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Travel Safe ‘n’ Smart

The Flight Side
Travel Safe ‘n’ Smart

Health and safety travel tips that will better equip you for a smashing holiday

Vacations are absolutely necessary for your health and wellbeing, we all need to take a moment from our hectic schedules. And it’s easy to lose yourself in the high of discovering that new exotic destination. All of a sudden you’re a kid in a candy store. You are immersed in the sights and sounds – and all the wonderfully curious street food and inviting gourmet offerings. After all, the best way to appreciate a country’s culture is by eating its food.

However, when packing, most overlook one of the key ingredients for a great vacation, which is taking the proper steps to ensure you and your family have a safe and healthy trip. Seriously, nothing like a bad case of diarrhea or cramps to ruin what should’ve been a picture-perfect afternoon in the alleyways of Barcelona or the delightfully chaotic souks of Morocco.

Here are some health and safety tips that will better equip you for a smashing holiday – one you’ll remember for the right reasons.

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JET-LAG

A couple of days prior to travelling, go to bed a little earlier or a little later (depends on whether you’re flying east or west, respectively). Make sure you’re sufficiently hydrated and eat lightly the day you travel. Symptoms associated with jetlag such as headache, lightheadedness and nausea should lessen significantly.


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STAY HYDRATED

Often we neglect getting enough water in the excitement of a vacation, and dehydration is never a good thing. Make sure you drink loads of water – don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Avoid caffeinated drinks as they’ll dehydrate you even more.


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FIRST AID KIT

A first aid kit is a great idea for any emergencies that may arise during your trip. It should include items such as thermometer, bandages, gauze and tape, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic, antihistamine, aspirins, cold and flu tablets, antacid, anti-diarrheal medication and insect repellent.


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ALLERGIES

If you suffer from allergies, bring the usual medications. Packing an antihistamine is a good idea in case of accidental exposure to a substance that triggers an allergic response.


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PASSPORT & VALUABLES

It's always wise to store your valuables, including passports, in the hotel safe. Keep a copy of your passport with you at all times, but separate from where you are carrying your passport.


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HOTELS

Keep your hotel room door closed and locked at all times. Do not answer your hotel room door without verifying who it is. If someone claims to be a hotel employee, call the front desk to verify.


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ANIMAL & BUG BITES

See a doctor as soon as possible if you’re bitten by a wild animal. Animal bites usually require a tetanus shot, perhaps even a rabies shot. If bitten by a snake, lie as still as possible so any venom present is not spread, and send others to get help immediately. Also, check your body for ticks; remove any and watch the area for rash over the course of the next few weeks. If you experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, rash, cough or weight loss, consult a doctor immediately.

 


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MOTION SICKNESS

Motion sickness can be terribly distressing. And there are over-the-counter and prescription medications available. But if you don't have any medications at hand, try the following: if travelling by car, opt for the front seat and avoid reading as it only increases the feeling of motion sickness. If travelling by boat, grab the seat in the middle and look straight ahead at the horizon, a fixed point that will not move. If flying, sit near the wing of the plane, or the side where you’re accustomed to driving.


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DIARRHEA

There are few things worse than getting sick while you’re on vacation. As much as you want to be that all-adventurous foodie, when in doubt, the rules are pretty simple – stay away from uncooked meat; strange, raw fruits and vegetables; and unpasteurised milk products. Drink only bottled water.


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CREDIT CARD

Whenever you use your credit card, keep an eye on it until it is returned to you. Always check that it's your credit card before storing it again.


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OUT ON THE TOWN

Watch your drinks being prepared and poured when you hit the clubs/bars and be wary when accepting drinks from strangers. Avoid being out on the streets late at night especially if you’re travelling solo.

 

Photos © iStock by Getty Images

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