The concept of budget adventure travel includes a lot of wonderful experiences, but one adventure you definitely do not want to have when you travel is getting sick. Not only are you far from your family doctor or your mother’s trusty chicken soup recipe; the very fact that you are in a foreign locale exposes you to allergies, germs, food and water you have no immunity to.
Here are a few health tips to either help you avoid sickness or help you cope with it once it befalls you:
–Wash your hands repeatedly throughout the day. This is the same advice you get at home during the winter flu season for good reason. Most germs are spread by contact; so the more often you wash your hands the less contact you will have.
–Get your immunization shots before you leave. Find out from the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta what shots are recommended for traveling in what country.
–Get in shape before your trip. Start walking several weeks before your vacation. If your trip will involve just average sightseeing, your objective should be to be able to walk 3 to 5 miles without undue exhaustion. Face it; vacationing involves more walking than you ordinarily do at home, so build your fitness level so you can tolerate the increased activity.
–Treat cuts and sores immediately. Remember you are exposed to germs and conditions unlike what your body is used to at home.
–Don’t drink the local water unless you are absolutely sure it is safe to drink. Even in advanced societies, the water is just different from what your body is used to. Fortunately, bottled water is much more common around the world than it was just a few years ago. Stock up.
–Maintain high levels of cleanliness. Taking frequent showers and changing into clean clothing not only feels good, it is good for you. This is especially true in hotter climates.
–Bring along vitamins, bottled water and peanut butter. The first two are self explanatory, the latter is a tip passed onto me by a well-traveled missionary who spent a lot of time in really (I mean REALLY) out of the way places. He found that every place had some sort of bread he could eat along with peanut butter if he just couldn’t eat most of the local food. He also recommended bringing a good supply of toilet paper, but I am presuming you aren’t going into places so remote that will be a necessity.
–Carry medical identification if you have allergies or reoccurring ailments.
–Protect yourself from biting insects. This is especially true in tropical climates. Not only should you bring insect repellent, be sure to take practical precautions like avoiding stagnant water, wear long sleeve shirts and tuck pants legs into socks if you are going into a place where biting insects are a particularly bad problem.
–Keep well rested. This is often very hard to do on a vacation you are paying good money for, but it will save you all kinds of problems later. Rest up from initial jet lag and take naps if you are staying out late at night. Your body can endure a lot if it has enough rest.
–Bring along a basic first aid kit and common over the counter medicines. There is always a good chance of getting a headache, indigestion, athlete’s foot etc. So be prepared.
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