Travelling is a balm for the soul, the mind and the body but only if you take care of yourself while following your wanderlust because at times things can be less than comfortable. There are many grand odysseys, particularly those that veer off the beaten track, that result in a few dents and scrapes, germs and viruses, not to mention stresses or worse.
Of course, the first thing you do for your health before you set off is to consult your travel doctor for a vaccination program and some advice. The following tips might help you stay happy and healthy in mind, body, and soul while you’re travelling whether backpacking or even on a cruise or guided tour.
Be Sure To Sleep Well
It’s well known that lack of sleep affects health and makes people more prone to illness and disease so try to maintain a regular sleep pattern each day. If you’re traveling to a new time zone, you might talk to your travel doctor or General Practitioner about taking melatonin half an hour before you hit the sack to help ease jet lag symptoms and to reset your body clock. Keep your bedroom cool at night if possible, and for an hour before you go to bed don’t play computer games on your laptop or mobile device and minimise your caffeine intake. Eye masks and earplugs can also help to make your room an environment where you can get a good night’s sleep.
Protect Yourself From Mosquito Bites
Mosquitoes are a pest, there’s no doubting it, but they’re a dangerous pest in many parts of the world where they spread diseases including malaria, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya. If you’re visiting a place where any of the mosquito-borne diseases are endemic and you haven’t been vaccinated (or even if you have) then use an effective mosquito repellent and be sure to rub or spray it liberally on all exposed skin and remember to cover up with light-colored clothing.
Be Sun Safe
While you may be sun a worshipper who loves to spend lots of time either sunbathing on the sand or playing in the water or broth, a bad case of sunburn can ruin a fun-filled holiday in no time. You can also suffer heatstroke, heat exhaustion or sun poisoning, which is an extreme sunburn that needs medical attention. If you’re particularly sensitive or want good protection without using too much sunscreen you can buy some specially made, smart-looking sun-protective clothing. In intense heat you can burn through normal clothing if the fabric is thin or made from a fabric with a loose weave If you use sunscreen, make sure it gives both UVA and UVB protection and is at least SPF 30. Wear it every day and reapply sunscreen every couple of hours and more frequently if you’re swimming, have fair skin or you sweat. Around 30 minutes after applying sunscreen, put the insect repellent on.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
You might not realise how dehydrated you’ve become from the air you’ve been breathing in the aircraft, sightseeing and activities and time in the sun. It is so easy to become dehydrated under these circumstances when you’re traveling. Alcohol is dehydrating too, remember. So, the answer is to drink lots of water, enough so your pee is clear rather than brown or dark-colored. To avoid adding to the global problem of plastic waste, take a water container that you can refill rather than buying throwaway plastic bottles or use a water purifier.
Drink tea or a hot beverage to cool down
People hundreds of years ago believed that drinking tea hot weather helped to cool you down. Chai, – which means tea – is a very popular beverage in India, and it’s in the tropics and the desert areas that a very high proportion of tea drinkers live. Evidence is now emerging in the scientific community(1) that tea drinking or consuming hot drinks will cool you down faster and more efficiently than simply drinking water.
Be careful about what you eat and drink
If you’re traveling to any of the developing countries then any fruit should be washed in hot soapy water or peeled, and vegetables should be cooked. Avoid salads if possible, and say no to ice cubes unless you’re sure they’re made from purified water. Make sure cans and bottles are sealed and avoid street food which is more of a risk than restaurant food. A probiotic that doesn’t need to be refrigerated might also help prevent stomach problems.
Keep your ‘in-case-of-emergency’ card
In case of an emergency, carry a card with the phone number or other details of a person to contact. If you have an existing medical condition or allergies they should be included on the card in the language of the country you are visiting.
Disclaimer: Any advice given in this article is of a general nature for information only and is not intended to substitute or replace any advice given by a medical practitioner
Kym Wallis, the founding director of Higher Ranking has over 15 years of advertising sales, digital strategy, and business development experience. He is currently working as Digital Adviser for TravelVax.