To be able to travel is like a dream come true for many. When most people think about traveling, they have thoughts of adventure, glamour and culture floating through their minds. It seems though, that not many wanderlusters out there are thinking about the health and safety issues that sometimes creep up during traveling. As an experienced traveler, and one that is quite paranoid about my health, I have come up with my own tips and tricks for staying safe and healthy while traveling.
Whether it's required or not to get into a certain country, you should make an effort to get all suggested vaccinations. Before I moved to China, I made sure to visit a travel doctor so that he could help me understand the risks and dangers and what I could do about them. I made sure to get a Polio vaccine as well as a Typhoid shot and all updates on my Hepatitis shots. I got a stock of anti-malarial pills just in case I traveled to any additional countries on that side of the world that may have been at risk. While the Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies vaccine were recommended, they were much too expensive for me at the time. However, after figuring out that the prices were drastically lower once I arrived in China, I made sure to get vaccinated for them both there. Getting sick while traveling just isn't worth it so if you can take any preventative measures, do it!
OK, travelers meet other travelers and while finding romance on the road is ideal for many, it can lead to disaster for some. Upon all of the hostel hookups I have witnessed and the hoards of girlfriends who have told me about love found on the road, it seems apparent to me that safe sex needs to be addressed. Keep yourself protected from STDs while meeting new people on the road and if you happen to be a traveler that already has one, make sure to let others know or use online resources to find other travelers struggling with the same thing.
Don't Forget to Exercise
It may seem simple but when people are traveling, it's easy to forget that the body needs a bit of exercise every day. Don't get caught up in sightseeing, drinking and sitting around interesting cafes for the entire length of your journey. Take some time every morning to go on a walk or a run around the city or town that you are visiting. Setting aside five or ten minutes to stretch every day is helpful as well. Once while visiting Japan, I witnessed a girl in my hostel wake up and do a series of exercises right from her bed. If she could do it, so can you.
Drink Water & Eat Properly
It's easy to forget to drink water and eat healthy foods while you are traveling. There are so many enticing restaurants and plenty of opportunities for alcohol. Have fun and enjoy the culinary creations available but don't forget to take one or two meals out of the day and make sure they are balanced and full of fruits and vegetables. Bring a reusable water bottle in your backpack to help you remember to keep hydrated and buy fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmer's market or grocery store to eat throughout the day.