Well, I guess you aren’t really a traveller until you can write a post like this from experience. Unlike Shaun, who has faced travel illness before (including once on this trip already), I was a virgin. It doesn’t help matters, that I am an uber wimp when it comes to being sick.
After Mal Pais, we came back to Montezuma for one day. We had planned a 12km hike in the morning to see a waterfall, and then had our sights set on the national park in the afternoon. It was going to be a full day, but I was pumped, and ready. So, you can imagine my dismay when I woke up in the middle of the night with all sorts of things wrong with my body.
The morale of the story is Shaun spent one very boring day in Montezuma, while I spent a very dismal day in a darkened hostel room with a leak in the ceiling. Low point Kate, low point.
Now that that moment in time is a distant memory, I feel I can give everyone a few tips that helped me survive my bought of illness.
6 Ways to Survive a Travel Illness
- Get Comfortable: You’re likely going to be getting up close and personal with your bed for an extended period of time, so try and get as comfortable as possible. If this means requesting extra pillows or blankets then do it. This also might mean changing beds entirely, and getting a different room. If there was ever a time to spring for something a little out of your price range, this is it. There is no sense in both your body, and your bed being uncomfortable, you might as well fix the one you have control over.
- Temperature Control: I don’t know what I would have done without a/c during my illness, and it was just a fluke that we had it that day. If you are in the tropics, it makes a huge difference, as you can crank it during your hot spells, and turn it down during your cold spells. That being said, sometimes you are stuck with no other option. In that case, a big bowl of ice in front of your fan can help keep it cool. and never forget about the cold washcloth on the forehead trick. Makes you feel just like Mom is there.
- Hydrate: SO important. Water, Gatorade, Broth, Watermelon. Whatever kind of clear liquids you can get in you is a good thing. I used a clear water bottle so I could keep track of how much I was drinking.
- Find Entertainment: In a perfect world, you are in a hostel or hotel with WiFi in your room, and you have an endless supply of Netflix to keep the time that you are conscious occupied. We all know that the majority of the time, that is just not a reality. Reading is one option, but I found I didn’t want the lights on, and I found it hard to concentrate. My entertainment was podcasts. I have an endless array of comedy, storytelling, and interview related podcasts on my iPhone. I think I had them playing for 10 hours straight that day. My faves? Smodcast, This American Life, Nerdist, WTF, You Made it Weird, Stuff Mom Never Told You…just to name a few.
- Buddy System: If you are travelling with a partner, make sure they check in on you, and grab you supplies as needed. Travelling on your own? Don’t suffer in silence. If there is one thing I’ve learned, hostels are amazing places, and there is always someone who is will help. Avid travellers have all been there, so ask for help if you need it.
- Seek Medical Assistance: You can catch some funky ass things in tropical countries, none of which you want to take home with you. If you’ve caught something that feels out of your league or you’ve been sick for a while, go to Doctor. Chances are they are going to have a way easier time figuring out what’s wrong with you then if you take you tropical illness back home with you. That’s why you got your travel medical insurance right…right???
So there you have it. I’m happy to be writing this post from the other end of the tunnel, and hope I don’t have to take my advice again on this trip.
I certainly hope you are reading this post solely out of enjoyment of my blog, and not because you Googled “how to survive a travel illness”. If you did, poor button, you’ll make it! Tweet me, I’ll give you a virtual hug!
Any tips you want to share? What was your worst travel illness experience?
Follow me on Twitter: @caketress
You should always carry ciproflaxin for bacterial infections. No need to go to a sub standard doctor I reckon.
Great tip! Medication recommendations certainly aren’t my forte, so I’m glad you mentioned it. I feel pretty darn fortunate to be travelling Costa Rica, which, unlike lots of foreign countries, has a really strong medical system.
Thanks for stopping by!
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