Since traveling takes both your time and hard-earned money, it is always best to be prepared when the vacation rolls around. Travel health is not necessarily whether or not you can hike up a tall mountain or walk over miles of cobblestones, but what about the documents you need to get to your destination? What packing tips can attribute to helping take care of your well-being and in the event of a medical situation? Do you need medical insurance? Here is a list of items that will help to ensure that you are optimizing your travel health so that your travels can run as smoothly as possible. Do not let these mishaps cost you lost time or money.
Tips to Ensuring Your Travel Health
Guard Your Passport- Never pack your passport away in your luggage. Make sure it is in your possession at all times and be cautious when handing it to airport personnel; keep your eyes on it at all times. Many are stolen from airports (Florida especially) as US passports sell for big money. If your passport is compromised, notify the local police as well as the nearest consulate or embassy.
Copy Everything- Always make a copy of your travel documents including passports, traveler’s checks, credit cards, and visas. Keep one copy with you and give the other copy to your travel mate or put away for safekeeping. I always send a copy of my airline reservation, itineraries, and passport information to a family member that is staying at home in the event of emergency.
Keep Your Passport Up To Date- Make sure you have at least 90 days left before your passport expires before leaving the country. If you are obtaining a passport for the first time, for US residents, first of all, good for you. You will need a certified copy of your birth certificate, photo ID, 2×2 color head shot (photograph), and completed passport form. You may apply at a Federal or State courthouse or at the State Department Passport Agency. Obtain your passport 3-6 months before it will be needed.
If you have health problems, bring a letter from your doctor detailing your medical condition that includes your name, address, emergency contact, blood type, medical history, insurance company, current medications (with dosage/name/quantity), list of allergies, and list of immunizations with dates.
Never travel with your prescription drugs anywhere but in your immediate reach; never put them in your checked baggage. Prescription medicines should be kept in the original bottles with the pharmacy labels on them and must be issued to the person carrying them. It is also a good idea to know the generic name for any brand prescriptions in the event that you would need to have them filled abroad.
Always prepare for inclement weather. Carrying an umbrella, raincoat, jacket, and hat are always advisable.
Plan your wardrobe around a single color scheme and opt for items that can be mixed and matched, paired together and switched around for optimum use. Wrinkle resistant fabrics are great for packing. Travelsmith is a great company that offers lightweight, packable travel clothing.
Do not overpack. This is much easier said than done but make sure you leave a little extra room in your suitcase for any souvenirs you might buy. You also need to be able to manage the weight of your suitcase by yourself in the event that a porter is not available. I recommend luggage with wheels.
Always pack bottles or containers of liquids in plastic storage bags to ensure that your clothing is not damaged should the items leak or burst.
Buy sample or travel size toiletries to cut down on space.
Label your baggage and carry-ons with your name, phone number, and email address. I learned this the hard way, but by having a tag on your carry-ons, someone can try to return them should you leave or forget them somewhere. Be sure to remove any old tags and stickers from your luggage. Consider tying on a colored piece of fabric or keepsake to easily identify your luggage.
Leave expensive purses and jewelry at home; this makes you a target for a possible robbery. If you must take it with you, be sure to lock it in a safe when you arrive at your destination.
Consider packing a change of clothing or two in your carry-on in the event that your luggage is lost by the airline. I have traveled with people before who were smart enough to do so and we have a whole week of European cruise in the same two outfits to prove it. You could also switch an outfit or two with a traveling companion so that you both have something if one suitcase gets lost.
If you plan on drinking wine or beer somewhere other than a restaurant, pack a corkscrew or bottle opener.
It is a good idea to carry the following items since they do not take up much space and may come in handy: sewing kit, power strip for charging all your devices, moist towelettes, and hand sanitizer, plastic bags for dirty clothes, clips to hang clothing, sunscreen, insect repellent, laundry soap for hand washing.
Create a medical kit for on-the-go in a sandwich bag. Include bandaids, Tums, Tylenol, Immodium, antiseptic, antibiotic, fingernail clippers, tweezers, cotton swab or balls, and alcohol pads.
Verify with your current health care provider if you have a travel clause that will cover an injury or medical situation when abroad. You may need to purchase special insurance which would cover health expenses. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance is always a great backup plan. If you are of the Medicare age, keep in mind that this is not an option for insurance payment outside of the US.
Your trip can be much more enjoyable by insuring that these simple steps get addressed prior to traveling. Your time and money are important so be sure to care for your travel health along the way. Have a great time!
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