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How to Stay Healthy While Traveling with Kids + Bioscarf Giveaway

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Getting sick can ruin even the most amazing vacation. You’ve invested a lot of money and time into planning your family holiday, so don’t let illness spoil your time away. These 12 tried-and-true tips from family travel experts will teach you how to stay healthy when traveling with kids. We’re also giving away your choice of a Bioscarf or Biogaiter to two lucky winners to help protect your family from germs, allergens and air pollution!

My son and husband were protected from viruses, air pollution and allergens with their Biogators in Shanghai, China

My son and husband were protected from viruses, air pollution and allergens with their Biogaiters in Shanghai, China (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

This story is brought to you in partnership with Bioscarf.

1. Avoid germs, allergens and air pollution with a Bioscarf or Biogaiter.

Have you ever seen people wearing medical masks during your travels? If you’ve been to big cities in Asia, you probably have. These masks protect from germs, allergens and air pollution. But, let’s face it, they aren’t very fashionable. Thankfully there are better-looking, effective alternatives: Bioscarves or Biogaiters. These look like regular neckwear, but include a special filter to block out airborne contaminants. In fact, lab results have proven that a Bioscarf or Biogaiter filters out an average of 99.75% of all airborne particulates size 0.1 microns and larger.

I'm sporting my Bioscarf to keep me warm atop the Great Wall of China in Beijing

I’m sporting my Bioscarf to keep me warm atop the Great Wall of China in Beijing (Photo credit: Travel Mamas)

Of course, both the Bioscarf and Biogaiter can be worn to keep warm as well. If you’re going to wear a scarf or neck gaiter, then you should pack one that protects you from inclement weather as well as impurities in the air! Whether you’re in New York City or Beijing, you can look good and feel great wearing your Bioscarf or Biogaiter. Get your Bioscarf or Biogaiter now!

Making your own breakfasts while traveling, like my family did in Paris, can help prevent over-indulging

Making your own breakfasts while traveling, like my family did in Paris, can mean better food choices (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

2. Make smart food choices.

Eating healthfully is the foundation of good health, whether at home or on the go. Sure, you want to try new, exciting foods while traveling, but it’s important to eat a balanced diet so you can keep energy up and avoid tummy troubles. That means eating plenty of high-fiber foods like fruits, veggies and legumes as well as lean proteins. It also means being reasonable when it comes to fatty or sugary treats. For my family, it’s all about balance. Sure, we want that ice cream at Disneyland, but we try to stick to just one splurge per day.

Mickey Mouse ice cream treat at Shanghai Disneyland

Try to stick to one food splurge per day, like this ice cream treat at Shanghai Disneyland (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Lisa Cameron with Adventures in Familyhood advises packing healthy travel snacks. She says, “To avoid overeating and eventual car sickness on a road trip, I pack each kid an individual snack pack. Inside the pack are healthy snacks such as yogurt, cheese sticks, pretzels, and fruit. The snacks inside are to last for the duration of the trip. Not only does this method keep their snacking healthy, but also it helps us avoid fights over snacks, which is good for our mental health.”

Fresh produce in San Miguel de Allende

Soak fruits and vegetables in iodine solution in destinations where drinking water is unsafe (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Take precautions to avoid foodborne illness when traveling, too. Be sure to wash fresh produce with an iodine solution in destinations without safe drinking water. Sandy Gram from the Mixed Blessings blog also recommends travelers, “Try not to eat raw or undercooked meat while traveling to foreign countries where food inspections may not be stringent. And, before eating at a restaurant, look around and check to see if it’s clean.”

Use a daily pill organizer to help remember to take vitamins while traveling with kids

Use a daily pill organizer to help remember to take vitamins while traveling (Photo credit: AndreyPopov, Depositphotos.com)

3. Take vitamins and supplements.

Even when making a concerted effort to eat right, it can be difficult to get all the nutrients your family needs, especially when away from home. That’s why I pack multivitamins for both adults and children. To be sure everyone remembers to take their vitamins while traveling, use a travel-sized pill case marked with the days of the week.

