Planning a big trip? Whether you’re backpacking across Asia, taking a cruise to the Caribbean or flying to see family, it’s important to take care of your feet while you’re traveling. We’re often so busy packing and planning our itinerary that we forget about the importance of foot care. But it’s our feet that will be walking block after block exploring a new city, or running across the sand to jump into turquoise-blue waters.
Show your feet some love, and you’ll have a much happier trip. Here are some tips to help you take care of your feet while you’re traveling.
Having the right footwear is so important if you’re traveling. Think about what you’ll be doing during your trip. If you’re like most people, you’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet exploring cities, nature, museums and other attractions.
If you’re backpacking, footwear becomes even more important. Not only do you need comfort, but you also need the right amount of support and traction for a safe journey.
Do your research to find a shoe that will meet your needs. If you can, go to the store and try on different shoes first. Brand names and looks mean nothing if the shoe isn’t comfortable or a good fit for your activities.
Make sure that you spend some time breaking your shoes in before your trip. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with blisters and pain during your trip.
Socks are also important, especially if you’ll be traveling in wet or hot areas. Look for socks that complement your feet and the shoes you plan to wear.
Don’t be afraid to bring multiple different types of socks to meet your needs. For example, you may want to wear medical compression socks on the plane for comfort during your flight and thick hiking socks for those afternoon hikes in the forest. When I went traveling through Asia, I wore PowerLix compression socks when I knew I would be walking for long periods of time. They were super comfortable and gave me the right kind of support.
Padded, moisture-wicking socks are ideal for most trips and will reduce the risk of blisters. If you’re going to be hiking for a long period of time or running, you may want to apply lubricant to your feet and the outside of your socks to further prevent friction and blisters.
Be sure to pack multiple pairs of socks and change them regularly. Keep your socks clean, dry and free of dirt to keep your feet as healthy as possible. If your hotel has laundry facilities, you may want to use them to keep your socks clean and dry.
Don’t forget to groom your feet.
And if you have the time, treat your feet to a warm foot bath with Epson salt. Epson salt can help with odor, fungus and dry skin. This is how to soothe sore feet from standing all day on a budget and in the comfort of your own bathroom.
If you’re going to be hiking in wet places or spending a lot of time in the water, you’ll need to make moisture management a priority.
When your feet are kept wet, the outer layer absorbs water and eventually becomes pruned or macerated. When this happens, your feet become itchy, sore and more prone to blisters. After drying out, they become more prone to cracks.
It’s important to keep your feet dry as often as possible. If you’re hiking and taking a rest, consider taking off your shoes, airing out your feet and changing your socks. Your feet will thank you for it.
Try to avoid walking barefoot outdoors. Wear flip-flops when at the beach or walking through town in hot weather. You never know what may be lurking in the sand or on the streets. One tiny break in your skin is enough room for a parasite to make its way inside and build a nice, cozy nest.
Put together a foot treatment kit and pack it in your suitcase. We’re not talking about a first aid kit, although that would also be a great thing to pack.
Your kit may include an anti-chaffing product, high-quality bandages and other “second skin” products. Some people like to include moisture sticks with rosemary or mint to soothe their tired, achy feet. If you’ll have access to a bath, you can bring a TSA-friendly foot salt soak for those days when you spend hours on your feet.
If you have a long flight or car ride, take time to stretch your legs, feet and ankles. Get up and walk around every 1-2 hours. These breaks may add to your travel time, but they’ll help prevent swelling and stiffness in your feet and ankles.
If you have a history of swelling, you may just want to wear compression socks during your trip.
If you’re traveling to a hot climate and plan to spend a lot of time on the beach, make sure that you pack sunscreen and apply it to your feet. Be sure that you choose a sunscreen with the appropriate SPF.
If you’re traveling to a cold climate, make sure that you choose the appropriate footwear. Boots are ideal for snow, wet conditions. Pack some extra moisturizer, too. This will help keep your feet moisturized while traveling in the cold, dry weather.
Pack a few pairs of shoes and rotate them during your trip. Ensure that you have comfortable shoes for walking or standing and the right footwear for hiking (if applicable). It’s especially important to pack more than one pair of shoes if you’re traveling to a hot, humid climate. This way, you can air out wet shoes for a day or two before wearing them again.
Make sure that you take care of your shoes while traveling so that your feet can stay healthy. Keep your shoes clean and dry. If necessary, buy new shoes if your old ones are too worn or become damaged during your trip.
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