There’s nothing like planning a well-deserved vacation. You spend days dreaming about the places you’ll go, the people you’ll meet, and all the amazing memories you’ll make with the people you love most. The night before you set off, you’re practically bursting with excitement.
It makes sense to focus on the wonderful things you’ll do. But sometimes the best way to protect your great time is to prepare for unexpected setbacks beforehand. Even before the pandemic, one of the most common setbacks travelers face is getting sick on vacation.
So, how do you avoid getting sick on vacation? Unfortunately, there’s no 100% foolproof plan for this. But there’s a lot we can do to reduce our risk of illness. Here are 19 tips for not getting sick on your trips.
How to Avoid Getting Sick on Vacation
- Get Your Vaccinations: One of the best things you can do to avoid getting sick is to get the necessary vaccinations before you depart. This can include anything from flu shots, to Covid boosters, to vaccines required by your destination countries.
- Wash Your Hands Like a Pro: It’s the easiest thing you can do to prevent illness. Doctors advise washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (the length of two rounds of the Happy Birthday song).
- Carry Hand Sanitizer: Sometimes, you might not find a sink to wash your hands. That’s when hand sanitizer comes to the rescue. Keep a small bottle handy and use it when needed.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink lots of water! Traveling can be tiring, and staying hydrated helps your body fight off illnesses. Try to avoid sugary drinks and alcohol, which can dehydrate you.
- Choose Your Food Wisely: Trying new foods is a part of the fun, but be cautious. Choose restaurants that look clean, and make sure the food is cooked thoroughly. Street food can be delicious, but be selective.
- Get Enough Sleep: Traveling can disrupt your sleep schedule. Try to stick to a regular bedtime routine to keep your immune system strong.
- Pack a First Aid Kit: Be prepared for minor bumps and scrapes. Include band-aids, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications in your kit.
- Watch Out for Insects: Some places have pesky bugs that can make you sick. Use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants, especially during evening hours.
- Keep Your Distance from Sick People: If someone nearby is coughing and sneezing, try to move away. Wearing a mask in crowded areas can also help protect you.
- Stay Active: Don’t forget to exercise! Even a short walk or some stretching can boost your immune system and keep you feeling fit.
- Stay Informed: Check for travel advisories and health warnings before your trip. Knowing what to expect can help you plan accordingly.
- Stay Sun-Smart: If you’re heading to a sunny destination, wear sunscreen and a hat to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Sunburn can weaken your defenses against illnesses.
- Relax and Enjoy: Stress can weaken your immune system, so try to relax and have fun! Enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of your travel destination.
- Use a Seat Cover on Airplanes: Airplane seats can harbor lots of germs. Consider using a disposable seat cover for added protection during long flights.
- Pack a Reusable Water Bottle with a Filter: Save money and reduce plastic waste by carrying a reusable water bottle with a built-in filter. It allows you to fill up safely from various water sources.
- Use Hotel Room Disinfectant Wipes: Hotel rooms might look clean but may harbor unseen germs. Wipe down surfaces with disinfectant wipes, including remote controls and doorknobs.
- Stay Mindful of Food Allergies: If you have food allergies, carry a translated card explaining your allergies in the local language. This ensures you can dine safely.
- Invest in Compression Socks: Reduce swelling and improve circulation in your legs by wearing compression socks during long flights or bus rides.
- Use Apps for Local Health Info: Research local healthcare providers and pharmacies in advance using travel apps or websites like TripAdvisor.
For even more tips and health alerts check with the Centers for Disease Control & Provention.
What to Do If You Get Sick While Traveling
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try we can still get sick. So, how do you deal with sickness on vacation? This is when travel insurance makes all the difference.
For Americans traveling within the U.S., domestic healthcare can cover medical care. This means that barring any provider restrictions you should be able to get the care you need anywhere in the country.
For travelers visiting other countries, travel medical insurance can help ensure that you get urgent medical care at an affordable rate. But, Americans have another option: Trip Insurance.
When you buy trip Insurance, you may get refunded for costs related to certain trip disruptions like lost luggage.
What a lot of people don’t know, is that through the plan’s Accident & Sickness benefit, American residents can get coverage for urgent medical care. It’s a valuable safety net that can offer peace of mind during your adventures.
Planning and working to actively prevent illness may not be the most fun part of your trip prep. But giving this some careful thought beforehand might just be the key a thrilling, memory-making vacation. Safe travels!