A hale and hearty holiday!

December 25, 2009

With the holidays around the corner, everyone’s packing their bags to go on a much-awaited and surely well-deserved vacation.

How do you make sure your dream vacation doesn’t stink?

Travel tips aren’t very complicated; most of them follow from common sense.

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  • Beat the airplane blues: If, when flying, your ears start paining, try to swallow more often. Chewing gum also helps. To avoid leg cramps after a long flight, stretch your calf muscles often and stand up once in a while.
  • Wash your hands often: Either that or keep hand wipes and hand sanitizers in your handbag. Most infections are caught by touching dirty objects, especially in toilets, when petting an animal or when using public transport.  Never share your toothbrush or your towel with anyone. Currency notes too change a lot of hands and you never know where they’ve been. So make sure you wash your hands before (and after) you eat. Also, keep your nails short and clean them whenever you get the chance.
  • Dodge urinary tract infection: Pee whenever you need to, don’t be scared of using the public toilets! When you’re on vacation you can’t help but use public toilets. Avoid sitting on the seats though, or make use toilet seat covers. Keep drinking plenty of water to avoid urinary infection.
  • Keep away from the summer sun: In warmer climes it is best to wear light and airy clothing. Avoid synthetics in such places. Cottons are also perfect because they dry quicker than synthetic mixes. Use sunscreen liberally and wear sunglasses. Cover your head with a cap or scarf.
  • Layer up in winter: In cold countries, it is advisable to wear big jackets and plenty of warm layers. Don’t forget your socks and mufflers.
  • Bring all your medicines: Always carry a first aid kit in your bag. Make a list of the medicines you will need and make sure you carry enough of each. You may want to carry a little extra just to be on the safe side, in case your trip gets delayed. If you’re going to a country in a different time zone, consult your doctor about how this may affect the time and dosage of the medication.
  • Check for medication you may need: It is best to get a full medical checkup before leaving. Find out if you need any new medicines, immunization shots or vaccinations before going to a new place. Vaccines could protect you from Hepatitis, Influenza, Polio, Rabies, Meningococcal meningitis, Measles-mumps-rubella, Tetanus, Typhoid, or even Yellow fever.
  • Carry emergency information: If you suffer from diabetes or epilepsy, or have a serious heart problem, carry a notification of the same in your wallet. On it, write down the name and number of your doctor in case of an emergency. A list of the medication you’re taking may also come handy.
  • Eat cautiously: Part of the charm of a holiday is the novelty food. Yet, you need to tread carefully if you want to steer clear of diarrhea. Opt for well cooked food, preferably not from the streets. Check seals on water bottles before you buy them, or buy soda.

Traveling can be very relaxing, rewarding and rejuvenating if you only prepare for it. Do your research well in advance about your dream destination’s climate, places to see and ways to get around. That little extra effort will bridge the gap between an ordinary holiday and a dream vacation.

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