Italy & World Travel / Health Tips
Travel & staying away from home can be full of pitfalls. One wrong step or one forgotten necessity and your holiday could be ruined by a disappointing hotel room, an overpriced restaurant, a wasted afternoon at a tourist-trap attraction or finding your vital medication is still where you left it so you wouldn't forget it. So, guarantee a smooth a trip as possible by planning thoroughly and keeping your wits about you.
Not required for Italy but travel vaccines protect against a variety of diseases when travelling. Plan ahead and find out what vaccines you’ll need before you embark on your journey. Some are required for entry into certain countries, and some need to be taken a few weeks in advance.
Travel Health Kit
Bring along a travel kit of over-the-counter treatments including anti-diarrheal medication, antihistamine, anti-motion sickness medication, pain relievers, antacid, anti-bacterial ointment, hand sanitizer, band-aids, aloe gel for sunburns and Moleskin for blisters.
Check with your credit card company or your employer’s insurance plan prior to travel to see if you are covered for travel medical insurance. If not, look into buying it directly.
BEFORE YOU GO
As with the UK, water is safe in Italy but it may not always be readily available in other parts of the world including popular holiday resorts abroad. If in doubt make sure you only drink bottled or treated water, even for brushing your teeth. To avoid unpleasant results it is also best to avoid having ice in your drinks in countries where clean water is an issue (I speak from a bad experience many years ago in Spain).
Food in Italy is some of the freshest in the world so no problems there on this score but avoid salads in countries where water sanitation may be an issue, as well as any unpasteurized dairy products or raw foods that may be washed in water. Stick to fruit that can be peeled, such as bananas, oranges, pineapples and mangoes.
EATING & DRINKING
Time & Jet Lag
Switch to local time as soon as you get on the plane (Italy is just one hour ahead of the UK), and try your best to stay on this schedule. Stay up and go to bed at your normal hours, take a walk or get some sun if you need to keep awake. Get a good night’s sleep before you travel and if travelling very far, always consider taking low-dose melatonin if you suffer from jet lag.
No problems with Italy but at high-altitude destinations, it is important to acclimatise. Don’t over-exert yourself with physically demanding activities, take altitude sickness medication, keep hydrated, and stay warm.
Sun / Heat
Italy has some of best weather in Europe so definitely wear suncream and a hat (especially for balding blokes) for dealing with direct heat. Watch out for signs of heat stroke and don’t forget to drink a lot of bottled water to keep you hydrated and cool.
Like most hot countries, particularly near standing water, Italy has mosquitoes and other insects. To help prevent, especially at nights and if insects tend to like you, wear repellent. Long-sleeved tops and pants also provide added protection. Bring plug in insect repellents and refills (change your refill every day). Mosquito nets can come in handy too, and don’t forget to bring after-bite treatment.
Protective Gear & Wear
Adventure is a big part of travelling the world. But always remember that safety comes first. Wear helmets when riding motorcycles, bikes or horses – even in countries that don’t require them.
Off the wall Travel Tips! - Brave enough to leave your Comfort Zone?
Travel is full of pitfalls. One wrong step and your vacation could be ruined by a seedy hotel room, an overpriced restaurant, a wasted afternoon at a tourist-trap attraction or an overnight flight crammed in the middle seat. So, guarantee a smooth trip by planning thoroughly. Here’s how to make all the right moves.
Patience Is Important
Don’t panic about stuff you can’t control. Life is much too short to be angry & annoyed all the time. Did you miss your bus? No worries, there will be another one. ATMs out of money? Great! Take an unplanned road trip over to the next town and explore. Just take a deep breath and remind yourself that it could be worse.
Wake Up Early
Rise at sunrise to have the best attractions all to yourself while avoiding crowds. It’s also a magical time for photos due to soft diffused light, and usually easier to interact with locals. Sketchy areas are less dangerous in the morning too. Honest hardworking people wake up early; touts, scammers, and criminals sleep in.
Stash Extra Cash
Cash is king around the world. To cover you in an emergency, make sure to stash some in a few different places. £200 should be enough if you can afford ir. If you lose your wallet, your card stops working, or the ATMs run out of money, you’ll be glad you did. Some favorite stash spots include socks, under shoe inserts, a toiletry bag, around the frame of a backpack, even sewn behind a patch on your bag.
Meet Local People
Make it a point to avoid other travelers from time to time and talk with local people. Basic English is spoken widely all over the world, so it’s easier to communicate with them than you might think, especially when you combine hand gestures and body language. Learn from those who live in the country you’re visiting. People enrich your travels more than sights do.
Observe Daily Life
If you really want to get a feel for the pulse of a place, we recommend spending a few hours sitting in a park or on a busy street corner by yourself just watching day to day life happen in front of you. Slow down your thoughts and pay close attention to the details around you. Experience the smells, the colours, human interactions, and sounds. It’s a kind of meditation — and you’ll see stuff you never noticed before.
