Take a moment to get used to it
When you get off the plane, you are in a completely new world. You often arrive in a hectic city where it is warm and oppressive, sometimes at high altitudes. Take a few days to get used to it and let your body acclimatise to the new surroundings and possible time difference. In this way, you can also prevent altitude sickness.
Mentally also you will get the chance to digest all the new impressions. For that reason, it can also be smart – even if you are adventurous and prefer to look for accommodation in good faith immediately upon arrival – to spend a few nights in a hotel that has been booked in advance.
Try to avoid mosquito bites as much as possible
In many countries, mosquitoes are significant spreaders of infectious diseases, such as malaria, yellow fever and dengue. Although vaccinations and medication are available, they do not entirely prevent the risk of infection. Therefore, you should also take precautions on site:
- Apply or inject a high-factor DEET mosquito repellent.
- Cover your body as much as possible with long-sleeved shirts and long trousers.
- Sleep under a mosquito net, especially in the rainforest. Do not blindly rely on the mosquito net that is already hanging above the bed in your hotel room. It is better to bring your own mosquito net soaked with anti-mosquito repellent.
Some mosquitoes transmit certain diseases during the day, others can spread diseases at night. Therefore it is important to be protected 24 hours a day.
Insects and parasites in stagnant fresh water
In various places throughout Africa, South America, China, Japan, Indonesia and parts of the Middle East, swimming or paddling in still fresh water can cause Bilharzia. This is a worm disease. The almost invisible larvae can penetrate intact skin. By swimming, you can also get a parasite through the urethra which can cause a great deal of discomfort. So do not swim in this kind of water. We also advise you not to urinate in the water when swimming in the tropics. The urethra will open naturally and there is a chance that a parasite will enter.
Beware of dogs, cats and monkeys
It seems so nice to pet these animals on your journey, but beware! They are often carriers of the Rabies virus. If they scratch, bite or even lick you, you can get rabies. Vaccination is also possible for this. In view of the seriousness of the virus, it is absolutely necessary to have direct contact with an expert after getting a bite or scratch from an animal, in order to receive any follow-up treatment. In many places in the world, you may encounter monkeys who try to take food from your hand. You run the risk of a scratch or wound, sometimes with very unpleasant consequences. When you are in South Africa, you have to watch out for baboons. However, long-tailed macaques are very interested in your stuff on Bali too! So pay attention to places where monkeys walk around freely and walk there as little as possible with food or drinks in your hands.
Wear a mouth mask in the city
In Asia, you see almost everyone walking around with mouth masks on. Not only because many Asians wish to be as white as possible or because many are afraid to get or spread a virus, but especially because of the enormous air pollution that prevails in large cities. Millions of scooters, mopeds and cars drive through the city and produce a huge amount of exhaust fumes. If the weather is warm too with little wind, smog is also created. A mouth mask, for sale everywhere for a trifling amount, can provide relief. It may look crazy to wear but it does help!
Take measures against motion sickness
If you use the bus to travel, you will notice that many bus drivers try to imitate Lewis Hamilton in terms of driving style. We have never experienced unsafe situations during our journeys, though we did see fellow passengers get sick. If you are prone to motion sickness and are going on a long bus trip, take some medicine in advance. Try to get a place at the front too. The further back you are, the more you suffer from the motion. Drink enough too (though not alcohol or carbonated drinks) during the ride. Moreover, something we heard from people who tried it: eating a piece of ginger before and during the trip could prevent the risk of car sickness. Finally, try to follow the road, so look in the direction of travel without staring. Don’t read as then the risk of car sickness increases.
These tips also apply to when you are going on a boat trip, with one difference: the best place to sit is at the pivot point of the boat. That is usually just behind the middle.