Bali/Asia is a wonderful place to visit, however even sitting in the best restaurants with the prettiest views can still lead to a tummy ache or health concern that can ruin your holiday. Luckily our “Whats in my travel medicine bag” guide can help you out. There are certain items that I NEVER leave home without, especially if you have children. 9 times out of 10 symptoms hit at some insane hour of the night. This is bad enough if you are at home and know where everything is but its even worse if you are in a foreign country with no idea who to call or where to go! I am in no way a medical practitioner, but in my years of travel both on my own and with my children these items have been a lifesaver on numerous occasions. In all instances of illness, seek medical advice if you are concerned.
I CAN NOT stress enough how important good travel insurance is. For so many reasons but least of all to completely cover your health. Over the years I have racked up over $40k AUD in travel insurance claims. Yep AUD$40,000!! That’s not a typo. An epic case of gastro in a remote town where I was living in the U.S.A with an ambulance ride and 12 hour stay in hospital didn’t come cheap, plus a wonderful case of Typhoid in Bali which saw my appendix removed under misdiagnosis and a few other hospital visits whilst living on the island of the gods where all costly adventures. Luckily the only cost to me on all those occasions was the cost of the travel insurance. As much as you don’t think anything will happen to you when you’re on holidays you cannot afford to take the chance.
Now, CREDIT CARD Insurance. Let me give you a BIG tip on this one. I’ve worked in the travel industry for various organisations for over 20 years, as well as been a big traveller and expat during this time and my biggest warning is STAY AWAY from the credit card insurance. There are so many hidden clauses in credit card insurance that leaves you wide open to huge bills and costly outlays whilst waiting for reimbursements. I have seen it time and time again where people thought they were covered and are not, or if they are covered must pay out of pocket and can wait months to be reimbursed.
Most credit cards will make you pay for the medical or other expenses out of pocket in advance and then reimburse you once the claim has been approved vs paid travel insurance which normally pays the establishment directly without you even touching your wallet. Now this is assuming they will even cover your expense in the first place. For example, if you fall whilst getting out a taxi and twist your ankle you will not be covered unless you have paid for that taxi by credit card. Now how many taxi’s in Asia take credit card……in Bali I can tell you NONE do. It’s just not worth it. If you can’t afford proper travel insurance you can’t afford to go.
These little tablets/wafers are a miracle. Honestly, I cannot recommend these for not only your travel bag but also for your medicine chest at home. They are a prescription item but most Doctors are happy to provide when knowing you are traveling to an area that is renowned for tummy bugs and upsets.
1 tablet/wafter will stop the worst of cramps, vomiting and emergency toilet runs in their tracks – unless of course you have something more serious than a case of gastro, in which case seek medical attention immediately.
They are also fantastic for children (make sure your DR gives you the correct dosage for children). I NEVER leave home without these, especially on an overseas adventure. Immodium Zapid are also a family fave and are a must in your travel bag. They work really fast and are a great over the counter alternative.
Always have these in your kit. They are generally easily available enough in most countries, however children’s varieties are a little harder to come by in my experience, so I always take my own and again, must easier to administer at 3am if you already have them on hand rather than surviving a restless night or running around in the dark in a taxi trying to find a chemist open at that hour of the morning.
Say What? Red drinks? YEP!!! Should you get a tummy upset on your travels, get drinking anything red and liquid. – an old wives take but I swear by it. It has something to do with the red colouring and although I am totally against high sugary drinks and numbers in food, in times of need (especially if my child is sick) I am happy to admit defeat.
Red cordial (pack a small one in your bag if you have room), Red Fanta which is everywhere in Asia, red coloured Gatorade, whatever you can get your hands on that is red generally works and slows the gastro symptoms down enough that your body is able to catch up on fluids and recover. Again, if symptoms persist seek medical advice.
This interesting fruit is also fantastic at slowing down overactive intestinal systems. It tastes like a mix between an apple and an unripe pear and has a drying effect on the palate. Peel the snake like skin and eat the white flesh on the inside – don’t eat the pip. Most hotel restaurants will have Salak on their fruit buffet but they are seasonal. I happen to love Salak, however a word of warning – don’t eat too many – they can make you constipated if you eat too many!!!
Gut health is one of your best defences in keeping well and a good probiotic is a great start in aiding your immune system for not only defending against tummy bugs but also keeping colds and flu’s away. Airplane travel and in room air-conditioning are a fantastic home for cold and flu bugs. Even if you have a cast iron stomach, we all tend to over indulge on holidays and a good probiotic will help your gut break down all that excessive alcohol and food.
Make sure you get a variety that does not have to be refrigerated as you wont always have a room with a fridge or be able to keep the refrigerated varieties cold enough whilst travelling to and from your destination. You want your probiotic to be alive and well not dead and useless. Again, if you are traveling with children, probiotics are a must. Swimming pools are some of the biggest homes for bacteria and where kids spend a lot of time when on holidays. A good probiotic can stop some of those bugs in their tracks.
After trying literally hundreds of $$$$ worth of kids probiotics, I finally found one that not only tastes great and which my daughter loves (and asks for every morning) but also comes packaged in single serve sachets. doTERRA have hit the nail on the head with these Strawberry and Melon flavoured babies and also make a great adults version too. Click here to find out how to purchase.
DO NOT COME TO ASIA WITHOUT MOSQUITO REPELLENT!!! Having had Dengue Fever, a mosquito transferred infection, I can attest that you don’t want to deal with this at any point in your life, let alone on your holiday. Dengue, Malaria and Zika virus are all well known among the mozzie family and are easily avoidable with the right precautions. Plus there is not thing worse than the itch of mozzie bites!
If you are in Bali and looking for a fantastic natural repellent, then I highly recommend Utama Spice Begone Bug Spray. Its light, smells lovely and really does work. Citronella bands and patches are also available throughout the island but I recommend having these on hand before you leave home.
Please see your doctor for all immunisations that are relevant to the areas you are traveling.