The Travel Ninjas Tips on Do's and Don'ts When Sick on the Road

Do’s and Don’ts When Sick on the Road

Bad bacteria and viruses are universally viewed as big, mean jerks. Being sick and far from your own bed can be very tough, especially when you are on a much-anticipated vacation. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help prevent sickness and to help you feel better when the bad bacteria bites.

Do Have A Pre-Packed Sick Bag

Having everything you need in one bag when you feel the sickness coming on will make things that much easier on you. I keep my sick bag stocked and ready to go year round, and just double check it before each trip. Make a small checklist that you keep in the bag to make for easy re-packing when needed. Below are suggestions for what to pack.

  • Prescription antibiotic – I have a friend who gets sinus infections multiple times a year and her doctor knows this. He knows my friend travels a lot so he writes her a prescription for emergencies while on the road.
  • Other meds like Vitamins/Emergen-C, Pain Medicine, Anti-Diarrheal pills, and allergy meds – I normally only pack a few of each type of medicine, enough to get me through 1-2 days if needed.
  • Kleenex or handkerchief
  • Over the counter saline nasal spray – It will help keep your nasal cavity hydrated, use during long flights or at high elevations. It helps prevent nose-bleeds.
  • Hand Sanitizer or anti-bacterial wipes
  • Lotion – If you are washing your hands a lot, they will dry out and you’ll need some lotion.

Don’t Forget Earplugs

I always pack multiple pairs of earplugs on every trip. God forbid, I lose one and then have to listen to somebody snore all night! Whether camping, staying in a hostel, sharing a room with your traveling mate, or cat napping on the airplane, earplugs are my best friend. It is so important to your overall health to get proper rest on your vacation.

Do Pay Attention To What You Are Eating And Drinking

Hydrate! Always. This is mostly common sense nowadays, but it is easy to forget, especially on a busy travel day or when your mind is on seeing Time Square and not the last time you had a sip of water.

Wash your hands before eating, especially in airports and high-traffic areas. Do not go cold turkey with caffeine or go overboard. Try to keep your caffeine intake similar to that at home. For international travel, limit or avoid altogether drinking tap water. Making sure to eat boiled food or food that needs to be peeled to eat to eliminate mean and harmful bacteria.

Don’t Use Phones or ATMs Near Bathrooms

No further comment needed.

Do Plan Ahead When Traveling Internationally

Whether you have a cold in Finland or malaria in Africa, it is best to plan ahead for being ill when you are traveling internationally. You’ll already have a headache if you’re sick. Don’t make it bigger by poor planning.

Check with your health insurance provider first and if you aren’t highly satisfied with their overseas, out-of-network options, then consider buying travel insurance. Get the recommended vaccinations. Look into apps that translate medical terms and medicines. One to check out is MedMap.

Don’t Think Your Airline Is Going To Help You Out Just Because You’re Sick

Just don’t go into it thinking that. Airlines will definitely charge you to change your ticket if you are sick, or sometimes they won’t let you on your flight. If they can help you, they most likely will, but sometimes their hands are tied. Talk to someone in person at the airport, if at all possible. Focus the necessary energy on the situation and then let it go. Your energy is needed to help yourself heal.

Do Check Out The Tube

It’s not every day that you can watch the news in German or watch Sleepless In Seattle in Portuguese. Find the fun in the horrible overdubbing or the not so horrible subtitles.

Don’t Stay Holed Up In Your Hotel Room

Don’t watch the tube for too long, though. Even if you can’t spend more than 5 minutes at a time outside, try to get some fresh air every day. Take a five-minute walk and take five pictures of something you haven’t seen before and then look at them back in your hotel room. Then you can say you saw the city every day. Use the down time to write or draw.

When a five-minute walk won’t get you past the hotel parking lot, find that one small patch of green grass they have partitioned off. Sit in the grass and feel the texture and coolness of the blades. Maybe dig your fingers into the dirt, breath in deeply and say to yourself, “I’ve never touched dirt in ________ before!” Fill in the blank with where ever it is you are visiting and embrace the moment. New experiences are around every corner. The trick is finding them.

Hopefully, all of your traveling days are healthy and vibrant, but when you are feeling under the weather remember these tips and beat away those bad bacteria blues.

