Travelling can be a meaningful, enjoyable and memorable experience for all the right reasons. Yet sometimes it is possible that we start to feel a little under the weather. It can be hard to stay healthy when relocating to another country as there are so many other preoccupations. Multiply that with travelling and suddenly, you find yourself bed-ridden. However, there are some preventative measures you can take and here is a list of our top ten tricks to stay healthy whilst on the road.
It may sound obvious but when we are in the middle of a full bout of wanderlust, we often forget certain protocol that we would never abandon in ‘real life’. That means staying away from street food that may look tempting but does not practice effective hygiene. This advice does not mean you have to miss out on trying some local delicacies but exercise caution and common sense. It also goes without saying that washing your hands should take priority. If there are no facilities available, buy some antibacterial hand gel as a safety net. It also makes sense to wash your hands after using public transport as it can be a hotbed for germs.
Watch your water
Again, it sounds like common sense but it is wise not to drink anything that has not been purified. In slightly more upscale restaurants, there should be no need to worry but when you are on the road, it is best to only drink out of a bottle or can. It is also a good idea to leave out the ice, no matter how hot it is. It might seem refreshing at the time but you could regret it later. Watch out for beer bottles that arrive already opened too. The beauty of travelling around Asia is trying exotic fruits and juices but again keep an eye out for the water supply. It might be handy to have a bottle of water on hand to rinse off the fruit and try to steer clear of vendors who have ice from an unknown source.
Nobody knows your body better than you do, so if spicy food is likely to give you a stomach ache, it might be a good idea to steer clear. When you are first adjusting to a new climate or atmosphere, try to keep it simple. Sticking to rice and plain foods for the first couple of days might sound boring, but it means that your digestive system quickly gets used to new flavors and cooking styles. Obviously, the better cooked the food, the less likely you are to get sick. Also make sure to keep an eye out for any potential allergens in food. This may not be that obvious but if you have a coconut allergy and your food is cooked in coconut oil, you may well have a problem. If in doubt, try to find another option or ask what ingredients have been used. Dairy products are uncommon in Asia but if you find anything with dairy in it, check to see if the product has been refrigerated. If not, you might want to think again.
Try out vegetarianism for a day or two
As well as being allegedly healthier, sticking to vegetables for a few days may be a good idea whilst you are acclimatising. This does not mean you have to avoid meat entirely but if you are unsure, there are plenty of other options which still enable you to enjoy food on the go. Vegetables are far less likely to give you an upset stomach, as well as giving you an energy boost if you immune system has taken a hammering. Asian dishes usually have an array of fresh vegetables in them, and all of them are delicious. Served with rice and some spicy sauce, you can have a great meal without any of the worry that you are going to spend the next day feeling green around the gills.
A lot of people swear by probiotic supplements or herbal remedies to alleviate any symptoms before or as they happen. Carrying a supply of chamomile tea is often the salvation your stomach needs after a dodgy dish. Acidophilus pills are also quite common in helping to adjust our stomachs to new foods. Whether this may work for you or not is a question of testing it out, but it might be worth considering as you prepare for your trip. Certainly, having some anti-diarrhea pills and pain killers may be wise if you do find yourself caught out. Prevention is often better than cure, so speak to your pharmacist before travelling to see if they have any recommendations.