By Erin McQuilkin
Travel is about escaping the ordinary, throwing the dice into the air and hopscotching across a border or taking a train ride to an unknown city. Who knows what can happen when you forget your responsibilities and embrace chance?
Anything really, and this is the diamond at the heart of travel. Don’t get stuck at home with FOMO because of some irrational worry, just keep it low-key responsible when you take off for your next adventure, camping weekend or urban vacay. Whether you step onto a dirt trail leading to a mountain peak or onto a plane destined for a dream holiday with your bae, prioritise your wellness and safety, and you’ll be set for a thrilling experience. The coronavirus has the entire world shook right now, so this might be the right moment for our insights to help keep you in peak form for your upcoming travels.
Before you depart, some simple plans can start you out in the right direction. Check-in with your doctor for vaccinations and medications for the places you will visit, like malarial medications or antibiotics. Probiotics and activated charcoal can also keep your belly safe from the likes of the dreaded Delhi belly or Montezuma’s revenge. Securing travel insurance and packing a fully stocked first aid kit are the next imperatives to cross off the list.
Before you embark, hit the world wide web to research the basics about where you’re headed. Learning cultural norms and common phrases will earn you the respect of any locals you might befriend. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to get a feel for unsafe areas you might be in and any local scams, that way you can wander your new habitat carefree. Gather the final necessities like a credit card for emergencies, supplements that keep you vibrant, a money bag to keep what you need close, hand sanitizer so you can fight off local bugs and copies of your passport. Then sling that bag over your back and forget the present, it’s all about to disappear into another dimension.
Time for take-off, where the real travel begins. One of the key things you need for your trip to flow from the start is an arrival plan. Showing up in an unknown metropolis with no idea where you’re going might seem free-spirited, but it’s best to have your first steps mapped out with accommodations and transportation. Getting a local SIM card on arrival will also help you navigate your way around. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll want to be ready for anything that might happen.
At a minimum, stay hydrated, get quality sleep and eat clean. Also, get out and get some Vitamin D and fresh air to fight the dreaded jet lag. Walking everywhere is a simple way to fight vacation bulge, or you can get your yoga on with the locals or download a workout app. While you’re out and about, make sure you keep an eye on your bags in busy locations like bus terminals and try to take money out only at ATMs inside banks during business hours to avoid ATM skimming.
The fears of an apocalyptic pandemic seems to erupt at any mention of a large scale illness, it’s no wonder as numerous films have visualised our worst nightmares. We experienced SARS, and now we have the coronavirus commanding headlines every day. Listen to the experts and remember hand hygiene is a key to your wellness. Make it a priority to wash frequently and use hand sanitizer around high contact areas like doorknobs and elevator buttons.
Whether you go out for a weekend on the town or for a year abroad, hopefully, you will meet the intriguing characters all the best journeys are made of. Intoxicating men and women who seem to see into your soul or at least promise a vodka fueled night in an epic club or a tranced-out drum circle at sunset.
Try not to get wasted on day one. Get a feel for your new digs and if you do decide to imbibe, make sure you go with a group of people you trust. And in between laughing wildly with the cute AF stranger you just met and hitting the dance floor, keep an eye on your drink and take a registered taxi home rather than stumbling in the dark. If you get lucky and the one you had your eye on decides to come to the afterparty, bring condoms in case the night turns steamy.
Perhaps the most essential ingredients for thriving on the road, no matter where you wander, are a sense of adventure, an open mind and your intuition. Respect the cultures you traverse, trust yourself and be open to what your exploration brings, and you will be in for a mind-blowing adventure.