Are you planning to travel sometime soon? Maybe it’s for business or a family event, or perhaps you’re just taking that long-deserved getaway to an exotic destination. According to the U.S. Travel Association, people took more than 2 billion trips in 2018. Since no one wants their trip impacted by an illness while logging those miles on planes, trains and automobiles, consider these tips for staying healthy while traveling

1. Catalog Important Information and Prescriptions

  • Keep your insurance information and primary care physician’s contact details handy, like stored on your phone. Make sure this info is accessible offline too, and make sure someone else can unlock your phone in case you’re unable.
  • While you’re at it, keep information about your allergies and any current prescriptions, as well — you may even want to take photos of your medication labels. When you’re traveling far from home, know the locations of the nearest hospitals or clinics.
  • Save money by bringing anything you’ve got a prescription for — including medications, backup glasses and contacts, inhalers or adrenaline injectors — and smaller containers of over-the-counter medicines like pain relievers and digestive issue solvers.
  • Flying? Pack your medicine in your personal item in case your carry-on gets gate-checked; treat your prescriptions like other valuables.

2. Take Your Self-Care on the Road

  • Road trips are a great way to see the biggest, weirdest, most interesting sites. To keep your strength up for those long hours of driving and exploring, pack healthy snacks and bring plenty of water in your favorite reusable water bottles.
  • Car windows don’t block all UV light, so protect yourself from the sun with a good pair of sunglasses — the American Academy of Ophthalmology says that sunglasses labeled “UV400″ or “100 percent UV protection” are the most effective — and the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 every two hours (see the SCF’s list of approved sunscreens for more information).
  • Be sure to stop regularly for bathroom and stretch breaks, and never skimp on sleep. If you’re alone, stop every few hours to rest, and if you’ve got fellow drivers, trade time off behind the wheel.

3. Take Special Care While in the Air

When you fly, one of the biggest risks may be to your health. According to the CDC, it’s all that time in an enclosed environment with low humidity and low air pressure that might make you feel sick.

  • Don’t bother stuffing your bags with Vitamin C supplements: Consumer Reports notes that “nothing, including vitamin C, has ever been shown to significantly shorten the course of a common cold” — the best it can do is shorten its duration by one day, and that’s if you were taking it well before you got sick.
  • And though the HEPA-filtered cabin air isn’t spreading airborne illnesses, be considerate of your way-too-close-for-comfort neighbors and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Using disinfectant wipes with at least 62 percent alcohol to wipe down your seat, armrests and tray table — anything you touch, really — may go a long way toward keeping other people’s germs out of your body, says The Washington Post.
  • Drink plenty of water and moisturize your skin to keep it from drying out. Always wash your hands when you use the airplane bathroom and lotion up afterward. Fill that reusable water bottle before you board to save money, and drink all the free beverages you can get on the flight.
  • Bathroom breaks can also be stretching breaks. Take at least one an hour (when you’re awake).
  • Lower your risk of deep vein thrombosis by wearing comfortable shoes and compression socks to improve circulation in your legs.
  • And, of course, listen to the Flight Safety Association and wear your seat belt.

4. Study Up Before Heading Out

Staying healthy in other countries can involve some basic preparation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Travelers Resource Center has health advisories, notices and in-depth advice on what to do and where to go if you get sick while traveling.

  • Find out how local health care works at your destination(s).
  • Ensure that you have emergency cash available, and bring a credit card that doesn’t incur international fees, like the Discover it Miles card.
  • If traveling internationally, check the State Department’s Traveler’s Checklist to see what your health insurance may cover, and whether you might want to buy secondary insurance.
  • Before you travel to a foreign country, you’ll want to check if your credit cards are accepted at your destination(s). Discover cardmembers can check an online map to see if their card is accepted.

The beauty of all this advice is that it can already be part of your everyday life, so it shouldn’t take much effort to integrate into your travel planning as well. Travel should be a positive experience, so stay healthy on the way and you’ll be able to enjoy the destination that much more!

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.