Back Everything Up
Keep both digital and physical copies of your passport, visas, driver’s license, birth certificate, health insurance card, serial numbers, and important phone numbers ready to go in case of an emergency. Backup your files & photos on an external hard drive as well as online.
Take Lots of Photos
You may only see these places & meet these people once in your lifetime. Remember them forever with plenty of photos. Great photos are the ultimate souvenir. They don’t cost anything, they’re easy to share with others, and they don’t take up space in your luggage. Just remember once you have your shot to get out from behind the lens and enjoy the view.
Smile & Say Hello
Having trouble interacting with locals? Do people seem unfriendly? Maybe it’s your body language. Make eye contact and smile as you walk by. If they smile back, say hello in the local language too. This is a fast way to make new friends. You can’t expect everyone to just walk around with a big stupid grin on their face. That’s your job. Usually all it takes is for you to initiate contact and they’ll open up.
Keep an Open Mind
Don’t judge the lifestyles of others if different from your own. Listen to opinions you don’t agree with. It’s arrogant to assume your views are correct and other people are wrong. Practice empathy and put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Embrace different possibilities, opportunities, people, suggestions and interests. Ask questions. You may be surprised at what you’ll learn from each other.
Don’t Be Afraid
The world is not nearly as dangerous as the media makes it out to be. Keep an eye out for sketchy situations but don’t let that be the focus of your whole trip. Use common sense and you’ll be ok. Most people are friendly, trustworthy, generous, and willing to help you out.
Get Lost On Purpose
If you want to see the parts of town where real people live& work, you need to go visit them. The best way to do this is on foot — without knowing where you’re going. Write down the name of your hotel so you can catch a taxi back if needed, then just pick a direction and start walking. Don’t worry too much about stumbling into dangerous neighborhoods either, as locals will generally warn you before you get that far.
Eat Local Food
Think you already know what Italian food tastes like? You’re probably wrong. Taste a bit of everything when you travel, especially if you don’t know what it is. Ask local people for recommendations. Eat street food from vendors with big lines out front. Don’t be scared of the food.
Be impulsive and say yes when someone randomly invites you to meet their families, try a new activity, or explore a place you didn’t know existed. It’s these unexpected and unplanned situations that add spice to your travels and always turn into the best stories later. Accept the kindness of strangers when you travel — you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do so.
Don’t try to cram 6 countries into 6 weeks of travel. You’ll miss a lot if you only spend a day in a city or town. All the good stuff happens when you really take the time to explore an area. That’s when you learn about activities that aren’t in your guidebook and meet people who are eager to show you around.
Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Challenge yourself to try things that normally give you anxiety. The more you do this, the more that anxiety will fade away. Not a hiker? Go on more hikes. Have trouble talking to strangers? Talk to everyone. Scared of weird food? Eat the weirdest thing you can find. The reason this works so well while traveling is because everything is already so different, what’s one more new/uncomfortable experience?
Pack less Stuff
You don’t need 1/2 the gear you think you do to travel anywhere. We’ve all done it. It’s a right of passage for travelers to slowly become better at packing less.. If you’re not sure about packing something, you don’t need it. It’s also possible to buy most things at your destination country if you discover you need them.
Treat Your Body Well
Travel can throw your body out of whack. When you’re moving from place to place it’s difficult to maintain a workout routine, and many of us slack off. Or we don’t sleep enough. Get enough sleep, stay hydrated, eat healthy, use sunscreen, and exercise often.
Stay in Touch
Remember to call your family & friends from time to time. Maybe surprise them and go old-school by sending a postcard. Maintaining a strong connection with the people who know you best is important.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER TO TAKE:
Passport (valid 6 months+ isn't a must for Italy but always recommended).
Required visas (not required in Italy for UK citizens).
Mobile phone & charger. Not a bad idea to buy a cheap pay as you go phone to use on a daily basis whilst abroad (remember to tell family & close friends of your different number).
A copy of the phone numbers of your 'nearest & dearest' even if you have them stored in your mobile. Mobiles are always more at risk of being lost when abroad so 'who ya gonna call' if the worst happens.
Power converters (at least 2 or 3 in this day & age of mobiles & laptops etc).
Reading material (books or mags).
A basic pocket sized translation guide for the country you're visiting.
Wallet (money, credit cards, insurance cards).
Torch (or mobile phone with torch app).
Basic first aid kit (Calpol always a good idea if travelling with children).
Scissors, tape, travel sewing kit.
Large daybag / laundry bag.
Hat / cap.
Notebook & pen.
Mosquito repellent & plug in devises (with lots of refills).
Any regular medications (always carry a spare set with you in pockets or hand luggage).
Hair dryer - baggage weight permiting (some hotels do provide them but they are often less powerful & efficient than your own).
Beach Towels or beach sheets.
Suncream & aftersun cream.
Please feel free to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org if there's anything we've forgotten and we'll add it to the list.