Vacations should be filled with fun, adventure, and memorable, mind-blowing experiences. However, your vacation dream can quickly morph into a nightmare if you get a stomach bug or any condition that prevents you from thoroughly enjoying your getaway. So, in addition to finding the perfect destination and list of things to do, consider these FIVE healthy tips when you plan your next trip.
Get Your Shots In Before You Go!
No… I’m not talking those of the tequila variety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that you should be “up-to-date on all recommended vaccinations before traveling abroad.” Whether you need shots will depend on factors such as your personal health and medical history, as well as how long or where you’ll be staying. If you’re headed to a country or region known for an illness like yellow fever, for example, you should check with your doctor and try to get the necessary vaccination at least 10 days before you travel. Researching your destination will help you decide which vaccines and/or preventative medication you might need.
Bring Prescription Meds, Sunscreen, Insect Repellent & More
If you take prescription medications, be sure to bring them when you travel. Replacing your medication or getting a new prescription might be difficult once you’re out of your home country. To prevent insect bites, wear long pants and long-sleeved clothing, and use insect repellent. Remember, you could be exposed to insect-borne illnesses such as malaria, and there’s no vaccine for that particular one in the U.S. You should also bring remedies for conditions like motion sickness, earaches, and diarrhea—just in case. And of course, don’t forget the sunscreen and hand sanitizer!
Boost your Immune System & Protect Your Gut
A strong immune system and a healthy gut are great ways to keep infections away. This means not smoking, maintaining a diet rich in fruits and veggies like blueberries, broccoli, and sweet potatoes, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and practicing good hygiene. You can also try immune system-boosters like vitamin C tablets.
To protect your gut, increase your probiotic intake. Foods rich in probiotics such as yogurt, kefir, olives, raw cheese, and sauerkraut might not be available to you while you’re on vacay, so be sure to bring packets of probiotics that you can add to your juices, shakes, or water.
With all your vacation shenanigans, you’ll want to keep hydrated. Strawberry daiquiris and margaritas don’t count. You’ll need water! But, before you stick your head under the nearest faucet, you should consider the source. Water sources differ from city to city, and more so from country to country. To be on the safe side, drink only purified, bottled water. If you’re not sure bottled water will be available, or you want a more economical, eco-friendly way to keep hydrated, you can travel with water purification tablets or a portable, reusable water purifier bottle.
Practice Responsible Culinary Exploration
While you’re on vacation, you may want to explore and immerse yourself in the culture—music, dance, and of course, the food. It might be safer to try the local cuisine at your hotel. For the culinary adventurers who must eat like the locals do, where the locals do, be circumspect about the cleanliness of restaurants or food stops. It’s also wise to stay away from street vendors who don’t have a place to practice proper hygiene. The last thing you need is a gastrointestinal issue or diarrhea ruining your vacation.