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Healthy holiday tips: Advice to help you get fitter and healthier on holiday

Comprehensive health advice for your holiday to help you stay fit and well and come back refreshed and reinvigorated

You researched it, booked it and you’re excitedly looking forward to your well-deserved holiday — just what the doctor ordered to recharge your batteries and refresh your creativity and motivation.

And by following our nine healthy holiday tips, you can focus on immersing yourself in the experience and then getting home healthy, fit and happy. Your body — and your mind — will thank you for it!

Young Asian woman stretching after waking up Young Asian woman stretching after waking up

Improve your well-being

1. Take the opportunity to get good quality sleep

Rest and recovery: Having a break from work gives us time to re-establish healthy habits, such as a good night’s sleep. It’s a great way to get your immune system back on track, improve your concentration levels and your mood. Read our guide to getting a good night’s sleep.

Managing jet lag: If you’re crossing time zones, try to adapt your sleep pattern to your destination a few days before you leave to reduce the impact of the time difference — especially if you’re going east.

  • Adjust to the new time zone as quickly as possible (use an alarm)
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Get into the sunlight as soon as possible to help you feel awake
Couple hiking along a mountain trail Couple hiking along a mountain trail


2. Kick-start a healthy new fitness habit

Activity is important for fitness as well as supporting your health. Use your holiday to set up healthy habits or continue your virtuous regimen.

  • Walking
  • Yoga
    • Helps improve muscle tone, flexibility, energy levels and mental well-being
  • Swimming
    • A few lengths every day will help maintain your health and fitness levels.

    You may even decide to do some HIIT training — as running on the spot doesn’t demand much space. There are a number of exercises and stretches you can do while flying that help keep your blood pumping and your body supple, for example quad stretches, squats and neck rolls.

Woman eating a healthy meal on the beach in Waikiki, Hawaii Woman eating a healthy meal on the beach in Waikiki, Hawaii

3. Make smart food and drink choices

No matter where you are in the world, there will be healthy food and snack options available. Find out what these are and opt to eat these when hunger strikes.

You can take steps to mitigate illness and discomfort due to strange or tainted foods and even the bacteria in water, by taking a daily probiotic for a couple of weeks before you go and continue while away to help stabilise your digestive system.

Drinking too much alcohol can result in illness as well as injury. This can be exacerbated in hot countries where dehydration is a contributing factor. Try interchanging alcoholic drinks with soft drinks to pace yourself.

Healthy behaviours and lifestyle coaching: Our CARE team clinicians can work with globally mobile employees and those seeking advice/support around developing healthy behaviours. This can extend to what to do to maintain healthy behaviours while on holiday. Contact the CARE team for more information by calling the number on the back of your Member ID card or logging in to the Health Hub — your secure member website.

Woman lying in a beach hammock reading a book Woman lying in a beach hammock reading a book

4. De-stress: do a digital detox

Many of us feel more stressed when we’re on holiday as we agonise over what might be happening back in the office. Try a ‘digital detox’. Don’t check social media or emails – or only do it once a day.

Why not try some mindfulness techniques to help reduce and tackle stress and anxiety.

Woman showing a blouse to a friend at an outdoor market Woman showing a blouse to a friend at an outdoor market

5. Cultural dos and don’ts

Doing some research about your destination is all part of the fun of planning a holiday and can reduce the stress of getting used to a new country. And awareness of culture — from language to gender etiquette — can make a holiday run more smoothly.

Staying safe while in an unfamiliar country and getting to know a new culture are important considerations for individuals holidaying overseas, moving abroad for a new lifestyle, those on assignment or globally mobile individuals. Your iPMI provider should be able to provide you with guidance on the culture and customs in your destination. And if you’re sight-seeing and you lose your passport or a natural disaster strikes, find out if you have access to expert safety advice and support through your iPMI provider — so you can travel with confidence.

