I’ve lived in France since September. During this six month period, I’ve taken nine plane rides, lots of Lille and Paris metro rides, a few buses to spots in Belgium, and I estimate somewhere around 250 train trips. This sounds like an aggressive number, but I use trains here like we use cars at home. I take a commuter train to and from work, and have taken higher-speed trains to a lot of spots in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
I’ve been fortunate to have a job that gets a two week vacation every six or seven weeks of school. I’ve gotten to see so many cool places, way more than I thought I would! But all the travel also means, ‘wow, what a frightening number of germies to be around.’
Taking all of these trips into account, I’ve had two colds since September. For me, that’s a pretty good record.
I think I’ve managed to avoid a lot of potential sickness because I have some good systems in place to keep a lot of these gross germies away from me. Some are typical and obvious, some are quirkier. Here they are. I hope they give you some fresh ideas on how to stay balanced and healthy on your next trip!
1. My favorite: Use your knuckle instead of the tip of your finger to press buttons.
Avoid putting your fingers and hands on stuff at all costs. To click buttons or type in my PIN code, I fold my finger and use my knuckle. When I ride the metro in Paris, I try and get a seat or wrap my wrist around the pole if that’s the only way I can hold on. I’ll still be kinda germy, but I’m less likely to have gross stuff on my fingers when I accidentally rub my eyes or touch my face.
2. Get some doTERRA On Guard beadlets and essential oil.
This immune booster combination of wild orange peel, clove, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary is seriously the best. I had the beadlets back in the fall, and would take one or two on normal days, and double this when I traveled. I ran out of the beadlets, so my mom brought me a bottle of the oil when she visited in February. I put two drops into a cup of hot water once a day, and sometimes I’ll add a drop into my water cup at restaurants. You can buy it from doTERRA or Amazon for about $15. Bonus, it has a super cozy smell.
3. Follow the same morning and evening routines that you follow at home.
My body and mind feel more relaxed when I keep things steady and similar on a trip, and that's important because traveling is SO exhausting. For mornings, this means leaving my phone on airplane mode while I chug a glass of water, do a quick stretch (cat-cows are life), enjoy a cup of coffee, and look at my plan for the day. In the evening it’s basically the same thing, with some reading instead of coffee + lavender on my pillow. And while these things have nothing to do with germs, I feel like having some restful time is an important piece of avoiding illness.
4. Clean surfaces that you don’t usually think to.
For me this is my phone, the bottom of my backpack, cameras, and tube of chapstick.
5. Don’t wear shoes in your house/Airbnb/hotel.
Kick them off at the door, and avoid tracking in all of the gross stuff into a place where you are often barefoot. Especially in France, where you’re literally constantly dodging dog poop on the sidewalk.
6. Keep your water intake similar or the same.
If you don’t think this will be possible, pack a Gatorade or some other drink with electrolytes. Make sure you pack your normal reusable water bottle for the trip! You can even play a fun game, where you fill up your water bottle before you go to the airport, and almost intentionally forget about it. Then, when they ask you if you have any liquids in your bag, you magically *remember* that you have a full bottle of water in your bag. Then you drink it really fast. Yay!
7. When you get dressed, air on the side of being too warm, not too cold.
As someone who tends to get warm/sweaty really easy, this is a tough one for me. I never want to get sweaty or end up carrying around a coat I don’t need. But trust me, it’s so much better than being cold and not having anything. I think we all already know this, but it’s easy to forget when you have a travel day and you leave your Airbnb at 9am and don’t come back until 9pm. Always pack an extra layer in your purse or backpack, if you can. Don’t be afraid to the rock the jacket around your waist look if you get too warm.
Do you have any healthy travel habits you swear by? Share them in the comments!