Staying Healthy to Enjoy Your Holidays
Nothing upsets a fun holiday more than feeling under the weather. If you’re planning a trip in the near future, here’s how to stay healthy and in control of your wellbeing while travelling.
No matter where in the world you are going, it’s imperative that you have the right vaccinations. Talk to your doctor at least 2 months before you depart about what vaccinations you might need. For instance, if you are travelling to certain parts of Asia or Africa, there’s a good chance you’ll need a malaria vaccination and you may also need to travel with malaria tablets.
Take the Right Medications
Taking your required medications and prescriptions with you on holiday is essential for staying healthy. Carry extra medications just in case, along with your prescriptions and a letter from your doctor if necessary.
Don’t forget to take other medications you might need as well, such as pills for motion sickness, headaches, hay fever, digestion and any other ailments that might be common in your chosen countries.
Make sure you are covered for any Pre Existing Conditions
Whilst pre-existing conditions can affect travellers at any age, the senior traveller is more prone to conditions such as high blood pressure, heart conditions, cholesterol and others – which can all affect your holiday time. Compare your travel insurance options so that you can find a provider that not only covers your trip but also considers all pre-existing conditions as part of their seniors travel insurance offering.
Food & Drink
Eating right is a big part of staying healthy, so it’s a good idea to conduct research on the food/drink in each place you intend to go. Basic questions you can ask include:
• What types of foods are available in this destination and can I eat them?
• Is the tap water drinkable? (If not you should stick with bottled water, even when brushing your teeth)
• Are there any types of foods I should avoid? For example, in Asia, you should often avoid eating any fruit that you don’t peel yourself
• Should I consume dairy products in this destination?
• What types of foods will give me energy each day? Avoid consuming too much junk food or alcohol and try not to skip meals
If you are in doubt about how well you’ll cope with food and drink-wise, then you need to avoid “street food” – which always looks great but may leave you with an upset tummy! Instead, stick to eateries in tourist areas, which will often serve more ‘western’ meals or book a hotel that has in-house dining options available.
Weather & Climate
Weather and climate can have a huge impact on your health when travelling. Ensure you:
• Understand what the weather will be like at your destination and pack appropriate clothing and gear
• Stay hydrated as much as you can in both hot and cold climates
• Don’t overdo activities or sports in the heat; even walking can be exhausting, so make sure you get lots of rest in between
You can find some useful weather apps here.
Fun in the sun is one of the best things about holidaying, but protecting yourself is also crucial if you want to stay healthy. If you’re heading to a particularly sunny destination, make sure you cover up with the right clothing (t-shirts, hats, sunglasses), use sunscreen and drink plenty of water.
Medical and Hospital Facilities
Understanding where hospitals or medical facilities (like GPs, pharmacies) are located in each of your destinations can also be beneficial if you encounter an emergency or simply need to seek medical help. While medical services in most major cities will be common, other destinations can be lacking in medical help, so make sure you are aware of the options.
Investing in travel insurance before you go can also help manage the costs of any hospital or medical treatments, especially since these can be quite high for foreigners.
Sleep & Rest
Getting lots of sleep and rest while on holidays means your mind and body will be able to stay much more healthy – and it will keep you energised and positive, too! Make sure you get enough sleep and rest as you travel; if you feel exhausted and worn out, organise a relaxing day or give yourself a day off sightseeing and exploring altogether.
Bronwyn White is a travel and tourism industry professional with more than 30 years of experience. Her special interest is helping retirees, semi-retired baby boomers enjoy the dream of travel. She loves to help them plan and get the most out of this time.