Cultural awareness: We can provide personalised city security briefs, as well as a comprehensive list of ‘dos and don’ts’ specific to a country; including what to wear, how to greet people, and dining out. Read more about our services here. Log in to the Health Hub and search ‘red24’ for details on how to access these services.

Read more about how our safety and security services support our members.

Doctor showing man a vaccine vial Doctor showing man a vaccine vial

Medical matters

6. Keep your medication regime on track

You might have a condition that requires regular tablets or injections or need medication about your person in case of an allergic reaction. Making sure you have an adequate supply before you head off on your holidays will give you peace of mind on your trip. Read more about pre-trip planning here.

Many countries have lists of medications that aren’t allowed and it’s important to check that anything you want to take with you is legal. Not only do you want to avoid arrest, but you do not want to have medication you need for disease or condition management taken from you. Click here for more advice on which medications you can take to a given country.

Woman sleeping outdoors underneath a mosquito net Woman sleeping outdoors underneath a mosquito net

7. Keep out of the reach of mosquitos

The mosquito is the biggest killer in the animal kingdom as it helps to spread diseases such as Zika and malaria. Help to protect yourself by using:

  • Insect repellent (from sprays to plug-ins)
    • Useful in most places in the world, especially if you are camping, staying in rudimentary structures or near water.
  • Mosquito traps or nets
    • Might seem unnecessary, especially if you have mosquito repellent, but, in many places, mosquito nets are essential for protecting yourself at night.
  • Lightweight, loose, light-coloured clothing

Talk to your doctor or a clinician at your iPMI provider before you travel to a high-risk area about medication that can help protect you against vector-borne diseases.

8. Plan ahead and get vaccinated

Speak with a travel medicine specialist for definitive and personalised advice at least a month before you’re planning to go. You can check which, if any, vaccinations are required before you go by using the International Association For Medical Assistance To Travellers’ website. By inputting your holiday destination, the site will tell you exactly what you need from routine vaccinations to specific jabs such as Hepatitis A and Typhoid.

Asian family smiling while looking out a car window Asian family smiling while looking out a car window

9. The right type of insurance cover

Many expats and even frequent fliers have international health insurance (iPMI) to ensure they have access to quality care while living abroad. If you have iPMI, you may well be covered for illness in your holiday destination — check your Certificate of Insurance or ask your benefits or account manager.

Travel insurance is a worthwhile investment as it covers you against any costs or losses incurred on holiday. While individual policies vary, this can include flight cancellation, loss/damage of luggage and medical emergencies. This is particularly relevant for those travelling to places where access to quality care and treatment is limited. While travel insurance covers you for the basics of holiday travel and emergencies, international private medical insurance (iPMI) gives a more comprehensive level of cover for health care of all types including emergency evacuation and mental health. Read more information on the difference between health insurance and iPMI.

  • Make sure you have the relevant numbers for your travel insurance company or international medical insurance company
  • While local people may know what to do in a medical emergency, if you are going somewhere isolated, you should take the number of the emergency services

For those with international private medical insurance (iPMI) you may have access to services such as Aetna International’s emergency services — including airlift and evacuation — which can be used in the event of most emergencies: civil unrest, terrorist attack or accident/injury.

Medical emergency clinical support and evacuation: Providing your plan covers the area in which you intend to travel, having the Aetna International CARE team contact details on hand means that you have advice and support in the event of an accident or health care emergency. Remember to take your Member ID card with you when you travel, so you’ll always have our contact details to hand.

More support when you need it

We understand the importance of annual leave for our mental and physical well-being, our motivation, creativity and productivity. To find out more, read Relax and recharge: Why holidays are good for business and employee well-being.

We’re here to help our members on their path to better health — no matter where they are in the world. As a member your health care may be covered while you’re travelling or on holiday, depending on your area of cover, or you may need to purchase top-up travel insurance. Either way, our content library is full of useful information to help you get and stay healthy on holiday:

Are you a frequent flier or do you want insurance that’s more comprehensive than travel insurance? Why not get in touch with one of our expert advisors to see how we can support your globally mobile life.

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