Staying healthy on your journey

January 31, 2013

Travel

One of the most important aspects of daily life you need to prepare for when embarking on any journey is your health. Even if you are perfectly fit, exercise regularly, and eat well, you must prepare for all possibilities. Accidents happen, foreign foods leave your stomach unsettled, and after awhile, the psychological effects of travel add up.

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Use the following tips to prepare yourself and ensure that whatever comes up on the road, you will be ready for it – or at least know where to find someone who can help you.

Stock up on prescription drugs, especially if you’re on an open-ended trip. This is key if you are on a long-term prescription, such as birth control. While various brands are available over the counter for quite cheap, it is less available in certain places and you absolutely want to be protected while you’re on the road.

Speaking of protection, you may want to stock up on condoms as well. If you’re traveling in Asia, popular condom brands can be difficult to find and local brands tend to be of the smaller variety, which can prove problematic.

Depending on your pace when traveling, it can be difficult to maintain a regular exercise schedule, and to keep track of what you’re eating. It’s essential to get some exercise each day, to not only stay fit but also for your psychological well-being. While indulging in local fare is part of the fun of traveling, make sure you’re keeping a relatively balanced diet, lest all the indulging leaves you feeling sluggish and irritable.

Mental health is just as important – if not more so – than your physical health. Traveling for long periods of time, living completely outside your comfort zone, being away from familiar faces, all of these can take a toll on your psyche.

Depression can also take hold on a trip, and become aggravated by the fact that you’re in a foreign place, unsure of what resources are available and feel unmoored so far from home. Research the types of mental health facilities available where you’re going in advance, and find out about the availability of counseling and medication. In countries such as Thailand, medications such as Xanax are available over the counter, though it is preferable to find a doctor who can advise you on the proper meds and doses for your circumstances.

In some cities, Western hospitals offer some psychological services. But in more remote parts of the world, it helps to have the contact information of a therapist who offers Skype sessions, in case you find yourself adrift and in need of therapy.

Being prepared to attend to your physical, psychological and emotional health while traveling relieves you of that stress and gives you peace of mind as you embark on your journey. And it will allow you to keep your cool if and when the situation turns dire.

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