Traveling alone or with family can be a stressful enough activity without the added worry of how to stay safe and healthy during your trip. There are many ways you can make sure you’re prepared to handle just about any mishap traveling can throw at you. Before you go, plan on taking these tips into account.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), savvy travelers should observe the following 3 P’s:
No doubt you’ve been looking forward to your trip. You should take the time to anticipate any issues that could pop up unexpectedly. Learning about the destination you’re traveling to is a good first step, particularly if you’ve never been there before. You can learn the ins and outs of the places you’ll be visiting, and make note of any important travel health or safety notices as well. Both the CDC and the World Health Organization websites are excellent resources for this kind of information.
Another way to be proactive is to see your doctor before you travel. Your doctor can set you up with any vaccines or immunizations you may need to have prior to travel, and help you determine if any special health needs you may have would prevent you from traveling at all. Be conscious of your personal health status – if you recently injured yourself or otherwise compromised your health, perhaps now is not the best time to go hiking through the forests of Peru.
Let’s face it – sometimes, no matter how much we plan, rotten luck can show up to ruin all of the fun. That said, even if you can’t prevent every single thing that could go wrong during a trip, having a solid plan of attack for how to deal with the bad is key. This can start with making sure to pack smart – that includes packing appropriately for the weather and for whatever activities you’ll be enjoying, but also making sure not to leave any important medications or medical equipment at home. Get all of your prescription refills taken care of ahead of time so you’re not caught without them in an emergency. Check with your insurance company to see if you’re covered while you travel, and what costs might be associated with having to utilize that coverage. Scope out the areas you’ll be visiting well ahead of time to determine where you can go if you need immediate care.
Further, be sure to let someone back home know your plans and other important information about your trip. An emergency contact can get in touch with your doctor or other essential parties in the event you are unable to yourself.
You’re probably hoping to relax and let loose a little during your vacation, but try and practice some healthy behaviors during your trip as well so you’re not entirely miserable when you return home. It starts with paying attention to your health during your trip, and ends with paying attention to your health once you return. If you’re sampling the local fare and are unsure of the ingredients, ask! Protect yourself from sunburn and troublesome bugs by using sunscreen and insect repellent. Take that brief recommended training session before you engage in a risky activity even if you swear you’ve “done this a million times before”. When you get back from your trip, notice how you feel and take care of yourself appropriately. Any strange symptoms should be reported to your doctor.
You should also be sure to adhere to local laws and customs while you’re out and about. What may be commonplace where you’re from might not be best practice everywhere else and could have serious implications for your health and safety.
To learn more about how you can responsibly plan for your next trip, visit the CDC travel website. Safe travels!