Holidays are your chance to relax, but that's not an excuse to let yourself go completely, so here’s our 7 tips for maintaining your health abroad.

Stay sun safe

Everyone knows sunburn is uncomfortable, but it’s also extremely bad for your health. According to research carried out by the Skin Cancer Foundation, someone who gets just five or more sunburns doubles their risk of melanoma – the most lethal type of skin cancer. If you’re travelling somewhere hot make sure you wear plenty of sun cream with adequate UV protection, and purchase a decent sun hat if you’re going to be outside for long periods of time.

Wash your hands frequently

This is a useful tip year round, but it becomes particularly important when you’re travelling. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention hand washing is the most effective thing you can do to prevent infection diseases, yet a Michigan State University study found that only 5 per cent of people actually wash their hands properly. Correct hand washing requires soap and a healthy dose of vigorous scrubbing. When travelling, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before every meal. Your body will thank you, and you’ll be far less likely to get ill.

Only 5 per cent of people actually wash their hands properly.
-Michigan State University study

Don’t forget healthy living

When we go on holiday it’s all too easy to forget about our usual healthy eating and exercise habits. It’s no surprise then to hear that in a survey by Vital Greens, 80 per cent of respondents said they usually gained weight while travelling, with 78 per cent going on a strict diet when they return home. Instead of starving yourself when you get back, try to stay healthy on your travels. Whether it’s going for a swim in the ocean, running along the beach or walking a few miles through a new town, there are plenty of ways to keep fit and healthy on holiday.

Get your vaccinations

Plenty of places around the world will have compulsory vaccinations that are required if you want to enter the country. However, it’s the non-compulsory ‘suggested’ vaccinations you’ll want to make sure you get. Visit a specialist doctor, let them know where you’re going, and consult them on what vaccinations you should be getting. If you want to know just how vital these vaccinations can be, consider this – the World Health Organisation estimates that between two to three million lives are saved every year due to immunisations.

Be water smart

It’s extremely important to remember that water sanitation standards are not the same around the world. If the water isn’t safe where you are, avoiding directly drinking it is easy. It’s the more subtle consumption you need to watch out for. For instance ice, coffee, fruit juices, tea and salads can all contain unsafe tap water, so avoid them unless you know the water has been made safe. Waterborne illnesses are easily contracted and can be deadly – according to the Food and Water Watch, half of the hospital beds in the world are occupied by people suffering water borne diseases.

Ice, coffee, fruit juices, tea and salads can all contain unsafe tap water, so avoid them unless you know the water has been made safe.

Avoid hotel glassware

No matter where you’re staying in the world or how many stars your hotel has, there’s a very good chance that the glassware isn’t clean. In an undercover investigation into various hotels ranging from budget to luxury, Fox Atlanta discovered poor cleaning habits were common among hotel staff. Glasses were often cleaned with dirty bath towels, rinsed with unsafe disinfectants, and handled with gloves that had just been in the toilet. Instead stick to bottled water, or buy some disposable cups.

Eat fresh fruit

One of the best ways to stay healthy when you’re travelling is to eat healthily. Fresh fruit in particular is a great choice as a healthy snack, as it’s packed with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Depending on where you’re travelling to, fresh fruit can be picked up extremely cheaply, and is a great substitute for the unhealthy snacks you’d usually have on holiday. As a bonus all of the antioxidants in the fruit will boost your immune system and help your body to fight off any illnesses while you’re travelling.