Why does your body always give out when on holidays? It succumbs to a case of runny rear, or a head cold from the guy in the seat next to you on the plane to you that just had to sneeze, cough and splutter all the way through the flight. Or, you forgot to put on the mozzie spray in a dengue-plagued area of Asia, preferring to smell sweet with perfume, which actually attracts mosquitoes.
Or, your brain goes on holiday as well and you do everything that you wouldn't dream of partaking of when at home; like swimming when you are drunk in an ocean you do not know, riding a motor bike sans helmet, drinking yourself silly when you are totally dehydrated to begin with. It isn't that next Mai-Thai your body is craving; it is water and clean water at that. Or, skiing that irresistible powdery snow covered slope, forgetting that you have bad knees and are not invincible.
1. Ground Rules For Tripping
You have a brain so use it. Whatever you wouldn't do at home, meaning risky business, don't do in a foreign country, as the result will be the same or worse.
2. Wash Your Hands
My mother always said that cleanliness is next to Godliness, like every other mum out there. For once take notice, as it may just keep you out of some far-flung so-called medical centre. If you carry hand sanitizer and actually use it, just packing it won't work. You must put it in the bag that you plan to take everywhere with you.
Remember you are old enough not to put your fingers/hands near your orifices, which are virus highways to your system. If travelling with children, become their worst nightmare and hound this into them prior to leaving home. Picking their nose and chewing it is unacceptable behaviour in any civilised country. Just don't let on if you are in a third world country, as spitting, hacking and picking seem to be acceptable behaviour in many cultures.
3. Boost Your Immune System
Pop those pills, vitamins that is, to give your body a fighting chance. Do it and create a habit prior to going on holidays and maintain the morning ritual of downing a few at breakfast during the holiday. Multivitamins and a separate Vitamin C just for some extra protection will put your body in the right frame of mind to fight any nasties that may be attracted to you.
4. Water, Water And More Water
If you are not peeing enough, then you are not drinking enough. Carry rehydration sachets with you no matter where you go. Buy a small bottle of sealed water and empty a sachet into it and then you are set for the day. Males are supposedly meant to drink about 3 litres of water per day and females, 2.2 litres.
But we all know sometimes, water just doesn't do it for us. So for every glass of alcohol, have a glass of water, even soda water will do if you like the feel of the bubbles up your nose. Just remember overindulgence of carbonated water may cause you to have gas problems from both ends, if you are not used to it in large quantities.
Other water rules - not referring to swimming here:
- No ice unless it is made from purified water
- Bottled water only and make sure the seal is intact
- Do not drink from the container - you have no idea where it has been stored or at least wipe the lip first and not with a dirty cloth
- When you clean your teeth use bottled water for this purpose
- Don’t swallow or gargle water in the shower
- Don't swim in dirty water with an open wound
Back on the ice issue, it may originally have been made from purified water but especially in Asia, the local restaurant may have stored raw fish or meat on top of the ice which they have then put in your drink..........same effect, yuk for your system.
5. When The Munchies Hit You
Eating whilst away, especially if you are a bit of a foodie, is always a highlight of any holiday. My rule of thumb is, if there is not a high turnover at a restaurant or a street vendor's cart, do not eat there. The higher the turnover, the fresher the ingredients will be. Local restaurants in or around produce markets are generally serving amazing fresh food. If you can't wash it with clean water, peel it or cook it and eat it piping hot, then don't put it in your mouth.
Street food can be amazing and fresh, but only if you hit the vendors where people are clamouring for their food. Eating where and with the locals can end up being not just a culinary experience, but also a cultural and entertaining one as well. Have an open mind about trying different and exotic foods; you can always spit it out if your taste buds rebel.
If you have time go for a wander through a local market, actually see what foods are local and therefore fresh. Or, if there is a side alley that a restaurant kitchen opens onto, peek in and see how clean the place is, before choosing your dining option. And, use that hand sanitizer in your bag prior to eating.
6. Travel Exhaustion
Nana naps are the holiday luxury that will keep you going for that next adventure. If you are tired, sleep. There is no deadline; your time is your own, unless you have the family mob in tow. And even then, enforce a family quiet time, it will make for happier kids when they have to sit and eat at a later hour than normal.
7. Dress Code
Before you pack all and sundry, including the kitchen sink, just remember at some point you may have to carry your own bag. Also, remember you can normally buy any dire necessity that you may have forgotten. I still have a terrible habit of taking one good outfit in case of meeting royalty, but that indulgence is slowly being dispensed with.
Make sure that you research the climate and don't forget the dress culture of your holiday destination and pack accordingly with the bare minimum of items. Hotels always have laundry service and failing that, pretend you have gone native and throw your clothes on the shower floor. Whilst showering, stomp on your clothes and make sure you use plenty of soap.
A little tidbit of knowledge from when I was staying in game lodges in South Africa, the one thing that they will not wash is ladies underwear! So to all the females, if you are not prepared to wash your own, go sans undies, as it is healthier in the heat anyway.
8. Block Out The Sun
We all need our vitamin D from the sun's healthy rays but like all good things, take it in small doses. There is nothing attractive about lobster red skin or a peeling blistered back.
The iconic skin cancer campaign run by the Australian Government in the 80's of "slip, slop, slap" is not referring to some kinky sex game. Sun protection is the topic, whereby you should "slip on a top, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat" and it is still the most applicable slogan for sun protection.
9. See Your Doctor
The minute you book your holiday, continue in the same vein of enthusiasm and make an appointment to see your local doctor. Maybe make it your annual checkup time, where he or she can prod and poke every part of you to ensure that there are no underlying nasty surprises lurking the minute you exert yourself on that snowboard or pulling in that big fish.
If you take medication on a regular basis, make sure you have enough to last the whole time you are away on vacation and as a precautionary measure, take an extra prescription with you. The customs officer at the airport checking out your drugs might be suitably impressed if you have it.
If you are going to places that are renowned for nasty diseases, make sure you get the right vaccinations prior to leaving. Some inoculations require quite a lengthy time period, so this is a priority in the planning stages to take into account.
10. A Case Of Windy Belly When Flying?
Eat foods like nuts and whole-wheat products as they are overflowing with magnesium, which supposedly relaxes the muscles in your stomach. Hence you will not have a problem with bloating, cramps or escaping gas, as you can't blame the dog when you are sitting in a plane.
11. Be Responsible
If you are an adult, then act like one. If you are a child or a budding adult, listen to your parents or whoever is traveling with you. Remember where your passport, wallet and watch are, yes that was aimed at the male species. Don't lose your tickets or itinerary and carry in a separate place from the originals, copies of everything important, especially your passport.
Don't put all your money and credit/debit cards in one wallet. Take two and keep them separate. Label your luggage and take a photograph of it before you leave home. And please, if you are traveling as a family, count your children and make sure you don't leave any behind. Lastly, but very important for responsible travellers, is to take out travel insurance that allows you to be medi-vac'ed home in an emergency.
Remember the saying, "prior planning prevents poor performance"
So, if you intend taking a dip in a piranha infested river or cooling off in that animal drinking hole in South Africa, make sure you pack cast iron undies to protect your private parts.
Above all, smile and have fun, it's your holiday.