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If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think about staying hydrated until you actually start to feel thirsty. And by that point, it’s often too late and dehydration has already set in.
Suffering the effects of dehydration while traveling can really dampen the entire experience or make it that much harder. That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide that includes everything from knowing when should you drink electrolytes to the importance of water bottles. By the end, you’ll know exactly how to stay hydrated while traveling.
What Is Dehydration, and Why Is It Bad?
Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluids than it takes in, and it can be a serious problem for travelers. When we are dehydrated, our bodies aren’t able to function properly. As a result, we may feel tired, dizzy, or lightheaded, and our throats may feel dry. Dehydration can also cause headaches, constipation, and confusion. In addition, if not treated promptly, dehydration can lead to a weakened immune system, making us more susceptible to influenza and other illnesses.
Dehydration is often associated with hot weather or vigorous sports. And, yes, if you’re active, you definitely need to know the best hydration strategies for athletes. However, it’s a myth that travelers are at low risk for dehydration. This is because fluid consumption often drops while traveling, meaning dehydration risks go up.
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There are many reasons for this. For one, we tend to spend more time in transit without easy access to water. And even when we are at our destination, we may not have time to stop and drink regularly throughout the day. Additionally, being out of our usual routine and changing our diet may contribute to dehydration.
So, how can you stay hydrated while traveling? Let’s explore tips for traveling by air, car, and when you’ve reached your final destination.
Strategies for Hydration When Flying
Flying can be tough on the body. The dry air, cramped quarters, and change in pressure all take their toll. One of the best ways to combat these adverse effects is to stay hydrated. Here are some tips for staying hydrated while flying.
Drink Water Before and During Your Flight
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to drink water consistently in the days leading up to your flight and during the flight itself. This will help ensure you’re well-hydrated before stepping on the plane. Remember — you don’t need to chug back a gallon before stepping through security. Regular, steady sips before you feel thirsty are what we’re going for.
Bring a Reusable Water Bottle Through Security
Most airlines allow you to bring an empty water bottle through security and fill it up once you pass the checkpoint. This saves time and money, and it’s better for the environment. If unsure, call the airline or airport you’re traveling from ahead of time to double-check.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Caffeine may help you deal with the lack of sleep before travel, but it’s also a diuretic. This means it will actually make you more dehydrated because you will urinate more frequently. Alcohol has a similar effect, so limiting or avoiding these beverages while flying is best.
Strategies for Hydration When Traveling By Car
If you’re driving to your destination, staying hydrated is key to a comfortable journey and safe arrival. Here are some tips for staying hydrated while on the road.
Plan Rest Stops Ahead of Time
When planning your route, make a list of rest stops where you can use the restroom and grab a drink. This will help you stay on track with your hydration goals and avoid making last-minute stops that could put you off schedule.
Invest in a Good Water Bottle
CamelBaks, Kleen Kanteens, and Hydro Flasks are all great options for water bottles that will keep your water cold for hours. If you’re traveling with kids, getting them their own water bottles is a great way to keep them hydrated and avoid having to share yours. This way, you can monitor everyone’s fluid intake and remind yourself and them to take frequent sips.
Make Sure You Have Healthy Snacks
When driving, it’s easy to reach for unhealthy snacks like chips or fast food. But these foods will actually make you more dehydrated. So, pack healthy, water-rich snacks like fruits, vegetables, and yogurt. Remember that hydration can come from food as well as drinks.
Strategies for Hydration When You Reach Your Destination
Once you’ve arrived at your destination, it’s important to continue drinking plenty of fluids. If you’re traveling to a warm climate, you’ll need to be especially mindful of your hydration since you’ll likely be sweating more. Here are some tips for staying hydrated in your new surroundings.
Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
Starting your day with a glass of water is a great way to rehydrate after sleep. It will also help you avoid any dehydration that may have occurred during travel.
Carry Water with You Throughout the Day
When you’re out and about exploring your new surroundings, be sure to bring water with you. This will help you stay hydrated and avoid buying costly and often unhealthy bottled water.
Get Your Electrolytes
Electrolytes are essential minerals like sodium, magnesium, and potassium that are responsible for maintaining fluid balance and aiding with other important functions in the body. Unfortunately, we lose electrolytes when we sweat, use the bathroom a lot, or vomit. And since traveling can include all those things (though hopefully not), it’s important to ensure you’re replenishing any lost electrolytes. An easy way to do this when traveling is with electrolyte powder that you can mix with water. By keeping a few packets with you at all times, you can avoid dehydration no matter what comes your way.
Final Thoughts on Hydration and Traveling
Traveling can be a lot of fun, but it also comes with some risks to your health. One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy while traveling is to ensure you’re hydrated. This means drinking plenty of fluids when driving or flying to your destination and once you’ve arrived. Follow our simple tips and you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation without worrying about dehydration.
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