Healthy While Travelling
In Canada and the United States
Here you'll learn key techniques for staying well
and enjoying each day while travelling or attending school in Canada
and the U.S.
Interestingly, these suggestions
don't cost anything.
In fact, some of these health recommendations save you money, yet are very effective and simple to implement.
Dress for health and comfort
Europeans express dismay over the way Americans
choose to dress in their great cities.
During the summer, American
visitors seemingly of all ages and social and economic strata
flock to cathedrals and the most elegant districts in a state
of near undress, in marked contrast to the local populations and
Some of this behaviour results from the
dynamics of American society, where large numbers move from
more humble economic circumstances to a richer life without having
been trained in the social graces of those who have traditionally
travelled the World.
However, much American tourist behaviour is based on habit based due to the North American climate, which
makes such behaviour a survival tactic.
Nearly all of the U.S. is extremely hot—as well as very humid in the eastern part—during the summer, as is southern Ontario and Quebec in Canada.
The heat combined with high humidity produces a comfort index
as wretched to a person in full clothing as in any equatorial
country, which can make you very hot and uncomfortable.
an excessively high body temperature can be highly dangerous and even deadly.
You will be a lot more comfortable if you dress very lightly
in natural fibres like cotton.
You'll also be more comfortable outdoors if you don't stay too long in overly air conditioned environments indoors—the contrast
to which can make you miserable when you go out.
When driving on a open road, for example,
try to avoid using air conditioning—you will get used to driving without
it—and let the breeze cool you.
Otherwise, you may become reluctant
to spend time outside of your car, especially in places like Florida
during the summer.
Moreover, when you have control over the air
conditioning setting, as in motel rooms, keep the setting at the
highest temperature that still allows comfort. Have it on just enough to make the humidity not noticeable.
Drink enough water
Drink, drink, drink large amounts
of water during the North American summer.
The heat requires this.
People from temperate climates, such as northern
Europe and northern Japan, may not realize the importance of maintaining
water in the body.
Drink to be more comfortable, to avoid dehydration, and to avoid heat strokes.
Remind yourself to keep drinking water.
Force yourself to drink water frequently until it becomes a habit.
Older people should take special care to
drink enough water, as thirst diminishes as you grow older.
it is water, not tea, not coffee, not Pepsi, or similar drinks,
that you should emphasize. After all, you don't cleanse your body
in baths of soda pop.
Luckily, "safe" water fountains
exist in the public areas of most American and Canadian cities.
Cafes and restaurants often serve free water as part of a meal, or provide
tap water upon request without change.
In addition, always carry
water when driving, both for yourself and for your vehicle, in case
Very inexpensive purified water or spring water
is for sale in every supermarket.
The suggestion to drink lots of water, by the
way, applies for airline travel, as water can increase body comfort
in an environment of dehydration.
Start the day with a glass or two, and remember
to drink during the day.
Adopt a healthy daily
routine fosters an enjoyable and productive day.
And, the basis of a healthy routine is rest.
Rest is the basis of activity. Let us repeat
an often ignored law of nature: Rest is the basis of productive
Your day goes better after sleeping well.
Along with ample rest, you need a good diet.
Travelling by auto, coach,
or train involves long periods of relative inactivity, and this
alone calls for modification of diet by, for example, eating less
With some exceptions, follow
a French routine (French as in France, not French as in Canada
Other than their exceedingly foul cigarettes and
a few other dubious habits (please do not send Dr. Voyageur vicious
massages electroniques, dear French readers!), the French over the
centuries have developed a remarkably healthy lifestyle.
from getting up early to deliberately finding excuses to walk
or bike, instead of driving or taking local coaches for errands.
It is interesting to compare the relative
average torso sizes of adult American and Canadian men and women
with French men and women. The difference is shocking.
Americans and Canadians, including Canadians
of French descent, are all too often fat—grossly, unhealthily fat, even at very young ages.
Yet, people in France
are for the most part thin. You'll find possible reasons for
Here are the basic steps,
which will serve you so well when travelling or otherwise:
Get up when you wake up
Get up when you wake up.
Get up early.
Don't stay in bed once awake, which produces staleness during the
Try to develop a routine of getting up prior to 6 a.m.
Avoid a big breakfast
If you're an adult, have a small breakfast or avoid it altogether.
you want breakfast, have fruit or other easily digested foods.
A substantial breakfast is simply not needed, unless you have special medical
needs, or are a growing child.
Note that the French manage to live enjoyable and productive
lives without an American, Canadian or English-style breakfast.
If you disagree, ask yourself what nutritional value your current large breakfast gives you that
is not found in your other meals. Those pancakes, for instance.
Don't eat or drink anything but water
Small children may snack on healthy foods, but adults should allow
time for digestion between meals.
