Traveling is an exciting part of life. You get to see new places, meet interesting people, and gain exposure to different cultures and cuisines. What you don’t want exposure to while traveling is sickness or disease. But, don’t worry. There are basic steps you can take to remain safe during your next vacation.
Before You Go
There are actually some precautionary steps you can take to ensure your health and safety even before you step foot on a plane or even leave you house.
Call Your Doctor
It’s a good idea to get a physical health checkup and speak with your primary physician before traveling nationally or internationally. Your doctor can tell you if you’re in the right condition to travel. People don’t realize how taxing the travel process can be, especially when they view it as a relaxing vacation. Whether or not you have pre existing medical conditions, you should still check with your doctor prior to any trip. Your doctor will also be privy to any recent outbreaks or diseases that are plaguing a specific area of the world. If vaccinations are required to keep you safe from these diseases, your doctor will know about it and administer them.
Call Your Insurance Company
Medical insurance is extremely important in the event of an accident, unexpected emergency or major illness. But it’s important to find out if your insurance will cover illnesses or injuries outside of the country. Evacuation and supplemental insurance are two forms of insurance you can add to your current plan while traveling. If you fall ill or are severely injured and quality medical care isn’t available where you are, evacuation insurance will cover the cost of bringing you back to your home country.
Research the Area
It’s always good to research where you’re traveling. Not only to find out about any illnesses currently plaguing the region but also for safety reasons. Find out if there are any high crime areas that you should avoid. What is the weather like in the area? Check for hurricane season or any active volcanoes. If you’re visiting the jungle or other areas with extreme wildlife, take extreme caution when entering their natural habitat. The more information you can collect about your destination, the more prepared you’ll be.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important everyday but especially in the days leading up to a vacation. Why? Traveling can be stressful. If you’re driving for hours on end, your back and legs may get stiff and uncomfortable. The same holds true for flying. Airplane’s are often a playground for germs. In the weeks leading up to your trip, it’s important to hydrate, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, and exercise regularly. This will help strengthen your immune system, heart, lungs, and other major organs. A stronger immune system can help fight off any illness or disease you may encounter. Getting enough sleep is also imperative before going on vacation. Your sleep will likely be disrupted by staying in a new, unfamiliar place. Your travel day (or days) will be exhausting and draining. Catch up on some quality sleep before departing.
While You’re Away
Staying healthy while traveling isn’t just about preparing before you go. Here are a few ways to ensure you remain safe and healthy during the duration of your trip.
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hand is always the first line of defense against the spread of germs and bacteria. It’s important to wash your hands at all important times, including after using the bathroom, before eating, and any time you come in contact with strange of foreign substances. Be sure to wash your hands for the correct amount of time. Get a good lather going and use warm to hot water. Turn off the faucet using a paper towel and, if you can, open the door using one too.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
This tip is an extension of researching the area before visiting. Certain places have higher crime rates, as well as reports of muggings, gypsies, and homeless people that may try to take your money or harm you. Unfortunately, most natives can spot a tourist from a mile away. That makes you a target for pickpocketing and other related crimes. Try to be aware of where you are and who’s around. Don’t carry a lot of money or wear expensive jewelry and other items. If you are carrying valuables, wear a bag that drapes over your shoulders and across your chest or something securely attached to your body. This prevents someone from quickly pulling it from your body. If there is dangerous wildlife nearby, be sure to listen to your tour guides or locals and respect the animal’s space and habitat.
Protect Your Skin
Protection of your skin goes beyond just sunblock, although that’s extremely important. If you’re going to be in a tropical or hot climate under direct sun, you need to apply sunscreen every couple of hours. It’s also a good idea to invest in a large hat and sunglasses. Loose fitting, light colored clothing can also help keep your skin protected from the sun’s rays. Protecting your skin from insects is another important thing to consider, especially when traveling abroad. Mosquitoes and other insects can carry very serious diseases, which are easily passed to humans when bitten.
Be Smart About What You Eat and Drink
Unfortunately, some foreign countries lack safe drinking water. Whenever you’re traveling, it’s best to stick to drinking strictly bottled water. This includes using bottled water while brushing your teeth and keeping your mouth closed in the shower. You’ll also want to be cautious when consuming food in another region. Although tasting different cuisines is part of the adventure, foods can carry bacteria and other parasites. Signs that you may have consumed contaminated food include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. Try to avoid eating at buffets where food is touched by patrons and sits out in room temperature for long periods of time.
Know Before You Go
Knowledge is power. The more you know about the place you’re visiting, the more prepared you can be to fight against any external factors that might negatively impact your health. And while you’re away, be sure to consider the area, weather, and food and beverages available. Getting all of this preparation out of the way before you go will ensure your vacation gets the full attention it deserves.
Article Submitted By Community Writer