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Health Check-Ups Before and After a Trip

I’ve recently decided to write a series of articles about health and travel.

I know what you’re thinking, why would a girl who can’t stand to go to a doctor write about health and travel? Well there are a few reasons. One of them being the fact that if I take care of myself, then I definitely do not need to see a doctor, ever!

The first article in this series was published at the end of January, The Quest for Travel Insurance & Health Information Before I Travel. It’s an interesting debate, and if you haven’t given your opinion, check out the article and do so!

This week I’m tackling the dreaded health check-up before and after a long trip.

I know. I’m sounding like a wimp and it goes against my nature. Hear me out though.

Many of us (I am just as guilty as the next person) book our flights, pack our bags, and head out without so much as a second thought. However there are times when taking a step back and making time for a health check-up is a good idea.

The scope of your ‘check-up’ depends on you, your budget and what you want to take care of before you go. We’re all different, and our agendas will differ as well.

Eye Care

If you’re planning a long-term trip and wear glasses, you may consider switching to contact lenses or doing the whole Laser Sight surgery thing. Laser sight surgery is not cheap. But if you’ve been thinking of doing it, then consider doing it before your trip. Just think of the money you’ll save on contact lenses, solution or lost/broken eye glasses!

Visit your optometrist a few months before your trip for a check-up and to schedule your appointment before you leave.

If you opt to keep your glasses, ask for a  script that you can take with you, incase you lose or break your glasses.

Foot Care,

You never thought of foot care, did ya?! Ha!

I write this mostly because I’ve suffered from plantar fasciitis (in both feet) over the years. It’s painful and annoying.

Thanks to my wee foot problem, I take a little more time in terms of foot care. Before a trip I choose walking shoes with good support and carry super strength Motrin for the pain when it strikes. I could have custom inserts made for my shoes, but I’m cheap. However, you may not be as cheap as I am, and not willing to put up with months of pain.

Internal Medicine

Now that makes me feel important, writing Internal Medicine. Not convincing? Okay, moving on…

This part depends on where you’re traveling, how long and the type of activities you’re going to do.

If you’re planning a trip that is 3 months or longer, it’s a good idea to have a physical before you go [enter lightning here]. Why? Well, it clears up any lingering medical problems you may have and are not already aware of. It’s also a good idea to have a physical after a long trip to make sure you haven’t picked up an parasites etc.

Scripts, Meds & Vitamins

Do you have a medical condition that requires regular prescriptions? Make sure you visit your doctor before your trip to discus where you’re going, what you’ll need to bring with you and scripts the doctor will need to give you, just in case.

If you visit a Naturopath, visit them and have a similar discussion as the one above. Ask about herbs that are popular and easy to find in just about any country. Also ask about easy on-the-road remedies.

[if you’re interested in more information about Naturopathic medicine, stay tuned for my article/interview on tips for travel with a long-time friend and Naturopath]

Vaccines

I absolutely detest travel clinics. In Canada they charge us a fee to tell us which vaccines we need and which ones we don’t. As someone who researches what she needs, I find it to be a waste of my money. Unfortunately it’s mandatory as many travel vaccines are only available in these clinics.

It’s a good idea to research what you need, and if you don’t have the time, ask lots of questions. What are the side effects? How long does the vaccine last? How much does it cost? Is there more than one shot and how long apart do they need to be? You’re paying for this appointment, so be prepared and get your monies worth before you leave!

Checking your health before (and after) a trip can feel daunting. Whether you take the time to do any of the things listed above is totally up to you. I’ve done it both ways.

Just remember, at the end of the day, it’s your trip. Your life. Your future. Make choices that you’re comfortable with.

The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life by 30 to 50 years. -Deepak Chopra

 

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I'm a travel writer and photographer who specializes in bespoke travel experiences. I write about boutique, savvy and cultural travel. My writing has been featured in Outpost Magazine, Travel + Escape, and UP! Magazine.

6 comments

  1. Betsy Talbot

    If you are going to be traveling for a long time, you should also plan for healthcare on the road. We still get yearly physicals and teeth cleanings. You can’t let this kind of stuff go just because you are traveling – maybe especially since you are traveling. 

  2. Ironically, I just got back from my annual physical and am pleased to say that 16 months of travel have been very good for my health. My weight & blood pressure are down significantly. Plus, thanks to the $2 EKG test the provided my heart is looking great. 

    While I am no fan of doctor visits either, I love knowing that following our dream is good for your health.  Good luck on your visits and we look forward to seeing you soon!

    • Awesome news, Warren!
      Travel can be so good for a person. It’s one of the things I’m looking forward to when I return. In fact, I plan to do a little physical training in Thailand before the Mongol Rally this year.
      Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!!

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