How You Can Avoid Vacation Woes
VACATION time—what thoughts come to mind? Relaxation on sun-kissed beaches, with luxuriant palm trees offering welcome shade? Or perhaps the delight of breathing cool, clean mountain air?
Yet, you may worry about possible bad weather, airport delays, travel sickness, and so forth. Whatever your thoughts, what can you do to make your vacation as enjoyable as possible?
Wise vacationers plan ahead. They obtain travel and health documents so that these are in order when their journey begins. Inquiries about health hazards likely to be encountered help them decide what preventive medication to take.
In preparation for traveling to areas where malaria is endemic, many start to take antimalarial drugs a few days before departure. As a safeguard, though, it is often advised that they continue such medication throughout their vacation and even for four weeks afterward. This is because malaria parasites incubate in the body for that long. But other precautions are also vital.
Dr. Paul Clarke, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, advises: “Equally important are insect repellants applied to the skin or wrist, and ankle bands, bed nets and an insecticide vapouriser which runs off the electricity supply.” Equipment like this is usually best purchased before leaving for your vacation.
Travel sickness makes any journey unpleasant. What causes it? One researcher claims that motion sickness occurs when the brain is overloaded with new signals that come from being in an unfamiliar setting. If the motion of the ship, the vibration of the aircraft, or the drone of your car’s engine causes this problem, try to fix your attention on something stable, perhaps the horizon or the road ahead. Good ventilation will provide much-needed oxygen. In severe cases of motion sickness, antihistamine drugs may help alleviate the symptoms. A word of caution is in order, though: Beware of possible side effects, such as drowsiness, since under some circumstances these could jeopardize your safety.
Long air journeys have their own health hazards, such as dehydration. For some, inactivity and cramped seating for long periods can increase the risk of a blood clot in the leg. If the clot is dislodged and reaches a lung or the heart, the consequences can be especially dangerous. Therefore, on long flights some may need to exercise by walking in the aisles or by flexing hip and leg muscles while seated. And to reduce dehydration, drink plenty of nonalcoholic beverages.
Does the above only confirm your fear of flying? If so, you should take comfort in the fact that flying is relatively safe. It is reportedly 500 times safer than riding a motorcycle and 20 times safer than journeying by car! Others, though, will point out that such statistics are based on comparison of miles traveled and not on the respective amount of time spent during the course of travel.
Traveling with young children presents a special challenge. “Plan your journey with the precision of a military campaign,” recommends broadcaster Kathy Arnold. Even though you may not be able to manage that, take along books, games, or other material to capture the children’s interest. This will make traveling more pleasant for the whole family.
When You Arrive
‘It takes me four or five days to unwind before I begin to enjoy my stay,’ is a comment many vacationers make. True, adapting to new surroundings takes time. So it may be wise not to rush around the first day or two after you arrive. Allow your body and mind to adjust to a different schedule. Failure to do this can cause stress and undermine the good your vacation can do.
According to one estimate, at least half of the several hundred million people worldwide who venture abroad each year suffer some form of illness or injury. Thus, as Dr. Richard Dawood, editor of Travellers’ Health, explains, “prevention is a strategy for health that no traveller can afford to neglect.” Since a traveler’s body needs to adjust to different strains of bacteria in the atmosphere, food, and water, it is especially important during the first few days that you be careful about what you eat.
“Food should never be assumed to be safe,” cautions Dr. Dawood, “unless it is known to have been freshly and thoroughly cooked (heat sterilized)—in the case of meat, until no red colour remains.” Yet, even hot food can be suspect. So, “satisfy yourself that today’s lunch is not yesterday’s evening meal, re-heated and re-arranged.”
Thus, if you are on vacation in an area quite different from where you live, you may not always be able to eat exactly when, where, and what you want. But this is surely a small price to pay to avoid the diarrhea that has reportedly affected two fifths of all international travelers.
As for drinks, bottled water is often safer than what is available locally. To avoid problems, though, it is wise to have bottled and canned drinks opened in your presence. It may also be wise to avoid ice. Always view it as suspect unless you know it to be safe.
Important to an Enjoyable Vacation
After taking a survey of her readers, a travel editor reported: “If weather figured large in your reasons why a holiday was a great or a lesser success, friends figured larger still.” In fact, “good company” was given as the factor contributing to an enjoyable vacation “even more frequently than smooth-running hotels, trouble free journeys, good food, and interesting sights to see.”
But where can you meet wholesome new friends when on vacation? Well, one means of doing so is by writing in advance to the Watch Tower Society office caring for the country where you plan to vacation. They will provide you with the address of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses nearest your destination as well as the time of the meetings there. A few of the addresses of these offices are found on page 5 of this magazine, and a more extensive list can be found by consulting a recent Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Important to enjoying your vacation and at the same time avoiding any regrets is heeding the Bible’s wise counsel: “Do not be misled. Bad associations spoil useful habits.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) If you feel any desire to escape from Christian standards and practices while in some remote vacation spot, wisely recognize this as a weakness and ask for divine help to combat that desire. Parents also need to give attention to their children’s activities. Remember, these are “critical times hard to deal with” wherever you are.—2 Timothy 3:1.
When you vacation as a family, do not take it for granted that Mother will do all that she normally does at home. Be willing to assist with the daily chores. Show a cooperative spirit. Such an attitude contributes much to everybody’s enjoyment of the vacation.
Will your vacation be a pleasant one? A few choice photographs, postcards, and souvenirs, perhaps even some local crafts, are sure to bring back happy memories. But especially memorable will no doubt be newfound friends. Keep in touch with them. Exchange letters to relate interesting experiences. There are many ways you can make your vacation one that you will truly enjoy.
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Some Vacation Reminders
Before you leave
• Have all necessary valid travel and health documents
• Obtain supplies of preventive medicine
During the journey
• Drink plenty of nonalcoholic fluids, and exercise when on long flights
• Take along interesting material for youngsters
• Allow time for your body and mind to adjust
• Restrict your diet to safe food and drink
• Maintain moral vigilance
• Share daily chores with other family members
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When on vacation, watch your associations