How to Stay Healthy While Traveling Abroad comes from our overland travel correspondent, Dave from The Longest Way Home, who spent two years in West Africa and then traveled from Portugal to the sea of China overland, then wandered for two years in the Philippines, and recently just landed in Malaysia. Ask a question about overland travel.
Q: “What are your strategies for maintaining health while traveling? What do you do when you become ill? Have you been seriously ill on this journey? What strategies did you take for recovering? Any additional health tips to share for overland travel in particular?”
I eat a lot of food, mainly meat. I’ve seen many travelers get worn down from long-term travel. Meal times are interrupted nearly every day. Dry biscuits on a 16 hour bus. No water just sodas. All these things add up to a poor diet.
For one year you can generally get away with eating badly. But after that I found the strain catching up. For me this was in Africa. I compensated by adjusting my budget to allow for more food, or a better quality.
I’ll take better food over better accommodation any day.
I say Africa taught me this as I’ve had the entire list. From Mystery virus that nearly killed me, to Malaria, Typhoid, Salmonella, amoebas and so the list goes on. Over my 6 plus years of travel, I’ve of written up a full list long term travel medical problems.
If I do get sick I usually just soldier through it.For chest infections, ear or anything respiratory I usually go on antibiotics straight away. Travel and the respiratory system are tough partners due to pollution and climate. I don’t take chances here. That said, in Asia I’ve not been sick nearly as much. Stomach problems for a few days are nothing new.
A bad stomach and a 20 hour train trip is not fun. Unless I am down with a fever, I keep moving. If I have a fever I try to find a good guesthouse run by an older family. These people will often help you compared to party hostels, or those empty hotels.
Let people know you are sick, but don’t make a fuss about it. You’ll be surprised that in many places there will be a knock on the door to see if you are alright.
Above all else, listen to your body. If things are not good, seek medical advice from a qualified practitioner.
-a guy traveling the world in search of home-
Have you checked in on him recently?