What's in Your Suitcase?
Summer is finally here! For many, this means leisurely mornings, afternoon
naps and putting the final touches on your summer vacation plans. Just
as important as remembering to pack your bathing suit and flip-flops is
making sure to include some less obvious items that can help you stay
safe on your next vacation.
There’s nothing worse than starting off your first day of vacation
with a painful sunburn. Not only are you dealing with sensitive, damaged
skin for the duration of your time away, you’ve now raised your
risk for skin cancer. Whether your vacation plans involve a day at the
beach or hiking, it’s important to protect yourself from the sun.
- Load up on sunscreen with SPF of 30 or more. An adult needs to use 2 ounces
(about the size of a shot glass) every time they apply.
- Look for lotions labeled “broad spectrum” and water-resistant,
and for toddlers and children more than six months of age, sunscreen containing
titanium dioxide and zinc oxide tend to be less irritating to young, sensitive skin.
- Be sure double-check the expiration date on your sunscreen. Lotions or
sprays that are out of date lose their effectiveness.
“If the expiration date is not determinable, discard sunscreen if
you’ve had it longer than three years,” recommends Dermatologist
Ashley Walker, MD, CaroMont Dermatology. “Changes in the color or
consistency of the sunscreen may also indicate expired or ineffective
sunscreen. When in doubt, throw it out. A good tip is to label your sunscreens
with the purchase date to avoid confusion in the future.”
Wear protective clothing!
For additional coverage protection, it’s a good idea to throw a hat
and sunglasses in your travel bag.
Pack your antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer!
Ask any parent, you can never have enough antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer.
Keep travel size packs of wipes and sanitizer handy that you can pull
out at a moment’s notice. Wipes are perfect to wipe down surfaces
in restaurants and on airplanes. Keep hands germ-free using small bottles
of hand sanitizer, which are great for travel and everyday use.
Grab a water bottle!
Staying hydrated is especially important when it’s hot outside, and
drinking lots of water will help make sure you feel your best and avoid
the fatigue, dizziness and headaches that can be associated with dehydration.
Pack a few bottled waters or reusable water bottles to use throughout
your trip, rather than having to haul around a heavy 24-pack everywhere
you go. Not only will this save you money, but it’s great for the
environment too. One exception to this is if you’re traveling to
an area that may not have drinkable water. In this case, it’s best
to buy bottled water or water that has already been filtered and is ready
Pack your first-aid kit!
Be sure to think about where you’re going on your vacation and whether
you will have access to health items and supplies. Play it safe and throw
in a small first-aid kit when you travel. It should contain band-aids,
antibacterial ointment, over-the-counter pain relievers, athletic tape,
tweezers and other essential items. It’s good practice to keep a
travel kit in your car at all times and not just when you’re on vacation.
Make sure you bring your health insurance card and other information!
Plan for the worst and hope for the best. Make sure you pack your health
insurance member ID card along with photo copies in case you lose it while
you are traveling.
“Before you go on vacation, it’s a good idea to talk to your
health insurance company to see if your benefits will cover you when you’re
away and make sure you understand your coverage options if you or your
kids get sick or injured,” said Donna Finley, Director of Patient
Financial Services at CaroMont Health.
If you’re taking any prescription medicines, pack enough to last
for the entire trip and maybe a few extras in case your travel plans are
prolonged for some reason. The U.S. Department of State recommends carrying
copies of your prescription medicines and if you’re traveling out
of the country, a letter from your doctor for these prescriptions due
to different countries’ laws about over-the-counter medications.
Pack essential Over-the Counter Medications!
When you enter a new environment, even if it’s only a few hours from
home, you’re being introduced to surroundings that you’re
not used to. For this reason, you might consider packing some standard
over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as antihistamine, decongestant,
anti-motion sickness tablets and antacid. For a more extensive OTC list,
check out the traveler’s smart checklist by The Centers for Disease
For a complete list and guide for foreign travel such as any vaccines you
may need, travel warnings and required travel documents visit
Get some rest and relaxation!
In the midst of making sure you’ve checked everything off the list,
don’t lose sight of the real reason you’re going on vacation—some
much-needed rest and relaxation. And to help you unwind, think about packing
some fun things like a good book, your tablet, magazines or download a
relaxation playlist on your phone. Better yet, put your phone down. In
all of our efforts to do more, produce better results and take on more
responsibility, we have lives filled with some form of stress, even if
we don’t always acknowledge it. Vacations have a good way of interrupting
the stress cycle and temporarily allowing us a chance to press the reboot button.
So, if you’re looking for permission to cut the cord, take a breath
and disconnect from the world for a moment, here’s your ticket.
It’s yours for the taking. Bon voyage!