Health is probably the single most important thing in life. The last thing you want to worry about when you are traveling is falling ill; it is not fun to be confined in your bed in a foreign city!
There are a few precautions and preparations we can do to minimize the risk of succumbing to sickness and, above all, staying healthy during our travels.
In preparation for your upcoming trip, take a quick visit to your local doctor for a check-up and get any vaccines you may need for the countries you intend to visit. There are many good online websites which can advise you on the necessary vaccines.
Depending on your destination, make sure to pack health necessities such as insect repellent (double check the DEET content required), motion sickness, and diarrhea tablets. You may need to consider water purification tablets too.
Travelers’ diarrhea is common among many at some point during your travels. Being aware of potentially harmful food and drinks will minimize the risk of falling victim to it. Although street vendors are a popular choice for people who want to try local cuisine, make sure to check the observable food hygiene standards and usually choosing popular stalls surrounded by locals is a safe bet.
Common sense comes in to play also. Regularly washing your hands, drinking bottled, filtered, or boiled water, and following your gut, quite literally, will ensure your tummy stays happy.
If you do fall sick, keep yourself well hydrated, seek medical assistance or advice from local pharmacies, and consult a doctor if symptoms persist over the course of a few days or a week. Listen to your body and don’t put up with symptoms and sickness that persists. After all, you want to be able to appreciate and enjoy your time away from home.
If you are a sun seeker and are spending the majority of your days out in the full heat, be sure to take sun hats, sunglasses, and sun cream. A factor sometimes overlooked is high altitudes, where sun exposure is more severe, often without you realizing it.
Look out for symptoms during high energy activities such as trekking, which may include dizziness, headaches, light-headedness, and overheating. Again, by listening to your body and taking activities in your own stride is the safest and most sensible option.
In terms of safety, nowadays a universal approach can be taken to ensure that no matter where you are in the world you apply the same principles and precautions.
In some countries, you will never be able to mask the fact you are a tourist, you may stand out like a sore thumb. Nothing to worry about if you maintain a respectful and low profile when out and about.
Keep your valuables tucked away and don’t put them on display so as not to give anyone an opportunity to take them. Be aware as well of which areas of towns and cities are advisable to steer clear of, and ask for any other local cultural or police advice that may apply to you as a tourist.
It is your responsibility to ensure you take necessary precautions for your personal items, and a good tip is to think about where it is you’re going and ask yourself – is this suitable to bring with me? Usually if you can’t afford to lose it, then don’t bring it with you.
Act confident as well when wandering around in the city; don’t look like a lost tourist as you may draw attention to yourself.
Many of these are common sensible approaches to traveling but it never hurts to be reminded of them from time to time, especially if it affects your health, general well-being, and safety.