Melynda Coble Harrison from TravelingMel and Mel’s Garden advises, “Take probiotics and essential oil capsules before and during the trip. We take a room temperature-stable probiotic while traveling to help keep the digestive issues at bay, especially in countries where that is likely to be an issue for us.” Interested in learning more about essential oils for good health? Take a look at these tips for using essential oils while traveling.

A good night's rest helps maintain both physical and mental health while traveling with children

A good night’s rest helps maintain both physical and mental health while traveling (Photo credit: romrodinka, Depositphotos.com)

4. Maintain good sleep habits.

Becky Morales with Kid World Citizen says, “I really feel like a well-rested child (or adult!) is much more likely have a strong immune system. Adequate sleep is the key to staying healthy while traveling!”

Little Family Adventure‘s Nicki Omohundro agrees. She advises, “If traveling with younger children who still nap, maintain your child’s sleep schedule as best you can. It’s tempting to skip the nap because there are so many things you want to see and do while on vacation. But your child needs that rest. If you skip it and push too far, a meltdown will likely ensue.”

To learn how to make sure the whole family is well-rested during your vacation, take a look at these tips for getting good sleep while traveling with kids.

Use antibacterial wipes to disinfect germ-ridden surfaces during your travels, like airplane tray tables

Use antibacterial wipes to disinfect germ-ridden surfaces during your travels, like airplane tray tables (Photo credit: coffmancmu, Depositphotos.com)

5. Use antibacterial wipes.

Antibacterial wipes are a parent’s best friend when traveling with kids. Use these to wipe down notoriously germ-ridden surfaces during your travels, like tray tables and arm rests on airplanes. You should also disinfect your hotel room or vacation rental by cleaning remote controls, doorknobs, and light switches.

Family on Standby‘s Nick Stretchbery agrees. He says, “We fly a TON with our toddler and I don’t think we’d make it without bringing a billion wipes with us in the diaper bag. On her 50+ flights, there might have been three during which she didn’t attempt to put her mouth on the tray table or eat something directly off it. Before each flight, we clean that bad boy off, along with the window, because, well…you never know.”

Washing hands is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stay healthy while traveling or at home

Washing hands is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stay healthy while traveling or at home (Photo credit: turgayada.hotmail.com, Depositphotos.com)

6. Keep hands clean.

Traveling with the Littles Author Catherine Brady reminds us, “The best way to prevent the passage of germs is by washing your hands. This little step frequently gets lost in the hustle and bustle of traveling, when washing your hands can be the most beneficial.”

Pack antibacterial gel in your purse or day bag and use it often: after theme park rides, before eating, after handling cruise ship buffet ladles and beyond. Kate Allen from Little Miss Kate & Co. also suggests attaching a small bottle of hand sanitizer to each child’s bag when traveling. She says, “There are lots of hand sanitizer options that have clips or holders that will attach them to any purse or bag. Make sure your kids know how to open and close the containers, and that a little goes a long way.”

When in doubt, order bottled water when traveling to a foreign country with kids

When in doubt, order bottled water when traveling in a foreign country (Photo credit: karandaev, Depositphotos.com)

7. Stay hydrated and stick to safe beverages.

Staying hydrated is essential for good health. Keep in mind that flying and traveling to higher altitudes can lead to dehydration. Alcohol zaps hydration, too, so you may want to skip the cocktails, especially for the first day or two of your trip.

Before reaching your destination, be sure to research whether the local drinking water is safe. When in doubt, stick to bottled water and other hydrating drinks like coconut water and electrolyte-infused, non-sugary sports drinks. Or, bring along your own water purifier. Liling Pang, co-founder of Trekaroo, advises, “Travel with a water purifier that is easy to use. You’ll always have clean water without polluting the environment with tons of plastic waste.”

If traveling to a destination where the local water is safe for drinking, on the other hand, packing reusable water bottles is a great way to keep all family members hydrated. Jurga Van S, creator of Full Suitcase Family says, “We always carry reusable water bottles, one per person, and fill them up when possible. Not only is it good for your health, it also saves money, and is environmentally friendly.”

