6 quick-fire ways to stay healthy on the road

There are many ways to become unhealthy on the road which can, in turn, cause you to have a few days feeling rubbish both physically and mentally wishing you could fly your mum out to you for some TLC.

So here’s a few easy ways you can improve your chances of staying healthy when travelling:

– Get plenty of rest and sleep

Partying the nights away or travelling to a lot of places in a short time takes its toll on your body.  Your immune system weakens and all the viruses begin knocking on your body’s door asking to be let in.  Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best (and cheapest) ways to get your body back on track.  Hostels aren’t always the best place to do this so think about ‘spoiling’ yourself with a private room for a couple of nights.

Watch your alcohol intake

We all know, as backpackers, that we like to have a party or two but do it all the time and you’ll become bloated, gain weight, your skin will become oily and your sleep pattern will be over the place.  Not to mention, all the buckets you drank the night before will be saying a big ‘hello’ to you again on the way back out of your mouth when you’re on a 24-hour bus journey; pleasant.

– Drink fluids (no, alcohol, buckets or the famous M150 amphetamine drink in Thailand doesn’t count)

Like sleep, it’s one of the easiest and cheapest ways to stay healthy.  The health profession isn’t lying when they say that you should drink at least 2 litres of water daily.  Add to the fact that you’ll probably be very active, in the sun and sweating, you should drink more like 3.  If you don’t want to just drink water, have a fruit juice or a famous fruit lassi.  Simple yet effective!

– Watch your diet

It’s shocking I know but don’t live off McDonalds.  Depending on where you travel, the likelihood is that the local food is a balanced diet i.e. Thailand uses a lot of coconut mild and vegetables.  It’s not hard to stay healthy even if your main meal is more burger and chips than rice and vegetables; have fruit for snacks and water will also help ‘flush out’ your system (yeah, I just painted a lovely image for you didn’t I?!).

– Medication

If you know you have a constant condition (including sea sickness etc) make sure you have enough medication with you and that you don’ forget to take it just because you’re out on the town.  If you become ill when you’re away and you’re prescribed something, take the full course even if you feel better (unless otherwise stated)…many conditions can come back without the full ‘punchbag effect’ of the whole course.
Taking vitamins or prebiotics such as Bimuno are also great helps to avoid ‘Delhi belly’ (whether you’re in India or not…we all know everyone has a story ‘like that’) – the last thing you want to do is be caught out at an Africa border toilet with no paper falling into your own poop because you couldn’t squat any longer (I know I shouldn’t laugh but I kind of hated the guy that this happened to so I simply smiled inside and thought ‘Karma’).


Yes, I’m talking about sex.  Do you want the awkward conversation about who’s got the condom or do you fancy an STI or unwanted pregnancy instead?  Yeah, thought not.  So rubber up and stop whinging that you ‘can’t find one’…the condom that is, not a member of the opposite sex 🙂

What are your tips for staying healthy on the road?

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  1. Great read and good common sense stuff (which we all forget time to time). As a pharmacist I tell mates to make a list of basic drugs (not brands) useful for gastro and other common travel conditions. Pharmacies world-wide tend to use the same drug names even if the brands vary, this makes shopping for help when sick much easier…

  2. Jen

    Great advice – I find that when I’m away I do so much more exercise, with walking etc sot he water tip is definitely a must!! x

  3. Ha! I laughed at the last one. However, I feel that #1 is the most important. Sleep and rest is huge. Without that, your body is very vulnerable to getting sick.

  4. Ben – Basic drugs are a great thing to take because, as you say, they can cover so many bases and also be easier to find when you’re travelling – great addition Ben, thanks! 🙂

  5. Jen – Yes, you definitely do more walking etc when away so water is a must if nothing else 🙂

  6. Jeremy – good to know I made you chuckle 🙂 People really under-rate how much sleep and rest can help…especially when they’re partying the night away lol