A harsh flu season, and the recent outbreak of Coronavirus, has some travelers questioning their plans for the coming weeks. But traveling in the winter months is a great way to save some cash on hotels, tours, and other expenses while experiencing your favorite destinations in a whole new way. If you’re visiting a popular spot like Zion National Park, winter is also a great way to enjoy the park with fewer crowds, and to take a drive through the canyon while the Zion Shuttle isn’t in operation.

If you do have a vacation or even just a short getaway planned, don’t cancel. Instead, keep reading to learn 7 tips to help you stay safe and healthy wherever you travel.

 

1. Learn How to Protect Yourself from the Flu

Whether you’re traveling across the country or just across town, taking measures to protect yourself from the flu virus is important.

The CDC recommends that anyone over the age of 6 months, and who do not have allergies or illnesses that could make a vaccine dangerous, get the flu vaccine each year. But whether you have the vaccine or not, there are other things you can do to avoid contracting the virus.

Wash your hands with soap and water frequently, and especially before you eat. Avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes, as this spreads germs more quickly. You can also use disinfectant wipes to wipe down airplane armrests and trays, the remote or surfaces in your hotel room, and other spots that could be receptacles for germs.

2. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Traveling can be both mentally and physically exhausting. To start, getting to your destination might mean crossing time zones, suffering red-eye flights, or spending long hours in the car driving. Once there, you’ll probably wake up earlier or stay out later enjoying your vacation, not to mention spend long days outdoors walking, hiking, skiing, or exploring. Add in an unfamiliar bed or jet lag, and you might find yourself exhausted long before your trip is over.

One of the most important things you can do during your vacation is to get a good night’s sleep. If your first day involved long flights, time zone changes, or hours in the car, start your trip by going to bed early or sleeping in to allow your body to reset and adjust. On longer trips, make sure to give yourself time to catch up on sleep near the middle as well.

3. Wear the Right Protective Gear

Utah has no shortage of adventurous activities to choose from. You could take an ATV tour through the dunes of Sand Hollow State Park. Race down the slopes at a ski resort in Salt Lake City. Or take a daring hike to the top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park.

But wherever you go and however you choose to enjoy your adventure, make sure that you’re wear the right protective gear. From helmets, to ski goggles, to the right hiking boots and ice spikes in the winter, the right protective gear can be the difference between getting home safe or a trip to the emergency room.

4. Take a Walk

Some vacations are more active than others. If you find yourself spending a lot of time in the car rather during your trip, make sure to take time each day for a nice long walk. Staying active will help you feel more relaxed and healthy during your vacation.

5. Stay Hydrated

When you’re busy racing from one thing to the next or enjoying some strenuous outdoor fun, it’s easy to forget to keep drinking water. Even mild dehydration will leave you feeling tired and sluggish. If it goes on for too long, you could even become ill with a fever, experience shortness of breath, or even lose consciousness. This means a trip to the emergency room that will bring your fun to a quick halt.

To avoid this, make sure to keep a water bottle with you at all times, and sip frequently. At meals, opt for water over soda or coffee to help you hydrate between activities as well.

6. Limit Your Alcohol and Sugar Intake

Drinking plenty of water can help you stay hydrated, and going to bed early might help you get more rest. But if you’re drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, or gorging on sugary sweets, those efforts might be wasted.

Alcohol and caffeine can not only dehydrate you, but will also disrupt your already sensitive sleep patterns while you sleep. Sugar will do the same, and may cause you to get a false sugar high, making you feel full of energy; that is, until it wears off and you’re left feeling sluggish.

7. Enjoy Balanced Meals

You’re on vacation, so enjoying your favorite dish or a dessert or two is not only okay, but encouraged. However, if you’re traveling for more than a weekend getaway, make sure to add in a few well-balanced meals. Lean meats and vitamin-packed fruits and veggies will help keep your body energized and healthy. You’ll be ready to take on anything, and your immune system will get the boost it needs to start fighting off those local bugs.

Staying Healthy and Safe Wherever You Go

Traveling to new places means exposing yourself to a few risks. Staying safe in Southern Utah should be your top priority but with a little planning and these tips, you can stay safe and healthy without sacrificing new and exciting experiences.