Travel Health 101

Happy Travel Tuesday! Okay, today we’re talking the least sexy part of travel. Travel health!

If you knew me well, you’d know that I seem to attract poor health, whether at home or on the road. Based on this, I’ve learned quite a few little travel health tricks over the years, and I do my best to incorporate them when I’m off on a trip. There’s nothing worse than paying all this money to experience the world, then experiencing local hospitals or hanging out in the hotel bathroom instead.

Photo by Marsmet521

Photo by Marsmet521

My go-to tips:

  • First Aid Kit – What is in my kit depends greatly on where I’m going and how long for. If I’m heading to the U.S. or the U.K., I will typically skip the cough/cold/flu medications (or similar), because I know that I can easily get them over the counter almost anywhere. When my husband and I go to Southeast Asia, however, we’re going to be in remote areas, so you can bet I’ll have tons of antibiotics. The usual bandages, Polysporin (aka the lifesaver of all lifesavers), ibuprofen, medical tape, tweezers, anti-nauseant, anti-diahorretic, etc. If you’re prone to specific illnesses (like I am with tonsillitis) talk to your doctor about getting an emergency supply, just in case. They’re usually pretty understanding
  • Antibacterial  Wipes – In my day to day life, I am not a germaphobe. When I travel on airplanes – flying petri dishes – I fear everything I touch. People cough into the recycled air, they wipe their asses then touch doors (yes, people are gross), or they sneeze, not bothering to cover it. There’s only so much I can do, such as turning off my air conditioner, but wiping down the armrests, my folding table, and using an antibacterial wipe to open and close the bathroom doors is within my control.
  • Travel Health Prep – A good week before I leave, if I’ve been slacking on multi-vitamins, I get back up to scratch. Vitamin C, a B-complex for energy, and Vitamin A for increase immune system support.
  • Wash Your Hands – This is just a good life rule. The proverbial ‘they’ say that you should be able to sing Happy Birthday twice as you lather your hands up. Do this. Always.
  • Travel Health Insurance – Yes, some people scoff at the cost and say that it’s just insurance companies trying to scare you into spending money. I call baloney. Having had to use travel health insurance one too many times, it’s worth the money. If you need to use it, make sure you know the rules. In most cases, if it’s not life threatening, you’ll need to call the insurance company BEFORE stepping foot in the hospital. Have the international numbers as handy as you’d have your passport. Know the terms of the policy – will you need to pay up front? Lastly, when you go to collect your insurance money, keep copies of everything. My husband and I had a poor experience with a company that shall remain nameless, but we had to hound them for six months to get our $5,000 back. Daily phone calls and being generally quite annoying seemed to do the trick. Glad that life skill went to work for me.
  • Know Your Water – In many countries tap water is safe to drink, but there are other countries where it would surprise the heck out of you. Do some research before you leave. Knowing that you need to source bottled water can make the difference between frequent trips to the bathroom and a relaxing vacation.
  • Exercise – Fit in some exercise on your trip. It doesn’t need to be crazy vigorous, but in all likelihood, you’re indulging more than usual. Give your body the break it needs by getting your sweat on where possible.

Fellow travellers, what health tips do you swear by on the road?

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2 Responses to Travel Health 101

  1. lycra suit September 25, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    There’s definately a great deal to find out about this subject.
    I love all of the points you have made.

    • vscot848 September 26, 2014 at 5:35 am #

      Thanks, glad you liked it. I definitely have some other travel health thoughts on my mind (with an upcoming trip) but I think that’ll be an update from the road.

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