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Vacation Basics

It’s summer! Time for fun in the sun, road trips, and exciting vacations. Everyone needs time off and a break from the typical over-scheduled life. It’s the best thing to de-stress and recharge your batteries.

But before you pull the plug on your brain for a few days, realize you are off routine.

Which means you may be in a different time zone, doing things you haven’t done in a while (or ever) and on a fluctuating schedule. While those are all good things on vacation, we tend to get complacent and forgetful with basic health and safety practices when we are off our normal regimen. And, it completely defeats the purpose of a relaxing, stress-free summer escape if you are not prepared and have an emergency. So, before you head out take a few things into consideration:

1. What are you fit for?

We venture out after winter hibernation not realizing our bodies might still be in a slumber. If you are planning anything that takes you from the desk, off the couch and outside, start prepping 2-4 weeks beforehand with simple exercise and strength training. Even walking 15 minutes three times a week can help boost basic fitness levels for an active vacation.

Remember to pack water bottles, hats, proper footwear, a sturdy day pack, and sunscreen. Hikes, site-seeing, and swimming in open water locations are all great fun except for the next day when you wake up with blisters, sunburn and sore muscles.

If you have been on your feet out and about all day, stretch before bed. Take time the next morning to do a “flight check” for stiff joints and aching muscles before hopping out of bed.

2. Don’t forget the meds!

The great thing about taking time off is we have no set schedule. We get to relax, eat when we’re hungry, play, and enjoy family and friends. The flip side to that is we have no set schedule and forget to take our prescription medicines. This is not good.

Pack your pill box, set a timer on your watch or phone (especially if you are in a different time zone), and stay consistent with prescriptions and supplements.

If you are traveling by plane, pack your medicine in your carry-on in case your checked luggage ends up in a different destination. Getting refills out of state and before a script is up, is a hassle you want to avoid.

3. Know your insurance numbers and benefits.

Have you ever been in another town and needed medical care? It’s hard to navigate healthcare where you live, let alone on vacation. Keep important emergency contact, insurance, medical and other doctor numbers on your phone, in your wallet and on another mobile device. You want to keep this information in multiple places in case something happens to one, you have a back-up.

Most people have a Doctor on Demand or another online, virtual nurse/doctor benefit through work. These services are invaluable! They save so much time and emotional stress. I find many employees either don't know they have these specific benefits, or forget about about them and wind up spending precious hours in an urgent care or ER when a quick, simple and affordable online consult would've done the trick.

4. Don't let your road trip turn into an AC/DC song!

Car trips can be so much fun except when you’re stranded on a hot highway or dilapidated parking lot. Get your car serviced before leaving. Check oil, water, radiator and tire levels. Keep water, a first aid kit, flashlight, blanket and non-perishable foods in your care just in case you get stranded.

Long trips are also tiring! We don't always recognize how mentally exhausting driving can be and tend to distract ourselves to stay awake, which is also dangerous because it takes our focus off the road.

Take brief stretch breaks every 2-3 hours and trade-out driving time. This will alleviate low-back, shoulder and neck stiffness and perk you up. It’s better to take a little longer and arrive safely in one piece, than try to push through a long drive and have an accident.

When we're busy with work and kids, preparing for a vacation can be daunting. I have found I get stressed, scatter brained and forget things. Often we're tired and packing at the last minute the night before departure. Lists really do help. It seems so basic, but a good vacation checklist takes one less thing off your plate - remembering everything!

Take a look at these on my Fusion Facebook page and try one before your next trip.

Vacation Packing Check List

This summer have safe, fun trips with your family and friends!

#vacationsafety #wellness #wellbeing #summertrips #cartrips

Becky MacGregor, Corporate Wellness Specialist-CHWA, WELCOA, NASM, IDEA

Sandia Park, NM

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