There are many activities that we do in any given day that has an impact on our hydration levels; from sleeping to exercise, we are constantly expelling moisture. Sweating, urinating and the moisture on our breath are three ways we expel water and, we need to make sure we keep ourselves hydrated to function in tip-top condition. However, there are tasks and activities that can throw off our habits, routines and good intentions, travel being one of them. Whether it is a short train journey across the country or a transatlantic flight, travel is one sure-fire way that our hydration stores are depleted. Being hydrated when we arrive, means we are sluggish and thirsty, not the state you want to be in when greeted by family or friends, and certainly not in a work situations.
What you need to know about water, your hydration levels and travel…
- Fluid needs vary from person to person – overall, we are all made up of 60 to 70% water but, our needs for water vary from one person to the next. What influences this is the climate, activity level, clothes, body ‘type’ or build and age. Those people with lean, muscular body types will need more water to keep muscles hydrated than their less-lean counterparts. There are also times when certain health conditions also dictate the level of hydration that a person should aim to maintain, such as those people with diabetes, heart disease etc.
- Thirst is the body’s way of telling you it needs water – just like our bodies tells us when we are in pain, the body’s first reaction to lack of fluid is to tell you it feels thirsty. The best indicator for this is the colour of urine. Not many people take much notice of their urine colour but, anything darker than a light yellow straw colour is a clear indication that you need more fluid. Let this carry on, and your skin will start to dry, you will become fatigued, with a headache that refuses to budge and possibly the odd bout of dizziness too.
- Sweat loss and water gain – for every pound of sweat that is lost, you need to replace it with around a pint of water. Sports drinks are not always necessary, and some contain sugars, sweeteners and caffeine that has the opposite effect of what you think is happening. The best fluid for travel is water… and plenty of it.
Is the water safe to drink?
Many of our travels, however, can take us to foreign climees. As exotic and marvellous as they are, before you go, you must check whether the water from the tap in these countries is safe to drink. Untreated water can contain all kinds of parasites and bacteria thus, it makes sense when you travel if you are not sure to buy bottled water.
Even then, there are still dangers. Check the cap on the bottle making sure that it is sealed, with a ring attached to the cap to show that it is has not been tampered with, as well as coming from a reputable source.
Some people also invest in a mobile purification device, which has filters, including a charcoal layer, than will filter all the impurities out of the water, rendering it safe to drink.
Others ways to stay hydrated as you travel
There are other ways that you can help to maintain your hydration levels when travelling, why not try some of these…
- High water content fruit & vegetables – apples, pears, oranges, salads and some of the more common salad ingredients are high in water content, so rather than snacking on biscuits and other processed foods, opt for fruit or vegetables when you can. But again, if the water from the tap is not clean, wash them using bottled water
- Start as you mean to go on – before you travel for the day, make your hydration a little more buoyant by knocking back a few glasses of water; studies show around a pint of water first thing is a great boost for the body
- Make it a habit – carry a manageable amount of water with you as you sightsee and travel on to your next destination. A half-litre bottle is just perfect but don’t forget that in any given day, you should be looking to consume between 1.5 and 2 litres of fluid
- Note the climate – that said, however, you will need to up this when the loss of hydration is accelerated by the climate. Hot, tropical climes will make you sweat and you will also feel dehydrated at altitude too. Travel by plane is renowned for causing dehydration, possibly because the humidity level is as low as 10 to 20%, whereas outdoor humidity levels tend to be around 65%. If travelling by plane, make a conscious effort to drink more water, and avoid alcohol.
- Look after your skin – and finally, keeping your skin moisturised will help in dry atmospheres too, as you skin will be protected and you will lose less moisture from your skin. Some people also suggest using a spritzer, a fine mist of water on your face too, whilst flying.