Packing for a Healthy Vacation
Want to stay healthy while traveling in the U.S. and abroad? Prepare before you leave and take some essentials along for healthy travel.
Step 3: Check Your Travel Insurance Coverage
Be sure to take your insurance policy identify card and a claim form with
you. If you're traveling to another country, check with your insurer to see
whether you will be covered if you fall ill or get injured while abroad.
If your insurance does not offer coverage, you may want to purchase
supplemental insurance that does. Even if your insurer covers "customary
and reasonable" hospital costs overseas, few companies pay for medical
evacuation back to the U.S. The U.S. State Department estimates the cost at
"$10,000 and up."
Note that Medicare does not cover hospital or medical costs outside the U.S.
The American Association of Retired Persons has information for senior citizens
about foreign medical care coverage with Medicare supplement plans.
Step 4: Check Your Packing List
The following is based on packing lists from the American College of
Emergency Physicians and the Emory University TravelWell Clinic. You may not
need every item on this list. Note that the first thing to avoid when traveling
is back strain. Pack light! If you're traveling to a major city, you'll be able
to buy just about any supply you can buy at home. If you have any doubt, take
- Prescription drugs, with a separate list in case you lose your luggage
- Aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen.
- Pepto-Bismol or a generic equivalent
- Motion sickness medicine such as Dramamine or Transderm patches
- Imodium for diarrhea
- Sunscreen with at least 15 SPF, and a crushable, broad-brimmed hat
- Insect repellent with DEET concentration of about 35%
- Rehydration solution packets
- 1% hydrocortisone cream
- Water purification tablets
- A mild sedative/sleeping pill such as Ambien
- An anti-anxiety medication such as Xanax
- A medical thermometer
- Bandages of various sizes
- Gauze pads and/or rolls
- Adhesive tape
- A small, sharp scissors with rounded tips (note: scissors are not allowed
in carry-on luggage)
- Tweezers to remove splinters or ticks
- Antiseptic solution
- Mild laxative
- Cough medicine such as Robitussin-DM or a generic equivalent
- Antifungal lotion such as Lotrimin
- Antibacterial ointment such as Bacitracin
- Antibiotic for severe traveler's diarrhea
- Antimalarial drugs, if prescribed by your doctor
- Altitude sickness preventative such as Diamox
- Hydrogen peroxide to disinfect and clean wounds
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer