How to Avoid Travel Illness

The following is a guest post by Anya Clowers – Nurse, Consultant, Speaker, Travel Expert who connects people with products worth packing.  Her philosophy is that travel and life are only as good as you feel!  Check out her websites: and

Photo courtesy of Jet With Kids

You’ve planned this trip for months – possibly years. You have dreamt about the food, the friends, the scenery, and the sounds of Paris. The planning was intense researching best flights, connections, hotels, restaurants, wardrobe selection, and finally activities while in Paris. (Of course, this was all greatly helped by the resources found on this fabulous Weekend in Paris blog!)

The week of travel arrives. You hear the coughing and sneezing around you, but are not worried. You are traveling to Paris and now exempt from the harsh reality of illness. When you board the plane have you prepared your body for flight? Is congestion brewing in your ears? Is your body heating up to fight an infection? 

Many travelers are devastated when illness unexpectedly forces its way into a long awaited itinerary.  Reality is many travelers are fatigued when they board the plane from last minute obligations and a stressful daily life. Exposure to international germs, jet lag, and increased activity (not always in healthy environments) may lead to illness far away from the comforts of home. 

Ahhh, the sights, sounds, and smells of Paris: amazing scenery, posh decor, beautiful French language amidst the clinking of wine glasses with friends… all with the bells of Notre Dame ringing in the background. 

Photo courtesy of Jet With Kids

Anger and frustration quickly replace any joy and amazement as your plugged ears strain to hear the incredible sounds of Paris, your taste buds and nose refuse to acknowledge Parisian cuisine, and your watery eyes and feverish lips communicate only illness to those around you.

Reality is that travel does not exempt us from illness. Germs do not pass by those on a trip of a lifetime. When planning that big trip to Paris, consider the weeks before your trip as time to prepare your body for the journey. Our bodies are set up with an “internal military”. Strong troops fight more effectively than weak, overworked and stressed soldiers.

  • Make sure to provide proper sleep, nutrition, exercise, for your “troops”. 
  • Acknowledge the toll an international flight can take on the physical body. 
  • Pack the carry on to provide for potential inflight needs. 
  • Do not ignore potential germ “attacks”.  Address these immediately. (Ignoring an attacker only makes it worse)
  • Like a moat with water is used as first line of defense, water and soap (or hand sanitizer) wipe out germs before they can invade.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. (Think horse of Troy- don’t give the germs a ride to the body’s entrance!)

If illness does sneak along in the carry-on, rest immediately. Fighting through it normally makes it worse and will expose traveling companions to the germs as well as put a damper on their activities.  If possible, take a few hours or a day to rest, hydrate, and stay in your hotel room. Nobody plans an itinerary with sick days. Recognizing the possibility of illness, discussing options ahead of time (throw in the “what if” when planning), and traveling prepared can make a big difference. 

If you are sick in Paris, look at it this way…now you are really getting a look at what local life is like! Ask the hotel for the nearest pharmacy. Most likely they will offer you something natural to help your body fight the illness. I have found some of the best over the counter solutions in international pharmacies! 

May all your travel be healthy, enjoyable, and safe.  If illness joins you as an unwelcome part of the itinerary, stop comparing the “should have been” to reality. Forget what you have planned and acknowledge your immediate needs. Give your “soldiers” a chance to surprise you with a fast recovery. They have been quietly in training since birth.

Bon Voyage!


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