Being Sick during Travels – Now What?

The part I hate most during the year is when I’m sick. The worst, however, is when I am sick and travelling. Pure agony. Not only is it then that you need a comfy bed, home-made soup as well as peace and quiet but you have to heave your luggage around, get on public transport and feel super guilty for being a breeding bacteria ground. Being in Japan, I have now invested in one of these masks. Still feel reluctant to put it on, but it’s common decency and actually a good idea. And since I have my own experiences with being sick on the road, I feel qualified to write a self help post about it, hoping it will help you also when you need it. Let’s hope not anytime soon.

Have Your Own Emergency Kit

It should go without saying but when you travel a basic health kit is necessary. You don’t want to waste your time looking for pharmacies, getting annoyed at prices or the foreign language descriptions when you could just as well bring your medication with you. This should include something against headaches, maybe paracetamol and any necessary prescribed pills. Depending on where in the world you are, you might also consider charcoal pills or laxatives. Just make sure you don’t pack too much (I did and regret it). And never travel without tissues!

Know When to Slow Down

Travel can be stressful on the body and with all the new impressions and stuff you’re exposed to, it can weaken your system and exhaust you. And when you are moving between small hostels and on public transport, there is always someone coughing or sneezing. You are never safe, so strengthen your immune system and when to slow down to replenish your energies. When you feel the bad creeping up, take immediate steps. Dress warmer, avoid drafts, sleep more and/or take naps, don’t overexert yourself and increase your intake of vitamins. If you can get a hold of it, I highly recommend Lemsip and always stock up on it when I am in countries that stock it, such as GB, Ireland and Australia. It is basically just a hot lemon drink with paracetamol in it but it works wonders!

Let it Be

If despite all of your precautionary measures you have fallen prey to a mean horde of bacteria, don’t fret but sleep. This is your time to rest and if you are anywhere like me, then rest was long overdue. Head over to the next supermarket before you are unable to get out of bed, stock up on tissues, vitamins (fruits, juices, veggies) and easy-to-make foods. How about you buy frozen chopped up vegetables, stock and throw it all into a pot to boil for an hour to get your soup fix? It’s better than processed soup powder. Drink loads, rest loads and do not try to travel. Or work. (This is especially aimed at me. I never quite follow my advice but should.)


Yes, you need to rest and might miss out on a couple of things. But imagine how terrible you’d feel if you followed though and saw them all just to become even more sick and not see anything during the rest of your trip or not being able to remember anything because you were in a haze. It won’t do any good, be reasonable! And since you might not be quite so reasonable now, let me take over and follow my orders: go back to bed! Why are you even reading this? I hope you’re not sick, otherwise, shut down your computer! And get well soon.

Any travel tips you might have for being sick on the road?

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