The only thing worse than getting home sick is getting sick when traveling. What do you do when you're away and feeling terrible? How does a GP visit work? What is available without purchase? What about security?
Everyone can feel overwhelmed, especially when you already feel drained. It is best to prepare for the worst weather before it happens. And believe me, I was there!
So before disaster strikes, let's talk about what to do if you get sick while traveling!
Exchange of time! I've been involved with everything from UTIs to street pens. I have had reactions to anti-malarial drugs (and my type has severe drug sensitivities). I have vein infections, migraines, influenza and food poisoning.
On an overnight train from Lisbon to Madrid, I even have bed worms! Having spent a lot of time in the water, I have gotten UTIs (PSA: be careful about wearing a soft swimsuit for a long time, especially during your period).
Of course, some people are more prone to certain issues. I've talked with other travelers about everything from tips to dealing with life-threatening allergies to the difficulties they face when traveling with diabetes.
Even if you don't have long-term conditions, the disease is happening to all of us, and travel will always come with many surprises.
Tips to prevent aging
It's easy to get out of your usual routine when traveling. This can mean unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and late at night. Combine this with new foods and different bacteria abroad and the problems start to appear quickly. But it doesn't have to be that way! Here are some of the key tricks to staying healthy.
Water is critical. Explore local water and select bottled water if you have any concerns. Staying hydrated is so important, especially in hot weather. For active days, it is important to get your electrolytes (I like to carry Propel packages for quick recovery).
Try to eat as healthy as possible when traveling. I have tasted great food all over the world and it is one of my favorite ways to get to know the local life. Although I definitely enjoy local specialties, I keep it simple most days.
You can try the local cuisine while also having your vegetables and fruits as you have a good balance of protein and carbohydrates. More than a long-term health plan, your stomach will thank you right away!
Along with maintaining a healthy diet, you bring your vitamins together on every trip. Zinc and Vitamin C are crucial for maintaining your immune system healthy.
A small bottle of hand sanitizer is essential. The trays and seats of the airplane are one of the most dirty things out there! It is vital that you give them a good wipe before you touch them. You'll also want to keep your hands clean throughout the journey as you touch new germs.
Mental health and physical health go hand in hand. I have talked about burning trips before and it is a very real thing, even for those who do not travel full time. Treat yourself well on the road. Schedule time to unpack, relax, and recover. The journey is to enjoy yourself by not invoicing things from a to-do list.
Find a doctor
If you're traveling within the United States, HealthGrades.com is a handy resource that offers doctor reviews to help you make an informed choice. Before you visit, be sure to also call your health insurance company or check its website. Plans vary greatly so you can never be sure.
If you are outside the US, the International Travel Medical Association and the International Travel Medical Assistance Association are two useful websites. And, of course, Google is a great companion to help you find out what languages the doctor's office speaks and how to get in.
If serious, contact your embassy or consulate. If you are very ill, you do not want to end up in a casual doctor's office or a foreign JV. You don't know what the standard of care will be and you will face insurmountable communication barriers.
Embassies and consulates can set up local healthcare providers and direct you to a hospital. They can also help with logistics, such as family outreach, assisting in fund transfers, arranging transportation, and much more while you are caring.
Seriously, don't hesitate to contact your embassy or consulate! This is really what you get paid for (and it's your money you pay for).
Starting medicines ASAP
I am guilty of delaying medicine, unless I feel it is necessary. This kind of strategy can prolong matters though. When traveling, time is running out and I highly recommend looking at medicines as soon as you know something is off. Simple over-the-counter medications for pain, fever and stomach upset can make all the difference.
Yes, getting sick (or breaking your toe) is a big disappointment, but it shouldn't ruin your trip. We all need time off and just laying in bed for a day or two can be a great thing. Sometimes you really need to take a break!
Something as simple as a cold or digestive theme will not last long so you just get the most out of it. If I'm not feeling my best, I like to grab some extra treats from the pharmacy such as face and leg masks to create a mini spa at the hotel.
If you have a large cushy bed, room service, a hot shower, and a large TV, you have everything you need to enjoy yourself!
change of plans
When you're on the road to getting good again, all you can do is manage expectations and change course. Turn the hotel into a spa or make time for all the movies and books you've been thinking about for centuries. Relax with a cup of tea and watch the sunset. I know it's hard to give up the journey you're dreaming of, but it'll be okay.
Believe me, after all the miles I've recorded, I can say with confidence that the best memories are always from the times when things didn't go as expected. Listen to your body and just do what feels right.
Protect your friends
If you are contagious, it is quarantine time! You certainly do not want to spread it out so that you are alert. Bring your own stuff and try not to touch it more than you need it (no one wants a hand in hand chip bag!).
Avoid sharing food, drinks, pillows, other things that come close to your mouth! Place the toothbrush away from the sink and other common areas. And, of course, wash and clean your hands.
The coffee? Sickness and injury can happen anywhere, anytime. Fortunately, travel insurance can literally be a lifetime!
As a traveler, it's one of the best things to do – just in case! For years, I thought that nothing would happen to me. Then he did it, and he did it again. It is so important to protect your health and every other aspect of your journey.
My journey for travel insurance is through the world nomads. Whatever comes or if some illness or injury occurs – you have your back.
Read More: Ten Reasons to Get Travel Insurance for Your Next Trip
Have you ever been sick while traveling? How did you do it? Share your story in the comments below!