Health problems in general suck, but having them while traveling is THE WORST. I’ve had a bad cold in Ireland, a UTI in England (and had to be on a 2 hour bus ride with no bathroom…NOT FUN, I legit was about to pee my pants in front of my whole class), and a shit ton (lol) of stomach issues (although not food poisoning, thankfully!). Sometimes, getting sick or having health issues is unavoidable, but often, very preventable! Here’s my game plan next time I travel:
EAT YOUR VEGGIES
I definitely could’ve prevented the cold in Ireland, I think, had I been taking care of myself and eating better. I was stressing myself out for no reason and eating like crap to save money (most hostels had free breakfast consisting of toast and cereal…so I’d save a few pieces of toast for lunch and sometimes even dinner…). I should’ve been eating more veggies FOR SURE. The second I got sick I pumped my system with fresh-squeezed OJ, a salad juice, raw garlic, and a real salad (although I had to walk around in the rain to get everything – maybe not the best?). By then it was kind of too late to get my veg on, the damage was already done – but when I’m eating better, I almost never get sick.
STOP YOUR STRESSING
Stress is another thing that definitely contributes to sickness. In Ireland especially, I was stressing so much about where I was going next – I was on vacation, after all!
RESTING AND SLEEPING
Resting and sleeping are also so important! That’s what I’ve learned in traveling – you still need your down days!! My new rule is that for every week I travel, I take one day to relax. And sleep is something I sometimes end up skimping on, if I want to stay up late and hang out with new friends/work on the blog and get up early to sightsee, or taking red eye flights because they’re cheaper and sleeping in the airport. And even when I’m at home, I notice I start to get sick the second I stop sleeping as much as I should (I guess I’m not 20 anymore – all-nighters are not fun nowadays!). Sigh.
Okay so I had pretty awful stomach issues in Israel and in Belgium – one day I literally couldn’t eat because I was so constipated and had so much gas. (TMI probably but this is the shitty – or lack thereof, heheh – side of traveling). I think this may have been due to lack of probiotics in my diet? And all the unhealthy, oily things I was eating (fries and waffles galore!! And lots of hummus and eggplant things in Israel).
Another blog I’ve read recommends using this homemade kombucha water and swears by it. The hippie child in me is all for homemade remedies , so next time, I’m definitely going to try that, because walking around with a bloated and uncomfortable stomach (and having to hold in your farts while you’re trying to make new friends) is no Bueno.
BRING OTHER SUPPLEMENTS
Raw garlic is amazing so if you have access to that, get some. But also Echinacea and elderberry syrup and vitamin C. And for me, some sort of fiber thing because I get constipated easily.
DRINK A SHIT TON OF WATER
I think that may have also contributed to my stomach problems in Belgium and Israel. And honestly, drinking water is just all around great for you, and will help flush out toxins you do aquire!
MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD
This assures that you’ll get the nutrients you need without all the extra ingredients that maybe you DON’T need (i.e. sugar, oil, etc.) Plus, makes it less likely you’ll get food poisoning, and you save money! Definitely doing more of this next time I travel. I definitely ate out a bit too much. And often didn’t go with the best option, since things with greens are typically a little more on the expensive side!
So anyways. Now I know – saving a little money is not worth getting sick, because then you’re out for a day or more, and you might have to spend extra on a doctor. Or you’re coughing all over everyone in your hostel like I was and no one wants to be your friend (although I’m not sure if that was only due to the coughing?). Plus getting sick in a hostel just SUCKS. I had lots of embarrassing coughing fits and felt really bad for the other girls in my room. So from then on, I spent a little extra every now and then to make sure I was putting fruits and veggies into my diet, and also didn’t force myself to be on the go as much. And that was that!