Relaxation is something we all need. Work seems to never end, and life outside of work can be extremely stressful. Whether rich or poor, married or single, working or unemployed, life is hectic and challenging during the best of times. No wonder the vacation industry has become a multibillion-dollar industry. We all work hard, so we want to play hard too. Although we plan them for months and years in advance, it seems that vacations are often hampered by getting a cold. Why is it that we seem so prone to be sick while on vacation?

Going Up…

To put it simply, vacations make us sick because they stress us out. No matter who what you do on a daily basis, vacation requires an interruption to that routine. Although it is a welcomed interruption, planning for that interruption causes a lot of stress. A student has to tell teachers that he or she will be absent and possibly get some work done ahead of time. A stay at home parent has to pack for the family and try to think of all the million things the kids will need during the trip. A person who works has to get time off, which may require them to switch shifts with someone else in order to get off of work.

Aside from all of this, vacations are also stressful because they are expensive. Vacations require lots of planning. An itinerary has to be planned. A hotel that is close to your destination, reasonably priced, and not in a dangerous area needs to be found. Booking tickets on a train or plane can be far more of a hassle than would be expected. If the vacation is an international one, travel documents and immunization records must be updated.

…And Coming Down

Since a vacation requires a person to leave his or her regular routine, the days and weeks prior to a vacation are usually extremely busy in order to prepare for the absence. When a person finally reaches their destination, they have overexerted themselves for a long time, and no they can finally relax. This sequence of hyperactivity followed by total relaxation sends the immune system reeling. If there are any germs around, a person in this weakened state is extremely likely to fall susceptible to them.

Exposure To More Germs

Vacations cause a person to come in contact with more germs than they would in their daily life. Planes are enclosed spaces, filled with hundreds of people, ventilated by recycled air. Most people stay in hotels during vacation. At a hotel, you sleep on sheets and pillows that have (hopefully) been washed in an unfamiliar detergent.

Unfamiliar scents and allergens that hide in carpets and curtains in a hotel can make allergies flare up, and it is easier to catch a cold when a person is already suffering from allergies. Hotels are infamous for not always being cleaned properly, so the sheets and any silverware within the room can also cause sickness.

How To Protect Yourself

For a variety of reasons, vacation tends to make us catch a cold. Plan things far enough in advance so that your schedule is not too hectic leading up to your vacation. Before, during, and after your vacation, take vitamins and immune boosting supplements to prepare you for the barrage of germs your face. If you can avoid it, choosing to drive rather than to fly can help you avoid millions of germs. Pay special attention to the reviews regarding the cleanliness of a hotel when deciding where to stay, and be sure that you pay attention to health scores when eating out. Most important, remember to have fun.