

"If you're fortunate enough to take a long vacation, enjoy it," she shared, adding that any new healthy habits you pick up while prepping for a trip could pay dividends if you keep them going once you return. "While it's important to remember that the days leading up to a vacation are crucial, taking care of your body and immune system on a regular basis will provide sustained health." 

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