Drink up. Staying hydrated is imperative for good health whether home or abroad. But when traveling, we should be even more aware of it. Being away from home often throws off daily habits and drinking fluids is usually one of them. Our bodies are constantly losing water through perspiration and even breathing. Proper hydration supports the heart and all muscles to work more efficiently. After all, we are composed of approximately 70% water, so no wonder we wouldn’t survive more than a few days without it.
Fluid Facts You Should Know
1. Fluid needs vary from person to person. Various factors influence fluid needs such as climate, activity level, clothes, body build and age. Lean body mass is composed of more water than fat tissue, so those leaner with greater muscle tone require even more water than their not so lean counterpart. Certain health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, may elevate fluid needs as well.
2. Thirst often indicates we are already dehydrated. So the goal should really be to avoid this, so you don’t end-up playing catch-up. The color of your urine is an easy indicator of hydration status: clear, light yellow indicates hydrated while dark yellow means drink more water. An outward sign of dehydration is dry skin while some symptoms may include dizziness, headache, or fatigue. Also, be aware that you may feel hungry when you are thirsty as the sensation for thirst is the same as hunger. So to keep your weight down, drink up.
3. For every pound of sweat lost, it takes a pint of water (16 ounces) to replenish. Water, seltzer, unsweetened coffee or tea really should be the beverage of choice. Alcohol can have a diuretic effect, so drink water along with any alcoholic beverage and drink moderately. Sports drinks aren’t necessary unless you are exercising at high intensity for more than 90 minutes. The extra sugar can be tough on the stomach if dehydrated and eating meals and snack throughout the day is sufficient to provide electrolytes.
Is the Water Safe to Drink?
Before you leave on your trip, find out if the tap water is safe to drink. This is a biggie. Water is obviously the best beverage to hydrate, but only if it is purified. If the water is unsafe to drink, so too may be the fresh produce. Just keep this in mind. When purchasing bottled water, make sure the caps are attached to the ring to guarantee you are in fact receiving purified water. Depending on your frequency of travel and length of stay, if the water is unsafe, it may be more economical to purchase a UV purification water bottle. CamelBak makes an All Clear
Bottle for $99 that utilizes UV technology to neutralize microbiological contaminants to EPA standards and has a built-in LCD to confirm purification results.
Hydration Travel Tips
- Fruits and vegetables have high water content so snacking on fruits such as apples, pears, and oranges and including salads and vegetables with lunch and dinner can up your water intake for the day.
- Always start the day off with a few glasses of water before hitting the pavement.
- Keep a water bottle with you as you explore your new surroundings.
- Pay attention to the type of climate in which you will be traveling. Hot environments will increase water loss. Lower humidity and higher altitudes will also accelerate water loss. Airplane cabins have very low humidity levels, typically 10-20%, whereas the humidity level in most indoor areas is 65%. So when flying, especially on long international flights, you should make a conscious effort to drink plenty of water and pay attention to any symptoms of dehydration. Try to avoid alcohol on the plane.
- Moisturize your skin to help retain moisture, especially in dry atmospheres. Pack a carry size so that you always have moisturizer on you. Spritzing your face can also help reduce the rate moisture leaves your skin.