How to stay healthy while you travel

Staying healthy while you’re travelling can be challenging. Whether its the heat, exhaustion, foreign cuisine or a nasty bug, there are plenty of health hazards to keep an eye on when you’re on the road.

1. Get vaccinated

Travel health starts before the actual trip. Check with your doctor a few months in advance to make sure you have the right vaccination for your destination. Although they may not be covered by your insurance, it is worth to spend a few more bucks to keep you from contracting a potentially lethal disease. A life-threatening virus does not make a fun souvenir.

2. Eat healthily

I know you want to try all the interesting new foods. And you should! Just be smart about it. Always pick busy restaurants and street food carts, as they have more turnover so the food is cooked fresh. Ask for meat and seafood to be grilled to order and be wary of foods that have been lying out for a while as well as raw veggies that have been washed in tap water. And make sure you get all the nutrition you need instead of just gorging yourself on fast-food and sweet treats. Don’t forget to check if the tap water is safe to drink, if not, buy bottled and make sure it is sealed. Being careful might help you avoid that dreaded Bali belly. Don’t go overboard though, unless you have a compromised immune system there is no need to brush your teeth with bottled water or miss out on all that scrumptious street food out of fear.

3. Don’t take any unneccesary risk

This one seems obvious, but it can be easy to get lacks when it comes to safety when you’re enjoying a nice vacation. Don’t go walking alone at night if you wouldn’t at home and always keep an eye on your drink. Although the locals may do it, don’t ride a motorbike without a helmet, don’t go hiking or climbing without proper gear. And make sure you book activities through agencies that comply with safety regulations.

4. Carry a first aid kit

It’s not always possible to get to a pharmacy while you’re traveling, so make sure you have a little first aid kit with you. Mine holds a few staples such as bandages and gauze, as well as a tick pen, painkillers, betadine and diarrhea meds. That way you can treat the little things yourself in a pinch.

5. Get global coverage on your health/travel insurance

Nothing ruins your holiday quite like getting hurt or seriously ill in a foreign country. If you do end up going to the hospital or even going home, a good travel/health insurance is key. Not only will they cover (most of) the cost, they might be able to help you organize transportation and care. Insurance can be expensive, but a medivac out if the jungle is much more expensive.

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