Get the vaccinations that you need for the areas of the world that you are visiting. I met a guy in Brazil who didn’t have any Yellow Fever vaccinations at a time when there was a Yellow Fever outbreak in the country at the time… because his mum told him not to get any vaccinations (I think that she might be an ‘Anti-vaxer’… this is stupid. Don’t take the risk!
International Health Insurance
Get International Health Insurance. This well be expensive and hopefully you will never have to use it. With my policy I was able to reclaim close to the full cost of several hospital visits (nothing serious) but the main reason for this is to cover you in the event of disaster!
Tropical Diseases - Malaria, Yellow Fever
Check a Malaria Map and if you are going to a Malaria zone, use antimalarials, DEET spray and clothing to cover up your body.
If you have a medical problem or feel ill, see a doctor. Some very serious life threatening tropical diseases such as Malaria and Yellow Fever can have standard flu-like symptoms at first so you may think that it’s nothing to worry about. So just be conscious of this as it’s best to catch and treat these things early.
Keep a medical kit in your backpack with the basics. Basic things such as plasters/band-aids and antiseptic are always good to have to hand on a day trip or hike and can easily prevent a little scrape from turning into a serious infection.
Get Good Sleep
Rest and sleep well. Try not to put too much stress on your sleep pattern, take ‘time off travelling’ when you’re ill and keep your immune system strong.
Eat well. You eat street food at your own peril if it looks dirty. Sure, you can get food poisoning anywhere, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on the street food experience while travelling, but he chances are probably higher with street vendors so be smart about it and choose wisely!
Try not to drink too much alcohol too often. It happens, sometimes we go overboard, but try not to do it too often! It’s obviously not good for your health but the biggest risk about getting too drunk is that it can put you in dangerous situations.
Take care with the sun. Keep hydrated, use shade, cover up with clothing and use sun block. In my experience, real aloe vera plants form the market or the garden are the best remedy for sunburn, much better than any after sun or aloe vera products you buy in a store.
Take the appropriate precautions with altitude. Altitude sickness can kill and the sun is much stronger at higher altitudes. I once had to hold a girls’ legs up to get blood flowing to her head while she was lying down to recover after she had fainted during a walking tour. That was in Arequipa, Peru which is at 2,335 meters which is high, but not incredibly high, so just be aware that everyone has a different threshold with altitude.
If you are single and getting intimate with others, use protection and get regular screenings as you would at home.
Wild Animals - Rabies
Be wary of wild dogs and other creatures that may be carriers of rabies or other infectious diseases. Anything that can bite you should be treated with respect. I was once surrounded by a pack of barking dogs on the street in Paraguay and it was quite intimidating!