Recently I went through the same, and what felt like much worse, after a seafood fried rice didn’t agree with me. But sometimes the worst part is you’re limited to the time that you have to spare while traveling. You want to enjoy every moment, explore as much as you can of your new-found exotic land, or never move from that deckchair on the beach. Here are some things that I have stuck by whenever struck down during my year in South-East Asia. (In no particular order)
10 Ways To Stay Healthy While Traveling in South-East Asia
1. Drink Lots of Water
Probably obvious, but it is easy to forget when nothing wants to stay in your belly. Even if you’re not sick, I would advise upping your daily water intake whenever traveling. You’re going to be walking, in the sun, drinking and stressing a lot more than usual. So keeping your fluids up is a good practise. I usually grab myself a 1.5L water bottle whenever I’m heading out for a touristy day around Phnom Penh, and try to fill it up wherever I stop for lunch. If you are sick and are struggling to even keep water down, get a straw and slowly, regularly sip the water. It won’t be so harsh on your stomach.
2. Get an Electrolyte Solution
3. Stop and Sleep
It is ok to stop. Take a day off from your adventures and just sleep and relax. One day off is much better than 5 miserable days where you can’t fully enjoy anything. Even as an expat, most bosses have dealt with this situation before and will agree. Don’t feel guilty, it’s your best option.
4. Get A Massage
5. Seek Medical Attention
You can however buy any drug you need at any pharmacy – no prescription needed. Me being captain cautious, I brought over a year supply of medical supplies for all the ‘just in cases’, only to find out I could buy it all here for a quarter of the price.
6. Get Health Insurance
To back up the last point… Please! Please! Please! If I hear another moto-renting backpacker reply with ‘nah I’ll be right’, when asked if they have health insurance… I’m going to cry! It is such an easy thing to do. One payment and you can forget about it. It is not a waste of money. That dodgy helmet you paid an extra $2 for is more of a waste than health insurance! *breathe*…. Your trip, no matter where you go or what you do in the world, will be much less stressful knowing that if anything happens, you’re financial and medical issues will be taken care of. I don’t think I’ve met any backpacker who has a spare $50,000 to throw around if they need to be airlifted to a neighbouring country for emergency surgery.
7. Eat The Vegetarian Option
Above, is me, taking my own advice... NOT! Enjoying exotic foods and trying new things is all a part of travel, but sometimes your health is more important. Deep Fried Tarantula from a market in Phnom Penh was pretty safe though, i guess, maybe, ok i have no idea! But referring to the last photo, it was a delightful surprise to find that it tasted exactly like soft shell crab! Anyway, back to the actual staying-off-the-loo-and-feeling-like-crap (pardon the pun) advice at hand... Eating the vegetarian option is something I always recommend to people with a sensitive stomach or who don’t usually eat a lot of meat. Most street food in South-East Asia is super fried or boiled so most things are hopefully killed off, such as the bacteria in the water. But the chance of getting clean meat that hasn’t been sitting in the sun all day is extremely slim. Most people usually have no issues, but if you’re particularly sensitive, I wouldn’t risk it.
8. Carry Hand Sanitiser
9. Wear a Mask
10. Stay Positive!
Always! Keep your head up and a smile on your face! Mindset plays a huge role in overall health. So this 10 Health Tips When Traveling in South-East Asia list wouldn't be complete without a mention of mental health.
Life’s an adventure; it would get pretty boring if it was perfect all the time. Enjoy every bump, trip, rise and plateau.
Have you travelled through South East Asia? Along with these 10 Health Tips When Traveling in South-East Asia, what did you learn along the way? Let me know in the comments!
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