Do you like exotic locations, outdoor sports, and finding joy in the more tucked-away corners of the world? Having adventures is a big part of what life is all about, and to ensure you have as many adventures as possible for as long as possible, here are some tips to keep you safe and healthy during your vacation.
Before embarking on your trip, visit the local travel clinic.
Destinations popular with adventurers, such as South East Asia, South America, and Africa, are home to serious diseases many travelers have no immunity against. Before going on your trip, visit your local travel clinic well in advance. A specialized doctor can teach you how to stay safe. They’ll also give you the appropriate vaccinations from a disease like malaria and yellow fever. Since some vaccines take a while to take effect, visit the clinic a month ahead of the trip.
Practice safe food hygiene.
Traveler’s Diarrhea is not an uncommon complaint! As a newcomer to your destination, your stomach may simply be unaccustomed to the local cuisine. So practice these good hygiene habits:
- Street food is tantalizing, but if you choose to imbibe, try to stick to cooked food.
- Better yet, eat food that’s been cooked right in front of you.
- Similarly, avoid fresh cold drinks unless they are bottled or canned.
- Do research on your area to learn about their tap water quality. When in doubt, drink and brush your teeth with bottled water.
- Wash your hands. Remember, you likely have no immunity to the colds in the area!
- Ask your travel clinic doctor about antibiotics such as Xifaxan (rifaximin) and how to use them.
Make sure you have travel insurance.
Even if you’re young and healthy, travel insurance is always a smart idea. Natural disasters, accidents, injuries, and even sudden political turmoil are unpredictable things that are possible, however unlikely. When something bad happens, you don’t want to be stuck paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for healthcare and evacuation. Travel insurance will give you peace of mind.
Be safe around animals and wildlife.
It may be tempting to interact with adorable animals you meet abroad, but be careful, especially if you visit an area where feral dogs and cats run free and veterinary care is uncommon. All mammals can carry rabies, which is fatal, so find medical help immediately if you get bitten or scratched by an animal. Ask your travel clinic doctor about the rabies vaccine, but even if you have it, you should seek medical treatment after an animal attack.
Bug bites are another threat you should watch out for. Not only can bug bites be annoying, in some areas, but they can also spread dangerous diseases such as dengue fever, Zika, and malaria. Bring bug spray with you when you travel and cover exposed skin.
Going to off-grid? Have an emergency plan.
Going to places less traveled by can be extremely rewarding, but adventure travel can also be riskier than conventional travel. Make sure you are well-equipped, knowledgeable, and prepared:
- Don’t be overconfident in your abilities. Even if you’re experienced with hiking in North American taiga forests, hiking in the Amazon jungle can be much riskier.
- Ask yourself whether you have the skills and knowledge for your expedition.
- Leave copies of your itinerary and important documents (passport, credit cards, etc.) with someone you trust at home.
- Figure out a way to maintain contact with people. This may mean asking someone to email or call you on the days you’ll have communication access. Extreme adventurers may want to invest in a satellite phone.
- Double-check you have the correct gear. This includes gear for sudden weather changes and potential injuries.
Have a health condition? Avoid medical tourism.
Even people with medical conditions can have a safe and happy time on an adventure. Just make sure you bring everything you need with you, including:
- Your prescription medications and doctor’s note. Some countries have extremely strict drug laws that you may want to research beforehand. Always have proof that medications are for personal use.
- The medical ID on a bracelet or on your phone with information like blood type, sex, allergies, height and weight, medications, and conditions.
Getting treatment abroad may seem tempting as it can be substantially cheaper, but this comes with risk. Not speaking the same language can yield misunderstanding, and some places simply have less developed health-care systems and lower-quality medication.
If you’re looking for cheaper prescription drugs, buy generic alternative and brand name medication from certified Canadian online pharmacy referral services like Canada Drug Warehouse. These sites link patients to vetted, licensed pharmacies abroad in countries with stricter drug price controls.
Have a safe trip!
Wherever you go, whether it’s a five-star hotel or a rugged campsite in the Andes, being sick can ruin a trip! So take the proper precautions, have peace of mind, and enjoy your trip with fewer health worries.