Today’s guest writer is Ciki, an adventurous traveler, licensed pharmacist and fitness junkie based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
There’s nothing worse than going away on vacation to an exotic and vibrant land, and then falling sick.
Even the best of us has fallen to the dreaded influenza virus that has left us holed up for a couple of days in a hotel room. While we cannot always avoid the occasional bug, there are measures we can take to ensure we stay as healthy and fit as possible while traveling. Leaving the comforts of home to go off to a foreign land is always exciting, but giving yourself some time to plan before the trip is always a good thing.
Here are 10 tips to stay healthy and fit while traveling:
1. GET VACCINATED
There’s no point spending hours choosing your shorts, sunglasses and flip-flops if you barely think about the bugs and other health risks that could ruin your holiday. According to the UK’s National Health Service, almost one in four travelers don’t get any vaccinations despite visiting areas that have life-threatening infectious diseases.
Different continents have different prerequisites in terms of health and travel policies. Always check the US government’s CDC website for a list of recommended vaccines by country, in case you are visiting an area where shots are required. Be sure to get your vaccinations with time to spare, well before the date you leave for your trip. The vaccines need time to take effect.
2. BE CAREFUL WITH FOOD AND WATER
Certain countries pose more of a health risk to travelers. You can get very sick from the tap water in India or Mexico, or from certain street foods in South East Asia. If you’re not used to the local food yet, and you have not built antibodies to the local bugs, be sure to eat at reputable restaurants (don’t eat strange looking, unheated street food) and make sure you drink bottled water at all times. Even these practices might not spare you from the runs, but at least it minimizes the chances.
3. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES
Don’t ever bring new shoes on holiday. Only nice, comfortable, broken-in ones. These will save your poor feet from blisters as you will be undoubtedly walking for miles while sightseeing and shopping.
4. BRING TRAVEL PILLS
Always bring a small first aid kit that contains anti-diarrhea pills, anti-emetics, pain killers, fever pills and adhesive bandages. These things might not be readily available when you need them or they may be expensive in a foreign land. Better safe than sorry – so bring your own.
5. PACK YOUR RUNNING SHOES
Bring your best running shoes! Staying fit while on holiday is something many people overlook. Late nights, binge drinking and partying on holiday will only wear your body down. While it is not possible to forgo all of these enjoyments, at least you can work off the toxins in the morning by going for a jog or run. Your body needs to heal from all that debauchery!
6. GET TRAVEL INSURANCE
Always have adequate travel insurance and never conceal any illnesses you might have, as you might end up with a hefty bill in a foreign land should you fall sick. If you travel to the US or Europe, you need to have adequate health insurance as medical treatment can prove expensive. Always make sure you have proper coverage before traveling.
7. GO TO SLEEP EARLY
If possible, practice early to bed, and early to rise. Otherwise, cat naps during the day are effective at helping your body heal from all of the heavy-duty walking, hiking and bar hopping.
8. CONSIDER RISKS OF MOTORBIKING
In countries where you can get around by motorcycle, it is advisable to have a motorcycle license. Otherwise, opt to drive as riding a motorcycle can be hazardous in countries notorious for dare-devil riders, such as Indonesia or Thailand. If you are taking part in adventure sports, make sure they are covered by your travel insurance and that the organizers and instructors are trained.
9. TAKE EXTRA CARE IF PREGNANT
Sometimes a planned holiday coincides with a pregnancy. As long as you are fit and less than 6 months pregnant, you are normally allowed to fly. To avoid potential problems, check with your doctor before booking a vacation and make sure that your travel or medical policy covers pregnancy while traveling.
10. PRACTICE SAFE SEX
When in doubt, abstain. But if you cannot – then please practice safe sex and use a condom. Isn’t it just good practice and common sense after all?
About the writer
Ciki is a Malaysia-based blogger with a passion for travel, food and fitness. She previously contributed an article on “Malaysia’s Strangest Dishes.”
Despite her reputation as a diehard foodie, Ciki manages to stay fit and healthy while trying tasty dishes around the world. If you’ve seen her fitness website, Cikipedia, you know that she is a 30-something who looks a decade younger!
A trained pharmacist who studied conventional medicine, Ciki has a keen interest in alternative forms of treatment. She provides tips to women looking to slow down the aging process and stay healthy on the Cikipedia blog and on Twitter (@cikipedia).
In her spare time, Ciki also runs a food and travel blog, CCFoodTravel.