When some part of the country expects triple-digit temps, escaping to an overseas retreat may not be a bad idea.  Traveling exotic places around the world sounds even more exciting. You have all the tools to plan the perfect vacation with a travel agency.  However, you should be aware of the health risks that your travel agent may forget to tell you about.  No matter where you go,  there may be unexpected events that your health and safety are exposed to a hazard.   It is like playing Russian Roulette if you only focus on the itinerary without consideration for an emergency plan.   Here are checklists and suggestions for the adventure;

  1. Enroll with the US embassy or consulate through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP): Let Uncle Sam knows where you are.  It is your tax dollars that cover your track.  Please do not ignore warnings and alerts.  Know how to contact them.
  2. Consider Travelers Medical Insurance: Not the same with Travelers Insurance which only covers trip cancelation most of the time.  Looking for coverage including emergency evacuation and  Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D). Check your credit cards first. You may be covered or get the best deal through them.
  3. Talk to doctor or pharmacist to get vaccination: check if yellow fever vaccine is recommended by your destination. Look for warnings on Influenza, Zika, Hepatitis B.  Get insect repellant since there is no vaccination for Malaria or Zika. Just go to a pharmacy to save time for the vaccination. 
  4. Be food safe: Food poisoning can be life-threatening. Common symptoms are vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain and abdominal cramping. Consider travel water purifier. Depend on location, filtered water may be the only source of clean water.  If you are not sure, do not drink.  Stay hydrated with fruits. Take probiotics religiously so you have less chance to use antibiotics later on. Consult Pharmacist for travel safe probiotics.   
  5. Make your own travel medicine bag: You can purchase a pocket-size first aid kit that comes with bandages, gauze, antiseptic, and cotton-tipped applicators. But you still need separate medicine bag for your prescription medicine and over the counter medicine. Shop around pharmacy for  Antidiarrheal medication, Antihistamine Decongestant, Anti-motion sickness medication, acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen, Mild laxative, Cough suppressant/expectorant, Antacid, Anti-fungal and antibacterial ointments or creams, 1% hydrocortisone cream.  You may consult a pharmacist to get clear directions.
  6. Do not forget Vitamin & Minerals: Wherever you are, your body needs extra joule of energy to accommodate new environment away from home. Your energy level drops because your diet may not be optimal or going through the itinerary may be exhausting.  Unlike medicine bag or first aid kit,  you need to take your supplements every day so you are not missing out.  It also helps to prevent post vacation jet lag when you get home safe,  Consult Pharmacist for pharmaceutical grade multi-vitamins. Don’t be cheap when it comes to vitamins.

If traveling off the beaten path happens to be top of your bucket list, preparation for the worst and unexpected should be top priority over the itinerary.  With proper investment,  you will have the most memorable holidays ever. Just like old saying, ”Adventure may hurt you but monotony will kill you.” 

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