How to Map Out a Safe Vacation
If you're going on vacation—whether to cruise the Greek islands or visit your grandchildren
in Maine—a little planning goes a long way. Although we all enjoy a bit of excitement
on vacation, most of us don't like unexpected surprises. By thinking ahead and planning
for your vacation before you go, the only surprises you'll encounter are the nice
ones, such as finding a deserted beach or hearing your grandchild's first words.
To be best prepared before traveling, check to see if there are any active health
concerns in the area where you're going. Examples include mosquito-borne infections
such as malaria, COVID-19 outbreaks, or issues with unsafe water or food. For the
most current CDC travel advisories, visit the CDC's Travel Planner.
When getting ready to leave, you know to grab your toothbrush, stop the mail, and
pack clothes for every type of weather imaginable. But what about preparing for your
health? No one plans to become ill while away from home, but it's a good idea to be
prepared for unexpected health issues that may arise.
Follow these tips:
Check with your health plan about out-of-area coverage. Know what to do if you need
urgent or emergency care while you're away.
If you have a chronic medical condition, such as high blood pressure, talk with your healthcare
provider before you go. Ask if you need to take any special precautions when traveling.
If you take prescription medicines, make sure you have enough to last your entire
trip. Check with your airline to find out its rules on where to pack your medicines.
If possible, include them with your carry-on bag instead of checking them with your
luggage. Keep medicines in their original, labeled bottles.
Make sure you are properly immunized, including tetanus and flu shots. If you travel
abroad, you may need additional vaccines. Check with your healthcare provider to see
what vaccines you might need and check the travelers' guide provided by the CDC.
Mishaps, such as losing your passport or having your car break down, can ruin a vacation.
Help preserve your blood pressure (and sanity) by planning ahead. Here are suggestions
to help you have a fun, relaxing, and safe vacation:
Carry a cellphone.
Let a friend or family member know when and where you're going and when you plan to
If you are traveling by car, make sure your car has had a recent tune-up. You also
should have a spare tire, a jack, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher, motor oil, jumper
cables, water, and healthy snacks.
If you're going out of the country, take a photocopy of your passport and return tickets.
Keep the copies in a safe place, such as the hotel's safe-deposit box. If your passport
or tickets are lost or stolen, having copies will make it easier to replace them.
Keep some money and copies of your credit card in a place other than your wallet,
such as a money belt.
When staying at a hotel, lock valuables in a safe. Make sure that your room has a
working smoke detector, and familiarize yourself with the closest stairway exits.
Are we having fun yet?
You've arrived at your destination, and you're revved up and ready to go. Before rushing
off, stop and take a deep breath. Remember, the key is to enjoy yourself and not overdo
it. The following suggestions can help:
Once you've made it to where you're going, relax. Give yourself time to unwind after
traveling. Try not to make plans for the day you arrive or the day you return home.
Don't attempt any activity you wouldn't normally do at home. Take it easy with new
activities at first.
Try to have activities planned before you arrive. Make a list of things you want to
do, and get information about directions, operating hours, and costs before you go.
To get the most from your vacation, take some time to plan ahead. You'll spend less
time dealing with unexpected problems and more time seeing the sights.