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While the prospect of a long overdue vacation may seem like the perfect remedy to what has undoubtably been a long few years, the practicalities of travelling in today’s climate represent some unique challenges. 

Vacation should be a time to relax, explore, embrace freedom and treat yourself, but in order to do that, steps must be taken to conquer any feelings of disconcertion. 

Putting your health first is perhaps more important than ever before. Failing to do so could result in a missed opportunity and a vacation that you will not want to remember any time soon. 

Prepare for a great vacation

To ensure that you make the most out of your trip, no matter where in the world you happen to be going, a good deal of preparation is in order. 

From your diet to the COVID regulations and your ability to carry out a dynamic risk assessment, it might seem like you have a wealth of factors to contend with, but it is worth it in the end.  

If you just know that the time is right for you to embark on a new adventure and relish in some quality time with your loved ones, here are some important points to help you stay safe and look after your health on vacation. 

Check the Current Government Guidelines

Before you go anywhere, checking the current government travel guidelines is a must. This can help you decide whether or not your prospective destination is even letting in tourists to begin with. 

Plus, there will likely be some unique health and safety regulations in place, and you probably do not want a nasty and potentially expensive surprise at border control when you land. 

Vacation

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Travelling can be nerve-racking enough as it is, so it is important to make sure you know what is going on and how to follow the right protocols. 

It is also worth taking a look at the local news for your vacation destination and checking out their own government’s guidelines just to be on the safe side. 

Bring a First Aid Kit on Vacation

In the unfortunate event that you should fall unexpectedly ill or get injured, a dependable and comprehensive first aid kit can be a big help. 

You may find that you cannot get hold of your preferred brand of medicine abroad either or if a language barrier is separating you from explaining the details of your ailment, then getting hold of over-the-counter pain relief can be a real struggle. 

This is why finding out how to build your own first aid kit can be so important, as it can enable you to rest easy in the knowledge that you are prepared should the worst come to the worst. 

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is inextricable to your overall wellbeing, no matter where you are. On vacation, however, where you might be doing a little more exploring and walking than usual, or where the climate may be warmer and unfamiliar, you may need to pay some extra attention to it. 

You may have heard the ‘drink eight glasses of water a day’ rule, but in reality, this figure can depend on a huge array of external influences, such as body mass index or what kind of physical activities you are doing – you might want to check out this article from the New York Times about how much water you actually need. 

It could be best to drink bottled water if you can; depending on your vacation destination, the tap water may not be so safe for your health. This could be for a multitude of reasons, such as a poor filtration system, outdated pipes or pollution and contamination. 

This does not apply to everywhere by any means, but there are some places that you should practice caution in when drinking the tap water. 

  • Tip – Watch out for the ice cubes too! Sometimes, people go out of their way to avoid the tap water, only to forget that when they order drinks at a bar or restaurant, the ice cubes may be the source of the issue. 

Personal Hygiene 

In order to fend off the threat of any germs, keeping up with personal hygiene is essential. In some countries where the weather is a lot warmer, upping the regularity of your hygiene routine may be necessary. 

This is because you may sweat more than usual, the air quality could be lower, or your body might not be used to the new climate. 

vacation healthWashing your hands is as crucial as always, as it can not only help prevent the spread of COVID, but it can enable you to defend yourself from harmful bacteria in general. 

There is not much worse than settling down by the poolside on vacation and suddenly feeling nauseous. If you can manage to put your hygiene first however, you should be able to drastically minimize this risk. 

Exercise

If you plan on taking an active vacation and hiking intrepidly across mountain trails and stunning vistas, you likely already have this base covered. 

If you would rather do absolutely anything else in the world than take an active vacation, and want to instead lie by the pool or the coastline all day every day, gorging yourself on the local cuisine while you work on your beautiful tan, then committing to at least some exercise can help you look after your health. 

Since you are discovering a new place, one of the best ways to get exercise might be coinciding it with exploring the local towns and villages. 

Walking around is one of the best ways to truly unearth the hidden majesty of a location, to find the spots away from the tourist traps and to meet some exciting characters. 

Since vacation can so often be the time to get filled up on lovely food and drink, day in and day out, keeping up with exercise is important. 

  • Tip – If your hotel has a gym, why not take full advantage? This can round out your experience and allow you to make the most of your accommodation. 

Thoroughly Scout Out the Menus

The local cuisine and the opportunity to taste a stunning array of unfamiliar delicacies is one of the very best parts about going on vacation in the first place. 

