Plan Ahead for Safe, Healthy Travels

Plan Ahead for Safe, Healthy Travels

Plan Ahead for Safe, Healthy Travels

Whether you’re taking a short trip or a long vacation, staying healthy will improve your experience. So before you set out on any adventure, be sure you know how to play it safe.

There’s nothing like getting away to relax and clear your head. And a staycation can be just as helpful. These breaks away from your routine can even improve your health. Even the planning phase can have positive effects. Frequent breaks, rather than just one long vacation, seem to have the most benefits. WebMD says getaways or staycations may:

  • Lower your stress levels
  • Make you happier
  • Improve your sleep
  • Help you lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels
  • Improve energy and focus

But staying safe and healthy makes any trip better. So before you head out for a long-planned spring break, a fun-filled summer vacation or a quick weekend getaway, do some planning. Research your destination and any planned activities. That can help you be prepared to best avoid illness or injury during the trip and arrive home healthy.

COVID-19 Travel Issues

It’s good to be aware of how the COVID-19 pandemic may impact your health and safety. Learn about health concerns linked to domestic travel leaving site icon during the pandemic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC also offers guidance on international travel leaving site icon and shares answers to frequently asked questions leaving site icon about travel health. Be sure to monitor changing conditions as your trip gets closer.

Make a Plan for Health

Routine travel concerns also apply. The CDC says to:

  • Find out what vaccines or medicines are needed if you’re planning a trip out of the U.S. Get started early because some vaccines require a series of shots over time. And make sure you are up to date on all routine vaccines.
  • If you haven’t already, consider getting a flu shot leaving site icon a few weeks before your travel.
  • Make a travel health kit with the items you may need on your trip. In addition to prescription and over-the-counter medicines, don’t forget insect repellent, sunscreen and alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • It’s good to brush up on the details of your health plan coverage before you travel. And make sure you take your member ID card.

Read Traveler’s Checklist: Protect Your Health While You Travel to learn more about how to plan for things that might affect your health while you’re away from home.

Family Travel

Young children sometimes get sick when there are changes to their usual eating and sleeping routines. “Kids can be at risk for travel-related problems like motion sickness, diarrhea and infections,” says KidsHealthleaving site icon Be prepared with medicine meant for the kids. And depending on where you’re going, there are other things to think about, too.

Stay safe in the sun. Limit your time in the sun to reduce the risk of skin cancer. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 15 every two hours. Reapply after sweating and water exposure. Have kids wear hats and sunglasses. You can also try sun-protective clothing.

Stay safe in the water. Always watch kids carefully around any body of water. Find out if water safety devices are on hand at your destination. If not, you may want to bring life jackets and goggles from home.

Stay safe in extreme heat. Learn the signs of heat exhaustion and how to protect vulnerable people and pets. Learn more about staying safe in the heat. leaving site icon

Before you pack your bags, do your research to make your next trip fun and safe.

Sources: How a Vacation Affects Your Body, leaving site icon WebMD, 2021; Domestic Travel During COVID-19, leaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2022; International Travel, leaving site icon CDC, 2022; Travelers Health Most Frequently Asked Questions, leaving site icon CDC, 2021; Extreme Heat, leaving site icon CDC, 2021; Staying Healthy While You Travel, leaving site icon KidsHealth, 2021