Medjet Update: Tips for a Safe & Healthy Trip

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By: John Gobbels
MedjetAssist VP/COO

You’ve planned and packed and you’re all ready for your trip, but you may have overlooked one of the key ingredients for a great vacation: taking the necessary steps to make sure you and your family have a safe and healthy trip.

COMMON TRAVEL AILMENTS
Motion Sickness
Motion sickness is an unpleasant problem for many travelers; however, there are some over-the-counter and prescription medications available to help with this. If you wish to combat motion sickness on your own, try the following:

When traveling by car, try to sit in the front seat and, if you can, avoid reading as it only heightens the feeling of motion sickness.

When traveling by boat, sit as close to the middle of the vessel as possible and look straight ahead at the horizon (a fixed point that will not move). Today’s high-tech cruise ships are built for comfort, with stabilizers for smooth sailing, and most passengers experience little-to-no motion sickness.

When flying, try to sit near the wing of the plane, or the side where you are accustomed to driving. Ear-plugs may also help.

Dehydration
It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of a vacation and get dehydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, and don’t wait until you feel thirsty. Avoid caffeinated drinks, which can dehydrate you even more, and limit alcohol.

Allergies
People who suffer from allergies should take the same precautions on vacation as they do at home. Bring any medications used on a regular basis. It’s a good idea to bring an antihistamine in case of accidental exposure to a substance that triggers an allergic reaction. It may also be helpful to pack your own pillowcase for use in hotels.

Arthritis
The inflammation of the joints that occurs with arthritis may be especially troubling during long trips that restrict movement. Taking frequent breaks to walk around and relieve stiff joints and muscles can make car, plane, and cruise trips more enjoyable. Remember to pack aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, or any prescription medications you normally use for arthritis.

Diarrhea
There’s nothing more miserable than getting sick while on vacation. For most destinations, the major health risk to travelers is diarrhea, which may be easily avoided. In general, common sense prevails. When in doubt, steer clear of uncooked meat, raw fruits and vegetables and unpasteurized milk products. Drink only bottled water (although the tip of the bottle may be contaminated, so wipe it clean before drinking from it) or water that has been boiled for at least 20 minutes.

FIRST AID KIT
It’s a good idea to keep a first-aid kit handy for any emergencies that may arise during your trip. It should include:

A first-aid manual Throat lozenges
Bandages, gauze and tape Anti-diarrheal medication
Scissors Motion sickness medication
Tweezers Water purification tablets
Thermometer Antacid
Antibiotic ointment Insect repellent
Antiseptic Calamine lotion
Antihistamine Cortisone cream
Aspirin Sunscreen
Cold and flu tablets Health and vaccination records

 

PERSONAL SAFETY TIPS
Work with your travel agent to get as much information as possible about the destination, especially if you will be traveling alone.

Hotels
Stay in hotels on well-traveled streets in safer areas of any city. The more expensive hotels usually have better security. Stay on lower-level floors in case of fire or other need to evacuate quickly. Avoid the first floor, as it may not be safe from burglars.

Transportation
Your travel agent can arrange for transfers from the airport or port if necessary. Taxis or private car hires are recommended as you are more insulated. Most airports, ports and train stations have areas clearly marked for taxis and car service pick-up. Do not enter any vehicle that does not have a proper license or does not pick you up from the designated area.

If you will be renting a car, get maps in advance and clearly write out the directions from the airport to your hotel. If you need to stop for directions, go to well-lit public areas. Keep the phone numbers of your destinations with you.

Keep a Low Profile
Do not discuss your travel plans or itinerary publicly. Vary your schedule if possible and vary travel routes when you can.

Maintain a low profile and dress down if possible. Leave the expensive jewelry and watches at home and do not display large amounts of cash. Look like a person of modest means and do not leave your itinerary or other sensitive business information in your hotel room.

Out and About
Keep your valuables including passports, etc., in a money belt concealed or use the hotel safe to store valuables. Keep a copy of your passport with you at all times, but separate from where you are carrying your passport. In high-risk countries it is a good idea to check in with the American Embassy and provide them with a copy of your passport in case you need to have it replaced. Pickpockets and thieves operate widely in many cities around the world, but especially near tourist attractions.

When using your credit card, keep an eye on it until it is returned to you. Always verify that it is your credit card before storing it again.

TRAVEL ASSISTANCE & INSURANCE
Finally, the best thing to keep healthy and happy while on vacation is to purchase a travel assistance membership like MedjetAssist and compliment that with a good travel insurance policy to protect your financial investment. Remember, while some travel insurance policies have limited medical benefits none of them will bring you back to your hospital of choice in your home country like a MedjetAssist membership will. Take trips, not chances. Pack your Medjet Card!

 

www.tsa.gov

http://www.travelsense.org

www.cdc.gov