Travel Wellness: Plan and Be Happy

As you pack for your summer vacation, there are a number of extras you should consider sticking in your luggage and other preparations you should consider prior to getting on the road, in the air, or boarding your cruise.

If traveling abroad, be sure to investigate recommended vaccinations for the country or region you are visiting. Your PCP or an infectious disease specialist can guide you and offer suggested protection. They may even provide antibiotics “for the road,” if needed.

The last things you want to struggle with anywhere (especially while vacationing in a foreign land) are stomach ailments. These are very common, and travelers are more susceptible in areas that don’t share our highly regulated standards for water sources and purity. Know when it’s safe to “drink the water,” which includes ice cubes in your beverages, fountain drinks that use local water, and in warm beverages which may never get hot enough to kill bacteria.  In questionable areas, you should also avoid tap water for rinsing your mouth while brushing your teeth. Additionally, you may have to avoid or use extra caution when eating locally grown vegetables and fruit that are washed in local water.

Bring medicines with you. We’re spoiled in the U.S. with multiple pharmacies nearby and a plethora of medications available in supermarkets and mini marts. In other countries, many of the medicines we take for granted, like over-the-counter antacids and heartburn remedies, nausea medicine, cold and flu options, antihistamines, decongestants, hydrocortisone creams, and traditional painkillers may be hard to find or unavailable outside of a hospital or clinic, especially outside of a city.

Don’t count on being able to refill your prescriptions easily. Anticipate what you’re going to need for the time you’re away, and get enough to carry you. Many pharmacies will allow you to take extra meds beyond your 30-day standard dose with a second prescription from your physician, but don’t wait for the last minute. If you’re asthmatic and use an inhaler, or require an EpiPen in case of allergic reactions, plan in advance. It’s also smart to have every medicine you are taking written down – both name and dose – in case you end up needing medical care.

Smart travel wellness extends beyond food choices and medication preparedness, no matter where you vacation. It’s important to listen to your body’s natural rhythms when it comes to sleep and physical activity. There’s always more to see and do than there is time, but when you overextend yourself for prolonged periods, your natural immunities and protections may be compromised, and you’re more likely to get sick or sustain an injury.

Common sense continues to be your best guide. Use sunscreen, wear hats, and use insect repellants.  If you’re riding a bike or motorized bike, wear a helmet. Use seatbelts in cars and taxis, just like you would at home.

Be smart, use your head, plan wisely, and have a great time!


Be sure to check out the CBIA Healthy Connections wellness program at your company’s next renewal. Employees in this program have access to tools and information that can help improve their overall physical and mental well-being. The program is free to both you and your employees as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!