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Here's how to travel smart

Everyone hopes to come back from a vacation feeling better than when they started out. But all too often, a holiday only tires you out further. Here’s how to ensure you have a healthy holiday.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2009 18:22 IST
Mignonne Dsouza

Travel smartEvery year, at this time, hundreds of families head out on holiday, to see new places, relax their tired bodies and minds and refresh their souls. Everyone, without exception, hopes to come back from a vacation feeling better than when they started out. But all too often, a holiday only tires you out further. Here’s how to ensure you have a healthy holiday:

Plan your trip
According to Dr Rachna Khanna Singh, lifestyle management expert at Artemis Health Institute in Gurgaon, people should first be aware of what they want to do on vacation. “Sometimes, if you have been experiencing too much monotony in your life, an action-packed holiday may be just what you need to rejuvenate yourself,” she explains. “Identify what you are longing to do and what kind of holiday you want, otherwise you will not come back refreshed.”

Dr Singh also advises scheduling time before and after a holiday as a “break in period”. “You have to allow yourself breathing time before you jump into a vacation,” she explains. “That’s because typically before a holiday, one works really hard finishing projects or meeting deadlines, and running around to buy things one needs. So schedule at least half a day to pack and take it easy, so you can start enjoying your holiday from day 1. One good way to do this is to start a holiday after a weekend.”

She adds, “Similarly, keep aside the same length of time to wind down from a holiday before you go back to work. The worst thing you can do is go directly from the airport to office, but there are many people who do that. This totally nullifies the effect of your vacation, switching you from destressed mode to distressed.”

Travel smart
According to Mumbai-based GP Dr Maxim D’Mello, “Patients often feel that when they are on vacation, they are on a holiday from their medication and basic dietary guidelines as well.” He explains, “If your doctor has asked you to eat less salt to control your blood pressure level, a holiday is no excuse to ignore these instructions. Always carry along a basic kit of your prescribed medication, including allergy, pain and antacid tablets.”

Dr D’Mello also advises people to take some elementary precautions. “Remember to drink enough water if you are someplace warm, like the beach,” he says, adding, “And remember to guard yourself against the sun.”

Watch the weight
Another common side effect of a holiday, says Dr D’Mello, is that of weight gain. Brunch columnist Dr Shikha Sharma agrees: “Everyone overeats on the first day, out of greed, or because you have the time to sit down and eat a leisurely meal. While that’s okay. It’s important however not to stuff yourself so you can keep active.”

While acknowledging that it’s “next to impossible to be disciplined on holiday, even for me,” Sharma cautions that people should enjoy themselves without being greedy. “And when you get back, snap out of the holiday routine immediately with regard to your diet and healthy eating habits. I find that the most weight gain happens in the week after a client returns from holiday,” explains Sharma.