Are you planning that long-awaited, expensive trip to your bucket list destination!
First…Congratulations! Whoot….let’s celebrate.
Second, now is the time to get serious about your health. I know…I know…you probably take your vitamins on time and stay away from sick people until the very day you leave, but those are not the important steps to stay healthy while you travel.
You have probably read tons of articles that tell you to do foot movements on the airplane, drink plenty of water, and wipe down seats…but none of that will keep your vacation from being ruined by lack of healthcare planning.
Really…here are the things you need to be doing to make the most of your health BEFORE you step one toe on the plane:
- Workout Out Now! Most people plan a wonderful trip without considering that the average person increases their step count while on vacation by more than 10,000 steps a day. You might climb up mountains or walk for miles down crowded streets. If your body and your feet are not accustomed to the extra milage, then you will end up with ziplock bags of hotel ice on your toes to fight off the swelling and blisters. Gradually increasing your step count everyday (especially if you sit in a chair all day at work!) will help your feet get used to the extra walking!
- Buy Good Shoes. I know…you probably are thinking that you have great shoes. Some heels, some pumps, some tennis shoes. If you are planning a vacation that requires walking, climbing, or generally using your feet in anyway, then you need shoes that are professionally measured for your feet and fitted to your activity level. Although $140 might seem like quite a bit to spend on sports shoes, think about what it will cost you to miss out on portions of your trip because your feet are killing you!
- Visit the Doctor. Even though you might not need to get vaccinations or shots for your destination, you should always plan a visit to your doctor before you leave to update health records, get a general physical, and obtain new prescriptions. At the very least, this visit can serve as a baseline for your health should you need your records while you are on your trip or immediately upon return. Giving your doctor advanced notice of your travel plans might yield suggestions for staying healthy that only a doctor knows!
- Adjust Your Sleep Patterns. Most people wait to adjust their sleep patterns until the day they arrive in their new destination. Frequently known as jet lag, you can easily make small adjustments ahead of time to account for the time shift. Also, think about the things you need to sleep while on your trip. If you are going to a place where it is never dark at 10 pm, then a sleep mask might be high on your list. Give your body a break and skip the exhaustion by pre-planning to sleep.
- If You Need It, You Need Extra. Most people plan to take enough medication for the time they will be away. What happens if you get to your destination and suddenly your bags are not with you or your important medication is stolen at the airport (or hotel)? Keeping a second stash of vital medications can help your vacation stay on track and keep you out of a local pharmacy trying to explain allergy eye drops in another language.
The things that we do not plan for are often the things that hit our health the hardest. Of course, we do not plan to be sick during our travels, but the one extra hint would be to check in with your health insurance to make sure that you understand coverage and necessary paperwork/cards needed in case you are taken ill or sustain an injury while traveling. If your health coverage is not enough, then you might want to consider extra travel insurance.
Now that you are ready to travel… go in good health!