Whether you are voyaging to the canals of Holland, or traveling to Paris to stand in awe at the Eiffel Tower, making sure you are safe and healthy will help ensure a smooth and memorable vacation.


According to the National Travel Survey, 63 percent of travelers get sick while on vacation, and most of the illnesses, including sunburn, motion sickness and food poisoning, were preventable. No one wants to deal with Montezuma’s revenge or worry about their personal safety when they could be catching some rays or sightseeing in Kaua’i. In order to travel avoid illness, injury, or threats to your safety, beat the bugs and burglars at their own game by reading these following tips.

Before you hop on the plane:


Do your research

Make sure you have done your research on your destination before you travel. You do not want to buy a plane ticket to a country, and later find out it is known for being a dangerous place. You want to be sure you are traveling to a safe and secure area. Check their local news to make sure no political tension, natural disasters or crime are occurring in the area. Be aware of which neighborhoods are safe in the area, which streets you should avoid, and of course, all the great places to sightsee. It is a wise idea to also learn some of the native language just in case you need to seek help. Look for legal information and local customs, so you don’t find yourself in a sticky situation or offend anyone.

Take a trip to the doctor

Visit or call your doctor before you leave town. Almost nine out of 10 travelers who get sick while on vacation did not consult with a doctor before leaving. All it takes is a quick visit or a simple phone call to see if there are any precautionary steps you can take to make you the healthiest you can be while traveling. Doctors can help make sure you are healthy enough to travel, but may also recommend or prescribe vaccinations or medication.


Trust a friend and neighbor

Before traveling, leave a copy of your travel itinerary with a trustworthy friend or neighbor, so they can check up on you if need be, especially if you are traveling alone. You can also ask that, while you are away, they collect your mail, keep an eye on your house, or even park their car in your driveway to give the appearance your home is occupied. This will help prevent a home invasion.


Lock up your home

According to the FBI, burglaries occur most frequently in the summer months, when the home is empty during the day. There are things you can do believe you leave on vacation to help prevent against an unwanted visitor. Remember to lock up all your doors and windows. If you have a security system, like local ADT or XFinity, make sure it is armed before you leave. Also, invest in timed lights to give the appearance someone is inside the home and help ward off burglars.


While enjoying your vacation:

Drink bottled water

I strongly advise not drinking water out a tap, no matter where you go, and instead opt for bottled water. It is also a good idea to avoid ice in drinks. Trust me, I have personally experienced the nasty wrath that contaminated water can have on your body. On a vacation to Tennessee, I drank the tap water for a week and became ghastly ill with E. coli. So again, remember, bottled water is safer than tap water anywhere, any day.

Avoid the bugs

Protecting yourself from insects in important no matter what country to travel to. Bot flies in Central America, bedbugs in hotel rooms, and mosquitos in Africa have all been known to cause serious pain and illness for travelers who get bit. A good way to avoid these pesky creatures is to use the good ole’ bug spray, keep your belongings off hotel floors, and get prescribed malaria medication if you will be traveling to a known malaria-infested area in Africa.

Use a decoy wallet

It is a great idea to keep an extra wallet on your possession while on the road. In the event that someone attempts to mug you (hopefully this will not be the case, but you can never be too prepared) have a decoy wallet with expired cards and little cash. Also, never leave all your money in one place at a time — keep some cash in your decoy wallet, some cash in your actual wallet, and some cash back in your hotel room.

Take off that fanny pack

However convenient that fanny pack may be (yes, I am talking to you), just please leave it at home. Try not to scream “tourist” while vacationing, as this makes you appear vulnerable to criminals. Also, try not to spend too much time looking at a map of the city, looking as though you are utterly lost (which you probably are) because you may become a target for criminals. Learn your route before leaving the hotel.


Be safe but not scared. While I don’t want to frighten anyone out of taking that much needed break from work to vacation to Buenos Aires, being proactive in taking necessary precautions while traveling will ensure a safe, healthy, relaxing (or adventurous) vacation to remember.


Author bio: Kate Voss is a freelance writer from Chicago who has written on everything from the philosophical TV lessons, to electric cars. Her favorite travel spots are Norris Lake in Tennessee and St. John. You can follow her on Twitter at @Kateevoss.

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