Use insect repellent spray to avoid bug bites when traveling with children

Use insect repellent spray to avoid bug bites (Photo credit: galitskaya, Depositphotos.com)

8. Protect your family from bug bites.

If traveling to a destination where mosquitos and other biting insects are prevalent, be sure to take steps to protect your family from bug bites. Katja Gaskill with Globetotting says, “Having lived in two countries with my kids where mosquito-borne diseases were a part of daily life and having traveled to a few more, we’ve got our anti-mosquito bite routine down pat! Make sure everyone in the family wears long sleeves and long pants and avoid dark colors if possible. Use a recommended bug or mosquito spray on any exposed areas. Mosquito bands or patches are also a good idea for kids.” Additionally, she recommends staying indoors at dusk, when mosquitos like to come out to feast.

Be sure to apply sunblock on kids when traveling, even when you're NOT at the beach

Be sure to apply sunblock on kids when traveling, even when you’re NOT at the beach (Photo credit: shalamov, Depositphotos.com)

9. Apply sunblock.

It’s easy to get caught up in seeing the sites or splashing in the ocean and forget to protect skin from the sun’s harsh rays. Eileen Gunn from FamiliesGo! recommends travelers, “Pack sunscreen even for trips you might not think of. You need it for outdoor winter activities like skiing, for example.” She continues to say that sunscreen is imperative, “even on city vacations, when you’re out walking around all day and you’re taking in more sun than you realize.”

Even when you take all necessary precautions, you or your child may get motion sick like my daughter did during a snorkeling tour in Hawaii

Even when you take all necessary precautions, you or your child may get motion sick like my daughter did during a snorkeling tour in Hawaii (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

10. Avoid or handle motion sickness.

Motion sickness can zap the fun from any vacation. Even if no one in your family has suffered from motion sickness in the past, it’s best to be prepared. To avoid motion sickness, Kaylie Baker with Happiness Travels Here suggests, “Keep hydrated and keep snacks small and bland. Look out to the horizon and remove anything that is obstructing the view out the window. Hanging toys are not your friend in this scenario!” For more help, read these additional motion sickness tips and remedies.

Pack medications your family might need during your vacation

Pack medications your family might need during your vacation (Photo credit: devilkae)

11. Keep a separate stash of medicines just for travel.

Although you’re doing your best to avoid getting sick, illness can still strike while traveling. It’s important to have some relief on hand when it does. Rather than digging through the medicine cabinet before every vacation, I advise keeping a separate stash of medicines just for travel. Suggested items to bring include pain/fever reliever, decongestants, cough syrup, antibacterial ointment, small bandages, and medication for relief from constipation or diarrhea.

Whisky + Sunshine Editor Jana Seitzer suggests, “Always pack antihistamine like Benadryl and hydrocortisone lotion (and Epi-pens if you have a known food allergy) when traveling. Allergies to food can creep up at anytime!” If you or a family member have a serious food allergy, be sure to check out our tips for traveling with life-threatening food allergies.

Parc de la Turlure in Montmartre

Take time out for relaxation and play during your family vacation (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

12. Take it easy.

When planning your family vacation, try to alternate busy days with mellow days. Catherine Brady from Traveling with the Littles says, “Often, while traveling, we try to cram in as much as possible. Cut your sight-seeing list down and move at a slower pace. This gives everyone time to rest and nap if necessary. And burn-out will be less likely.”

Keep in mind that children do not have the patience or stamina for fast-paced, non-stop travel. Karen Presley Dawkins with Family Travels on a Budget recommends parents keep this in mind when embarking on road trips. She says, “The ‘get there as fast as you can’ mentality is really tough on little kids. Those car seats get hot. And kid muscles need to move. Stop at rest areas to let kids chase bubbles, take a walk or even to do jumping jacks. Happy kids are less stressed. Less stress is better for everyone!”

Bioscarf giveaway for good health while traveling

Enter to win a Bioscarf, like the one my daughter is seen wearing here in Shanghai during the Year of the Pig (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Enter to win a Bioscarf or Biogaiter!

We’re giving away a Bioscarf or Biogaiter (your choice!) two lucky winners. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Prize value is $44.99 (Bioscarf) or $34.99 (Biogaiter). Entrants must be 18 years or older and residents of the U.S. or Canada. Winners are chosen at random and notified via email. If not claimed within 48 hours, prizes will be forfeited and other winners will be selected. Prizes will be provided by Bioscarf. Neither Travel Mamas nor Bioscarf can be held liable for this giveaway. See additional terms and conditions.

