Norbert Figueroa a RoamRight Blog Author

How To Overcome Sickness When Traveling

Getting sick while traveling can be difficult unless you are prepared.  CT

Sickness happens, whether you’re at home or in a foreign country half way on your vacation.  It’s true that getting sick is the least desirable thing to happen while traveling, but the chances of it happening are not under our direct control.  But, what is under our control is how we treat it to get our health back.

In order to help you regain your health, should you fall sick when traveling, here are a few tips that will help you overcome the sickness faster — or at least minimize the symptoms.

  1. First and foremost, hydrate. Be sure to drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated. If you’re flying, don’t forget to take small sips of water every half hour or so. The plane’s environment is very cold and dry, which could dehydrate you faster if you’re already feeling sick.
  2. Always travel with your over-the-counter and prescribed medicines. Over-the-counter medicines can be found easily almost anywhere, but make sure you have enough prescribed medicine to last for the duration of the trip or at least for a considerable time. While you can get prescribed medicines abroad by visiting a doctor, not all countries carry the same brands, so it might be hard to find the exact same medicine depending on where you travel. In these cases, you can opt for generic alternates. Beyond prescribed medicines, carry a small amount of decongestant, Ibuprofen, paracetamol, NyQuil, and Band-Aids.
  3. Take your medicine as directed. If it is prescribed to be taken every four hours, take them every four hours. Failing to do so will reduce the treatment’s effectiveness.
  4. Be on “preventive mode” to boost your immune system. If you feel you’re starting to get sick, don’t wait until it gets worse to start treating it. Boost your immune system right away to get through the sickness quicker or with fewer symptoms. For example, if you start getting a cold, as soon as you feel it start drinking lots of liquids, drink Orange juice for the vitamin C or take vitamin C pills like Emergen-C and Airborne On the Go.
  5. Avoid sudden shifts in temperature. Your body’s thermostat needs to be stabilized. Sudden weather changes can give you symptoms that will make you feel under the weather. 
  6. Stay warm as much as possible. Feeling cold can suppress your immune system, thus increasing your chances of getting sick.  
  7. If you have food poisoning, improve your digestive system with probiotics. Contrary to antibiotics, probiotics boost the number of good bacteria in your digestive system in order to have a proper coating (flora) to tolerate “uncommon” or “harsh” foods. Yogurts are also good for this. After food poisoning, eat bland foods that don’t require too much processing from your stomach and intestines.
  8. Don’t be afraid to take breaks more often or to skip sights if you’re not feeling too well. In fact, this will help you get better sooner since you’re not demanding too much energy from your body. So don’t forget to just stop, sit somewhere and relax for some time.  
  9. Don’t stress it out. It is not cool to feel sick while traveling, but getting angry or upset about it will not make you feel any better. Actually, stress can make you feel sicker or help extend the duration of your sickness. So, relax and take things easy.

In cases where your sickness is threatening:

  1. Contact the nearest embassy or consulate for a list of local doctors and medical facilities they recommend.
  2. Go to the nearest doctor or hospital to get immediate attention. More often than not, the expenses incurred during an emergency visit are covered by your travel insurance.

Have you ever gotten sick while traveling?  How did you deal with it?

Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.


About the Author

Norbert Figueroa

Norbert Figueroa, a RoamRight Blog Author Norbert Figueroa is an architect who hit the pause button on his career in 2011 to do a round the world trip. He's been blogging for over three years at, where he shares his travel experiences, budget travel tips, and a good dose of world architecture. From hiking Mount Kilimanjaro to diving with great white sharks, he is always on the search of adrenaline and adventure. Norbert is originally from Puerto Rico and he is currently based in Milan, Italy... when not roaming around the world, that is. He has traveled to more than 80 countries in 5 continents and his goal is to travel to all 193 U.N. recognized countries. Follow Norbert on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus.

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