It is very easy to get caught up in the fun and excitement of travel. Whether you are visiting a brand new destination, or making a repeat trip to your favorite spot, the excitement can have anyone living in the moment. However, even the best laid plans can result in trouble for those who don't take all the proper precautions.
Standby remedies at home, like a healthy dose of water or bed rest, may not stand up while abroad. In some cases, even following conventional rules can result in trouble. With a little planning, preparation, and knowledge about a destination ahead of time, you can make sure you don't end up sick by accident.
Don't let your well deserved trip end with a tour of the local hospital. Be sure to avoid these five common ways to get sick as you see the world.
Drinking the local water
Those living in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe appreciate the high health standards of tap water. But not every destination enjoys the same standard of cleanliness and living.
Some developing nations do not have the infrastructure many travelers are accustomed to at home, meaning the tap water may be compromised. As a result, those who drink tap water may become sick rather quickly due to bacteria and other uncommon threats..
When traveling around the world, savvy travelers know to primarily drink from sealed bottles of water. If bottled water is not readily available, then consider traveling with a filtering water bottle.
Giving up sleep or caffeine use
Traveling to a new destination can be exhilarating. In the excitement, those on a tight schedule may not want to get sleep while they explore, leading them to do one of two things: either give up regular sleep habits entirely, or use caffeine to fight jet lag.
Traveling across time zones - especially from one continent to another - can contribute to serious jet lag. Despite this, adults still require a minimum amount of sleep in order to properly function. Cutting back on sleep won't help, as a "sleep debt" can cause fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and even drowsiness during the day.
What about the caffeine? Too much caffeine consumption can cause another set of side effects, including jitters, stomach irritability, and increased restroom stops.
Instead of giving up sleep or turning to energy drinks, you can fight jet lag through sleep management and normal caffeine. As a result, your body will slowly adjust and self-regulate better, giving you a much better experience while away from home.
Eating strange foods
Every destination has a plate they are known for. While many cultures offer foods that we've seen or are at least familiar with, we may not be quite as versed in the foods of other cultures. Have you ever tried Balut in the Philippines, or century eggs in China?
Despite their standing as local favorites, these foods (among others) can be unpleasant to the uninitiated stomach. While experiencing new cuisine is recommended while traveling, make sure to understand what you are consuming and how it ultimately may affect you before you eat. A little discretion can help you avoid a lot of discomfort and embarrassment.
Not applying sunscreen - ever
Many tourist attractions, especially those throughout Europe, are primarily outdoors. As a result, travelers have an additional problem to contend against: sunburn.
Experts recommend travelers who are spending their day outside utilize a 30 SPF sunscreen, and reapply throughout the day. Otherwise, you may have to use your travel insurance for a completely unanticipated reason: a rather bad sunburn.
Skipping the vaccinations before traveling
The tickets are purchased and your flight departs this week for an exotic location. You meant to go to a doctor to get one last checkup, but it just didn't pan out. What could possibly go wrong? Depending on the destination, everything.
Some destinations recommend having certain vaccines prior to arrival. The Centers for Disease Control maintains a list of recommended vaccinations for destinations. Having a vaccine prior to travel can make sure you don't bring home an unwanted souvenir in the form of disease.
Before you travel, it is imperative to know the hazards that lie ahead. By knowing the different ways you could get sick on the road, you can make sure an all-inclusive tour doesn't end in a doctor's care.