It’s no fun feeling sick when you’re on holidays and you definitely don’t want to have to change your travel plans if you can help it, so Gate 1 has put together some tips on ways you can improve your chances of staying healthy while you’re on tour.
Before You Go
Visit your GP and dentist for a pre-travel check up. As well as getting their advice on the health requirements for the places you will be visiting, having medical, dental and eye tests before you leave could save you a lot of pain when you’re away.
Plan For Your Prescriptions
If you take prescription medication, make sure you have enough to cover your journey. Also check the Smartraveller health advice to see if there are any restrictions on taking the drugs into the countries you’re visiting and get an approval letter from your GP if necessary. Always keep your medicine in its original packaging for easy identification. Another trip about when to take your medication – set a calendar alert on your smart phone.
Keep hydrated and drink plenty of water. Avoid the temptation of the drinks trolley and don’t have excessive amounts of alcohol, tea and coffee. Make sure you stand and stretch regularly because Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) loves people who sit still. During the flight, wear compression socks and do your stretches, like flexing your toes and calves while you’re seated. Also be active before you board or on a stopover – give the travelator a miss and walk to your gate, or if you’ve got time to kill then spend it on your feet and keep your blood pumping.
Keep Hand Cleanser Handy
An easy and effective way to prevent the spread of bacteria is using hand sanitiser. Apply before and after meals or whenever you come into contact with potentially grubby surfaces, like escalator hand rails or ATM touch pads. Also great for use on planes around your seat and tray table and in the hotel you can clean that notoriously nasty TV remote.
The Common Cold
Sadly getting a cold can be all too common when you travel, but if you take a few simple remedies from home you’ll feel a whole lot better and it’s less likely to interfere with your adventures. Throat lozenges and Cold & Flu tablets are good to have on hand – but again – check the restrictions because in some countries medications that we have access to in Australia (such as codeine) are illegal. To help combat more severe flu infection, talk to your doctor about having the flu vaccination at least 2 weeks before you leave.
What To Eat & Drink
Never drink water from rivers, lakes or wells without making sure it’s purified first. It also pays to avoid tap water unless you know it’s safe. These days bottled water is available almost everywhere, or there are more environmentally-friendly options available if you want to avoid all that plastic waste. You’ll normally be safe drinking tea, coffee, canned soft drinks, pure juice, beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks – but be careful, freezing water doesn’t kill bacteria, so ask if the ice is safe before you have that frozen margarita!
Salad vegetables should be eaten with caution if you’re uncertain of how they are prepared, as these are often washed in local water. Stick to fruit and vegetables that are peeled and/or cooked. You’ll find some of your best meals at street stalls and we don’t recommend missing out on the local treats, but make sure you see the food freshly cooked and avoid cold meats or diary products that have been on display for extended periods.
Regardless of your level of fitness, altitude sickness can affect many travellers. Those feeling the affect of temporary altitude discomfort should avoid over-exertion, drink extra water, stay off alcoholic drinks and eat lightly. We suggest you consult with your health care provider, who may recommend prophylaxis with acetazolamide.
Climate & Clothing
Do your homework and research what weather you’re likely to encounter, so you can pack accordingly. Bring comfortable shoes, lightweight clothes you can layer and an all-weather jacket.
Sunscreen and a hat or sunglasses are also recommended. Some religious sites do not allow shorts or sleeveless shirts, so that’s when a scarf or sarong can be good to include in your day pack for impromptu visits.
If you’re travelling to areas that are renowned for bug bites, travellers are encouraged to bring insect repellent and consider wearing clothing that adequately covers arms and legs. Also check if it’s a malaria risk area, especially during the wet season, and talk to your doctor about precautions.
We ask tour members to refrain from wearing colognes, perfumes and/or personal products containing excessive fragrance, in respect for other travellers in the group who may be allergic.
Almost last but not least, you don’t want to overdo it. Plan your walking itineraries so that you’re not rushing about too much and make sure you get enough sleep. Your body will be adjusting to the different time zones and coping with the physical stress of travelling, so make sure you get plenty of rest so you don’t miss full days from exhaustion.
Get Advice From Your Tour Manager
Group travel can also help you stay healthy. We include breakfast each day so you don’t have to go searching for safe eateries in the morning and we always dine in reputable restaurants. Plus your Tour Manager is a wealth of local knowledge, including the best places to eat and where you can find special (and safe) local delicacies.