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How to Beat the Cold During a Winter Break
The winter months offer the perfect time to explore the world, and the snow covered destinations found in mainland Europe and beyond provide ideal opportunities to enjoy magical adventures with those closest to you at a truly special time of year. Just like keeping in great health at home, there are a number of steps that should be taken when holidaying abroad during winter to beat the cold and enjoy your winter holiday in all its glory. In this article, we take a closer look at the top tips you can utilise to stay warm and look good without taking your entire winter wardrobe along for the ride. Uncover the secrets of good layering While layering your clothes can be seen as a form of fashion rather than function here in the UK, in places where temperatures drop well below freezing layering is essential. Whether you are hitting the slopes or taking in some sightseeing in a chilly city, risking hypothermia isn’t a recipe for a fun-filled holiday. Start your layering mission with your base layer, this will consist of clothes that sit closest to your skin. The key to layering is to invest in good quality clothes, particularly when it comes to your base layer. The cold, wet weather can compromise the hardiest of fabrics. Merino wool and technical garments are excellent choices for base layering and provide durability and longevity even after two to three days of hard skiing, while compression tops and trousers improve muscle recovery. Cotton is one fabric choice that should be avoided, however, as its moisture absorbing quality will leave you feeling cold and damp. Now for your mid layer: this should focus on creating breathable insulation for your body. Most opt for multiple thin layers rather than a thick mid layer, as it is less bulky, topped with a gilet which warms the body without restricting movement. The outer layer of your outfit should be a snow and wind proof jacket and trousers. Garments with zippered ventilation are ideal for managing excess heat generated by the body during exercise. Don’t forget the basics As well as packing your layered system, thermals are a must for those tackling freezing temperatures and most thermal garments are easy to apply and remove, offering an invisible layer as you get dressed or strip down at the end of your day on the slopes. A pair of thermal leggings and a long sleeved thermal top are recommended and better yet they don’t take up much room in the suitcase! Keeping clothes basic and black is also a great way to pack light and look chic from day to night during your stay at a ski resort. In terms of accessories, you should stick with lightweight, warm socks which are effective in low temperatures and take up less room in your case. Alongside these you will need some well insulated gloves to keep your delicate extremities comfortable in inclement conditions. And don’t forget a scarf, which can help to act like a cork at your kneck-line and prevent draughts from creeping into your clothes. Your skin needs some love too With all this talk of clothing and footwear it is easy to forget the other essentials that make winter travel comfortable. For those new to winter travel, the cold weather can have an unexpected effect on the skin and extra hydration may be needed during your break. Pack a good quality moisturiser and chapstick to keep your skin dewy and well looked after. While you may not have to worry about malaria or diphtheria, but illnesses such as norovirus and influenza peak in the winter months. There is also still a low risk of diseases such as tick-borne encephalitis during the colder months in Europe. For more advice on staying safe wherever you travel this winter, why not consult one of Express Travel Clinic’s experienced clinicians?
4 health benefits of travel
Holidays are great. There’s nothing quite like that feeling of pleasure and relaxation that one gets from travelling to a faraway destination, leaving behind the daily grind and the dreary weather. The exotic climate, delicious food, and culture are what make trips away from home so special. We all know that getting away and taking a break from things is a crucial way for us all to let off a bit of steam and de-stress, but most people don’t consider how holidays can have an actual, tangible effect on general wellbeing. Let’s take a closer look at why travelling may be a crucial part of your health regime. Feeling happy In the past decade, scientific research has been carried out on the relatively mysterious concept of happiness, with particular focus placed on mapping out what exactly makes humans happy and how this affects behaviour. Studies have shown that investing in experiences (or objects that create experiences) can play a significant role in maintaining or improving a positive mindset. The opposite can be said for superficial goods, which provide us with joy, but only for a brief while. As adaptive beings, buying a new coat or car gives a sense of happiness that we are likely to grow use to very quickly — leading us back to square one again. However, spending money on experiences and the creation of positive memories can have a long-term impact on our happiness. Flight costs, accommodation and the preparation necessary to organise a successful trip may appear costly, but spending time with loved ones or splashing cash on a trip alone, offers a wealth of happy memories that you will look back on and treasure for ever. So next time you consider that new wardrobe over a once in a lifetime trip, it could be wise to think again! Reducing anxiety, stress and depression Settling into a routine of work and social commitments can quickly lead to feelings of stress and anxiety. Breaking out of this routine can help deal with lower stress levels and improve mental wellbeing. A study by the Global Commission on Ageing and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies released evidence that suggests that a trip away from home can reduce stress — with almost immediate effect. After a day or two, 89% of the participants involved accounted a significant drop in stress levels. Seeing new places and meeting new people also serves to improve confidence and promote feelings of independence in individuals. Healthier body Travelling on holiday also has the potential to help keep you physically fit. Carrying luggage to and fro, walking the streets of a city for hours to discover attractions and entertainment, swimming in a campsite pool, skiiing or trying your hand at adventure tourism and really getting your heart rate up – all of these can help to burn calories and raise the heart rate. Of course, there’s always the danger of eating too much rich food and drinking a few too many beverages to counteract this. Healthier heart and mind Research has also shown those who holiday less are at a significantly higher risk of heart attack or coronary death. Experiencing new places and things can help keep the mind active too, specifically once we get older. Placed in a new situation is more challenging to your brain and is likely to have a positive impact on cognitive health helping to develop the brain’s nerve cells. While travel can clearly be beneficial to your health, it is worth bearing in mind that exposure to exotic and previously unencountered diseases can bring a swift conclusion to the fun and frivolity of a vacation. For that reason, you should always seek the help and advice of your local travel clinician before you head abroad – with their support you can gain the relevant immunisations for your trip and keep you safe from harm.