We all know that travel can leave us feeling haggard and weary (even in the most epic of destinations.) In addition to long flights and interrupted sleep patterns, travel dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, and other side effects that can turn a relaxing vacation into something that feels more like work. Luckily, there are a few easy tips and tricks that can help you stay hydrated and alert as you wander around the globe.
How to Stay Hydrated On the Plane
Thanks to low humidity on airplanes that causes moisture to evaporate from the body quickly, it’s easier to get dehydrated in the air than it is on land. That one bottle you bought in the airport probably isn’t enough. The Aerospace Medical Association suggests at least 8 ounces of water per hour (approximately one full plastic airline cup), and more if you’re boozing. While it may be tempting to supplement your water with coffee or soda, it’s best to stick to water for the duration of the flight. Though science has debunked the myth that caffeinated beverages are dehydrating, water is still the best hydrator, and nursing on a soda for a few hours could cause you to miss a few of those precious hourly water breaks.
Don’t forget the meds
If you also suffer from nose, throat, eye, or skin irritation thanks to airplane cabins, don’t forget to pack some nasal spray, eye drops, and moisturizer in your carry on to combat dryness. Your body will thank you.
How to Stay Hydrated On the Ground
Travel dehydration is not limited to air travel. Though it’s tempting to slip into your regular hydration routine once you arrive at your destination, differences in altitude, humidity, and heat can all impact your body’s hydration level. The body especially needs more water at higher elevations (5000 feet or more), so a little research beforehand can help you prepare.
Bottle water it up
Since it’s not advised to drink tap water in many countries, travelers often need to plan their water breaks or buy bottled water, and when you’re swept up in the beauty of Peru or the charm of Havana, Cuba, it’s easy to forget that you haven’t had any water all day (until you get a pounding headache at 3pm.) When ordering a bottle of water at a restaurant, opt for the large size and make sure you and your table drink the whole thing. Even if you’re full and don’t feel thirsty, finish the bottle, or at least take it with you. Not only did you pay for it, but it may be a while before your next water break.
Electrolytes are your friends
Electrolyte packets can also be a lifesaver if you’re traveling in an environment where it feels like no matter how much water you’re drinking, you’re still constantly thirsty. Throw a few of these in your suitcase, just in case, because you never know how your body will reach to a new environment. You may not need them, but if you do, you’ll be glad you have them! That said, if you’re in a tropical place and need a hydration boost, simply find your nearest coconut vendor go nuts on nature’s sports drink. While professionals debate coconut water’s true merits, locals in countries like Mexico, Thailand, and Cambodia swear that one coconut a day keeps dehydration at bay. At the very least, they’re delicious, so drink up and enjoy your trip!
Brooke is a professional chef, writer, and thyme traveler currently meandering around the world. After co-founding and growing New York City’s Prohibition Bakery into a sustainable business, she decided to leave her predictable life and travel around the globe. Her workspaces of choice include cute cafes and shanty restaurants on the beach, though she’ll take a hammock if things get really dire.