Five Ways You Will Get Sick When You Travel

Watch out for these subtle situations on your adventures

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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 the repeat trip to your favorite spot, there's nothing like seeing the world. However, even the best laid plans can result in trouble for those travelers who don't take proper precautions.

Standby remedies at home, like a healthy dose of water, 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, travelers can make sure they don't wind up accidentally sick while on vacation.

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. With the turn of a knob, we enjoy high-quality water without the worry of bacteria or pollutants. However, not every destination enjoys the same quality standards.

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.

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 entirely (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. Battling jet lag through sleep management and normal caffeine levels can make sure your body operates normally.

Eating strange foods

Every destination around the world has a plate they are known for. While many destinations 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 heard of 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.

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.