There is one thing that all travelers mutually dread: getting sick. No matter how much we all dread it, those of us who travel often will at some point have to face the reality that we have gotten sick while away from the comfort of our own beds.
(All photos are from sick traveling experiences)
This last two months I’ve been on more planes in a short period of time than ever in my life. This last two months I also have been sick off and on, significantly more on than off.
Let me put it this way – I caught a cold from my dad when in Washington for Thanksgiving. I started feeling the effects of it when I came back home to California. A few days later I got on a plane to Tennessee and drove up to Kentucky, where I was sniffling and coughing the entire time. I flew back to California, only to turn around and go to Florida for work a couple days later. After returning to California for just over a week, I went back to Washington for Christmas break and returned back to my Sunshine state, still sniffling and coughing. Then after two weeks of health I flew to Memphis where I caught the flu which fully hit me while trying to explore Nashville (somewhere I will certainly have to return to) and I am now still sick back in Los Angeles a week later.
Needless to say, I have certainly learned what it’s like to travel when sick, building on previous experiences as it is a common theme during my travels. So here are a few of my tips to make yourself slightly less miserable if you have the misfortunate of being sick on your holiday.
Always pack Emergen-C and zinc
In order to try to prevent sickness in the first place, make sure to pack in some Emergency-C, zinc, or whatever you generally use to fight off sicknesses. I carry Emergen-C with me on every trip in my toiletries bag and find myself going through them often. If you know you were around someone sick during the day, pop a zinc tablet before it’s too late.
Plan your meals accordingly
As long as you have a say over your meals on a trip, try to eat the classic sick foods that will help your health improve. Stick to soups and whatever else helps you feels better. On my recent trip to Tennessee where I came down with the flu I drank a hot toddy (Tea or hot water, whiskey, lemon, and honey) with my dinner to try to improve my condition. If you are feeling too drained, many areas of the world now have apps such as UberEats and Postmates to bring you ramen or whatever else you need ♥
Bring along sick accessories, EVERYWHERE
Cough drops? Check. Kleenex? Check. For real. Bring these things everywhere with you. Get a little travel pack of Kleenex and it will save your life.
Try to be a responsible traveler
If the world were a perfect place we would never have to fly or be in transit while we’re sick. Unfortunately it’s not – so I keep finding myself on planes when I really should be in isolation. If you find yourself in a similar situation, be a responsible traveler and try to keep your sick germs to yourself. While you can’t always stop yourself from coughing, you can make sure you are doing so in your arm away from the poor souls sitting next to you. Use hand sanitizer constantly and try not to touch anything that you don’t have to.
It’s okay to stay in
The mindset on vacation for many people is that you’re in a new place so you must take advantage of being there and see everything possible. I often am this way when traveling, but occasionally you just need to chill, especially when you’re sick. If you’re going to be more miserable trying to see the city than laying in your hotel bed, just take a day off and get some rest. You can always come back if you completely miss your highlights, and hopefully your hotel bed will have a cool view. Or if you’re on a tropical vacation, park yourself by the pool and drink cucumber water (or a piña collada for a sore throat as I did above…) until you feel better in order to still feel like you’re on vacation during your recovery.
Make the best of it anyway
Contrary to what I just said, if you’re not completely ill and just feeling a bit under the weather, don’t let it hold you back from still enjoying yourself. Rather than spending both the day and night out, maybe just see the top items on your list during the day and skip the rest for a night in. Or take some DayQuil and try to push through. Being sick on a trip is never ideal, but do what you can to make the best of it anyway. You will remember the fun memories more than the sickness.
What are your best tips for traveling when sick?