Throughout my many years of international travel, I've learned some basic lessons (sometimes the hard way) that might benefit you if you're planning a trip abroad.
First, if you regularly travel around the globe, the chances are higher that you'll experience more psychological and medical problems than nontravelers do. Frequent jet lag may may even cause brain shrinkage and memory loss.
This doesn't mean you should cancel your travel reservations. It just means that you need to make sure you're prepared to handle what can, at times, be a physically demanding journey.
If you lead a generally healthy lifestyle (exercise, get plenty of sleep, etc.), eat nutritious food regularly, and take daily multivitamin supplements, you've already done a lot to protect yourself against many ailments associated with foreign travel.
Of course, it's always a good idea to discuss your plans with your doctor at least six weeks in advance of your departure date. Also, if immunizations are needed, be sure to learn about their possible side effects.
Don't Leave Home Without These Three Things
Here are a few things you should pack along with your toothbrush if you're planning to travel abroad.
Grapefruit seed extract. Most cases of "tourista" (traveler's diarrhea) are caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. The problem is most common for those traveling to Latin America, Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East. As many as 50 percent of U.S. citizens traveling to developing countries experience this issue.
Although many physicians recommend antibiotics to help prevent tourista, an effective natural alternative is grapefruit seed extract. The extract kills a wide range of microorganisms, including E. coli. Other good natural alternatives include garlic, lactic acid yeast, digestive enzymes, and probiotics.
Bottled water. The carbonating process in bottled water is lethal to many forms of bacteria. Bottled water also helps to replenish the water you lose in the dry, low-humidity environment created in pressurized aircraft cabins, particularly on long flights.
Melatonin. For long overseas flights, the following routine to be a lifesaver in treating jet lag. The method of using melatonin will differ depending on which way you're flying.
- When flying west: Take 3 to 5 mg on the day of your flight at the local time that corresponds to 2:00 A.M. at your destination. When you arrive at your destination, take another tablet at bedtime (around 10:00 or 11:00 P.M. at the new destination) for the next four nights, or as needed.
- When flying east: After arriving at your new destination, take 3 to 5 mg at bedtime (10:00 or 11:00 P.M.). Do this for the next three or four nights or longer if needed. If you wake up in the middle of the night, the first night of your arrival, take an additional tablet at that time.
By using your common sense and doing a little careful planning, your trip abroad can be an exciting, fun, and maybe even life-changing experience.