Are you planning a trip overseas? Foreign adventures can be an incredible experience, but it’s important to know how to stay healthy while travelling. Especially if you’re travelling with a chronic illness. Any upset stomach or even just travel fatigue can ruin your day, or even put an end to a trip.
There are many things that could go wrong when travelling abroad, so it’s important to take the necessary precautions before leaving. If you have any questions about staying healthy while travelling abroad, this article is for you! We will cover everything from food and water safety to vaccinations and more.
You won’t want to miss out on all of the fun activities planned during your trip because of an illness or injury caused by not being careful enough with your health. So read on and learn how to stay healthy while still having a great time!
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- A Spoonie’s Guide To Travelling With Chronic Pain – 10 Important Tips
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Note: If you have a chronic illness or are concerned about your health while travelling, be sure to seek medical advice from a doctor.
- How does travel affect your health?
- How to prepare before you travel
- How to stay healthy while travelling
How does travel affect your health?
When we travel abroad, we encounter new things and places. This can mean different types of food, water and diseases than we’re used to at home. This can cause a variety of illnesses, from mild stomach issues to more serious diseases.
Travel can also expose you to new germs that your body isn’t used to and which it doesn’t have the resistance for. This can cause your immune system to attack these germs and lead to a variety of illnesses.
If you’re travelling in a tropical country with lots of people, you can expect diseases like malaria or dengue fever (don’t worry, there are vaccinations for these!).
You’ll also become more susceptible to illnesses caused by drinking contaminated water, so make sure you always drink filtered / purified water when away from home.
The weather is also typically either hotter or colder than your home country, and these varying temperatures may give you a cold or worse under the right conditions.
Some common health issues that can occur while travelling are:
- Upset stomach
- Tropical diseases
How to prepare before you travel
There are a number of vaccinations recommended before travelling abroad to prevent against infectious diseases and other serious illnesses. Make sure to read up on the different regions of the world before planning your trip to see what vaccinations are recommended.
Then visit your doctor or travel clinic at least 6 weeks before going on a trip overseas, and that you have all the necessary shots. Some vaccinations that you may need for your destination include:
- Hepatitis A and B
- Meningococcal meningitis
- Yellow fever vaccination is also sometimes necessary
- Corona Virus
Get travel insurance
You never know what can happen when you’re travelling. Travel insurance covers unexpected accidents and emergencies that might happen while you’re away.
Getting sick while travelling is a nightmare, but needing to be admitted to hospital without having travel insurance is even worse.
It can be extremely expensive to receive treatment in a foreign country, so it’s always a good idea to get travel insurance before leaving on your trip.
World Nomads are a trusted travel insurance provider who can tailor a plan just for your travel needs.
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How to stay healthy while travelling
When travelling it’s easy to become dehydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of water before your trip and while you’re away
This is especially important in hot climates where you can sweat a lot and lose out on hydration quickly, or in cold climates where the air is dry and you’ll be breathing that in without realizing it.
The best way to prevent dehydration is by planning ahead and packing a stainless steel water bottle that you can carry around with you. Most hotels will have bottled water available so you can fill up in the morning and then again in the evening when you return.
Be mindful of what you eat
Part of travelling is the adventure of trying new foods. Sometimes we can go overboard wanting to eat all the food when we travel, but it’s still possible to eat healthy while travelling.
Being in foreign countries with different types of food that you’re not used to can make you sick.
If you’re unsure about the cleanliness of where you’re eating, avoid raw fruits and vegetables as well as unpasteurized cheese and dairy products which could contain harmful bacteria such as listeria.
If you’re trying new foods, don’t eat anything that you know your body can’t handle. This includes spicy foods or other types of food that will upset your stomach. If it doesn’t sit right, then don’t eat it!
Masks and hand sanitizer are a must
These are your new best friends! When you’re out and about in a foreign country, make sure you always have a mask on hand to cover your nose and mouth from the dust and pollution and, of course, common viruses.
If you’re visiting somewhere with lots of people like markets or public transport, then it’s also handy to have some sanitizer that you can use before eating or after using public transport.
Get enough sleep
Taking flights through different time zones, all the travelling and seeing new sights can take a toll on your body and mind. So make sure to get enough rest before you go out exploring so that you don’t miss out on any of the fun.
If your hotel doesn’t have blackout curtains, then some eye masks are also great to help block out that light if you’re finding it difficult to get some shut-eye.
It’s not just necessary for your physical health, but getting enough sleep is imperative for your mental health while travelling too.
Keep your exercise routine
If you’re used to working out in the gym, it can be difficult to keep up your exercise regime while travelling. Some hotels have gyms you can use but if they don’t, there are many exercises you can do in your hotel room instead.
By maintaining your normal exercise routine while you’re travelling, you can help reduce stress and increase energy levels. This will also give you the motivation to get out there and explore all that your travel destinations have to offer!
Remember to pack a pair of good walking shoes so that you’re always ready to explore, and take advantages of any hiking spots if available to you.
Don’t forget the sunscreen
The sun is stronger at higher altitudes, so make sure to use plenty of sunscreen when you’re up there. Also, if you’re in a climate that’s different to what you’re used to, the sun can have varying effects on your skin.
You should also wear proper sunglasses as UV light can damage your eyes and cause vision problems in the future. Just make sure they block out 100% UVA/UVB rays.
Pack a medical kit
When you’re exploring a new place, it can be easy to get cuts and scrapes, and blisters from so much walking. So if you’re planning on doing some hiking or other adventures, then make sure to pack a medical kit in your luggage so that you don’t need to worry about anything happening while you’re away.
Don’t forget your own prescription medication and any other travel medicine you may need on your travels, such as anti-nausea tablets, travel sickness tablets or pain medication.
I hope you found these tips helpful. Travelling abroad is a great experience and should be fun, not stressful. So having an idea about how to stay healthy while travelling will help you avoid unnecessary stress and enjoy your holiday to the fullest.
So what are you waiting for? Get booking your next vacation, pack, get on the plane and just be sure you remember how to stay healthy while travelling.
Vourneen is a travel junkie and chronic illness warrior. Although she was late to game in terms of travelling, she has picked up numerous tips and tricks from the almost 30 countries she has visited in the past 5 years.