For me, my gap year was the start of my traveling adventures, and it seems to be a right of passage for a long of young people. It’s a bridge between education and employment, and teaches you so much more than you could learn at home. Of course, your gap year is about fun, excitement, and freedom, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be about your health too. Here are six healthy tips for your gap year.
1. Make sure you are vaccinated
Depending on where you are headed, you might require some vaccinations before you go. It’s important to talk to your doctor about these as some are mandatory and others are simply advised. It’s wise to get these vaccinations as they will be protecting you from things such as yellow fever, typhoid, and hepatitis – which could really ruin your trip!
2. Consider what you are eating
Trying new foods is a big part of traveling, so do be adventurous, but make sure you are aware of what you are eating. Ensure meat is cooked properly, and if you are going to try street food, opt for one with a long line – that usually means it’s tried and tested, and good quality! Try not to just live on junk food and get some fruits and vegetables in your system, too.
3. Be prepared for tummy troubles
In some places, new food can cause you to have some stomach issues as your body tries to get used to it. Make sure you have some electrolyte powders with you, and stay hydrated. Be aware that tap water might not be safe to drink, so splash out on bottled water and avoid ice in your drinks, or salads that have been washed in tap water. Your body will thank you.
4. Get some exercise
It’s easy to put lots of weight on and come back a lot less healthy than when you left, but you don’t have to do that! Rather than using public transport or cabs to get around, choose to walk – you’ll see more exciting things and you’ll get fit, too. Try new things like surfing or climbing as these will really make the most of your experience and not even seem like a workout despite getting your heart pumping.
5. Be sun safe
It’s really important to make sure you are protected from the sun, especially in hot countries that have a climate that you are not used to. Wear sunglasses with UV protection and a hat to protect your head. Make sure you reapply sunscreen regularly, especially if you end up in contact with water, and spend some time in the shade when the sun is at its hottest. Sunburn is not a good look!
6. Be sensible with drink and drugs
When you are partying on your gap year, it’s important to think sensibly about what you’re putting into your body. Getting too drunk can put you in danger and drugs are never a good idea – especially in another country, where you cannot be sure what they are and you are more vulnerable. Drink alcohol by all means, but don’t get so drunk that you are in danger or your days are ruined by a hangover.
So you don’t have to succumb to the stereotypes of people who go off on their gap year and really let themselves go, or who end up ill or getting hurt. Make an effort to keep yourself fit and healthy on your trip and you will come back a better person in every way!
Do you have any other tips for staying healthy on a gap year?