You’re about to head out for a Thanksgiving visit with loved ones. What steps can you take to remain healthy on your trip and through your visit? Here are 7 tips for safe travel.
Get all your health info listed, and match it to your itinerary. Make sure you have enough meds to cover your time away and some extra. Make SURE it’s in child-safe containers if you’re visiting a home with little kids. And make sure it’s locked if you’re visiting a home with teenagers. Think carefully about the timing of all your meds so that you’re not caught short. Do this several days before the trip, so you have time to get a refill if necessary. If you’re travelling overseas, make sure the medications are in original containers with your name on the label. It must match your passport.
Tip 2: Make sure you’ve had recommended vaccinations
Did your doctor recommend a flu shot, pneumonia, or shingles vaccine? Many take a week or two to build immunity, so you might be a bit late for the Thanksgiving holiday, but just right for Christmas. Vaccination are especially important if you’re going to be around kids, who increase your exposure times the number of students in their classes!
Tip 3: Review your coverage
Review your Medicare coverage. Make sure you know how to get medical help in the locale you’re visiting. Talk to your agent if you aren’t sure your Medicare coverage includes your travel destination. You can’t have safe travel worrying about healthcare. Many Medicare offerings have a nationwide network. Remember that Medicare does not cover care overseas and see about trip insurance. If you’re flying, it’s probably worth the extra charge to get flight insurance, so if you get sick right before the trip, you won’t lose the cost of your ticket.
Eat well. Drink your fluids. Get a lot of sleep! Start your trip well-rested and hydrated, and stay that way through your tavels. Take along hand-washing solution for emergency clean-ups, but remember that it doesn’t take care of bugs like norovirus. You need to wash your hands with soap and water to really do the trick. When you’re traveling, wash often, and try to keep your hands away from face. Get up a move about, and stop to use the bathroom every few hours if you’re driving. Safe travel requires planning!
Tip 5: Keep tabs on how you feel
Don’t wait until you’re completely run down and sapped of energy before you stop and rest. If you don’t feel right, start with a glass of water. Staying hydrated and keeping up with your normal routines will help. If you’ve travelled to a new time zone, keep that in mind for med timing. Excitement and anxiety are both common traveling companions and can both upset your stomache. Stress will make you more susceptible to whatever is going around, so practice whatever stress control works for you. From meditation to half an hour with a novel, a walk around the block or a short nap, figure out a stress-relief option.
Make sure you’ve added the address of your location to your phone, and the phone number. You’ll want to make sure you know how to get back if you go out for a walk, visit a local spot on your own, need to call for a Lyft or Uber, or need to call for help. And tell your bank you’re going out of town, and when you’ll be back. Many banks will mark your credit or debit card for scrutiny if it’s used outside the normal area.
Tip 7: use the lightswitch!
Safe travel includes risk management. Turn on the lights where you’re visiting! Look around. Locate light switches, and turn them on when you enter a room. Don’t fall victim to tripping in a strange location. Ditto going up or down stairs. In a house you’re not used to, it’s easy to miss a step, trip over the cat, or step on a toy. Pay attention to your footing, which is easier to do if you can see.
Have fun! Wash your hands, stay rested, drink your fluids (not too much alcohol!) and bring your most joyful and peaceful self to every gathering.