Can’t wait to win? I don’t blame you! Protect yourself from allergens, germs and air pollution by buying a Bioscarf or Biogaiter now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling with Kids + Bioscarf Giveaway. Follow these 12 healthy travel tips from family travel experts! #familytravel #travelwithkids #healthylife

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If you liked this story, I bet you’ll love our list of unusual things to add to your family vacation packing list.

What’s your best tips for staying healthy while traveling with kids? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: This story is based on tips from travel experts, not medical professionals. Please check with your family doctor or pediatrician regarding any health decisions. I received free sample products and monetary compensation related to this blog post. 

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments
  1. Those some great tips. Def on board with wiping down the airplane seat and especially the table. I was not that aware before, but traveling with a little one and reading articles about it is often dirtier than the toilet, we wipe all the time. Also for immune boost we take natural olive leaf supplement, it is great and used in Europe if it’s not official in US

  2. This is a great reminder of what to do. I always drink a lot of water, wash my hands and pack a travel humidifier. I need to buy a bioscarf!

  3. I need one of these for every member of my family. We do our best to do all the things that will keep us healthy while we travel, but one of us always seems to get sick!

  4. Allison Waken says

    I think you covered all my favorite tips! I’ve never seen the Bio Scarves though, love this idea!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      We saw lots of the pollution masks in China, but I think we were the only ones with Bioscarves. I hope more people discover this unique product to keep them healthy during their travels and at home!

  5. Emily Fata says

    I can imagine how difficult it is staying healthy while travelling with children, especially because I can find it difficult at times keeping just myself healthy while I travel. These are some really great tips for family travelling.

  6. Abigail Gibson says

    I carry around a small bottle of hand sanitizer in case I no where to wash my hands.

  7. K from Kronicles says

    We always travel with my kid nieces and nephews and they are literally almost allergic to everything! I am going to take note of these. Thanks so much!

  8. Hmm, the bioscarf looks very handy and stylish.

  9. Kids catch a lot of air born diseases soon. Then through them, the parents catch it too. All the tops shared above will be very helpful in combating them. 😊

  10. Subhashish Roy says

    I love all the tips given by you. These are invaluable since the key to enjoying our planned travel is to remain illness free

  11. Kristine Nicole Alessandra says

    These bioscarfs look better than disposable surgical masks. I would want to get each family member one bioscarf to take with them everyday! Aside from adapting a healthy lifestyle, protecting ourselves from pollution will help avoid illness too.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Agreed! Lots of people get sick after visiting large cities with lots of smog. So great to have a stylish solution!

  12. Erin Knight says

    I love all these tips. I also agree with sleeping habits. I have a tendency of napping everyday, and when I travel, I skipped nap because I fear of missing out on exploring new places. It did not go well. I think maintaining the sleep habits is very important to make the most out of our trip,

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Lucky you…I wish I could nap! You’re so smart to maintain everyone’s sleep schedule when traveling…including you!

  13. Danyelle Whitley says

    Living in Las Vegas, we have tons of different germs at our family attractions. I think the bioscarf would be a great addition to any travelers kit. We have 4 kids and keeping their hands clean and naps on schedule is always a challenge when traveling!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      I only have 2 kids so I can only imagine how hard it is to keep 4 kids content and HEALTHY when traveling!

  14. Tiffany La Forge-Grau says

    These are some super tips! Keeping the kids up and running is important when travelling!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Yes! No sense spending all of that money on a vacation only to be holed up in the hotel room with a sick kid!

  15. Joanna Clute says

    I love these ideas! I know how hard keeping them healthy can be sometimes.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Oh boy, isn’t that the truth?! Especially when kids are wee and they stick EVERYTHING in their mouths!

  16. Christine Yvonne Groce says

    hand sanitizer and staying hydrated.

  17. Bill Sweeney says

    These would be perfect for traveling solo or as a family. It is never fun when a family member gets sick while on vacation.

  18. the scarf looks so good. perfect for traveling. I so agree with you on all points!

