Traveling with the whole family evokes both excitement and stress. But you may not be thinking about how to actually keep your family healthy while traveling. In fact, leisure sickness is a real thing. The idea is when your body unwinds too much it downgrades its immune system and you end up sick. But you can stay proactive about your family’s health with these four tips to staying healthy while traveling.
Babies and Toddlers
Traveling with babies and toddlers is usually wrought with worry and stress for Mom and Dad, but the little ones in your family are actually pretty resilient. Work on keeping your babies and toddlers healthy before your travels ever start. Reduce or eliminate playdates and outings to indoor play places that are breeding grounds for germs. Offer plenty of liquids and healthy food and regularly wash their hands to keep germs from entering their mouth.
Remember to ask your pediatrician in advance about what types of medications to offer in case of an illness on the road. They may recommend Tylenol or Advil depending on a fever or pain and what to do next. Remember to keep up with washing hands and keeping little ones hydrated on the road.
Bigger kids and teenagers can at least communicate when they’re not feeling well and when they’re hungry or thirsty. But they’re not always great about taking care of themselves while traveling. Make sure they are regularly sanitizing and washing their hands, eating fruits and vegetables, and staying hydrated while traveling. Work in some exercise and playtime at a park or a hike through a national or state park or botanical garden.
Sleep is also crucial for bigger kids. While babies and toddlers are likely to fall asleep when they’re tired, bigger kids are prone to staying up too late while away on vacation. A flexible bedtime is normal on vacation, but make sure older kids are getting to bed at a decent hour. Also be sure to work in rest time during the day whether playing a video game or resting on the beach with a book.
Bringing grandparents along on vacation can really enhance the family dynamic and give Mom and Dad more time to explore with trusted adults in tow. But grandparents and seniors also come with their own unique health needs. Just like the kids, make sure the grandparents are eating well and staying hydrated. However, it’s important they’re continuously taking their appropriate medications at the right time. Bring along a list of medications, their dosage, and the times they should be taken. You can even set an alarm on your smartphone to remind grandparents when to take their medicines.
It’s also wise to equip grandparents with a mobile medical alert system. Grandma and Grandpa wear the device by clipping it onto a pocket or wearing it around their neck. The medical alert device can summon help when there is a medical emergency and detect when someone falls, and also comes with a built-in GPS. If the grandparents venture out solo or get separated from the group, they can use their medical alert device to get the help they need.
Mom and Dad
Mom and Dad are usually running around making sure everyone else is healthy while traveling, but need to focus on self-care. After all, if Mom and Dad get sick and unhappy, then everyone is unhappy.
The same rules for quality food, hydration, and regularly cleaning hands applies to Mom and Dad as well. But remember that parents often have their hands in a wide variety of germ generating duties all day from wiping noses to changing diapers. Make sure sanitizer is available at all times. But rest is perhaps the most important for Mom and Dad. When kids are tired, they can rest in a stroller or the car, but Mom and Dad rarely have that luxury. Focus on getting a full eight hours of sleep a night and trading off with rest and quiet time.
You can even burn out on vacation, believe it or not. Keep everyone in the family safe and healthy as you explore new places outside the home.