What a yawn-a-thon life can be at times, even planning a RTW, once in a lifetime, trip comes with its fair share of boring tasks. One thing you should never neglect is your health, no matter how dull a trip to the doctors may seem.
Here’s your checklist of things you need to do before you set foot on that plane:
Sort out your contraception
The last thing you want while you’re travelling is to fall preggers… literal nightmare. Hot, sweaty, with child. Not the ideal scenario. I mean OF COURSE you’ll be using condoms during any sexual encounter but accidents do happen. So if you’re taking the pill, stock up, if you have an injection, you’ll need to switch to something else for long term travel. Personally I favour the implant as it just stays in there, and requires zero effort from moi. Also it stops me menstruating which is BRILLIANT!
I hate periods, especially on holiday. Not having them saves me money and room in my luggage bar the emergency tampon or two. To each their own though. If you have heavy periods it’s worthwhile talking to your doctor as certain types of the pill alleviate them, you can also take tranexamic acid tablets which stop periods but you do have to take a lot of them.
Go to the dentist!
You don’t want teeth issues in the middle of nowhere when you’re low on cash and patience. Get those gnashers seen to before you leave. If you need a filling, better to get it done at home. Also ask for a good scale and polish for a sparkling smile.
Have a sexual health check up
You will sooo be having sex at some point during your trip, well, hopefully. Again I say to you ‘USE CONDOMS’ but it doesn’t hurt to get the all-clear before you jet off. If you need a smear test, just grin and bear it. Stock up on prophylactics and you’re done.
Let your doctor know you’re going travelling
Just give them a heads up, especially if you have a pre-existing condition, they are the experts and will help you to figure out how to manage your condition on the move. Even if you’re all fit and healthy they can give you advice on best practice when it comes to sun protection, water consumption and malaria prevention. You can ask them what to pack in your first aid kit too.
Get any injections or vaccines you may need
And do this in good time, there’s no point doing it the week before as some injections need a course over several weeks or even months. Give your GP a list of all the countries you’re visiting and they can tell you what injections you have to get. Be warned, this can be expensive. Also make sure you’re up to date on your childhood immunisations – I needed a missed MMR booster jab and polio vaccination.
See the optician
You can get a free eye test in most high street opticians so use it, it only takes 15 minutes. Even if you’ve never had glasses before, it’s better to find out you need them at home than abroad. Imagine being in a country where you don’t speak the language and not being able to read something or see a sign clearly. Horrible. I wear glasses and hadn’t had a eye test in ages, turns out I needed considerable stronger specs, I’m so glad I found out as they’re lifesaving. I just got some cheap ones (BOGOF) I wouldn’t mind if I lost.
Donate some blood (it’s good karma)
Heaven forbid you need a blood transfusion but, sh*t happens in countries with less stringent health and safety laws. I can think of several people who’ve had bad accidents in South East Asia off the top of my head… granted, a lot were motorbike based. But one friend got trampled by an Elephant. Give blood, save a life, get great karmic vibes. Also learn your blood type, might come in handy. (I’m 0 negative, universal donor dontcha know).
So that’s the checklist, have I left anything out? Obvy boys don’t have to think about contraception and periods but most of this list applies to everyone. Just be as safe as you can be and then have lots of fun!