People work hard to play hard. There are few things in life people anticipate with greater excitement than their vacations, and yet there are always unfortunate souls whose trips abroad, or even to the sun-soaked beaches to avoid the harsh cold holidays, are derailed by unforeseen calamities like blisters, dehydration, lost passports and identity theft…even the dreaded Montezuma’s Revenge!
It doesn’t have to be that way. Vacations can be safe, healthy, and carefree, even at Christmastime…with the right planning up front. Here are five easy ways to protect yourself when you’re traveling:
Pay Attention to Local Laws and Customs
One of the best ways to stay safe and healthy is to familiarize yourself with the culture and laws of your destination. What is acceptable in America can be a criminal offense elsewhere. For instance, is there a lot of crime, varying from common street crime to identity theft? It’s always best to prepare by signing up for a good identity protection service, like Lifelock, so you don’t become a victim.
How about local holiday traditions? What about religious or cultural customs? Sometimes visitors are expected to dress quite modestly. How does one summon the police or paramedics in the event of a medical crisis? Are there any stories on Internet news sources about tourists who accidently got into trouble at your destination? These are the sorts of things you should consider. Understanding legal and cultural basics can go a long way toward keeping you safe.
Learn About Where You’re Going
Every destination is different. The information you gather before leaving can make a vacation far more pleasant. For instance, is the water clean and potable? Are food preparation methods sanitary? What about the weather? Will you be traveling during hurricane or typhoon season?
Consider Common Ailments and Medical Needs
Pack an adequate supply of prescription drugs, especially if you’re traveling somewhere they might be hard to come by. Common ailments in almost any locale include motion sickness, diarrhea, sunburn, insect bites, allergy flare-ups, and minor cuts and scrapes. Pack a practical first aid kid, with bandages and antibiotic ointment, bug repellant, antihistamines, sunblock, anti-diarrhea medication, and motion sickness tablets. If you have a spare pair of prescription contacts or eyeglasses, bring them.
There are lots of ways to get the moisture that a body needs. According to Long Island Newsday.com, there are conventional methods (carry a water bottle—preferably stainless steel or BPA-free recycled plastic—that can be refilled as needed) and unusual ones (munch on some local fruits and vegetables and get a taste of another culture while you’re at it). Don’t forget to take in enough fluids. Passing out or being hospitalized for dehydration is no picnic.
Be Kind to Yourself
Pack light so you don’t have to lug around heavy bags. Don’t pack unnecessary items—if you’re going to a hotel that will provide shampoo and soap, then don’t bring your own. Work out and get in shape before the trip, so you can take walking tours or ride bikes without developing blisters or straining muscles. Try to stay in tip-top physical condition, and take all the time you like to explore and relax in your destination.
Adequate preparation and mindfulness of one’s surroundings are the key to a safe and healthy holiday and vacation experience. Saving money can also offer peace of mind as well. Instead of shelling out more money than needed, visit Retail Me Not’s site and find great discounted savings on products and services from companies like LifeLock, JetBlue or Target. If you are mindful and wish to take preventative action, you can follow these simple steps and make that hard-won vacation pay off in good times and great memories.
Author: Lewis Fonner Lewis specializes in travel writing and hopes to spend his future retirement abroad. At the top of his list are Vietnam, Moscow, and Egypt.