It is so common for people on vacation to be struck by colds, mild food poisoning, sunburns, or other ailments that experts believe some might be doing it on purpose.
Even for those who are enjoying their trip, getting sick or injured in a foreign land not only takes away from the fun of travelling but may also result in unexpected expenses and delays.
Often, it ends up being the part they remember most clearly about the vacation. Here are some tips to help travellers stay healthy so that they can remember what’s worth remembering about their travels or camping tent reviews experiences.
Before the Trip
According to the BBC, many people become sick on vacation because, before departure, they spend extra hours at work to prepare for their absence. The stress of overworking and meeting deadlines results in increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which weakens the immune system. Some people may even already be ill, but merely not notice the symptoms until they have left the desk and started to relax. Studies show people tend to feel their symptoms are worse when they are less busy. To stay healthy on vacation, try not to condense all the responsibilities of work and home into the time leading up to the trip.
Land, Air, or Sea?
Up to 20 percent of passengers catch colds on some flights, and the risk of illness increases on longer-haul flights. It is because the air in a plane is less humid than in normal environments, which thickens the mucus in the nasal passages and lungs, affecting their response to airborne bacteria and antigens.
At the same time, flying also puts people in extremely close contact with others for long periods. The Aerospace Medical Association lists some other health issues passengers usually face, such as increased circulatory issues, jet lag, and so on.
While it is impractical to forego air travel completely, consider travelling by car, boat, or other methods more often — they might also make for more interesting travel stories.
Food & Drink
On some vacations, it may be enough to order food and drink from respectable-looking places that appear to take some care with food prep sanitation. On others, such as camping excursions, travellers are responsible for their meals and drinking water.
Campers should always bring water purification tablets or filters along with their supplies, as even the cleanest spring water anywhere in the world can and do contain bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.
Only fetching the water far from human traffic and removing visible particles is not enough. The Heart & Stroke Foundation also recommends preparing healthier camp meals than marshmallows and hot dogs — as delicious as they are. Consider marinating and freezing lean white or red meat a few days in advance, and bringing them in a cooler full of ice. Pack canned fish, vegetables, and healthy muffins for the trip, to ensure that campers stay healthy and energetic during their isolation in the great outdoors.
Travel writers may recommend leaving medication at home, claiming, for example, that Aspirin is sold worldwide. In reality, however, many travellers face difficulties buying painkillers, antacids, or other necessary health supplies in an unfamiliar country, particularly if there is a language barrier. Tylenol, acetaminophen, and Tums may not ring a bell with small-town pharmacists in Europe, for instance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge travellers to bring not only their prescription medication and anything they may need for allergic reactions, but also over-the-counter medicine for diarrhoea, motion sickness, pain or fever, and heartburn. Depending on the travel destination, malaria pills and other preventative medication may also be necessary. To be on the safe side, travellers should also consider bringing insect repellent, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, a first aid kit, and — as mentioned for campers — water purification supplies.
While it may sound like a hassle to pack health supplies and healthy food for what may be a brief journey, consider the time and money that would be lost due to a vacation illness. Follow these tips, forget about the extra items in the luggage, and be prepared to see great things out in the world while feeling great inside.