Prior to every trip, consult a trusted travel clinic or appropriate health care provider. This will ensure that you are equipped with all the necessary medications and needles for your destination. Of course, what advice you take is at your discretion. Some people always follow all the advice, some none, and others might choose to follow through with some of the recommendations but neglect the rest. However, whatever you decide, make sure to do your research appropriately and that the advice you use is trustworthy! Get a second opinion if unsure. After all, we have heard so many stories, like our close friend who ended up paying over 600$ for needles that were actually not necessary (but the administrators of those made commission from the sale!) or the person who got very ill after not taking the recommended malaria medications. In the end, it's your decision, but try to be safe!!
Protection from the sun
Being lobster red from a sunburn can quickly put an end to an enjoyable vacation (I learned this first hand during my first trip in Dominican Republic – six days spent desperately avoiding having anything touch my back definitely gave the trip a different turn than expected!) If you are, like most travelers, heading to a warm destination during the colder months at home, avoid the lobster look! Make sure to use sunscreen as recommended (and I don't mean the stuff at SPF 8!), wear a hat, and get some shade when possible. Also take the time to cool off if your destination has a very warm climate to avoid heatstroke!
Wash your hands
It's unavoidable; whether it be touching utensils at a buffet or turning doorknobs while exploring your new surroundings, you're going to be touching many things that may not be cleaned as frequently as you would like to believe they are! In order to avoid sharing the cold (or whatever other illness it may be) that other travelers might be fighting, make sure to wash your hands frequently, and to use hand sanitizer (which you undoubtedly must've packed, right?) when hand washing isn't an option!
It can be tempting to minimize time spent sleeping during your travels in order to enjoy every minute of your getaway. However, a lack of sleep will only result in a lack of energy, and possibly shorter temper fuses! Solid nights of sleep will guarantee that you can take advantage of everything your destination has to offer with a well rested happy attitude and will help your immune system continue fighting off any threats that may occur!
Exercise caution with food choices
Your usual cautions regarding the food you eat continue to apply while traveling. Make sure the meat is well cooked (so you don't end up like one of our friends who had salmonella due to bad meat), be aware of cleanliness in the restaurants where you eat and be extra safe if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies. Also, especially if you have a sensitive stomach, keep close to your usual eating habits and try to incorporate similar foods as much as possible to avoid having an upset stomach!
Depending on your destination, there can also be additional considerations such as avoiding uncooked food that was washed with tap water, as this can result in really bad gastrointestinal upset (as confirmed by my friends and I during a trip to Cuba, after which we had digestion difficulties for a month!).
Stick with what you know
If you are known for having sensitivities, avoid trying new products during your vacation! Our friend made that mistake, on our first night in Thailand, by using make up remover that she had never used before. Well, she woke up in the middle of the night with eyes so swollen she could hardly open them, and we ended up having to run to the pharmacy first thing in the morning so she would be able to leave the room to go visit! (On a side note, thankfully most things we bought from pharmacies in Thailand were extremely cheaper than back home and pharmacists were helpful and knowledgeable!)
Now that you know how to maximize your chances of a healthy vacation, go ahead and have fun!
Have any more ideas or recommendations that we missed? Add them in the comments section to help out your fellow travelers!
Budget Travel Blog: Tips and tricks for affordable vacation planning. From cheap hotels to cheap flights and everything in between, prioritizing safety and comfort.
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