Health tips for summertime and anytime travel

Travel is a life-changing experience. Make sure the changes are for the better with a bit of planning and by taking some simple precautions; sunburn, bad shoes and mosquitos can ruin a trip as surely as losing your cash and credit cards.

(image via wikimedia/Chadi Saad)

SAN DIEGO, August 15, 2017 — Summertime is travel time for most Americans. Whether you travel abroad, across the country, or plan a staycation to enjoy more local sites, staying healthy is a top priority.

(image via flickr/Dylan Ashe)

One of the benefits of taking a vacation is breaking free from the daily grind of everyday life. Exploring new locales lets us discover new sights, sounds, tastes and smells. These stimulate the senses and open the mind to new experiences. Meeting new people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, hearing new languages and dialects, experiencing new customs and lifestyles all provide experiences that are invaluable for personal growth.

To make the most of all the benefits of travel, it is important to stay healthy and alert. The simple things can make all the difference between a dream vacation and a travel nightmare.

Start each day with a healthful breakfast. This supports the physical and mental vitality needed to enjoy every moment. Carry healthy snacks like nuts and dried fruits to avoid hunger and keep your energy up.

Keep active: Climb stairways and walk pathways to bus stops, railways and exciting places you want to explore. You’ll see and experience more when you walk rather than ride around a new city. Remember to wear well-fitting, comfortable shoes which are matched to your expected needs. Make sure that you use them before you go so that they’re broken in. They will make all the difference between and enjoyable and a painful vacation.

Dress appropriately for the conditions and environment being visited, choosing easy to pack and low-maintenance clothes. You’ve heard it a thousand times, but layering is key to avoid packing bulky, cold-weather clothing and keeping comfortable as temperatures change.

(image via maxpixel)

Wear sunscreen and sun protective clothing and hats for sun safety. A white t-shirt offers about as much protection from the sun as bare skin. This isn’t advice just for the beach or the tropics; high altitudes are brutal for UV exposure.

Carry a water bottle for hydration and to provide safety from untested water sources. You’ll need a lot more water if you’re hiking in the Grand Canyon than if you’re hiking in the Alps. Pay careful attention to water advisories in places like national parks. If a sign says you need a quart of water to complete a hike, take two.

The world is a germy place. Don’t be afraid to touch it, but carry a small bottle of waterless hand sanitizer and be sure to apply it before and after meals.

Check for travel advisories before you go anywhere. These aren’t just to help you avoid hotspots of political instability and crime; they also cover weather and other safety conditions.

If you plan a trip abroad, be certain that all your immunizations are up to date and appropriate for the planned destination. Talk to your family doctor about hepatitis vaccinations and medications for illnesses you might encounter.

Consider contacting the consulates for the country you’ll visit for news about issues that might affect your safety, and also information about holidays, festivals and unusual sights that might enhance your experience.

Consider mosquito and insect repellent. These are important if you’re heading to the tropics, but also if you head north. The mosquitos in Alaska and Siberia are among the largest, most savage and voracious in the world.

If you take prescribed medications, remember to pack them appropriately in travel bags or suitcases, and keep a copy of your prescription. Some medications can raise eyebrows of customs inspectors. Find out about that before you go. And do you need to be reminded, take an extra pair of prescription eyeglasses?

Take your cell phone. Your carrier can tell you whether you need a new SIM card to let it work with foreign networks, and you can buy special coverage for foreign calling without incurring long-distance charges when you make a dinner reservation. You may need to buy more data; using your phone’s GPS to navigate around foreign cities burn through data like tissue in a bonfire. Remember to obtain necessary prefixes for placing calls on foreign shores.

Planning ahead will ensure that any vacation can be a time for relaxation, discovery, excitement and fun!

Returning home in good health by practicing mindful wellness while traveling will multiply the positive benefits of experiencing new locales, enriching your life with inspiring memories when you come home that will enjoyed for years to come.

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

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Laurie Edwards-Tate
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today. Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service. Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home. Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. Follow Laurie and AYHF at; on Facebook at, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare