Family togetherness over the holidays can be prime time for getting sick.

Planning Holiday Travel? 5 Ways to Stay Healthy

Whether you’re traveling to visit family or heading for sun and sand, you can stay on track with your health goals over the winter holiday season. Here’s how to keep wellness a priority, no matter how many miles you log.

1. Fit in Fitness

Does your destination have walking or hiking areas where you can work up a sweat? If you’re going to an urban area, is there a gym or class you can attend during your visit? Of course, what you choose will depend on the weather and climate as well as on your time commitments. But no matter what, try to  get your steps in by walking every where you can. (Even the airport  – stride up and down the terminal for 10 or 15 minutes between flights.) And when possible, plan sightseeing activities you can do on foot.

2. Protect Yourself from Germs

No one wants to get sick while away from home, but it’s a situation we’ve all found ourselves in. One common culprit is that you may find yourself short on sleep, especially after a long flight. And speaking of flights, being cooped up with a plane full of other people is a recipe for contagion. Try these tips for protecting yourself from germs when you fly.

3. Take Time to Chill

Traveling can be stressful – especially when there are lots of people involved. Take a few minutes for yourself when you can, and slip away to savor a quiet moment. Try meditation or a solo walk to clear your head and maintain balance while you’re in flux. It will pay off in more pleasant social interactions when you rejoin your posse.

4. Find Fitness Opportunities

Exercise often drops to the end of your to-do list during the holidays, and of course you can’t bring your gym with you when you travel. But you can bring your routine, if you bring the right gear. Make sure your suitcase has room for your running shoes and a couple of fitness bands. And load a fitness video or two onto your laptop or tablet. Then if you’re squeezed for time, you can at least do some strength training or a yoga or dance session indoors.

5. Prioritize Rest

Sleep is often last on the list of priorities during the holidays, especially when especially when sleeping in an unfamiliar bed and room. Travel with ear plugs, an eye mask,  stick to the same routines and healthy sleep habits you’ve developed at home. (More healthy sleep tips here.) To do that, you may want to bring ear plugs and an eye mask in case the hotel room or your family guestroom isn’t as dark or quiet as you’re used to.

While it might take a bit of effort to keep up your healthy lifestyle activities while traveling, it will pay off in leaving you truly rested and refreshed when you return.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.