Unpacking the Aftereffects of Air Travel: Tips for a Healthy and Worry-Free Journey

Revenge travel has undeniably played a role in the resurgence of tourism. Despite economic challenges, consumers are even more invested in travel than in previous years. Influenced by the trauma and to make up for lost or cancelled trips, people have a renewed eagerness to travel, to live life, and experience other places and cultures.

But have you ever gotten sick after a leisure or business trip? This phenomenon is often referred to as "post-travel illness," describes the range of health issues that individuals may experience after a trip. In most cases, illness after travel is due to a viral infection that usually resolves in 5 to 7 days. According to Weill Cornell Medicine (opens a new window), up to 80% of returning travellers get fatigue, flu-like symptoms, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal discomfort, and other mild infections. These illnesses can occur due to a weakened immune system, traveling between different climates, exposure to large crowds, poor hygiene, or the effects of air travel on our bodies.

It is noticeable that when COVID-19 restrictions were reduced, there has been an increase in colds and flu-like symptoms. In line with findings from the Lung Institute (opens a new window), this is the effect of isolation and social distancing from lockdowns. This has kept our immune systems from discovering other harmful organisms and learning how to fight them off. As a result, exposure to germs and viruses might lead to illness, but at the same time, exposure can help build immunity. Exposure to new surroundings during travel strengthens immunity as unknown variables train the body to resist sickness-causing germs and viruses more effectively.

To prevent post-travel illness, here are some tips to consider:

  • Health Check: Make sure to visit your doctor’s office 4 to 6 weeks before your trip. Be aware of health problems you have and bring necessary medication and medical records. You may also need vaccinations or boosters, and some of these require time to fully work.

  • Boost that Immune System: A balanced diet, plenty of hydration, and restful sleep can all help boost our immune system. Additionally, make sure to ingest your daily dose of vitamins.

  • Hands-Down Hygiene Routine: On average, humans touch their faces 23 times per hour, according to research of the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.

  • Watch What You Eat: Traveling to a place with a different climate or sanitary practices may increase your risk of developing traveller’s diarrhea. Be cautious about what you eat and drink while traveling.

  • Be Proactive: Worry-free travel is inevitable. No matter how prepared you are, it is impossible to avoid everything that could go wrong in your itinerary. Travel insurance can provide peace of mind by covering various risks, such as medical expenses, loss of luggage, flight cancellations, and even COVID-19 coverage.

As you embark on your next adventure, prioritize wellness with pre-travel health checks and immune-boosting habits. However, for added peace of mind, consider the invaluable assurance of travel insurance. From unexpected health issues to travel disruptions, it serves as your protective ally, ensuring worry-free journeys.

Choose smart, healthy, and insured travels. Safe journeys ahead!

For more information, please visit our Travel (opens a new window) page, or contact

E: info.philippines@lockton.com (opens a new window) (Philippines)

E: enquiry.asia@lockton.com (opens a new window) (Asia)