Eighteen years as a flight attendant, may I give you helpful tips for a flawless vacation? There is always that craziness of stress of actually getting out the door. All that fun in the sun is awaiting you and a much-deserved break from work or school. Maybe venture out on a ski trip instead of the beach. No matter where or when let’s talk about a few precautions so your beautiful vacation does not get you sick.
A vacation usually includes a flight there and back. But will it get you sick? Airsickness or other things? Germs, bacteria, and viruses never take a vacation. They are anywhere and everywhere. Most people do not protect themselves from germs while on vacation, especially if they are flying. Airports and airplanes are super cold most of the time to control germs. Hot and stuffy planes tend to make some people get sick on takeoff and landing. People on the plane around you may be coughing and sneezing. The air in the plane is re-circulated and you don’t want to catch what everyone else has. Hand sanitizer is priceless.
Another wonderful item about traveling is jet lag. Your normal circadian rhythm becomes altered from the changing of time zones, depending on how far you are traveling. Once you’re to your destination go barefoot to let the earth rebalance you and use essential oils. Pack your medications in a carry-on and it might be a good idea to throw in a change of clothes just in case your luggage gets lost, something gets spilled on you, or someone throws up near you. All my years flying, I have seen plenty of these scenarios. Teenagers usually do not dress appropriately for cold airplanes and some parents are not prepared with their infants. I have seen people walk in the airplane restroom with no shoes, which is no different than an outside john at the state fair.
Home away from Home. A vacation hotel is generally cleaner and has a safe deposit box in the closet. Fewer dust mites and bugs to contend with as well. Keep in mind that hotel rooms are as germ-filled as an airplane. Wash hands frequently, use the towels to grab a hold of the doorknobs or wipe them down with disinfectant cloths. Don’t sit in the tub, take a shower, and put down a hand towel in tub. Hotel room air conditioners take in moisture and adding the hot weather makes it a prime place to grow bacteria. You may ask if the hotel has allergy reduced rooms or reduced allergy bed items that will help your immune system not reactive to local pollen.
What’s a vacation without the local cuisine. I hate to scare you on this one but it happens. I have seen flight attendants get sick with the airport and local food, myself included. Salmonella and E-coli are waiting for your next bite. Food items are cooked and made in a foreign restaurant by foreign people who may or may not have the best hygiene. Lettuce for salads is washed in foreign water. If you happen to try tasty street vendor food, make sure it is piping hot and completely cooked.
What’s a vacation without the indulging of your favorite adult beverage? Party-Party-Party. Get on the plane and drink it up. Probably will spend the first day of vacation with a hangover. Your friends or extended family members buy you another one. The mimosas or bloody marys start the day off right, a few mixed drinks for lunch, and onto wine for dinner. You are on vacation and time to relax, enjoy, and celebrate. Maybe a 9-night cruise. Maybe a luxury cabin in the mountains. In any case, alcohol is very dehydrating with 75% adults in dehydration status, to begin with (that’s a fact). Drink a glass of water for every 8oz beverage.
Signs of dehydration can include nausea, a sore or dry throat or mouth, and a loss of appetite for food. I have seen people pass out on the plane from dehydration. Most experts say to drink 8-9 glasses of water a day. If you get thirsty, a sure sign you are already dehydrated. You will lose water from breathing, urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. More consideration of dehydration will be how active you are and the temperature in your location. Consuming alcohol also lowers your immune system.
Vacation in the tropics with sand and surf. Just 15 minutes outside can lead to sunburn, but you won’t notice it until later. Thoroughly apply sunscreen (30 SPF or higher) and reapply every two hours. The hottest part of the day and when you will burn the easiest is 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Drink plenty of fluids and stay in the shade. Lying in the pool will not save you the sun will reflect off the water and you will burn more. People end up in the ER from sun-poisoning. Drinking alcohol and being overheated will lead to nausea and passing out. Make sure you wear beach shoes when walking on the beach or in the water. This saves you from bacteria and other microbes from entering a small cut. Also, be aware of the mosquitos that may be carrying viruses.
Vacation is a lot of work. Planning, saving, and preparing all add up to stress. Also, you are finishing that last work project or trying to pass the final exam. Getting all the kid’s clothes and play items packed. You must think about the happiness and the well-being of the whole family in different surroundings with all the extra activity. You are finding out that vacation feels like work. The change in routine is stressful and lowers your immune system with stress cortisol on the rise. However, things will not always go as planned so accept that ahead of time and roll with the punches. Take Naps. Be in the moment and follow the below suggestions.
Vacation-Will it get you sick? A few more tips. Please don’t drink the water in another country. Your body is not accustomed to their molecules. Bottled water is the safest. Take a pic of the parking post number where you parked your car at the airport. Carry disinfectant wipes and gels. Have a small size disinfectant spray for those air conditioners. Be cautious and careful. Wash hands frequently. Take a little homemade first aid kit with Pepto-Bismol tabs, anti-acid tabs, cold remedies, cough drops, aspirins, and medications you may need. Include cold medicines, sanitizer, aspirin, sunscreen. Also take nausea pills, antihistamines, and Imodium. Traveling as a family…Take along straws for your children and disposable utensils. Carry snacks just in-case there is a delay and you are on the plane an extra couple of hours, especially if you have children.
Double-check your list before you leave the house.
Got the tickets, credit cards, and passports.
snacks, a shade hat, pack a variety of clothes.
Dog sitter, neighborhood watch. Hold the mail.
Family or friend has your emergency numbers and vise versa.
By now you are wondering if going on vacation is worth the money, hassles, and the piled-up work when you get back. (Heck Yea!) You have worked hard all year and the family has been waiting to get on that plane.
Thank you for letting me serve you and I hope that you have the happiest and healthiest vacation ever. Drank lots of water, got plenty of sleep, and vacation will not get you sick. You made it through with money to spare. No parasites or bacteria bad flora. You’re not worried or stressed about returning to school or work. Congratulations and Cheers to you!
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To Your Health & Happiness!!