how to handle illness while traveling
How to Handle Illness While Traveling

You finally get to go on that vacation that you have been dreaming of when a couple of days in one of your kiddos gets sick. Do you cancel the whole vacation and find a flight back home? Or do you make the best of a not so perfect situation and continue on with the vacation?

There are some very tough decisions that you will have to face when illness strikes during a vacation. This happened to us during one of our vacations and we had to make some tough decisions. I’ll tell you about the decisions we made and some decisions we would have made differently. 

During our trip out west 2 days into our vacation my daughter got a bit of a stuffy nose. We went through lots of climate and elevation changes in a short period of time that could have triggered her illness. We are used to a very humid climate in East Tennessee. And we went to a very dry climate in the desert of Arizona. 

Then we went from the lower elevations in the desert to some much high elevations and snow in Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. Once we got to the Grand Canyon my poor daughter’s sinuses were a hot mess. She was a really good sport about the whole thing even though she felt pretty lousy. She was still having a good time enjoying all of the sites. It just would have been more enjoyable if she felt well. 

Here is how we handled the illness and some things we wish we had done differently:

Stocked up on meds

We found a nearby CVS and stocked up on meds. We got some decongestants, cough drops, vitamin C and lots of tissues and hand sanitizer. The medicine seemed to help with some of the symptoms to make her a little less miserable. 

Gave her time to rest

Instead of going on some hikes that we had planned we found shorter walks that weren’t far from the car. And in some cases we just went for drives to enjoy the scenery. I also let her go to bed a little earlier instead of spending time out and about in the evenings. And I let her sleep in instead of getting up super early to get on the road to the next thing. 

Take Advantage of Walk-in Clinics

Here is the thing I wish we had done. I wish we had taken advantage of a local walk-in clinic. If you are on vacation and end up getting sick find a walk-in clinic. If you can’t find a walk-in clinic, CVS and Walgreens both offer clinics. If needed they can give you a prescription to help knock out whatever you have going on. 

With our situation flying back home wasn’t an option. It would have been super expensive to change our flight plans and she would have been miserable on the flight as well. We just toughed it out and made the best of a not so great situation. It wasn’t ideal. But she still says that it was the best vacation ever even with being sick. 

travel illness

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  1. Yes, taking rest is the key in such situations even though you are on vacation. Great post. Will definitely keep in my mind when I make my next trip

  2. I have some home remedies that I always bring with me while traveling. It’s good to try and build up the immune system before you go, but obviously you can’t avoid every illness.

  3. This is a great post and resource for traveler! Thank you for sharing this info!

  4. Hi Mom,

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful, helpful information. I am surely blessed that I learned something that would help me how to handle illness in times like this.

    Papa Jack Ph

  5. I don’t remember every being sick on vacation, but if I ever am, these tips will come in handy!

  6. Ugh – such a bummer to get sick on vacation, but thanks for these tips! I feel like I usually get sick after I get home!

  7. It is so tough to be sick when we travel. And so important to be prepared! There were many times my kids got an ear infection, pink eye, etc when we traveled, so we are no stranger to dealing with travel challenges.

  8. Getting sick while traveling is one of my greatest fears. Thank you for these tips.

  9. THE WORST. My husband had the flu when we were in SE Asia. Which totally ruined the first few days of his trip. Thankfully we got him some Nyquil which helped him get through it.

  10. Very useful information. I hate it when I fall ill during traveling.

  11. Traveling during sickness can be pretty tough. I generally prefer to keep some over the counter medications with me

  12. These are some great tips. Bookmarking for my next travel. Thanks for sharing

  13. yes, I am the one with a separate box for meds……they would tease me like you’re an old man… which I reply… just a boy scout, always ready…..I mean, you can’t find a pharmacy in the middle of the desert….

  14. Those are some really great tips for a regular traveller like me.

  15. These are great tips! We definitely have found ourselves dealing with illness while traveling. Thanks for posting this!

  16. I do not like getting sick while traveling. Its a bummer man, but it happens. Great tips on how to handle it. Thank you for sharing.

  17. I always keep a list of nearby doctors to manage this situation. I also make sure that the hotel/hostel has doctor on call facility.

  18. Great tips that will come handy in these situations.

  19. Health is very important, especially when traveling. Nice tips about how to handle sickness during travel!

  20. A well-written article about traveling, I really love with your blog.
    Thank you!

  21. Those are some really great tips for regular travellers. Thanks for sharing.

  22. I didn’t know there are walk-in clinics in the US. It’s worth remembering if I travel there again.

  23. I’ve always carry around my meds and some for spare because you never know when you’re going to get a cold where you got or when you will get stomach sickness or something like that. This are some excellent tips.

  24. Such great tips! Less than ideal to get sick while traveling…your ideas are really helpful!

  25. I have definitely been in this situation with my youngest. She came down with a high fever our first night in Maui. Luckily she was better by day 3 and we were able to enjoy the trip.

  26. It’s such a bummer to get sick on vacation! My ex got sick on three of the eight days we were in Cuba. Not fun! But I did more or less as you say here… What else can we do? It’s still life!

  27. I once had SUCH a bad cold in Sweden. Turns out they don’t sell cold medication tablets!!!! I suffered until I got to Germany.

    Devin | deventuretime |

  28. I’ve gotten sick once during my trip in Japan 2 years ago. Good thing I always have a medication kit and gotten a lot of rest. Thank you for these tips!

  29. It’s definitely a tough one! I think everyone should have an emergency medicine bag with them when travelling with some essentials!

  30. Hah, this article might be for me. My husband says I always get sick on vacation. 😀

  31. This is something so useful for me bevause I always end up being ill when I am travelling ..Thanks

  32. Having illness while traveling is very difficult. I experienced that once when I go to Thailand, I couldn’t enjoy every single moment I spent there.

  33. I feel this very informative. Thank you for this great article. RidaAli

  34. These are very important tips. No one knows what is going to happen! We can never say I am going to be alright. Thank you for sharing these important tips.

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