You’ve worked hard to save up every last penny, and can finally afford that luxury holiday in a far away exotic destination. The last thing you want is to spend the entire time in bed with a stomach bug or coughing and spluttering on your sun lounger, so how can you prevent catching an illness while you are travelling?
Travel related illnesses are often minor with a short recovery period, but still put a dampener on that much needed break. However, there are ways of staying as germ-free as possible whilst on holiday, and although buying swimwear and getting a spray tan may be first on your list of priorities, it’s worth checking out the preventative measures you can take.
Water Water Everywhere
One of the biggest causes of stomach upset whilst travelling is drinking contaminated water. Most people know to avoid tap water and to stick to the bottled or boiled variety, but it’s also important to watch what you eat and keep an eye on beverages consumed in bars. Always check that the ice in your drink is made with bottled water and if you can, avoid fresh salads and fruit which may have been washed with tap water.
Stock up on those bottles of mineral water as it’s essential to stay hydrated, especially in hot or humid countries and after a long flight. Make a habit of drinking water regularly even if you don’t feel thirsty, as dehydration, even in its mild form, causes headaches, dizziness and muscle weakness.
Food For Thought
Of course water isn’t the only cause of illness and although you might be tempted to try local cuisine or sample some street food, just be sure to check out the premises first. Inspect the seller’s stall to see if it’s clean and check if the ingredients they are using are fresh. Eating food after it has just been cooked is generally safer, so choose places where they cook the food in front of you. It’s also safer to eat meat in the mornings rather than products which may have been left outside all day. You can generally gauge the reliability of a food stall or restaurant by how many people are there so stick to the crowd.
If you want to be extra careful, prepare for your trip by taking probiotic supplements a couple of weeks before the holiday to populate your digestive system with good bacteria. Also remember to take a stash of antacids and stomach remedies from home so you can be assured of their quality.
Make it Less Plane-ful
When travelling on buses, trains and planes you’re bound to come into contact with a whole host of new germs. With their artificially circulated air, planes in particular are breeding grounds for germs, and illnesses can spread like quick fire. The best preventative measure is to keep your hands clean at all times; stock up on a powerful hand sanitiser, proven to effectively kill bacteria and ward of contagious illnesses. Get into a habit of using it regularly, especially after coming into contact with public facilities and before eating.
Constant travelling or flying for long periods of time can also be tiring and stressful which can play havoc on your immune system. It’s important to get enough rest and ensure that you don’t lose too much sleep, especially if you have sightseeing or activities planned. In order to get the best quality sleep on the plane, stay hydrated, eat only light meals and take an extra pillow or warm clothes to help you get comfortable. If possible, stick to the time zone of your destination to avoid jet lag.
Emily Starr is a freelance travel writer who spends a lot of time travelling to exotic far away destinations. By investing in a reputable sanitizer, South Africa’s surgical-quality product, she has managed to ward off mild travel-related illnesses.