I always always always get sick while traveling. There is no “maybe” with me. Whether I’m dashing to the restroom every two seconds or cracking jokes to on-call physicians in hospitals, my certain doom has become somewhat of normal activity to me so I’ve stopped panicking every time it happens. I’ve developed an EXCELLENT rapport with my insurance company and I know the ins and outs of symptoms and how to combat them. I’ve decided to break down my “hacked” First Aid kit for you guys in hopes to better prepare you for anything that can happen.
#1 Buy a basic WATERPROOF First Aid kit.
You have to start somewhere. I love wet and humid environments because it does amazing things for my skin. But since I spend so much time at sea or in rainy climates, it’s important to have a WATERPROOF container so nothing gets wet and ruined; especially when it comes to birth control or medication.
These basic First Aid kits will provide all the necessary tools to tend to scraps and physical injuries, thus making it a great place to start building your unique disaster kit.
#2 Know your body
I know that I am extremely susceptible to two things: 1) Cold/Flu 2) Allergies.
In 2009, I caught the Swine Flu and was quarantined for a week. You would think this would dramatically improve my immune system, but you would be wrong. I continued to catch everything imaginable UNTIL I identified what was causing these symptoms to resurface again and again: wheat and dairy. My body was suffering from chronic inflammation caused by wheat and dairy, which made it difficult for my immune system to fight off illnesses.
Now that I’m Paleo, I’ve seen a dramatic improvement in my overall health and I’m not sick 24/7. With that being said, I still pack an OBSCENE amount of antihistamines; both in a cream and pill form.
I also pack a serious quantity of sleeping pills, stomach remedies, and bug repellant because these are my most serious issues.
#3 Plan for everything.
Let’s talk about birth control. While it’s easy to slut-shame, I’m always running around with condoms when I travel because it’s an easy way to make friends (HA). I’ve been known to slip a few off to new friends who are too drunk to make good choices because I’m a basically modern-day Mother Teresa. Inhibitions go down with the sun while people are on vacation and that’s okay. Do you boo boo. Even if you’re in a committed relationship or “aren’t that type of girl,” you can never really predict what will happen when the tropical Bali sun goes down.
All women should also consider getting an IUD before traveling or just because it’s awesome. An IUD can prevent pregnancy for 5 to 12 years and takes ZERO effort on a daily basis. It’s basically proof that there is a God. For more information click here. Even though some people don’t have sex “planned” into their vacation, you never never NEVER know what’s actually going to happen while traveling. Play it safe and transform your uterus into an IRON FORTRESS.
#4 Buy As You Go
I’m all in favor in planning ahead, but some geographies have unique health and safety warnings that are sometimes better dealt with once you’re on the ground. Sun block and liquid bug spray are two things I prefer to buy on the ground just so I don’t have to fight airport security on the issue.
#5 Bug Repellant
Insects transmit a great deal of diseases and illnesses in developing countries. Oh good. I bring the bug repellant wipes onto the plane to protect myself once I’m on the ground until I can find a bottle of bug spray in the nearest drug store. DO NOT bring perfumes or scented sprays as it will make you an easy target for predators. Sleep with a mosquito net whenever possible OR long pajamas if it isn’t too humid. I use my Under Armor leggings because they breathe easily in the heat and they make my booty look dope. Also, if you have the ability to control the temperature of the room, go for a colder environment, as mosquitoes dislike cooler temperatures.
Die mosquitoes, die!
#6 Get Traveling Health Insurance That’s Right For You
My insurance is GeoBlue and it makes me eligible for everything from a gynecologist to a dermatologist, anywhere in the world. I normally have a lot of issues with my skin when I travel so this is pretty critical for me. Once I was allergic to the sun… THE SUN and my insurance made it possible for me to see special physicians on a small island in the Philippines. Insurance can get pricey, but you know what’s also expensive? Dying and shipping your body back to your home country. Morbid, but true.
Have a crazy crisis story of your own? Leave them in the comments section for other people to know how you made it out in one piece! Hell, maybe you can teach me something.
Love Wander Onwards? Share the good word on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Have something worth seeing or want to go on an adventure with me? Tag me @wanderonwards on social media and let me know about your awesome ideas! Don’t forget about my upcoming Southeast Asia tour starting December 16th and if you can, please donate to my trip below!
The world is a big scary place. There will never be a “perfect plan.” Accept it, relish in the mystery, and then, wander onwards.
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About Vanessa Elizabeth
Vanessa Elizabeth is a cultural chameleon currently based in London. She enjoys sports (such as CrossFit and dating), cooking, and demolishing her savings account. When she's not busy blogging about her feelings, she works full-time and practices Chinese with her English/German friends.
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