Cedars-Sinai Blog

8 Expert Tips to Avoid Getting Sick When You Travel

There's a popular expression about travel that says it's the only thing we buy that makes us richer. While that might be true, it can also make us sick.

Whether you're packing up the family for a road trip or flying around the world, vacations often come with unexpected surprises that can compromise your immune system.

"When we travel our bodies endure a lot of stress," says Gretchen Genato, a nurse practitioner at Cedars-Sinai's Playa Vista Urgent Care. "Stress can decrease your immune system, making you susceptible to illness."

We asked Gretchen to give us some tips on staying healthy while traveling.

Tips to avoid getting sick during or after vacation

Prepare your body early

Make sure that you start preparing at least 48 hours before your travel. This prep includes getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night before your trip and drinking lots of fluids. Be sure to get any recommended vaccinations before you leave.

Stay hydrated

Drink lots water! You should divide your weight (in pounds) in half and aim to drink that many ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, you should try to drink 60 ounces of water.

If you're traveling abroad, check to be sure the tap water is safe to drink. If it's not or you're unsure, stick to bottled water.

Get enough sleep during your trip

Our white blood cells increase in number while we sleep, especially at night. When you are sleep deprived, the body's defense mechanism weakens.

Slow down

Packed itineraries leave little room for self-care and rest, so it's important to pace yourself.

Eat a balanced diet

Lots of us think, "I'm on vacation and can eat or drink as much as my body can handle," but that can disrupt our digestive system and our overall health. Eat healthy, balanced meals with lots of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables to keep your immune system healthy and strong.

Give yourself time to recover

Vacationers often have little to no rest between getting home and returning to work. Try to give yourself a day or two to recover.

Pack well

Bring hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to help keep the germs at bay.

Have fun and laugh a lot!

Laughter is good for your immune system.

Have more questions on staying healthy on vacation? You can learn more by visiting with the Cedars-Sinai Travel Medicine and Immunization Services.