Picture this. You have flights booked to a destination of a lifetime. The planning, the time, the money, the excitement. The last thing you planned is to be sick, tired or even “hangry.”
Although we can’t expect a seamless vacation, here are a few ideas for a healthy, safe and almost failsafe trip.
One week before take-off, start preparing your body for travel. Stay hydrated, get adequate sleep and drink vitamin packed liquids. I recommend Odwalla’s Citrus C Monster with 1500% of daily Vitamin C. I also recommend holding back from caffeine. This will lower your tolerance, making caffeine more effective when you need it most during your vacation.
Here is my recommended packing list I use to stay healthy and fresh during my trips. Don’t fret if you forget to pack something. There are pharmacies everywhere and it can be a cultural experience to find what you need in a different country. In Vienna, I ran out of toothpaste and I went to a traditional apothecary. Behind the counter, it was an emporium of lotions and potions. The pharmacist rolled the ancient wooden ladder, climbed to a special little drawer and pulled out what appeared to be old-fashioned travel-sized toothpaste in unique flavors like licorice and violet.
Zicam Rapidmelts– Take throughout the day to strengthen your immunity and avoid getting a cold
Travel-sized hand sanitizer
Melatonin or sleeping aid – It can take up to 4 days for your body to get used to a different time zone. Sleeping aids help get the hours of sleep you need instead of waking up at 4 am the first day and being tired all day
Ear plugs for outside noises and distractions
Ginger Chews – Good for tummy aches or nausea
Hydrating eye or face mask for tired and dull skin. I recommend GlamGlow Hydrating Mask
Exfoliator – Scrub off the day’s grime. I like Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator
Face spray – After a long day of sightseeing or a 10 hour flight, I like to refresh my face with Caudalie Beauty Elixir. I love the smell of green grape and peppermint oil that boosts radiance and tones the skin
Bandages for blisters but make sure you wear shoes that have been broken in and are comfortable to wear all day
Sun-screen – Protect your skin from the sun. I prefer Murad City Skin Age Defense SPF 50. It’s a lightweight mineral sunscreen with a powdery finish
Collapsible water bottle – Easy to travel with and it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day
Panty liners are easy to replace throughout the day so you can stay dry and fresh down there
Eye drops refresh tired eyes
Additional packing tips to fit everything you need in a carry-on
Although disasters are unpredictable, you can take these proactive measures to lighten the stress and anxiety when bad things happen.
Register your trip with the state department. This is a free service that helps the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency and help friends and family get in touch with you
Travel insurance like Travel Guard or Allianz Travel will cover certain travel expenses in case you get sick, need to cancel your trip or if you luggage is lost or stolen
Before you take-off, take pictures of your packed valuables and passport and email it to yourself for back-up. If your luggage is lost or stolen, you will have proof of items that will be covered by insurance
Send a copy of your itinerary to your emergency contacts or loved ones
If you plan on being in heavy traffic areas where there are pick pockets, use paper clips to “lock” zippers from opening
Use a handbag that you can wear across your body. Also make sure your handbag has zippers, are zipped and close to your hand so you can feel petty thieves accessing your valuables
Pack a portable cell phone battery charger. When you are out all day, taking pictures and accessing your data plan will eat up most of the juice. You will need an extra charge so you can use your phone for maps, finding an Uber or making an emergency phone call
Notify your bank and Credit Card Company when you will be traveling out of the country so you can access your funds. Make sure you understand their policy on how much cash you can withdrawal per day and understand what time zone it falls on
Invest in your cell phone carrier’s international data plan. It is worth the approximately $10 a day to access maps, the internet and social media so you can stay connected
Stay Happy, not “hangry”
I think we’ve all been on vacation with people during a time when hunger strikes, obstructing the group from agreeing on a restaurant during lunch or dinner rush. When someone decides to take the lead, it’s too late. No tables are available and you are left eating crappy food in silence. Consider these tips to eat well and avoid your inner ravenous monster from making its way to the surface.
Pack granola bars that will satisfy hungry pains until meal time
Research top restaurants. Besides friends and family recommendations, you can also do your own research online or from guidebooks. These are a few resources I use:
Rick Steves Guidebooks
1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die by Mimi Sheraton
Local “best of” articles or recommendations from foodies like Paris by Mouth or London Time Out or Elizabeth Minchilli
Cross check restaurants on Trip Advisor or Yelp for pictures of food and atmosphere
Download the Yelp app and create a collection and bookmark the restaurants you are interested in dining at. When you are in the area, the restaurants will be listed and mapped out (allow access to your location).
Make reservations. I recommend planning the itinerary around meal times and schedule activities around restaurant reservations. It is a great way to organize and break up the day. Also, you can ensure that you are eating good quality food that you have taken the time to research and confirm.
Count on a few bumps along the journey -- the misadventures are the best stories to share at dinner parties
Stay healthy, stay safe and eat well!