Proper hydration is essential to maintaining your overall health, but especially when you travel.
Being on-the-go can increase your levels of stress and affect your immune system, making you more vulnerable to illness. Avoiding dehydration is one of the best ways to care for your body while you’re away from home.
Not only does dehydration cause temporary discomforts like fatigue, headache, dizziness, and nausea, but it can also have serious long-term health implications if you ignore the problem.
Fortunately, there are several simple ways to stay hydrated while you travel.
Ready to learn more? Let’s dive right in.
1. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle
Are you more likely to drink more water if you always have it handy? Invest in a high-quality reusable water bottle so you can make a habit of sipping water throughout the day.
Select a reusable water bottle that you enjoy using: there is a wide variety of options available for every type of preference.
For example, there are bottles with a wide-mouth opening similar to a drinking glass or some that have leak-proof straws for those who prefer to drink that way. You can find options in both non-toxic plastic or glass with rubber coverings to prevent breakage on-the-go.
2. Monitor Your Caffeine Intake
Many weary travelers reach for more caffeinated beverages than they usually would to stay alert and productive during business trips or keep up with a busy vacation itinerary.
Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks are often discouraged because they have a diuretic effect, increasing urination (and therefore fluid loss). That’s often blamed for caffeine’s role in dehydration.
The truth is, having an extra cup of your favorite caffeinated beverage isn’t going to dehydrate you when balanced with an otherwise healthy lifestyle. However, drinking more than 5 cups (or 500 mg) per day may have an impact on your hydration level.
3. Avoid Salt
While traveling, it can be tempting to indulge. Often, that means enjoying flavorful foods at the area’s most exciting restaurants.
Dining out is fun, and an important way to experience your destination. Unfortunately, though, restaurant food usually tastes amazing because it’s packed with salt.
What’s the big deal?
Salty foods contain high levels of sodium, which negatively affects your kidneys and causes your body to get the water it needs by drawing it out of your cells. This causes dehydration, and might make you feel nauseous, experience bloating, or have other uncomfortable symptoms.
You can avoid becoming dehydrated by sodium-rich foods by balancing moderate amounts of those rich indulgences with plenty of light, unsalted vegetables and asking the server to keep refilling your water glass.
4. Choose Hydrating Foods
You already know that drinking plenty of fluids is the best way to stay hydrated and feel your best. But did you know that certain foods can also help hydrate your body?
That’s right! Foods that contain high water levels can offer two benefits: providing your body with nutritious fuel for energy while keeping your cells hydrated.
Some of the best foods for hydration include:
- Bell Peppers
- Plain Yogurt
- Broth-Based Soups
5. Choose Hydrating Foods
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a cocktail or your favorite alcoholic beverage while you’re experiencing all the wonders your destination has to offer, as long as you’re mindful.
That means being smart about how much alcohol you consume and balancing those drinks with other types of healthy intake (think plenty of water and nutritious foods).
If you consume too much alcohol without eating or drinking enough water, your kidneys struggle to maintain a healthy balance of fluids in your body. Alcohol tends to increase urination, which can lead to dehydration and the infamous hangover the morning after.
The smartest way to avoid these negative effects is to limit alcohol intake while you travel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the average adult consume only one to two alcoholic beverages per day (or less) and drink plenty of water to compensate for the potentially dehydrating effects.
6. Get Plenty of Rest
Dehydration can make you feel tired throughout the day, and drinking plenty of hydrating fluids like water, herbal tea, or coconut water can help boost your energy levels. But getting enough sleep may be just as important when it comes to staying hydrated.
In recent studies, adults who slept fewer than six hours per night had more highly concentrated urine than those who got at least eight hours of quality sleep. The group who reported sleeping less than six hours nightly were also up to 59 percent more likely to be dehydrated than members of the group who regularly slept more than 8 hours.
This data appears to suggest that sleep helps your body maintain a healthy balance of fluids and therefore reduce the risk of dehydration.
Whether you’re on vacation or a business trip, you may not realize how easy it can be to become dehydrated while you travel. It’s often a disrupted routine, busy itinerary, and deviation from your typical healthy habits that are to blame.
So on your next trip, keep these important hydration tips in mind. Just a few simple adjustments can make all the difference in keeping you healthy and ready to take on the business endeavors and adventures your destination holds.