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5 Tips on How to Stay Healthy While Travelling

Travel is a lot better when your’e not constantly sick — so here are some tips on how to stay healthy on the road!

Get spiritual

Spiritual tourism is becoming popular, so why not jump on the bandwagon and get yourself to an ashram or yoga retreat. Praying to gods you don’t believe in must benefit you in some way – you’ll either get healthier or you’ll become a lot more interesting and connected with the world (with only the slightest risk of becoming pretentious and annoying to be around).

*I’ve never been into spiritual tourism and I’m still alive…

Don’t eat the local food

Foreign people have different stomachs, so why would we eat the same food as them? They’ve had years of getting used to all the bacteria that is obviously living in most of their food, so ignore the fact that local food is often healthier and stick to the pizzas (I’ve only travelled in Asia but I assume it’s true in most places).

*I eat a lot of the same food that locals eat and I also eat pizza and burgers occasionally. I’m getting the worst of both worlds, but I’m still alive (and reasonably healthy).

Avoid ice and salad in third world countries

Who knows where they come up with the water that they use for ice, but surely it can’t be clean.  If the tap water isn’t safe to drink then the ice probably won’t be much better. Don’t worry about the fact that most restaurants realise you can’t drink the tap water and wouldn’t dream of serving it to you (even in ice) – it’s unsafe and you shouldn’t drink/eat it! Salad is the same – those vegetables had to be washed in something and you can bet that water wasn’t shipped in from an idyllic spring in the mountains.

*I’m not really a salad fan, but I do eat the lettuce that lives inside burgers and have had no problems (except for that time I got sick from eating Subway at Changi Airport in Singapore – it was either that or banana poisoning, I’d eaten about 5 bananas that day). I felt like I was getting a little bit sick from the ice early on in my travels, but after a few weeks I decided not to worry about it, and I’m still alive (and I’ve become addicted to mango shakes).

Be an extreme introvert

The easiest way to stay fit and healthy on the road is to lay off the alcohol and cigarettes. This is a lot easier to do if you are alone all the time, because who wants to drink alone? Here are some ways you can become a travelling hermit…

  • Wear headphones everywhere you go – if you can’t hear people they can’t talk to you.
  • Get spiritual (again): If you become like Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love no one will want to hang out with you.
  • Be loud, arrogant and annoying: In order to be left alone you could try reverse psychology – be as “in your face” and talkative as possible and people will avoid you.

*While I am a bit of an introvert, I do like to socialise when I travel. It’s great meeting other travellers on the road because in most cases you have a lot in common. This does mean you’ll most likely end up drinking (and maybe smoking) a lot more than if you were on your own, but it’s worth it and I’m still alive (but slightly fatter than I’d otherwise be).

Take every pill and shot known to man (I am not talking about drugs and alcohol)

There are so many ways you can get sick and die on the road, including viruses like Dengue fever and Malaria. The best idea is to protect yourself from every single disease and forget about the cost involved (it could be hundreds of dollars)! If you’re travelling to Morocco definitely try and protect yourself from the Ebola virus (I’m not sure if you can actually do this, but some greedy doctors will probably sell you a pill for it anyway). Ebola is found in West Africa, but Africa is Africa at the end of the day and you can never be too careful.

*I’ve never had any shots or taken any medication in preparation for my travels. Some people are quite shocked that I don’t take Malaria medication when travelling in Southeast Asia, but I’m still alive (and slightly richer than I’d otherwise be).

Do you follow any of these tips on how to stay healthy while travelling? Do you have any more? Let me know!

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.
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6 Comments

  1. September 21, 2014 at 12:00 pm — Reply

    Hi Jon,

    Please, please please folks, avoid street food. Much of it has been sitting out not for hours, but days.

    Dead on tips dude.

    I recall being sick with giardia in India. I lost 25 pounds in 2 weeks and was rushed to the emergency room.

    I ignored the ONE rule I followed for years traveling; don’t eat salad dressing, at all.

    Earlier in my trip I threw out the only dressing I bought because it tasted off. Like mayo left out in the sun. Deep sixed it.

    Then I ordered chicken caesar salad. What a dumb mistake. The order and then eating the dish when the dressing tasted just a bit off.

    Lesson learned for life.

    As for street food many locals have eaten this stuff for their lives. We haven’t. Many microbes grow on food left outside for days, especially food which we’re used to being in the fridge.

    I only eat at the cleanest local restaurants and at that, I stick to the basics. Boiled veggies, well-done meats and nothing raw, ever. If it is raw, I cook it at home before I eat.

    Stay away folks, it ain’t worth it.

    Smart tips here.

    I’ll tweet it soon.

    Ryan

    • September 21, 2014 at 1:28 pm — Reply

      Cheers Ryan, I disagree with you on the street food issue though. In Southeast Asia I’ve eaten so much street food and have never been sick from it – I think you’re just as much chance as getting sick in a seemingly decent looking restaurant. Also, if you see a lot of locals at a particular place you can usually bet it’s safe (and serves nice food). I think you’d be missing out on a lot of what Southeast Asia has to offer by not eating the street food. I haven’t been to India but I think I’d be a lot more careful there!

  2. September 24, 2014 at 4:51 pm — Reply

    I hope a lot of this is sarcasm Jon. Eating the local food is one of the BEST ways to stay healthy. At least in many countries. In Mexico and Central America I stayed healthy be eating what locals eat.. fresh fish, chicken and pork with rice and fruits. Eat Pizza instead? That works if you want to be fat and unhealthy 😉

    You missed is exercise too. Almost every city I’ve traveled to had a cheap gym around. Take a hiking tour rather than a guide driving you around.

    Oh.. and wear lots of insect repellent when needed. Staying healthy on the road is fairly easy provided you don’t catch something from the mosquitoes.

    • September 25, 2014 at 11:16 pm — Reply

      Yip, people worry about it far too much – my point is that you shouldn’t!

  3. October 3, 2014 at 3:52 am — Reply

    Don’t eat the local food!?!?!?! That is travel blasphemy! I agree with the rest though 😉

    • October 3, 2014 at 11:13 am — Reply

      Haha yeah, I don’t follow that one either.

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