Staying Healthy On Your Holiday
The last thing you want to do on your holiday is waste any time being rendered out of action because you are sick.
Trust me, I would know, given that I spent 2 of my 3 days in Athens bed-ridden with the worst case of stomach upsets. What was the cause? Who knows! The long plane ride over could have been the culprit or maybe even the sudden change in temperature – another hundred reasons could be to blame! It’s only natural that everyone always talks about the great things about going on holiday – sickness is rarely discussed.
Simple Advice For Healthy Holiday Travel
That all said, here are some simple things you can do to stay happy and healthy all holiday long. Regardless of your age and current health status, you will want to look into:
Your In Transit Details
So, you read about my nightmare experience in Athens – take my word of advice and make sure you drink plenty of fluids on your plane ride over. Get up every now and again to exercise your muscles and to avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It’s best to see your doctor before your trip to discuss anything you are worried about (for example, motion sickness or jet lag).
Regardless of whether you are going to a warmer or cooler climate, your body will need time to adjust to the sudden change in environment. If you are going to a location where it will be winter, you could be at risk of catching influenza (or the flu) so investigate whether that particular area has had a breakout recently. It’s also in your best interest to visit your doctor to get the flu vaccination before leaving.
Your Daily Schedule
If you are used to a standard desk job where you sit most of the day and you plan to be doing a lot more physical activity on your holiday, it’s wise to build up your fitness before you depart. Whether that means going to the gym or exercising at home, it will make for less of a shock to your system once your holiday begins.
What You Won’t Be Able to Find Overseas
In certain countries, you won’t be able to find the products that are readily available to you in your local area at home. For any necessities that you just can’t live without, you will want to have a back-up plan if you simply can’t find these items abroad, or be sure to add them to your packing list before departure.
Medications Currently Taking
If you do require regular medications, you need to prepare yourself before leaving – here’s a checklist of things to consider:
Do I have enough medication to last me through the trip?
Is my medication allowed in the country I am going to? Keep in mind, your medicine may be classed as being illegal in the area you are visiting.
Do I have a letter from the doctor setting out what the medication is, how much I will require and stating that it is for my personal use only.
Even though its packaging may be bulky, do not take your medicine out of its original packaging as the label (with your name and dosage instructions) is essential in providing authorities with information they may deem necessary.
The Food and Water at Your Destination(s)
Before heading off on your dream trip, check whether the quality of food and water wherever you are going is poor. Eating or drinking anything dodgy could see you struck down with infections such as;
- Hepatitis A and B
If you know the local tap water isn’t safe, use bottled water to drink and brush your teeth with. Be wary of the ice going into your drinks and try to avoid uncooked food and any fruit that you can’t peel.
What Happens if I Get Sick While Overseas?
For Australian Citizens
Okay, so, if things don’t go to plan and you do get sick, it’s not the end of the world. Firstly, it’s important that you are aware that private health insurance coverage will not cover you for overseas travel: the policy only applies while you are in Australia!
The Australian government has a reciprocal health care agreement with the following countries:
Republic of Ireland
In other words, if you are in any of these countries and require care, you will be able to access basic medical treatments just as you would here in Australia if you went to a public hospital. Essential treatments will either be covered or, you will receive a portion of out-of-pocket expenses back as a rebate.
Should you need medical treatment in any other country you will need to find alternative ways to cover your health care expenses. If you are reading this now and know that traveling is definitely on your to-do list, it certainly benefits you to do some forward planning. A number of private health insurance funds allow their customers to suspend their insurance while they are traveling. With this, just keep in mind that certain funds have a minimum amount of time that you need to have been with the fund for before you are eligible to take advantage of this. This varies from one day to one year.
If you know that traveling is definitely ahead of you, it benefits you to opt into one of these health insurance providers because while you are away, you won’t have to pay what you usually would for your policy. Once you return from holiday, your coverage will resume as per normal.
When doing your homework, you will also find that certain private health insurance providers offer discount travel insurance rates to their members.
Planning ahead for whatever life may throw at you while you holiday, allows you to focus on the important things… like what delicious food you will be trying, what fantastic sights you will be taking in and so on. If you’ are based outside of Australia, you will need to investigate the policies that govern your country. Want to read more about maintaining your health while overseas? You can do so here.
Sarah works as Communications Manager for HelpMeChoose.com.au, one of Australia’s leading insurance and home loan comparison services.
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