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As important as it is to stay clean on a daily basis, this task can be a bit more complicated when traveling to certain locations. I learned this first-hand when serving on a mission trip to Honduras. Lack of supplies and even minimal clean water can make it a bit cumbersome to do simple things like brushing your teeth and washing your face.
Below are some personal hygiene travel tips to keep you healthy no matter where you intend to go.
Packing for Your Trip
Preparation is the key to maintaining good personal hygiene. When packing your bags for the road, unless you’re going to a location known for having the personal hygiene products you use, you’ll need to pack enough of the following:
- Skincare products – Make sure that you’ve packed enough skincare products to get you through your trip. It is best if the products you obtain are not opened and are compacted size so that they fit into your luggage without taking up much space. The ideal skincare products would include an exfoliant, along with a moisturizer that contains sun protection.
- Oral Hygiene Products – Some hotels (not all) have oral hygiene products on hand that you can use instead of having to pack your own. However, it is always best to be prepared. Make sure to pack your toothbrush (along with a toothbrush cover to keep germs away), some toothpaste, and mouthwash. When my family traveled to Honduras, I purchased one-time use toothbrushes that already had the toothpaste on them and didn’t require water. This was really important since clean drinking water was at a premium.
- First aid products – Another common cause of infection and disease are wounds not treated properly. When planning a trip that may incur injuries you want to make sure you have a few medications or first aid products on hand to safely clean and disinfect the wound. The perfect travel kit might include things like bandages, alcohol, and ointment for cuts and wounds. However, you might also want to include things for preexisting conditions such as your medications, and treatment for common ailments such as heartburn, yeast infection or hemorrhoids. Obtaining a few over the counter options such as natural hemorrhoids products and antacid pills is a good idea, especially when traveling to a locale where these items may not be readily available.
Basic Personal Hygiene Tips
While some might regard these next few tips as common sense, you’d be surprised how often people become ill by not practicing basic hygiene.
- Wash your hands often – one of the quickest ways to contract an illness is through the mouth. Since most people touch there face throughout the day it puts them at risk of getting sick. To avoid this, it is important to wash your hands often. This includes before meals, after using public property (i.e. atm machine, bathroom, etc.), and after touching any animals. If water is an issue, pack plenty of hand sanitizer as an alternative.
- Keep your nails cut short to prevent dirt, debris, and bacteria from getting under them. (If you prefer long nails, make sure that you clean them often)
- Drink lots of water to continually flush the system. If you’re in a foreign country, make sure the water is safe for drinking and has been purified before the guzzling commences. A global water purifier is a great product to have on hand.
- Brush and floss twice per day to remove bacteria and germs from the mouth that can cause oral complications such as cavities.
- Shower daily to remove dirt and germs from the body. If you’re traveling where water is an issue, pack some large body wipes to use in a pinch.
Practicing good personal hygiene can reduce the risks for illness, but talk to your doctor before you travel, as some locations will require immunizations or medication as protection from certain diseases and illnesses. From flying on a plane to arriving at your destination, you want to make sure that you’ve done all you can to prevent injury or illness during your vacation or mission trip.
What steps do you take to protect yourself from illness when traveling?