It is worth taking some extra care in this area, however, especially if you are going somewhere completely new and you have never tried the food before. 

There are many reasons for this, perhaps the main one being that if you eat something your body disagrees with, you could spoil the rest of the vacation by inadvertently making yourself poorly. 

Making sure to thoroughly scope out the menu before you try anything is a good way to prepare yourself, and this could be particularly important if you suffer from any allergies. 

Say you had a seafood allergy – there are many countries that rely heavily on seafood in their cuisine, and even if a dish does not obviously contain fish, there may be other ingredients used to cook with that contaminate the food for you. Don’t forget an epi-pen if you are at all worried about this. 

vacation seafoodProvided you look ahead, there is no need to panic, and this can be done by checking the reviews online, asking for recommendations from your hotel, consulting a guidebook or just a quick Google. 

  • Tip – Overindulging can be a real problem on vacation. If the drink is flowing and the food is delightful, overfilling can leave you in a bad position for the rest of the vacation, so sometimes a little self-restraint is best if you aim to enjoy the range of choice on offer. 
  • Extra Tip – Eating the right amount of food can supply you with the energy levels you need to experience the vacation to its fullest. Without that energy providing you with a decent foundation, you may have a hard time getting in all the activities you want to do.

Alcohol Management 

Losing a day or two to the despicable cruelty of a brutal hangover is not only a waste of time and money, but it is terribly bad for your health. 

It might seem like getting carried away on vacation is just par for the course, but if you stop to think about the impact that this has on your health, it is worth thinking twice. 

  • Tip – If you suspect you are going to be drinking, just make sure to stay hydrated. This will require extra water since alcohol actively dehydrates you. 

Take a Preventative Approach 

Looking back in hindsight is easy and by that point, it is usually always too late. Electing instead to take a preventative approach when looking after your health on vacation should be one of the best ways to move forward. 

This means getting hold of the basics, many of which you might want to include in your first aid kit, and it also means committing to applying measures, even if you get caught up in the heat of the moment. 

vacation | Longevity LIVE

A few examples of this could include: 

  • Sunblock and Sunscreen – They might sound like they perform exactly the same function, but they are in fact different and perform various roles. Making sure you get the right sun protection can prevent you from getting a nasty burn that ruins your week. 
  • Insect Repellent – Itching from bug bites can be excruciatingly painful and frustrating. While it is difficult to totally negate the chances of this happening in some locations, insect repellent can certainly reduce the risk of getting bitten. 
  • Adapters – Depending on where you happen to be visiting, you may need some adapters to enable you to charge your devices. Check before you leave home to ensure your phone does not end up dying and stranding you in a foreign world. You never know when your health might rely on your ability to get in contact with emergency services, so keeping your phone charged is vital. 

Bring the Right Clothes

It may seem obvious, but the right clothes are essential to your vacation, and this means not over or under packing. 

Running out of clothes can be a nightmare, as can getting to the terminal and finding out that your luggage is overweight and you need to pay some extra cash to get it on the flight. 

How does this affect your health though? Without the right clothes, you may find yourself overheating, or if your clothes are not designed for the climate, they could end up affecting your skin and causing you discomfort. 

Plus, feeling comfortable in your outfit can give you confidence, and looking after your mental health and wellbeing is just as important as your doing so for your physical health. 

  • Tip – Always check the weather in advance, even if you are going to a famously sunny country, as you might be surprised by the forecast. Otherwise, you may have a hard time choosing the right clothes. 

Make Time for Rest and Relaxation

If you find that you are burning the candle at both ends and your tank is starting to run on empty, making time for a rest and relaxation can be the perfect solution to burnout. 

Getting carried away on vacation and ramping up your daily activities to 100 is a common occurrence, but do it too often, and you will probably find yourself spent before too long. 

Sometimes, vacation is the perfect time for relaxing, chilling out and doing absolutely nothing whatsoever, other than soaking up the atmosphere and gazing into space. 

There is no need to feel guilty if you give yourself some downtime either. In fact, it is a necessity if you aim to put your health first and bask in the joys of a much needed and well-deserved vacation. 

Main photo credit: Photo by Eddy Billard on Unsplash

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Em Sloane

I am an introverted nature lover, and freelance writer. I love sharing new insights on how to live a healthier life using nature's gifts. Be kind. Be generous. Love. Peace. Humanity.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

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