Traveling can be an adventure. There’s a lot to keep in mind
when you want to make sure that you’re traveling safely, while also staying healthy.
Whether you’re going one state over or an entire ocean over, there’s
preparation that needs to be made to keep you happy and healthy while
When you’re traveling domestically, there are a few things
that you should always keep in mind. You’ll want to make sure that you’re
prepared should an emergency arise, and that you’ve got everything you need to stay
healthy while traveling.
When traveling, it’s always a good idea to bring along a
medicine kit of things you may need. This is especially true if you’re planning
on physical activities, like camping or hiking. A well-stocked medicine kit for
domestic travel will include:
- any medicine you need to take on a regular basis
for preexisting medical conditions
- pain relievers such as ibuprophen or Advil
- topical antibiotic such as Neosporin
- medications like Pepto-Bismol to treat upset
- band aids, gauze, and first aid kit essentials
- epinephrine injectors, if you or someone you’re
traveling with has a history of severe allergic reaction
- medications for issues like seasickness or
If your medication needs to be kept cool or cold, ask your
doctor if you can bring it in a travel-size cooler.
Case of Emergencies
You’ll always want to travel with your insurance ID card and
your license (or a valid form of ID) at all times in case of emergencies. It’s
also a good idea to add an in case of emergency (ICE) number to your phone. If
you have a medical bracelet, wear it when traveling.
When you travel internationally, there are extra steps that
need to be taken to ensure a safe and healthy travel experience. These include
a better-stocked medicine kit and vaccinations.
When traveling to other countries — and particularly when
traveling to other continents — you’ll want to consult your doctor about the
vaccinations you’ll need.
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend making an appointment
with your doctor or a travel clinic at a minimum of four to six weeks before
any international travel. This allows you to complete any vaccination series
necessary and gives your body enough time to build up immunity.
Before international travel, make sure you’re up-to-date both
with regular vaccines (like tetanus shots) and have all the necessary vaccines
for where you’ll be traveling.
When traveling to some countries, it’s recommended to get
different vaccines that United States residents would not normally receive. Whether
you need them may depend on different factors like your current medical
conditions, age, and your risk of infection.
Examples of these additional vaccines include those that
- typhoid fever
- Japanese encephalitis
- meningococcal disease
- yellow fever (endemic in tropical areas in
Africa and Latin America)
Some countries require proof of a yellow fever vaccine,
which comes in the the form of a stamped certificate. This vaccine can only be
given from registered providers, and it is required that the vaccine be given
10 days before travel.
Taking a medicine kit with you during international travel
can be incredibly helpful. Medicine kits for international travel should
contain everything a medicine kit for domestic travel has, and then some.
When you discuss vaccinations with your doctor, you also
want to ask about medications that may be needed for where you’re going. Your
doctor may recommend taking certain medications with you, depending on the
country. Examples include malaria medication or antibiotics for infection, just
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
It’s always important to remember that preexisting medical
conditions don’t go away just because you’re on vacation. Any restrictions,
diets, precautions, or medications that you’re on in your day-to-day life apply
when you’re traveling, too. People with asthma might not want to go to areas
with a lot of pollution, and people with diabetes shouldn’t be eating pastries
for every meal.
When you’re traveling, it’s easy to let a healthy diet
slide, whether you’ve got medical restrictions or not. Road trips are often
accompanied by brief stops at fast food restaurants and bags of chips for the
drive. It also makes sense that travelers will want to indulge in the local
cuisine, leading to more “cheat days.”
To help keep a healthier diet while traveling, pack
healthier snacks like mixed nuts or dried fruit. Drink water instead of soda.
Try to plan meals ahead or pack something healthier instead of stopping for
Once you’re at your destination, try to opt for as many
healthy options as you can when dining out, and eat unhealthier foods in
moderation. Stick to medically necessary diets as much as possible.
In addition to eating healthfully, it’s also important to
get exercise while traveling. Most big name hotels in the United States have
gyms you can use. When possible, walk around an area instead of driving or
taking a tour bus. This allows you to both explore the area and get plenty of
Travel insurance seems like an afterthought to many, but it could
be really helpful if you need it while traveling. It can cover a variety of
costs, including medical expenses.
Some important things travel insurance can cover include:
- medical expenses
- loss of traveling equipment
- legal expenses
Travel insurance is not required for travelers, but since
medical care outside of the United States can be expensive (with some insurance
companies not covering much outside of your state or overseas), it can be a
worthwhile investment. It’s a particularly good idea if you’re traveling
somewhere where you’re more likely to be injured or fall ill.
Traveling with Minors and Infants
Traveling with minors and infants can add an additional layer
of stress onto an already stressful situation. Extra precaution and
preparations should be made when traveling with infants and minors.
Infants and young children, who have weaker immune systems,
may have greater health risks in other countries. According to the CDC, the most common
illness children experience from traveling is diarrhea. This can best be
prevented in infants by breast-feeding, and children of all ages should follow
basic food and water precautions. Food should be cooked and served hot, and
children should drink clean water. You can bring bottled water if possible or
Children should always ride in age-appropriate car seats to
prevent injury. Parents should watch children carefully around bodies of water
to prevent drowning.
Children may need different vaccinations than adults, so
consult your doctor as soon as possible before traveling, with a minimum of four
to six weeks before travel.
How to Deal with Travel Stress
Traveling is stressful under the best conditions. Being
prepared, both in supplies and planning, can help reduce this stress immensely.
For example, having a prepared medicine kit and traveler’s insurance provides
some peace of mind and a solution if something goes wrong.
The best way to deal with traveling stress is to have a plan
that’s ready for things to go a bit awry. Plan extra time in case
transportation gets delayed, and know that you might not make every item on
your agenda. Have Google maps downloaded on your phone, and have a physical map
of your city and country just in case. Make sure you have enough time to rest,
and come prepared with sleeping aids if you think you’ll need it. Staying
healthy and getting enough rest is crucial to fighting stress and staying alert
Traveling can be stressful, but there are steps you can take
in order to have a safe and healthy travel experience. By being prepared with
medicine kits, the necessary vaccinations, traveler’s insurance, and a plan for
traveling healthy and stress-free, you’ll be able to enjoy the experience and
stay healthy while you do.