Following these best international travel tips can significantly up your chances of avoiding sickness both while traveling and after you return home.
There’s nothing finer than taking a wonderful vacation to a foreign destination that offers fun, relaxation, and unique cultural ambience.
On the other hand, there’s nothing that can spoil a great trip abroad quite like getting really sick while you’re away from home or developing a serious disease after your trip.
Best International Travel Tips to Stay Healthy
1. Know the common health risks at your destination
Every international destination has its own particular health risks that is unique to its locale. Be sure to do a little research into the area’s most problematic health issues.
Even if you’re going to a resort or on a cruise, you should be aware of the common risks. Just because you’re staying in a 5 star hotel or boarding a luxury cruiser, doesn’t mean you’re immune to getting sick.
A good way to check up on the area that you’re traveling to, is to ask your personal doctor’s office for a pre-travel service that provides indepth information about the potential health hazards of your particular destination and how to prepare for them.
In some cases, you may need to get vaccines or carry medications to avoid them. You can also get more extensive international travel information by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
2. Keep hands clean and maintain good hygiene
It seems so simple, but keeping your hands clean and washing often throughout your trip is important in avoiding bacteria, viruses and parasitic germs lurking around a multitude of places that you visit.
It is recommended that you always carry sanitized wipes with you, so that you can clean your hands often. Also, you can use the wipes to wipe off eating utensils or drink cups, if necessary.
3. Consume clean food and water
Everyone enjoys trying new foods that are special to certain parts of the world, but sometimes its best to avoid eating certain foods that may be hazardous to your health.
Sometimes it’s not particularly the food itself, but the way it is prepared or served. For instance, it is also recommended not to eat at buffets when traveling internationally.
For real? Yes.
Even though many people enjoy a good buffet with loads of food choices, buffets are often harbingers of strains of food poisoning, bacteria, or parasites, only to name a few of the health risks.
When you order from a menu, make sure that your food is cooked well and that it is served in a clean plate or tray.
As for water, never drink tap water or use ice cubes. True, there are some areas that are fine, but other areas do not have clean drinking water.
If you want to be extra safe, carry a personal water filter with you so that you can clean the water as you drink it, if necessary.
Be sure to drink lots of water, however, to stay hydrated throughout your trip. Also, don’t even swim in fresh water or walk barefoot while on a tropical international vacation!
4. Protect yourself from insect bites and the sun
Be sure to wear sunscreen, and the proper clothes that provide protection from the sun during your trip. Also, make plans for avoiding insect bites that can occur both in the day and at night in may locales.
5. Carry a medical kit
Be sure to carry a medical kit with first aid supplies and other over-the-counter medications that may be useful during your trip. It can be a pain to try to find an antacid or aspirin in some locations!
Be sure to carry anti-diarrhea medicine and antibiotics, in case your preventive efforts fail!
6. Make plans for any pre-existing health conditions
If you have any health problems that need on-going attention, be sure to plan ahead with your doctor. You may need to get an advance on your medication, especially if you’re gone for a long time.
Also, be sure to carry your medication with the original containers with the prescription labels clearly visible.
You should also carry an official letter with you from your physician describing your condition and all the medications that you use, as well as the generic names for them.
Various countries have differing regulatory laws regarding medications and narcotics, so you want to be prepared provide a proper explanation about what you’re carrying with you.
7. Get health travel insurance
Even when you follow the best international travel tips to protect your health, there are times when you may need some medical attention. You may even need to be evacuated out of a country for health reasons.
But don’t count on your domestic insurance policy to cover any health related issues that may arise abroad.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to buy a short-term international travel insurance policy in case you need help. This will cover international medical costs and evacuation fees, if it becomes necessary.
Travel insurance policies are great to have for the whole family and can be purchased for very short periods of time.
8. Avoid unregulated services
Avoid anything with a needle, such as getting a tattoo or undergoing acupuncture! You can contract an infectious disease from unregulated practices.
Also, avoid any activity or practice that is questionable in safety or health protection.
8. Be smart…be safe
Avoid traveling alone, when abroad. Also, choose your method of transportation carefully and don’t carry lots of cash or take expensive items with you. Be aware of your surroundings.
9. Follow up with your doctor
If you have any problems after you return home from your trip, be sure to follow up with your doctor. Sometimes an infectious disease can be contracted, but does not become serious until a few weeks or months after a trip.
So don’t let it go.
Get to the doctor right after your trip if you don’t feel well.