Preparing for Adventure Travel
Traveling to remote locations or for extended periods of time can be very challenging. Careful attention must be paid to the preparation of you and your gear. Based on our experiences, I’ve made these suggestions for you to consider as you make your plans.
Before you go, check with your primary care physician and see if the locations you are traveling to require vaccinations. If vaccinations are not required, it may be prudent to consider them for your protection . Although uncommon, travelers do contract typhoid, hepatitis, tetanus, meningitis and similar conditions. In addition check with the CDC and WHO web sites for travel advisories.
Make sure you have an ample supply of your prescription medication, enough to last the duration of your trip. Some countries require you to list all medications on their customs forms, so your prescription medications should be clearly labeled. Travelers diarrhea is common in many parts of the world. It is a good idea to carry anti-diarrhea medication on your person in case of emergency.
Many common diseases are transmitted through direct contact. When we travel we carry a supply of wet wipes, tissues and hand sanitizer. This helps manage risk and maintain personal hygiene. Alcohol based hand sanitizers are not permitted in the cabins of some airlines because they are flammable. It’s probably best to keep hand sanitizers in your checked luggage when flying.
Study the route of your trip in advance. Look at the duration of the segments of travel by train, plane and automobile. How much walking will be required and over what kind of terrain? Carefully consider the condition of your feet, knees, hips, back, shoulders and neck . Are they healthy and strong enough to withstand the physical demands of your trip? Go out and get some exercise, try to reproduce some of the more demanding tasks that will be required of you. This is one of the best ways to evaluate your condition, find areas that need improvement and avoid surprises.
While traveling seated for long distances, it is important to remember to get up and move around. This will keep your muscles and joints from stiffening up and help reduce the risk of the dreaded Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT’s) in the lower legs that may be caused by prolonged inactivity.
Look up the weather patterns for the time of year of your destinations. Check the local news reports. Is there an unusual heat wave or cold snap? Rain? This is so very important when packing. Rain or shine, exposure to the elements puts stress on your body. Be sure to pack a hat, sunglasses, and something to cover your arms and legs regardless of the anticipated weather.
Always be aware of your environment. If it’s hot, stay hydrated, drink before you’re thirsty, sipping water often. Travelers diarrhea can cause dehydration and when combined with high temperatures, diarrhea may negatively impact your health for several days. Staying hydrated will help minimize this. In cold environments, wearing a hat will help reduce your loss of body heat, and keep you warmer. Wearing wind proof clothing and gloves over an insulating base layer is an effective strategy in cold weather. Proper planning and preparation is the key because the effects of heat exhaustion and hypothermia may not be apparent until the symptoms are well advanced.
A healthy traveler is a happy traveler. Stay healthy and have a good time.