Even in 2017, Americans are still notorious for letting their vacation days go to waste. It’s no wonder we’re also feeling more overworked, overwhelmed, and stressed out than ever. This is a shame because travel has been shown to provide a variety of mental and emotional health benefits.
Studies show that regular travel and vacations reduce the risk of heart disease while also reducing stress and anxiety. Some PTSD sufferers and recovering alcoholics even feel that vacationing helps them because they aren’t constantly triggered.
When planning your next trip, you can take a few steps to help ensure the happiest, healthiest, most stress-free vacation possible. This is especially important for those who are traveling with allergies or other health conditions.
Here’s how to make the most of your time off...
If you’re a pet owner, you’ll need to start by determining whether you’ll bring your beloved pet with you. Keep in mind that not all hotels or airlines are pet-friendly. If leaving your pet home alone is unavoidable, you can ask a trusted friend or relative to watch your pet - or consider paying a professional dog walker or sitter.
Not planning on having a house sitter? It’s still a good idea to ask a friend or family member to come check the mail while you’re gone. Hopefully, they can also act as your “eyes and ears” and alert you if there are any emergencies. With a trusted loved one watching over your home, you’ll have one less thing to worry about while you’re gone.
Allergies and Food Intolerances
Those who are traveling with food allergies might be concerned about eating while travelling. Partaking in local delicacies is part of experiencing another culture. If you’re a foodie, it might even be one of the things you look forward to the most while traveling.
Traveling with dietary restrictions like food allergies doesn’t have to be difficult. It just takes some extra planning in advance.
Here are some tips for having a healthy, happy vacation, even if you have food allergies:
- Alternate dining out at local establishments with cooking your own meals at your hotel. This allows you to experience local cuisine while still having more control over the foods and beverages you consume. You’ll probably find that the local markets have a selection of foods that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to find at home.
- It’s obviously easier to communicate food allergies to waiters if you speak the same language. If you’re not a polyglot, you can still learn a few local phrases (such as “dairy free” or “no meat”) to ease communication.
- You might consider traveling with a tour group since tour guides are typically fluent in the local language. Your tour guide should be able to request allergen-free meals for you, and some tour companies will even ask for your food allergies in advance so they can help accommodate you.
- Unfortunately, not all airlines, hotels and restaurants will be able to accommodate all food allergies or dietary restrictions. Just to be safe, you might consider bringing some allergy-friendly and travel-ready snacks with you.
- Of course, these tips also apply if you have any food intolerances, such as for dairy or gluten.
As a final precaution for those with food allergies, it’s important to bring any necessary and life-saving medications with you on your trip. Epinephrine autoinjectors, allergy medications, prescription pills, and antacids or H2 inhibitors are just a few examples of medicines you’ll want to bring with you.
A stress-free vacation is definitely achievable. With a little planning and research, you can make sure your pet and home stay safe. Plus, know you know your allergies, health conditions, and dietary restrictions don’t have to prevent you from enjoying the world. You can travel, live, and eat well in any part of the world by following the tips listed here. Bon voyage... and bon appétit!