Health Advocate Blog

Sidestep these vacation missteps!

Taking a vacation can give you a fresh perspective and is one of the best things you can do to reset and support your well-being. But before you go, here are a few tips to help you avoid mishaps that could ruin your much-deserved R&R!

Before your trip…

See your doctor a month prior to your trip. Get any destination-specific vaccines and medication refills.

Learn about travel safety and health alerts in your travel destination. This can include being aware of any upswings in COVID cases.

Pack prepared! Stowyour medications (enough for the whole trip, plus some extra) in your carry-on. Plan to keep your emergency contacts, doctor’s phone number, ID, insurance card, and passport with you at all times. Give someone back home your itinerary, contact information, and photocopies of your ID, passport and credit cards in case you lose them.

Prepare a first aid kit. Stock it with antibacterial wipes, bug repellent, sunscreen, bandages, anti-diarrhea and motion sickness medications, antihistamines, antiseptics and more.

During your trip…

Protect against germs. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Or, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. In developing countries, drink only bottled or purified water to avoid organisms that can cause stomach problems like diarrhea. Eat only food that is fully cooked, and avoid unwashed or unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables.

Drink water (from safe sources) frequently. Dehydration can happen quickly during flying, in hot or arid climates, or with intense exertion. This can raise your body temperature, leaving you prone to heatstroke and can dry out your nasal passages, leaving you vulnerable to airborne viruses.

Limit or avoid alcohol. Especially if you’re driving, biking, swimming, or operating a boat!

Use proper safety equipment. Wear a bike helmet, use seat belts in taxis, wear reflective clothing when walking at night, and don a lifejacket when participating in water sports.

Pay attention to what you’re doing! Talking, texting or taking photos on your phone while you’re walking can prompt a disaster like stepping into traffic, slipping beside the pool, or tripping off a trail. Plus, appearing distracted could put you at bigger risk of being the victim of a crime like pickpocketing.

Heed safety signs. Don’t swim in rough or foul waters (or when lifeguards are off duty). Stay on trails and within guardrails. In addition, always stay attuned to extreme weather alerts in the vicinity.

Check out the CDC’s lists of safety tips: