Kevin Lutz, MD, FACP
May 1 2024

With summer just around the corner, now is a good time for five health-related travel tips.

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1. Keep one of my famous pearls of wisdom in mind: “Never put something in checked baggage that you want to see again.” We have all heard stories about lost luggage and the associated travel disruptions. While losing your brand-new flip flops may not wreck your trip to the beach, losing your medications could pose serious health problems. Keep ALL your medications in your carry-on bag and be sure to pack extra doses. You never know when your return travel might be delayed. The same applies to any medical equipment (including diabetes supplies).

2. As soon as you find your seat on the plane, use Clorox wipes to clean the arm rests, seatbelt buckle, tray table, overhead air vent and light switch. Let’s face it, the cleaning crews do not have time to actually clean the plane; they just remove the trash. And before you place your items in the pouch in front of you, think about what has already been there. Used air sickness bags and dirty diapers are commonly placed there. Yuck!

3. Dealing with jet lag is a matter of discipline. As soon as you start the first leg of your big adventure, adopt your destination time zone. Start eating, sleeping, and exercising in your final time zone so that your sleep cycle will start to adjust. When you arrive, do what the locals are doing. “When in Rome…” as they say. Fight the urge to sleep in the middle of the day and eat when it is mealtime, etc. Be sure to stay hydrated. Consider a sleep aid for the first 2-3 nights if you will be traveling more than a few days. Talk with your doctor to determine the best sleep aid for you.

4. Be careful with your diet. Traveling tends to cause constipation and/or diarrhea. Know how your body responds to travel and adjust your diet accordingly. While tempting and delicious, those street vendors may not have your stomach’s best interests in mind. Starting a probiotic several days before travel can also help keep your digestion in tune.

5. Get in shape before you leave. Going on a walking tour? Start a walking program that includes more miles per day than your typical day on the trip. The same applies to bicycle tours. Break in your walking shoes and make sure the backpack or day bag you will be using each day is comfortable. 

Bonus Tip! If you are traveling internationally, you might need a measles booster vaccine. Measles outbreaks are occurring in multiple locations around the world. Give us a call (or text or email) to discuss your travel plans. You can also read more by clicking here

Have a wonderful time on your travel adventures. We would love to see where you go, so please send us a few photos.