Planning and preparing for a much-needed vacation can be tough. Because so many people are traveling during the summer months, exposure to countless potential health hazards while away from home are common. Proper planning and precautions, however, can help ensure a healthy vacation for every traveler hitting the roads and skies this summer! All health preparations for your vacation should be discussed with your doctor, but practicing these simple tips on health-conscious packing can help to ensure you travel safely this summer.
Do Your Research
“Think about health in advance of your trip,” advises Bradley Connor, MD, a travel health specialist at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and president of the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM). “If you have a chronic health problem, get a checkup before you leave.”
Finding out as much as you can in advance about your health needs and the destination-specific health risks of you trip will help you pack more health-conscious. By doing your research, you’ll be better able to ensure you have all you need to prepare to have a healthy travel experience. The following are a few health-conscious packing tips to help you get started!
Plan Prescription Needs Ahead of Time
Take note of the prescription or nonprescription medications you use on a regular basis at home in order to plan your packing needs. Bringing along enough medications for your entire trip can help minimize any issues you may face during your summer travels. If you are running low on a medication, and need to call in a refill, anticipate of the amount of time it could take to have your prescription(s) refilled through your local pharmacy and schedule to do it so that you will have them before you have to depart on your trip. If your medication cannot be refilled before a certain date, you can coordinate with your doctor’s office to have refills called in as you need them to a pharmacy located near your destination.
If flying is your choice of travel this summer, packing your medications in your carry-on luggage may prove to be more health-conscious and wise in case your checked baggage is lost! Be sure to pack any liquid or gel containers that are larger than 3.4-ounces in your checked baggage as well. Most airports have restrictions on the size of liquid containers you may bring with you. Most security checkpoints will make you throw larger fluid containers in the trash if you do not plan ahead. Check your airport’s security guidelines for more information regarding packing restrictions.
Pills and tablets should also be packed in your carry-on luggage to safeguard that they get to your destination with you. If your medicinal intakes are timed throughout the day and you are traveling to a location outside your time zone, pack a watch in with your medications. Set it at your home time so that your intake regimen remains the same.
Expect The Unexpected
Injuries can occur on your trip at any time and there won’t always be a first-aid kit nearby. Plan to pack a travel-friendly miniature health kit to protect you against minor health issues. Equip the kit with the following and any other health-conscious items you may require during your travels:
- An anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen
- Anti-diarrhea medication such as Imodium, available over-the-counter
- Motion sickness medication, also available over-the-counter
- Antiseptic cream
- Drugs for stomach upsets
- If you wear glasses, pack a spare pair
- Mosquito or other bug repellents
Check Vaccination Standards
Although immunizations are not a physical object you can put in your suitcase, being health-conscious of the risks of your trip and getting vaccinated can prepare your body for your journey! Recommendations and requirements vary by destination and attaining the appropriate vaccinations can protect you against any infectious diseases you might encounter during your travels. Always talk to your doctor prior to receiving a vaccination. If your doctor recommends you to be vaccinated to ensure a healthier trip, schedule yourself appropriately ahead of time and when you are in good health. For more information, the Centers for Disease Control maintains updated advisories and immunization requirements for travelers traveling to all parts of the world.
Ensure You’re Covered
Issues with insurance while you are abroad can be frustrating and can put you in a risky situation! To prevent this, pack photocopies of your insurance ID card, the names and phone numbers of your pharmacist and health care providers, and a complete list of all the medications you are taking. If you are traveling to a non-English-speaking area or country, consider translating this list and creating a list of any chronic medical conditions you may have into the native language of your destination. Talk to your insurance company to see what they will and will not cover in the event that you are sick or injured while away. If you’re going abroad, consider purchasing additional traveler’s insurance and pack this information with you translated in the native-language of your destination as well.
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