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. 

34 thoughts on “How to Handle Illness While Traveling”

  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. 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

  4. goldwestvintage

    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!

  5. 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.

  6. GiGi Eats – Professional Celebrity Eater.

    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.

  7. rakshanagaraj – Sydney and Bangalore – Welcome! I’m Raksha Nagaraj, the blogger and social media influencer behind Solopassport. My primary focus is on solo female traveling, hiking, and scuba diving.

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

  8. Shruti and Delta – Hi everyone, I am Shruti and I am starting this blog to describe my life with my little furball, Delta Bunny. How his presence has changed me, how I see the world so much different ever since his presence. I would also like to take this opportunity to present my opinions on taking care of street dogs in neighbourhood, helping out with small doggo problems. If you have anything specific to know, just leave it in the comment section below the blogs and I will surely write about it.

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

  9. 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….

  10. Michele @ ourredonkulouslife – United States – Hello, Fellow Millennials! Are you on a personal growth journey? Working on figuring out who you are as an adult? Me too! It’s tough learning how to love yourself as you get older.

    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.

  11. totalpopcultured

    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.

  12. My Path To Travel – Denmark – Hi, I'm Karen, and independent travel is my passion. My goal is to share travel tips, destination guides and offer one to one help for over 50s so they too can live their travel dreams. Over the past 20 years, I've visited 74 countries, travelling solo, long term, short term, with friends, my partner and even on an overland truck for six months. If you want all the best advice to travel longer, further and most importantly, safely My Path To Travel is the website for you.

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

  13. 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.

  14. Danielle W. – California

    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.

  15. A fork on the road – Ramblings of a curious stomach

    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!

  16. Polly – Philippines – Polly Amora is the señorita behind GoldenIslandSenorita.Net and the general manager of a privately-owned company in Manila, Philippines. She is a lifelong learner who is very outgoing, speaks four languages, is loud and outspoken, and loves to have adventures in the mountains, on the beach, and in the city. You can throw her anywhere, and she'll handle it like a pro. Ice cream and beer are two of her weaknesses.

    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!
    Polly recently posted…Learn A Language: Filipino or Tagalog

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