Plan Ahead: Getting Sick while Traveling

getting sick while traveling


If you’re here, the chances are that you’re a travel bug too. You know the benefits of family travel well. As soon as your kids were old enough to travel, you probably booked them up to see some sights you could never have imagined at their age.

Still, there are some aspects of travel you don’t like to think of. You’re happy to spend hours choosing the right accommodation or road trip routes, but you switch off the moment someone mentions illness. You can’t think of anything worse than either you or your kids falling ill while you’re on the road. Your trips are all about new experiences, but this is an experience you’d rather leave out.

The trouble is that, if you travel often, illness abroad is pretty likely at some stage. This is especially the case with kids. They’re going to be interacting with new people and experiencing an unknown climate. Don’t be surprised if they wake you up with complaints of not feeling well.  We had this happen in Orlando one year.  Our Seven woke up nauseated, and proceeded to vomit in the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel before heading to the theme parks.  Poor thing!  Luckily, we had some Pepto and toast, and got him feeling better quickly.  You just never know what may happen!

The good news is that this doesn’t have to be the ordeal you’ve been treating it as so far. You merely need to consider putting the following action plan in place if it ever happens to you.

#1 Prepare

First, you need to prepare…eventually, it’s likely to happen. The steps you take before your trip could make a massive difference to how you cope with illness. Taking out travel health insurance for the whole family is an absolute option.  Several years ago, I encouraged my grandparents to spend the extra bit of money to buy travel insurance for their trip to Australia.  Thankfully, they did.  My grandfather got ill while cruising to Tasmania, and had to be hospitalized for many days.  The insurance covered every out of pocket expense, the hospital, lodging, and return tickets home to Virginia…something that would have cost a small fortune.  In addition, packing a first aid kit with all your essentials can also help to reduce the panic you feel if this ever happens to you.  When we come to Thailand, despite their being plenty of pharmacies nearby, we pack the things we know we may need, just in case.  From cold and flu pills, to motion sickness meds, to bandaids…we like having the things that you never hope to need.



#2 Observe

Next, it’s worth noting that you need to observe any travel illness carefully. It may be that you can treat something yourself. Or, you may require medical intervention. Either way, you aren’t going to know unless you watch symptoms and observe how the condition progresses.  Keep notes, even…writing it down in your phone helps, as the doctor may ask you those kinds of questions.

#3 Research

The chances are that you’re used to researching things like day trips when you’re abroad. Those same skills can help you here, too. Researching symptoms can help to give you some clue of what you’re dealing with. More importantly, the right research can lead you to healthcare you can trust. This is especially useful if you don’t speak the language of your destination. By searching online, you can see a doctor’s reviews, and check they have the right credentials. Generally, you’ll want to search for verified medical degrees. If you’re traveling with very young children, you’ll also want to check the doctor has completed an online neonatal np program or something similar. This way, you can ensure the best care without confusion.  Since moving to Thailand, we have been smart about our research.  We know which hospital to head to, and the address, just in case anything bad should happen.  Being prepared makes us feel better!


#4 Act

After completing every other step, it’s crucial that you act. This may mean administering a cure out of that trusted first aid kit. Or, it may mean planning transport and translators for a hospital visit. Decide what you need to do, and make sure you do it to get your trip back on track as soon as possible.  Having a plan is essential, and keeps everyone a bit calmer, and hopefully, back in vacation mode in no time!


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