Achoo! Do you have a tendency to catch a cold during the holidays? You’re not alone. When large groups of individuals are gathered in close proximity to one another, there’s an increased likelihood of contracting an air-borne illness. Furthermore, changes in weather, diet, exercise and sleep can also adversely affect one’s immune system.

In fact, studies published by WebMD found more than 200,000 Americans are hospitalized annually due to flu-related complications, so it’s important to maintain a strong awareness of your health and daily habits – especially when on the road.

So, what does that mean for travelers? Our team at DriveTheNation.com has prepared 10 Health-Conscious Travel Tips for our readers:

1. Wash Your Hands

While it may seem obvious, doctors unanimously agree proper hand washing is the best and most effective way to fight off germs and other illnesses. Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, lathering fully for at least 15 seconds every time.

2. Drink Plenty of Fluids

…and no, we don’t mean alcohol! Water is the preferred beverage choice to ensure proper hydration. It’s important for travelers to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses daily. Adequate hydration can also help eliminate headaches and other bothersome health issues.

Hiker Filling Up Water Bottle

3. Prepare Your Prescriptions

Before you embark on your journey, be sure to prepare all prescriptions ahead of time. While doctors can write and transfer most prescriptions to a pharmacy away from home, there are certain medications that cannot be transferred. It’s best to prepare all prescriptions in advance.

4. Take Your Vitamins

Your mom was right! A daily vitamin offers an assortment of health benefits, and can be especially helpful in boosting one’s immune system and overall health. Before beginning any vitamin regimen, it’s important to first consult your doctor.

5. Pack Wisely

Regardless of your final destination, be sure to pack both warm and cold-weather clothes, as layering your clothes will help ensure you will be comfortable in any temperature. When traveling to cooler locations in particular, don’t forget to pack scarves, gloves and hats! If you’re not bundled properly, you’re increasing your chances of getting sick.

Packed Suitcase

6. Plan Meals in Advance

It may be more difficult to maintain healthy eating habits when away from home, but it’s certainly not impossible. Prepare healthy meals and snacks in advance and pack food that travels well. Grapes, for example, offer a healthy, refreshing and hydrating treat for road trips.

7. Don’t Over Exert Yourself

It’s easy to get caught in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but it is also important that you include enough time to rest and relax. While we’re certainly not dissuading you from taking that backpacking trip through your favorite national park, we suggest adding a hot bath or massage toward the end of your trip as well.

8. Carry Your Insurance Card

Even if you do not have particular food allergies or health concerns, it’s still a good idea to carry a copy of your insurance card at all times. If you do have certain health allergies, however, you will want to be sure you also carry your medical card with you wherever you go.

9. Be A Clean Freak

Before settling into any hotel room or rest area, it’s important to take a few precautionary steps. Packing Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer, for example, will help you protect yourself against germs and unwanted illness.

10. Get Plenty of Rest

Even if you don’t feel like you may need it, a good night’s sleep provides countless health benefits. Help rejuvenate your body and soul by going to sleep early, and you’ll also simultaneously help to rebuild your immune system.

Couple Sleeping at a Hotel

What are your favorite travel tips to stay healthy on the road? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below or connect with us on social media using the hashtag #drivethenation. From the entire DTN team, we wish you and your family health and happiness this New Year!