Traveling should be a fun, invigorating activity, whether you’re seeing museums or backpacking or staying with a Tripping host. With all the fun to be had, getting sick while traveling is a huge downer. Unfortunately, going to different parts of the world can expose you to plenty of things that can get you sick, so here are some simple tips to avoid that.
These tips are the little things that can get overlooked. Discussions of vaccines and medicines are beyond my pay-grade, so make sure to see a doctor before you leave for your trip!
1. Get Plenty of Rest
This one is usually the first thing that gets overlooked. And who can blame you? Traveling is energizing and invigorating, and sometimes there is so much to see that sleeping seems secondary. Resist that urge. Being well rested give your immune system a set of defenses when it is otherwise exposed from travel. And if you miss that one museum you absolutely had to see because you needed to rest? Well, there’s always your next trip to look forward to!
2. Drink Fluids
Even if you usually don’t need much water to stay hydrated at home, the climate at your destination will probably be different enough to require some adjustment. In addition, most modes of travel – like airplanes or trains – can dry people out faster than expected. Prepare yourself by keeping plenty of bottled water with you, and if you don’t want to spend tons of money on bottled water then invest in a portable water purifier. A purifier will help in situations where the tap water is suspect. Which leads us to the next section…
3. Avoid Tap Water
When I said to avoid tap water in certain situations, I meant basically all situations. Tap water in many places, even in the developed world, can be undrinkable. In addition, you may not be immune to impurities in the water that threaten your well-being and – almost as important – your travel plans. If you’re definitely going to drink tap water, bring a purifier or ask locals where to find the safest water source. If you don’t have a purifier, just grab some bottled water.
4. Plan for Jetlag
If you have the time, figure out a plan to prepare yourself for the time change as much as a week before your trip. It will pay off in spades when you make the journey and find yourself able to wake up later than 6 am! If you can’t plan that far in advance, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices. When going east, plan to go to bed earlier than you want to in order to wake up at a reasonable hour. When going west, plan on staying up later than 5 pm so you won’t, well, wake up long before dawn.
5. Flip Flops!
This one everyone has heard, but it bears repeating: bring flip flips or shower shoes with you when you travel. Those who are unprepared for dirty showers and floors can find themselves with some gross foot fungus or worse. Flip flops take up very little space in your luggage and are well worth it.
Happy (and healthy) travels!