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  • Divya @ Eat Teach Blog
    Posted at 06:44h, 13 December

    Aw, this is really hard. I know when I’m not in the comfort of my home and my bed/couch, I can’t STAND being sick. These are good tips 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 06:54h, 13 December

    Hello Divya. True. Being sick is tough anywhere on the road we have to be extra careful.

  • Amber Myers
    Posted at 15:53h, 13 December

    A sick bag would be great to have. This would be horrible to be sick while on the road. My son got sick on the road before and it was NOT fun.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 15:55h, 13 December

    Hello Amber. Yes travelling with sick kids takes even more preparation.

  • Briana Marie
    Posted at 20:06h, 13 December

    I never thought about bringing along a “sick bag.” It totally makes sense though! I’m gonna start doing that!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 20:09h, 13 December

    Hello Briana Marie. Yes they not glamorous but they are so useful.

  • Tasheena@
    Posted at 21:10h, 13 December

    Great post! I love the idea of having a pre-packed sick bag.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 21:12h, 13 December

    Hello Tasheena. Thanks. If you need it, it can save a big mess.

  • Anosa
    Posted at 22:41h, 13 December

    90% of us would assume the airline would help you lol. I would dread to be see in another country and can’t tell them what I have so that medical terms link is helpful

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 22:45h, 13 December

    Hello Anosa. Airlines yes, but for rides in trains, buses, and even cars it would be nice to have your own bag in case. The medical terms link has helped us on a few occasions.

  • blair villanueva
    Posted at 01:13h, 14 December

    Thank you for your very helpful guide. I learned to always carry vitamin C caps in my bag and luggages to helpmme combat those sudden sickeness on the road.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 01:15h, 14 December

    Hello Blair. Thanks. Thats a good tip too.

  • Dana Vento
    Posted at 04:14h, 14 December

    Such a brilliant tips! Sick while you’re on the road is the worst.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 04:16h, 14 December

    Hello Dana. Thank you. Being sick on the road is horrible.

  • Sheila Schweiger-Rhodes
    Posted at 09:00h, 14 December

    I appreciate these tips because I don’t think about getting sick when traveling. I swear I have picked more germs up off a grocery cart. I am a big fan of Emergen_C. It is my go to when I feel like I’m coming down with a cold. Great idea about the ear plugs!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 09:01h, 14 December

    Hello Sheila. Thank you. Emergen_C is great stuff.

  • Amrita Basu
    Posted at 09:03h, 14 December

    I am passionate about travel health .All your tips are absolutely great.
    The best one :Don’t use phone or ATM near bathrooms ?

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 09:05h, 14 December

    Hello Amrita. Thank you. Yes bathrooms can cause lots of problems.

  • ellie
    Posted at 09:55h, 14 December

    oh my goodness a pre-packed “sick” back is a lifesaver! I always have arnica bruise cream, tea-tree oil (for cuts), gravol and vitamin-C with me just in case!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 09:58h, 14 December

    Hello Ellie. You are very well prepared.

  • Dannii
    Posted at 12:21h, 14 December

    Hand sanatiser is really essential I think k. Especially as a preventative measure.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 12:22h, 14 December

    Hello Dannii. Yes we always try to carry some.

  • melanie seiler
    Posted at 21:07h, 14 December

    great ideas!!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 21:10h, 14 December

    Hello Melanie. Thank you.

  • Sheri
    Posted at 04:11h, 15 December

    I always try to prepare for something like this as you never know what might happen and having these items handy are a great help.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 04:13h, 15 December

    Hi Sheri. Yes, we make sure to have these handy especially if we are traveling to a country where we don’t know the language.

  • Valerie
    Posted at 15:53h, 18 December

    I love this. I forget to do a kit when I’m on the road. I love that your doctor writes you a script. Ours is so money hungry they make you come in every time.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 16:00h, 18 December

    Hey Valerie. Yes a kit for the road is such a big help. With all your creativity and DIY skills, I’m sure your kit would be beautiful as well as practical.

  • neha
    Posted at 12:41h, 26 March

    This is exactly what I needed. I am headed for a long vacation (2 weeks) and first time such a long one with my little one. And I am going crazy thinking what if one of us starts feeling sick on the way. Now, I am going to use your list as a checklist for being prepared to combat if such a situation arrives

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 12:44h, 26 March

    Hi Neha. Have a great trip. It’s great to hear the post is useful. Thanks for your encouragement.

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