Getting sick on vacation is the pits, but feeling under the weather on your trip of a lifetime may as well be a premise for a horror movie. Add a scene in a foreign hospital and, well, you’re pretty much guaranteed night terrors. Here are some tips I’ve learned the hard way.
Photo courtesy of AmanResorts
Be Wary of the Water
Chances are you know that it’s not the smartest move to drink tap water abroad, since it isn’t purified as it is in the states. And in extreme cases, drinking bad water can cause dysentery, an immobilizing illness that is the exact opposite of pretty. But water safety goes beyond hydrating — avoid swimming in still bodies of water, which can be filled with bacteria and parasites. Limit your intake of raw veggies in places where the water supply is iffy, and always brush your teeth with bottled H2O. Although many resorts have filtration systems, you can never be too careful, says the girl who suffered through a feverish day in India after not paying attention.
A prep step on the front end of your trip can ensure smooth sailing. Before you even book your honeymoon, research any inoculations or medical information on the CDC website. Most shots are recommended six to eight weeks prior to travel. And, although uncommon, some can have side effects — just ask my husband who contracted shingles a week before our honeymoon in Zimbabwe. So it’s a good idea to get these shots way in advance of your big day. For the trip itself, I always carry an arsenal of vitamins, including the vitamin C tablets Airborne (Walgreens has a great generic version) and nasal oil. If I feel a sniffle or throat tingle, I use both for an immediate nip in the bud. Other medical necessities include mosquito repellent, blister balm and Band-Aids, Rosebud Salve (for lip hydrating and paper-cut soothing), Pepto Bismol tablets (which I’ve never had to use, because I follow tip one) and Advil. Personally, I don’t pack or use antibacterial stuff, as I’m afraid of super strains. Instead, I use pre-moistened towelettes that double as makeup and coffee-stain removers. Tip: Always carry Kleenex. It’s uncommon to find free toilet paper at public rest rooms across the globe.
After your dedicated efforts in operation bridal bootcamp, it’s totally understandable that you’ll want to indulge in French fries and piña coladas all day, every day on your honeymoon. But staying active and eating well on your vacation actually enhances the experience. I love taking yoga classes at resorts — the studios usually have the best-kept natural views on property. Plus, it feels good to get all the plane stress stretched out. Resort gyms have endless class menus, where you can try Pilates, kickboxing or a personal training session with your new husband.
I’ve been on a Hawaiian snorkel trip with someone who didn’t know how to swim and on a trek in the Andes with a fellow with a heart condition. These two ruined it for all. Yes, your honeymoon is an awesome time to have totally new experiences, but always recognize your limits. If you’ve got the cardio capacity of a bulldog, skip the intense jungle mountain biking excursion and opt for a more leisurely canopy walk instead. Also, don’t be afraid to sit things out. Once in Thailand my intense fear of heights prevented me from trekking up a precarious flight of stairs to a mountaintop lake. Was I a bit bummed? Sure. But while I was waiting for my friends, I enjoyed some fresh coconut water and got a tip from a local about a super-secret beach on a neighboring island. After my suggestion we checked out the pristine cove — we were the only people there and the scenery was right out of a screensaver.