Tips for Avoiding Illness on Vacation

Don't let illness ruin your getaway. Here are tips on what to do leading up to your vacation that can help stave off sickness, plus what to do if you find yourself sick during your trip.

No one plans on getting sick on vacation. I mean, who would? Talk about a bummer!

Unfortunately, it can – and does – happen. And once you do get sick, there’s no turning back.

While preparing for your next trip, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of staving off illnesses that might come your way. There is, of course, no fool-proof way to ensure you don’t get sick, but you can definitely bend the odds in your favor. Every little bit helps.

Even if you do everything right, sickness can still strike. What if you’ve come down with something with your vacation already underway? Luckily, not all hope is lost here, either. There are ways to manage how you are feeling, and potentially salvage your getaway.

So, let’s take a look at some things you can do leading up to your vacation, plus a few tips on what to do in the event you do fall ill during your trip.

Before You Leave for Vacation

Here are a few things you can do as you’re preparing for your trip that will lessen your odds of getting sick.

Eat a Healthy Diet

side salad

They say we are what we eat – so if you want to be healthy, you should be eating healthy, too. Avoid unhealthy, processed foods when possible. Maintain a healthy diet full of fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, and less sugar. It will help your immune system operate at its best.

Stay Hydrated

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. If you’re already drinking water, think about drinking some more water. Making sure we drink enough water each day is crucial to many of our body’s functions: regulating body temperature, delivering all those nutrients from your healthy diet, keeping organs functioning properly, and more. We want to stay in tip-top shape to stave off illness!

Alcoholic Beverages in Moderation

If you indulge in alcoholic beverages, it’s important to imbibe in moderation. As it turns out, alcohol intake can kill off all that normal, healthy gut bacteria. It also compromises your immune system in general, increasing your risk of getting sick. You could be making yourself more vulnerable to bacteria and viruses.

It’s also worth noting that we are less likely to practice good hygiene when inebriated. I’m not accusing you of not washing your hands regularly or anything, but we are more likely to touch our faces, get closer to other people, and touch lots of surfaces without consciously realizing it.

Get Enough Sleep

Overhead view of man sleeping

I know that everyone is so busy all the time, but sleep is really, really important. We need adequate rest at night. It has been scientifically proven that your immune system does its best to fight sickness when you have snoozed a sufficient amount. Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to get sick – which is not what you want when you’re going on vacation.

If You Get Sick During Vacation

If you start feeling kind of icky while you’re in the middle of your getaway, there are a few things you can do to hopefully lessen the symptoms.

OTC Medications

When you travel, you should keep an emergency stash of over-the-counter medications that you know work well for you. If you get sick on vacay, now’s the time to utilize them! I wouldn’t overdo it or anything – don’t chug Nyquil and make yourself too groggy to enjoy your time – but your average acetaminophen, ibuprofen, cough drops, and even Pepto Bismol will certainly help.

Drink Plenty of Water

a water bottle on the beach
Adobe Stock

I know I already mentioned staying hydrated leading up to your trip, but replacing lost fluids when ill is extremely important. We lose fluids when we are sick. Mild to moderate dehydration can bring on muscle cramps, dizziness, constipation, headache, and other symptoms that certainly won’t help you feel any better.

Get Plenty of Rest

Our bodies need energy to fight off illness. I won’t bore you with all the science here, but it’s important to remember to get plenty of rest so your immune system can do its job. This includes getting enough sleep at night, but it also includes resting during the day, too. Take frequent breaks. You can nap if you need to, or even just sit and enjoy the scenery.

Related: Tips for Better Sleep While Traveling

Slow Down or Find Alternate Activities

lounging in a hammock on the beach

Along with resting, you need to think about slowing down on the activities if your trip is action-packed. Your body may not be able to handle the itinerary you initially planned.

No one wants to miss anything, but slowing down is going to be important. Otherwise, you may end up too ill to do anything at all. You may have to pass on an activity here and there, or find alternate, less-strenuous ones instead. Hey, relaxing in a hammock on the beach counts! You can still have fun, just at a slower pace.

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