French adults almost never snack.
adults never consume the massive amounts of anti-acid medications
that Americans and Canadians do, as evidenced by the extraordinary
amount of stomach relief advertising on American and Canadian
Americans and Canadians constantly add food
and drinks, often of very dubious nutritional value, to their
stomachs, while a previous meal is still being digested.
Americans have even invented a name for this type of eating, "grazing."
routine confuses their bodies.
Water, however, can and should be consumed
throughout the day, except perhaps just before or just after meals.
Have your main meal at
Have your main meal at lunch, and allow
ample time for it.
Do not rush this meal, as so many Americans and Canadians do.
Eat in a comfortable,
relaxed setting, which allows digestion to begin in the proper
Remain seated throughout lunch, and do not get up immediately
Instead, allow at least five minutes or so for the
stomach to begin to digest before moving on to other activity.
Have an ample lunch and have a variety of
foods that changes each day, but don't overeat. Do not eat to the point of discomfort.
Have a variety of foods, but avoid heavy foods while travelling
We don't advocate specific foods
to eat or not to eat.
However, we do suggest that a large variety
of freshly-prepared food, including a number of different fruits
and vegetables, be consumed each day.
too much fried and other very fatty foods, which are particularly
difficult to digest while travelling. These are the "fast foods" that so many eat while on the run.
You can enjoy rich foods—the
French, after all, savour rich foods—but don't consume massive amounts of them.
As mentioned, favour meals cooked from fresh ingredients, when possible.
Avoid food poisoning
The hot North American
climate makes it dangerous to consume a variety of foods that have been
without refrigeration for more than several hours.
dangerous are eggs and products made with eggs, such as salads
and sandwiches made with mayonnaise. Meats and fish go bad quickly, too.
Some say the acidity of mayonnaise helps
preserve meats, but please be very careful.
Many people die or become severely ill from
food poisoning each year in Canada and the United States due to
foods improperly stored in a warm climate.
Because you'll likely
enjoy outdoor picnics while travelling, be concerned about
proper food storage.
Bread with a hard cheese is easily portable;
bread with chicken salad is not.
Stay away from overly cold foods and drinks
Even in hot weather, avoid
having too much very cold food and drink, an American bad habit.
This interferes with your digestion.
Avoid the American routine of having
many drinks with ice throughout the day. You may ask for water
without ice in restaurants.
Alcohol, by the way, makes you feel
hotter, not cooler, on warm days. If you must drink it, don't have it too cold.
Have at least one period of significant of exercise each
day, preferably in the early morning or evening when it is not so
And, vary the types of exercise that you do.
For example, walk one day
but swim the next—or do both the same day.
This will do wonders for your digestion and well being.
Even on Greyhound trips, you can walk
at rest stops, which usually occur every two to four hours. Just
do not be late getting back.
On trains you can walk back and
forth along most of the length of the trains, and on many go up and down stairs.
When driving, stop
every two to three hours for at least some light
exercise and for freshness of mind.
point is to keep active, even when opportunities are limited.
Have an early light evening
Don't have your evening meal too late. And, don't eat too much rich food at night.
Having an early light meal allows you to sleep better and for your body to focus on purification, not digestion, while you sleep.
Americans and Canadians often eat earlier in the evening than many cultures.
Join them—but just don't consume as much.
Go to be early
On most nights, go to bed early, by 10:00
p.m. or earlier, if possible.
A natural cycle makes you feel sleepy
prior to this time.
Go with this cycle.
If you frequently have trouble falling asleep,
remove temptations near your bed, such as books, light
switches, television remote control devices, computers, etc.
You may ignore
the early to bed rule in Montreal and New York City and other exciting places at times,
but try to follow it as much as possible.
You need a good sleep to be your best.
You have to avoid people boorish enough to not cover their mouths when they cough. Turn away from them. If you have to cough without a handkerchief, turn your mouth toward your shoulder. Do not leave germs on your hand.
Also, avoid rubbing your eyes with your hands and fingers or picking your nose with your fingers. Cold germs spread easiest this way.
Colds are perhaps the most common complaint while travelling.
But, getting proper rest, having a nutritious diet, and keeping your hands and fingers away from your nose and eyes are the best ways to avoid them.
Adopt the above routines.
You'll benefit greatly from them.
You will be lean, keen,
and ready for travel and other opportunities.
As promised, have you noticed that the above suggestions
cost absolutely nothing to implement? In fact, you should save money by following these.
If you just follow the above general hints, you are doing
Have a safe and enjoyable holiday.
For health and safety tips when camping or hiking
Go to >> Staying
For more health and safety tips
Go to >> Being safe
Go to >> Driving safely
in Canada and the U.S.
Go to >> Staying
Back to Top