9 tips to avoiding that pesky travel flu

Nov 14 2018, 1:12 am

Flu season is upon us, and there’s nothing that cramps our globetrotting style more than coming down with a case of the sniffles.

Travelling definitely makes us more susceptible to the flu, as we tend to be in close quarters with more people than usual ā€“ ranging from hostel dorms to public transit.Ā You will often face questionable sanitary situations (you’re not a true traveller unless you’ve peed in a hole-in-the-ground), and plenty of germs floating around.

travel flu

Crowded subway. (@purellbrand/Instagram)

The food selection can also be different than what we’re used to back home, meaning it may be difficult to obtain our desired nutrients ā€“ is there a bigger first world problem than not being able to have our green juice at the snap of our fingers?

While some cases of the flu are unavoidable, there are precautions you can take to keep your health in the best state it can be.

Here are some tips for avoiding the flu while you are travelling.

Listen to your body

travel flu

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. (Kellie Paxian / Daily Hive)

Travelling is all go-go-go until your body tells you to stop-stop-stop. Listen to the warning signs and if you are feeling fatigued or under the weather, take some time out to rest up and nip that sickness in the bud before it gets worse.


This is probably the #1 tip offered across the globe for staying healthy, and it is a crucial step to avoiding the fly while travelling. Sunstroke? Drink water. Altitude sickness? Drink water. Hangover? … Drink a caesar. Kidding, drink water.

Opt for clean(ish) living conditions

travel flu

Under The Coconut Tree Hostel, Vietnam. (@hostelworld/Instagram)

It is often tough to find the most sanitary living quarters while you’re travelling, and we’re all for getting out of your comfort zone and trying off-the-beaten-path sleeping quarters ā€“ but there are steps you can take to dodge the germs.

Do your research to make sure your accommodations have positive reviews, and wipe down any surfaces that are looking a little suspect. If you want to be extra careful, you can bring your own sheet or pillowcase (or sleep on your travel pillow) to stay in control of what has touched your sleeping surfaces.

Sleep when you can

carry on

Sleep mask, earphones, and neck pillow. All the sleeping necessities. (Kellie Paxian / Daily Hive)

While one of our travel mottos may or may not be to “sleep when you’re dead,”Ā it is important to snag those ZZZ’s whenever possible. Cozy up on a plane, train, or, you know, creaky hostel bed, and get some well-deserved shut-eye to keep energized for the adventures that await.

Wash your hands

In the bathroom. In the airplane. At a restaurant. With soap. Sing the ABCs. Do whatever you gotta do to make sure you are eliminating those germs from your hands.

Carry hand sanitizer

For the times when the above tip isn’t available to you, carry a little hand sanitizer bottle to kill those germs on the go! Available at most convenient stores.

Mix in some nutrients

travel flu

A veggie-filled meal in Bali. (@earthcafebali/Instagram)

While it may be tempting to stuff your face solely with bread and cheese on your trip to Paris (and believe us, there is nothing we recommend more) – it’s also a good idea to mix in a veggie or two when you can. Most destinations have healthy alternatives on the menu, and or at least fruit available at the food stall. Sub that Oreo packet for a banana on your road trip, or swap out the can of Cola for an orange juice. Your body will thank you.

Bundle up

travel flu

A chilly hike to Rainbow Mountain in Peru. (Kellie Paxian / Daily Hive)

More often than not, we are guilty of not packing warm enough clothes. Especially on flights, the air temperature skews on the chilly side and the tiny airplane blanket (or lack thereof) can leave us with a case of the shivers. Flights are where many cases of the travel fluĀ originate. So make sure to bring layers from socks to extra sweaters and scarves, to keep yourself warm.

Carry emergency medications

If you have a go-to medication for nipping the flu at home, you should bring some travel-sized doses for your trip. Do what works for you and your body, but we recommend Echinacea, Cold FX, or Immune 7 to keep the flu bug away.

It is also worth mentioning that many destinations present sicknesses that are more severe than the flu, and it’s always a good idea to visit your local travel clinic to see what kind of vaccines are recommended.

Happy and healthy travels, everyone!

Kellie PaxianKellie Paxian

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