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After dodging travel for a couple of years, we’re back! The world is open again, and our wanderlust is on fire. Many of us booked flights to visit family we haven’t seen since early 2020. Reuniting with loved ones feels good, especially around the holidays. But COVID-19 is still out there, especially when temperatures drop. So when it comes to flying, there’s always that sinking feeling that something bad will happen.
Will we get sick right before the trip? During the trip? Or feel stranded in an unfamiliar place while unwell? If you weren’t a big proponent of travel insurance before, you might be now. Plane tickets and hotel accommodations are expensive, after all. And, for the record, travel insurance doesn’t exactly come cheap. It will run you approximately 5% of the entire cost of your trip.
With that in mind, there’s something else to consider: preparing a health and wellness kit for wherever you jet off to next. This goes beyond keeping a handful of Band-aids in your carry-on luggage. A thoughtful wellness plan could save you a lot of money, not to mention quite a bit of heartache.
Here are our best tips for traveling prepared and healthy.
1. Pick up a travel first-aid kit.
These compact kits can be a real comfort-saver when you’re on the go. They sell for as little as $5.99 and contain items like bandages, pads, cleansing wipes, and antibiotic ointment. Let’s say you find yourself with an annoying paper cut courtesy of that airline seat back reading material. You’ll be happy to have a bandage nearby.
2. Double-check your personal medication.
A week or so before travel, check your prescribed medication. Make sure you have enough of it for the duration of your trip. One of the easiest ways to kill a vacation buzz is trying to track down a pharmacy that can give you a fast and furious refill. Even worse when you’re trying to find said pharmacy in a place unfamiliar to you.
3. Be prepared for the unplanned.
We don’t want to be alarmists (we’re envisioning ourselves on vacation, after all), but stuff happens. Sickness happens. And while that hotel concierge doctor may be knowledgeable, they’re going to cost a pretty penny. Or maybe you’re in a remote locale that doesn’t have that kind of on-demand medical access.
That’s why the Contingency Medical packs caught our attention. There are three different pack options, each filled with medication to treat common infections (think along the lines of those TMI problems like UTI, diarrhea, nausea, and the like). The more expansive packs include medicine for both illness and symptom treatment.
If you’re curious about whether or not they’re safe, anyone interested in purchasing one of the packs must submit a brief medical history. This will be reviewed by one of Contingency Medical’s physicians before prescribing the pack. Then, if you’re approved, the company will send you the pack and give you access to the prescribing doctor for at least a year. This way, they can offer instruction on the important stuff like usage and dosage of the included medications.
The Ready Pack
The Go Pack
The Go Pack ($279.99, Contingency Medical) is a little more intensive, including not only the five antibiotics but also three medicines to help treat symptoms related to vomiting, diarrhea, and motion sickness.
The Ready Pack – PLUS
The Ready Pack Plus ($299.99, Contingency Medical) is the most expansive of these packs, with the symptom management medicine of the Go Pack and the larger quantities of antibiotics included in the Ready Pack.
Keep in mind that the average cost of generic antibiotics in 2022 is $42.67. So while you may initially balk at the cost of the Contingency Medical Packs, the medication is valid for a year, and the value is quite good. Also, ordering a pack does not replace a visit with your regular physician, and self-treatment isn’t recommended. It’s important to consult with the prescribing physician of any of these packs before taking the medication (that’s what they’re there for).
4. Practice basic pandemic protocol before your trip.
Many of us would like never to hear the term social distancing again in our lifetime. However, if you’re trying to avoid getting sick before you head to your destination, laying low for a few days prior might not be such a bad idea. The fewer germs you come into contact with ahead of travel, the more likely you are to board that plane healthy as can be.
5. Get outside.
Yeah, yeah, we know it sounds simple. But fresh air before, during, and after your trip (i.e., literally all of the time) does a body good. Research proves that time spent outside, even in densely-populated urban areas, helps reduce stress, cortisol levels, muscle tension, and heart rate—all of which contribute to better overall health. Plus, you can’t see the sights of a new city from inside your hotel room. So, seriously, get out there.