Your Healthy Travel Planner: Make Your Next Trip Go Smoothly
Somehow the reality of travelwhether for business or pleasurenever quite lives up to your healthy expectations. That’s where good research and savvy planning come in.
1. Research your destination
If you travel more than once a year, get a membership with Athletic-Minded Traveler; this excellent online service is worth the $19.95 one-year fee. You’ll find extensive background info on health-oriented accommodations, workout hot spots (including locations for kayaking and running), food, and shopping in more than 50 major cities. Want proof? Go to www.athleticmindedtraveler.com and check out a free view of San Diego or Toronto.
2. Ask smart questions
If you have a destination in mind, visit its Web site for answers to the following questions. If you don’t get the 411 you need, make that toll-free phone call. You’ll be surprised at how much you can find out.
How healthy are your accommodations? It’s interesting to see what kind of answer that question illicits. Maybe they offer allergy-free suites or in-room fitness tapes.
Can I work out safely and effectively? Every place, it seems, has a workout room. But that doesn’t mean it’s all that great. Go to the destination’s site and check for a photo or call and ask for a description of the room.
How’s the food on-site? The quality and variety of the food is crucial if you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort or are on a cruise, where your meals are part of the package. If you have dietary restrictions, ask how they’ll deal with that: Do they serve nonfat or soy milk? Low-sodium food?
3. Plan your pit stops
For road trips, this amounts to planning healthy snacks and thinking creatively about stopping at places where you can get a brisk walk every few hours. Check state rest areas online to find out if they have walking paths (and clean bathrooms). Flying? Look for healthier midair options. United Airlines and JetBlue, for example, both offer excellent snacks or meals with low-fat and trans-fat-free alternatives.
4. Think like a doctor
Even if you’re staying stateside, be sure your routine vaccines are up to date: MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus), and hepatitis B are often recommended. If you’re going abroad, visit the Centers for Disease Control’s Web site to research your destination and its health issues. Talk to your doc about where you’re going. Also, think through any possible medical emergency, and ask yourself if you’ll be prepared to take action away from home.
Don’t leave home without it!
Just because you’re on vacay doesn’t mean you’re immune to health woes. That’s why travel expert Marlene R. Fedin always packs copies of prescriptions for meds and glasses, a pocket-size medical guide, and a first aid kit. She likes Johnson & Johnson’s 40-piece Red Cross Safe Travels Kit ($7.49 at Walgreens) and, if you’re doing some riskier activities like hiking, the Traveler from Adventure Medical Kits ($36.50 at www.adventuremedicalkits.com). For more info on building your own travel kit, visit Fedin’s site, www.wellnessconcierge.com.