  19. Sara | mshealthesteem.com says

    These are some awesome tips! Getting sick really does put a damper on a trip. I get motion sickness and need to plan for that. But planning and preventing helps a ton! Thanks for the advice and inspiration ♡

    • Colleen Lanin says

      My daughter and I both suffer from motion sickness, too, Sara. I feel your pain! Glad to hear these tips resonated with you!

  20. Number one tip while traveling to certain countries. Drip bottle water that is a life savior1

  21. Porsha carr says

    That’s a wonderful giveaway! Also I will totally use your top on eating better! I think that’s why always get sick traveling 🙁

  22. It is so important to look after kids health while traveling. I totally swear by antibacterial wipes. They are so easy to use. 😊

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Other passengers have asked me if they can have an antibacterial wipe so they can wipe down their tray tables, too. Love those wipes!

  23. Very useful tips. I dont have any kids yet but have travelled with my neices who are now a lot older. Will share these with my sisters who have mini travellers at the moment.

  24. I bring a first aid kit of meds just in case because you never know! Lots of good hand washing is also key too.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      So smart to have medicines you’ll need on-hand. Even if you’re visiting a destination where you can easily purchase familiar medications, you never know when illness may strike in the middle of the night!

  25. Jaye Shields says

    Interesting post. I’m just curious what the bio scarves are made of?

  26. Thena Franssen says

    Great tips. Getting sick while traveling is no fun at all. We do a lot of these to stay healthy.

  27. Toni | Boulder Locavore says

    Yes! These are really awesome tips! Health is really important anywhere you go.

  28. These are good tips. I wish I could say I didn’t have a “we are traveling sick” story, but unfortunately I do.

  29. Shannon Gurnee - Redhead Mom says

    This looks like an awesome product! I hadn’t heard of it before.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      I love when small businesses like this launch an innovative product like this that makes our lives better!

  30. Candy Rachelle says

    It seems that you are having a wonderful vacation there. What an awesome place to visit with families. and it is really important to stay hydrated.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Oh my goodness, yes! Several years ago during a multigenerational trip to Mexico, my dad fainted from dehydration in a remote little town. We all thought he’d had a heart attack but it turns out that he was just severely dehydrated.

  31. Elizabeth O says

    Such a very helpful advise. Sometimes we tend to forget to bring medicines or fist aid kit

  32. Using a water bottle that filters water is a great way to keep healthy while travelling.

  33. These are such practical tips. Eating healthy is the most important. Will keep them in mind.

  34. My tip is to wear a mask on the plane and wash your hands often.

  35. Frequent hand washing or using hand sanitizers is a must as is carrying wipes to disinfect things when needed.

  36. Agness | the adventure traveler says

    Getting sick while you’re in a vacation is probably the worst thing. Not only will I not be able to enjoy my trip, but getting my hands on medical treatment can be quite a pain to deal with. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Agreed — it’s so important to bring along all medications you think you might need just in case of illness. You don’t want to be in a remote location with no relief!

  37. Audrey Stewart says

    We always have wipes with us. When we travel, we wipe down everything. Phones, remotes. light switches, mouses, etc.

  38. Candace Pfeifer says

    Make sure everyone gets plenty of sleep and they all keep their hands washed!

  39. Getting lots of sleep is important. It might be tempting to forego sleep in exchange for fun times, but the lack of sleep harms your immune system and makes you more susceptible to illness.

  40. Kamela Kern says

    All of these tips are great. I don’t think I can add much. I make sure to get rest time, take vitamins and vaccinate before international travel, carry hand sanitizer with me, etc.

    This Bioscarf looks cool. I’d love to try one.

  41. Great tips!

  42. KCee Horne says

    My tip is: Prior to trips we take extra doses of elderberry syrup, vitamin c and yogurt with probiotics.
    Additional tips: I always travel with bleach wipes and sanitizer. I wipe down my entire seat area on flight. Ive used a scarf during winter months when illness is more rampant. Ive traveled extensively and have never gotten sick.

  43. Cassandra D says

    I make sure that I wash my hands and use hand sanitizer.

  44. Laurie Emerson says

    My best tip is to keep hydrated and also have a lot of hand sanitizer.

  45. I use antibacterial wipes and wipe down my area on the plane. I wash my hands a lot and make sure that I’m well hydrated!

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