Whatever means of transport you use to reach your holiday destination, a successful journey depends on good planning. At MARNYS® we offer you ten tips that will help you enjoy a trouble-free holiday.
Before leaving on your trip
1. Prepare a first aid kit for travelling
Your accommodation will probably already have a first-aid kit, but it is a good idea to bring along some basic health items in your luggage. So what should the ideal first aid kit include? According to the Ministry of Health, these are the basic items:
- Adhesive plaster, strips and bandages.
- Sterile dressings.
- Clinical thermometer.
- Antiseptic for wounds.
- Eye drops.
- Insect repellent.
- Scissors and safety pins.
- Fine tipped tweezers for the extraction of small strange objects.
Visit your health specialist
If you are planning to travel for a relatively long period of time to a country where some diseases are endemic or if you have a chronic condition, it is advisable to visit your doctor first. The Ministry of Health also provides a series of guidelines to help you in these situations.
Think about your treatment if you have chronic diseases
If you suffer from a chronic pathology and you like travelling, you should take with you all the necessary medication for the days you will be out of home. You must keep your medication, and more specifically those with prescriptions, in your hand luggage. An additional precaution is to take a double dose of your medication with you in your checked baggage, in case you lose your hand luggage.
Make sure you have the necessary vaccines.
Some destination countries require you to be up to date with the International Vaccination Certificate. These types of vaccines can only be obtained at International Vaccination Centres. The mandatory vaccines that are included in this certificate, depending on the country, are Yellow Fever, Meningococcal Meningitis and Poliomyelitis.
In other countries, vaccines are recommended for Cholera, Typhoid Fever, Hepatitis A and B, Rabies and Tetanus. In addition, in endemic countries, preventive medication against malaria is also recommended.
2. Sleep well the week before
The feeling of missing a flight or the excitement caused by the unexpected can make insomnia appear in the days before travelling. To avoid this situation, you can follow these guidelines:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including the weekends.
- Be active. Physical activity promotes better sleep.
- Avoid or reduce your naps.
- Avoid or reduce caffeine and alcohol, and don’t use nicotine.
- Avoid heavy meals and drinks before bedtime.
- Make your bedroom a comfortable place and avoid using technology in it.
- Have a relaxing bedtime routine, such as a warm bath, reading or listening to soft music.
3. Keep your defenses up
A healthy immune system is a good ally to avoid the small inconveniences that a move to a new destination can cause. To strengthen the immune system, both before a journey and at any time of the year, it is recommended the following guidelines, among others:
- Have a varied and balanced diet, based on foods rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Sleep at least eight hours a day.
- Take physical exercise.
- Travel can cause physiological stress that affects the immune system, so it is advisable to follow a healthy diet that can be supplemented with food supplements.
In these situations, it is recommended that the diet contains vitamins from groups B and C, minerals such as zinc, polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega series) and products derived from bees, such as royal jelly or mushrooms such as reishi.
4. Take care of your intestinal flora
Our intestinal flora is composed of a number of bacteria that live in our intestine and which ensure its good condition. When it becomes unbalanced, we may feel discomfort such as swelling, constipation, gas or diarrhoea. The Spanish Foundation for the Digestive System recommends the following advice to keep our digestive wellbeing:
- Drink at least a minimum of two litres of water a day. If you are in a country with poor drinking conditions, always use bottled water.
- Have 5 meals a day.
- Reduce your consumption of foods rich in animal fat, fried foods and spicy foods.
- Include dairy products, yoghurts and fermented milks with bifidobacteria in your daily diet.
- Eat foods rich in fibre, such as fruit, vegetables, pulses and nuts.
- Moderate your consumption of coffee and gas-producing foods.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco.
- Take regular physical activity.
- Keep your weight down.
You can also add foods rich in prebiotics and probiotics to your diet, both of which are related to the maintenance of the intestinal flora.
During the journey
5. Be careful what you eat and drink
Diarrhoea is the most common health problem when travelling and may affect up to 8 out of 10 visitors in high-risk destinations. For this reason, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, we offer you some useful guidelines to avoid it:
- Do not eat food that has been kept at room temperature for several hours, such as the typical uncovered buffet meal, street vendors, or hawkers.
- Try to avoid raw foods, other than fruit and vegetables, that can be peeled or shelled.
- Eat foods that have been cooked through and are still hot.
- Avoid ice as long as you cannot guarantee that it has been made with safe water.
- Avoid foods that contain raw or undercooked eggs.
- Avoid brushing your teeth with unsafe water.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before you prepare or eat food.
- Cold bottled or packaged drinks are usually safe as long as they are tightly sealed.
- Food or drinks that are cooked over 60°C are also generally safe.
6. Hydrate often
We must keep our bodies well hydrate at all times, but even more so in warm situations. To this end:
- Do not wait until you are thirsty to take liquids, it is advisable to anticipate it.
- Drink between two and three litres of liquid a day.
- You can also hydrate yourself by consuming foods rich in water such as watermelon and melon, pineapple and orange or tomato and cucumber.
- Make sure children get enough liquids.
- If you practise a sport or a physical activity, increase your liquid intake.
- Moderate the consumption of alcohol, as it has a dehydration effect.
7. Protect your skin from the sun
In situations where we are exposed to the sun more frequently, such as in summer, the Spanish Academy of Dermatology gives us a series of recommendations to keep our skin protected:
- Apply the photoprotector before leaving home.
- Choose the right photo protection. A good option is to start with 50 protection during the first days of summer. Remember that the photo protection does not last forever. Repeat the application frequently.
- Avoid exposure to the sun during the middle of the day, between 12:00 and 16:00.
- Children under the age of two should not be exposed directly to the sun and need special protection.
- Reduce the time of exposure to the sun. Natural protection, depending on skin type, varies between 10 and 30 minutes.
- Clothing and sunglasses also provide protection.
In addition, to maintain the skin natural protective barrier, it is recommended to follow correct hydration guidelines by including products formulated with natural ingredients in your care.
8. Keep mosquitoes away
With the heat or in certain regions with high temperatures and/or humidity throughout the year, mosquitoes are more abundant. There are two options for keeping mosquitoes away:
- Repellents and insecticides are fairly effective products although they contain chemicals that are damaging to the environment, and their effectiveness decreases when used outdoors.
- Essential oils are an ecological and efficient alternative that are increasingly being used to keep mosquitoes away and prevent them from biting. The most common plants used in this area are citronella, lemon eucalyptus, verbena and geranium. These essential oils can be used separately or together to make the most of their properties.
9. Pay attention to your feet
In summer, it is more common that our feet get dry and cracked, especially in the heel area. It is advisable to use repairing creams with relaxing, moisturising, softening and purifying effects that favour the elasticity of the skin on feet and heels.
The creams that contain shea butter, coconut or beeswax provide extra moisturising.
After the journey
10. Sleep disorders on the return journey
The Spanish Society of Neurology believes that between 20% and 48% of Spaniards have difficulties in beginning or keeping a quality sleep. These problems tend to worsen after returning from holidays with the so called post holiday blues.
There are some useful ingredients to keep the quality of sleep such as B group vitamins, minerals such as zinc and magnesium, L-theanine, melatonine, tryptophan or lemon balm.
- Aquae Foundation. Tips to hydrate in summer. Apr, 2014.
- Spanish Digestive System Foundation. World Digestive Health Day
- Mayo Clinic. Insomnia – Symptoms and Causes. Oct, 2016.
- Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare. Travel Kit, Public Health.
- Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare. Tips for the traveler, General measures.
- Spanish Society of Neurology. At least 10% of the Spanish population suffers from a chronic and serious sleep disorder. Mar, 2018.