It’s too important to stay healthy while traveling, to enjoy the time of your life. How to avoid diseases? How to prevent illness? These are our guidelines, follow them and you’ll be alright. There are important things to do before traveling, as well as many rules to follow throughout your trip. Whether you’ll be trekking in the jungle or backpacking in South America, this huge list of 35 tips will help you stay safe and sound.
Disclaimer: As you may know, we are not doctors, so take these suggestions only as… suggestions! For any questions or doubts, ask your doctor or visit the nearest hospital, where you can find an expert in “traveler’s diseases”.
However, we’ve traveled quite enough to know what’s right and what’s wrong. What to eat and what to avoid. We got sick sometimes as well (We clearly remember THAT time in Vietnam, after eating in the streets…), so we think we already have some experience.
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1. Strengthen your body
Get your body stronger before going on a travel is the key for being healthy. Grab a pack of probiotics, vitamins and immunity boosters in order to strengthen your immunity system and your guts. Start taking probiotics (for example Lactobacilli) 3 weeks before traveling, and don’t stop once you are there.
2. Get the right vaccine
We have to admit that we don’t love being vaccinated but for some countries you should really get a vaccination before leaving. You should protect yourself against tetanus and, hepatitis A/B, maybe even typhoid fever. During the rainy season, you should consider taking pills against malaria and so on. Talk to your doctor!
3. Bring your personal pharmacy!
OK, we are hypochondriacs (well, if not Zuzana, Enrico is a proud one) so we like to bring with us “some” basic medications. The essentials are:
- Anti diarrhoea tablets;
- Some antibiotics (take them just if you really need it!);
- Fist aid kit.
You should be OK with that, and remember: DO NOT overpack! Pharmacies are all over the world.
4. Bring a hand sanitizer
Buy as many hand sanitizers as you need, and take them with you. Anywhere, anytime: They’ll help you to stay healthy while traveling.
5. Avoid drinking tap water
It should be obvious, but we couldn’t miss this point. In some countries it’s safe to drink tap water (many places in Europe are safe, for example), but if you’re traveling to Asia, Africa or South America, drink bottled water.
6. Avoid ice
Since ice is made of water, you never know which water they use to make ice. Just avoid ice in your drinks.
7. Be careful with dairy and ice cream
You should only drink pasteurized milk, just to be sure. Choose carefully your ice cream, cheese and dairy: they’re often safe, but you never know the quality of milk used to produce them. Unpasteurized products might cause problems to your guts.
8. Avoid raw vegetables unless you peeled them
Sometimes it’s hard to avoid raw veggies, we know. We usually eat them when we dine in a good looking restaurant, but we totally avoid raw veggies in a street stall. If you like to cook your food, then you can wash them with clean water and peel them by yourself!
9. Avoid raw fish, seafood and meat
Unless you’re in Japan and you want to eat sushi, it’s better to avoid raw fish and seafood. Same thing with meat, it can cause serious problems.
10. Avoid buffets
A buffet is beautiful, but potentially dangerous. Who knows when they prepared the food? It might be waiting on a plate for hours and hours. Eat just freshly cooked food!
11. Cut down on sweets
Sweets, sweet drinks, candies, desserts and so on… Don’t eat too much sugar, it’s not healthy. Especially in hot and humid tropical regions.
12. Cut down on alcohol
A couple of drinks or beers won’t kill you, but don’t try to get drunk every night. You’ll regret it.
13. Avoid homemade alcohol
Homemade alcohol can be extremely dangerous, and you can die if it’s not well done. Never drink it!
Stay healthy while traveling
14. Drink a lot of water
Especially during the flights, you should drink plenty of water. It’ll help you from being dehydrated and lessen the symptoms of the jet leg. Once arrived, keep drinking bottled water!
15. Sleep enough, especially the first days
Honestly we are working on this point, since we hate sleeping while traveling. It seems to be a waste of time, right? Actually, especially during the first days, you should sleep enough to help your body get used to the new environment.
16. Use earplugs
They can save your life during long flights and noisy guesthouses!
17. Don’t overdo
Once arrived in a new place, the first thing you want to do is probably go exploring immediately. The same for us! Try not to overdo during the first days. Take some rest after lunch, take it easy!
18. Wash you hands before eating
Always wash your hands before eating anything! If you can’t, just use the hand sanitizer.
19. Sanitize hands often
We don’t want to look paranoid, but you should sanitize your hands after touching germy hot spots: after the ticket kiosk, ATM, bins and so on.
20. Brush your teeth with bottled/boiled water
It’s a bit of a waste, we know, but it’s better to brush your teeth either with bottled or boiled water.
21. Stay away from people that look sick
Hypochondriac mode ON: Stay away from sick people! Don’t touch them! Don’t talk with them! Never! 🙂
22. Be careful with public bathrooms
Public bathrooms can be very dirty and full of germs, bacteria and so on. Try not to touch anything unnecessary, and then wash your hands.
23. Set up an exercise routine
How to stay fit while traveling? Walk enough daily, and do some exercises in your room. You don’t need a gym to exercise your muscles!
24. Use DEET
If you are going to areas with endemic diseases such as malaria, dengue, zika and so on, use DEET spray or lotion. We always choose a spray containing DEET at 50%, and it usually works fine.
25. Use Permethrin
Permethrin is an insecticide and an insect repellent, and it can be a great solution for your clothes and mosquito net. Don’t use it on your skin! It’s just for clothes. As per DEET, permethrin is very useful if you’re visiting some countries in the humid season.
26. Avoid too much air con
Air con is useful, since it prevents from opening the windows in your room, in case you don’t have a mosquito net. But if the weather outside is really hot, you should avoid temperature leaps.
27. Do some stretching
Do yourself a favour and do some stretching before starting a trekking. Treat your muscles with respect!
28. Avoid mountain sickness
Be careful if you’re going above 3.000 – 3.500 meters above s.l. Mountain sickness can be even fatal, so don’t play with it. If you feel bad (headache, vomiting and so on) go down immediately.
29. Hire a guide
Consider hiring a guide if you’re hiking in unknown or dangerous areas. Many treks in the Himalaya region, for example, often require a local guide.
30. Don’t overpack
Bring just the essentials with you. A heavy backpack can be a horrible travel companion.
31. Protect your skin
Use sunscreen! in case you’re using DEET, remember to put it on after the sunscreen.
32. Use sunscreen
As per the point above, please avoid getting burned sunburnt. If you’re going to the beach with a motorbike, put some sunscreen immediately. Don’t wait to get to the beach, the sun can be strong and burn you while riding the bike.
33. Consider wearing sandals
You never know what you can find in the ocean. There can be some dangerous fish, monsters, lethal animals… Just kidding, but wearing sandals is an option. You can avoid scratches, for examples if there are sea urchins.
34. Avoid central hours
The central hours of the day are the worst for sunbathing. Avoid being under the sun between 12 am and 3 pm, at least.
35. Avoid swimming during a storm surge
Swimming when the sea is bad can be very dangerous. Many tourists lost their lives in this way. Don’t do that!
These are our tips to stay healthy while traveling. Do you know some other way to take care of yourself when you are abroad? Leave a comment below and share the post with your friends!