Managing your health when traveling

Watching elephants in the wild, seeing the Taj Mahal as the sun sets, scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef – it’s the things dreams are made of, and rightly so. Who doesn’t dream about jetting to far off shores, falling in love, eating local food, immersing oneself in a new culture – it’s what life is all about.

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However, as beautiful as travel can be it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. For every Taj Mahal experience there could be an associated 12-hour bus journey. For every local food delight, there might be a bout of food poisoning. It’s these experiences that don’t make it onto our Facebook profile pics that can really ruin a trip.

All is not lost, however, with effective health management, you can avoid most of the potential horrors a trip can bring. So next time you take a trip, whether for three days or three years, be sure to follow our five health tips when you’re on the road:

1)     Water

Just because the locals can drink it, doesn’t mean you can. Never forget this! There are countless waterborne viruses floating around water sources across the globe. People who have lived in the area for their entire lives have become immune to the negative effects, but our sensitive stomachs just won’t take it. So leave the tap water out of your diet, if you really must drink it, use iodine tablets beforehand. Also, when you buy water, make sure the cap is sealed and say no to ice. Dropping a dirty ice-cube into a clean drink contaminates the whole thing!

2)     Multi-vitamins

Whether you like it or not, your diet will suffer when you’re on the road. You’ll be forced to skip meals due to transit times, you won’t always get your ration of five fruit and veg a day. So a simple tip is to carry some multi-vitamins with you everywhere. Take one a day and stay healthy. Although it’s not a long-term fix, it’ll keep your body fully-charged and make up for any deficits your system is experiencing.

3)     First Aid Pack

Whilst we don’t advocate you take a shoebox full of medical equipment around the world, a few choice items is certainly worthwhile. Be sure to carry some iodine/disinfectant for cuts; some plasters, some painkillers, something to settle that stomach when you’ve eaten something dodgy and anti-histamine tablets to keep those rashes at bay. This won’t cost the world and it’s not too big to carry around.

4)     Travel Insurance

Getting checked into a hospital overseas doesn’t always break the bank, $10 here or there is fine and no need to contact your travel insurance company about it. However, break your leg, fracture your skull or your appendix bursts and you could be facing hospital bills of $10k+. You must take out some travel insurance with a reputable company, and hope that you never have to use it. You can’t put a price on that peace of mind.

5)     Decision making

Sure driving a scooter in Thailand with no helmet sounds fun, as does having too many drinks in a Rio beach bar, however, 90% of all accidents stem from decisions like this. Be smart, and you won’t ever get hurt or sick. Keep your wits about you, don’t be a hero and don’t put yourself in tricky situations.

Ok folks, I’m hoping you’re all set for your big trip now. Be smart, stay safe and remember health is wealth!