7 Health Tips to Know When Traveling Abroad

7 Health Tips to Know When Traveling Abroad

Traveling has gone back to— if not exceeded— what it was before the global pandemic. This can be both good and bad, as some may have forgotten the precautions they must take before traveling— which existed before COVID-19. Here are seven health tips you should know before traveling abroad.

1 Watch What You Eat (and Drink)

Indulging in the cuisine of a foreign country is a big part of the traveling experience, but you’ll want to exercise caution when doing so. Not every country cooks food in the same way, so make sure to only eat meat that is thoroughly cooked— especially seafood, although most places will cook seafood thoroughly. Other food items to be wary of include raw vegetables and dairy products and keep in mind that tap water (and ice cubes) may not be safe for consumption in other countries.

2 Stay Active

Vacation is often equated with relaxation, and while that is true, it’s still important to remain active— especially if you’re already active in your daily life. Keeping physical activity a part of your daily routine will actually have you feeling more rested than if you skipped it altogether. Walking, biking, jogging on the beach, yoga, and taking advantage of your hotel’s fitness center are all great ways to enjoy physical activity on your vacation— even if you aren’t active every day.

3 Protect Your Skin from the Sun

No matter where you’re traveling, it’s important to make sure that your skin is protected from the sun. Especially if you’re visiting a hotter climate, it's important to take sun-protective clothing and appropriate hats. It's best to use a mineral sunscreen rather than a toxic chemical sunscreen. Just in case of a sunburn, you can take along some aloe vera to treat it.

4 Know the Types of Travel-Related Infections

Depending on where you’re traveling, you may be at a higher risk of developing certain infections. Some people may get sick in general from traveling and may develop nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea, but there are other serious travel-related infections that you could be exposed to. With that being said, you may need to get certain vaccinations before traveling, with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters being the most common.

5 Get Plenty of Sleep Ahead of Time

When traveling abroad, you’re more than likely to enter a different time zone— which is notorious for destroying the sleep patterns of frequent travelers. This can also hurt your immune system, making you more susceptible to disease. Try to match the sleep schedule to that of your destination a week before if possible. If you can’t do this, spend time in the sun (with sunscreen) when you reach your destination to help your circadian rhythm adjust.

6 Drink Plenty of Water

Hydration is just as important (if not even more so) when you’re traveling. Again, if you’re traveling to a warmer climate you’re likely to become dehydrated faster. It’s a good idea to bring bottled water everywhere you go on your trip. This will keep you both hydrated and less likely to drink tap water at restaurants and risk getting sick.

7 Bring a First Aid/Medical Traveler’s Kit

Finally, you’ll want to create a traveler’s first aid kit filled with everything you will and may need while on vacation. Of course, if you take certain medications regularly you’re going to have to bring them along with you. It’s also a good idea to bring along the following types of medications:

  • Antacids like Pepto Bismol
  • Antihistamines for allergies
  • Antinausea medications for motion and/or altitude sickness
  • Cough and cold medicine
  • Pain relievers/fever reducers, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium

Your kit should also include the typical first aid items, such as bandages, gauze, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, aloe vera gel, insect repellant, calamine lotion, a thermometer, and hydrocortisone cream. It’s also a good idea to learn basic first aid techniques (e.g., CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, etc.), especially if traveling with a group. Such information on basic life support is taught online through websites like protrainings.com/courses/bls/.

It’s also a good idea to look into travel insurance to help take care of things like medical bills, canceled trips, and interrupted trips. You’ll want to be as prepared as possible for anything, especially when traveling abroad.