Very few things can spoil your vacation like having to stare out your hotel window at the breathtaking view of the beach or the countryside while you’re stuck indoors. Or more specifically, the toilet. Suffering from food poisoning.
The different climate, the long flights, the foods, the water, and even the air can affect your immune system and increase your chances of getting sick. Don’t spend your vacation in the toilet - or the hospital. Follow these tips to keep your health in check as you indulge your travel bug cravings!
1. Get Your Vaccine Shots
Prevention is better than cure. That phrase cannot be truer when it comes to travelling to a country you’ve never been before. Did you know that some countries have higher health risks due to virus-induced diseases - such as measles and yellow fever?
The good news is, most of these diseases can be prevented by a simple vaccine shot at your local clinics or healthcare facilities. So, schedule an appointment with your doctor at least two weeks before your flight date and find out if you’re properly vaccinated against possible diseases in your travel destinations.
If needed, get vaccinated (only if your doctor recommends it) to shield yourself against health risks when you travel.
2. Take Supplements and Medications With You
If you’re dependant on certain medications, this should go without saying. But, even if you don’t have any health issues, pack supplements such as Vitamin C and B to help boost your immune system.
We also recommend you to pack your own medications (be sure to declare them before flying) in case you need them. Not only it gives you immediate access to them in times of need, it also helps you to save money as visits to health facilities are usually expensive for tourists.
Also, remember that although most travel insurance providers offer coverage for your international outpatient visits, it usually works on claim basis - which means a smaller budget for sightseeing and fun activities for you.
Protip: Always have a mini first-aid kit with you at all times. Fill it with your medications (especially if you’re on prescribed medication), bandages, and ointments so you’ll always be prepared for the worst scenarios.
3. Stay Hydrated
Flying on airplanes can be very dehydrating. The high altitude and pressure can weaken your body, which makes drinking your eight glasses (roughly 2 litres) of water every day even more important to maintain your health.
When flying, avoid alcoholic beverages or caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea as they can dehydrate your body further and may cause headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness, and constipation. If you experience any of them on or off flights, increase your water consumption to alleviate the symptoms.
4. Drink Bottled or Filtered Water
Contaminated water is one thing to be concerned of, but your bigger worry when drinking tap water while overseas is if the bacteria and mineral found in the water don’t agree with the ones already in your body. All of us have bacteria in our body - be it the good or the bad kind.
If your body is not used to the bacteria found in the tap water, you’ll get sick as your body will try to dispel them from your system. Use the local tap water only for showers and washings, but only drink from filtered or bottled water. In fact, avoid ice, and only brush your teeth filtered or bottled water.
If you don’t want to keep buying bottled water, get a water bottle with a filtration function such as Lifestraw.
5. Always Carry an Insect Repellent
Insects - especially mosquitoes - can spread all kinds of diseases such as malaria, Zika, dengue, and even Lyme disease.
Protect yourself from insect bites as best as you can by using insect repellent, mosquito net (when sleeping), and by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants - especially when you’re travelling to a tropical country.
6. Protect Yourself Against the Sun
So you want to get as tanned as the supermodels and Hollywood stars. We get it, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But, remember that excessive exposure to the sun can cause sunburn, sunstroke, dizziness, nausea, premature skin aging (a.k.a wrinkles) and even skin cancer.
Don’t ditch your sunscreen, and use the one with sufficient SPF factors to protect yourself from the bad ultraviolet (UV) radiation and avoid going out under the sun when the sun is at its peak.
7. Mind the Germs
If you’ve never bothered about hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes, you might want to change your views on them when you travel. Public spaces such as the seats and tables in airplanes, public toilets, and even the tables in restaurants that you’re dining in have been exposed to so many people - and germs.
Make it a point to carry a small hand sanitizer with you at all times, in case you can’t wash your hands. Disinfectant wipes and sprays are great for all kinds of surfaces, so when in doubt, just wipe/spray it. You’ll feel more at ease knowing that at least it’s much clearer - and safer - for you while the space is yours.
Better Be Safe Than Sorry
Even with all the precautionary measures, sometimes we can’t help but to fall sick. That is why it’s better to safeguard yourself - and your finances - when you’re travelling by buying a suitable travel insurance policy.
You’ll save so much money on hospitalisation (depending in the chosen coverage amount), clinical visit, and even travel-related misfortunes such as lost luggage, cancelled flights, and more (check what the travel insurance can cover you for before buying).
If you’re not confident with the travel insurance policies offered by your credit card provider or your airline, take a look at our comprehensive list of the available travel insurance in the market! You can compare and apply for them with one simple click.
What are your tips to staying healthy when travelling? Share them with us in the comment section below!