Planning a winter escape? A tropical getaway is a perfect way to get rid of the winter blues. You don’t have to travel far from New Zealand to experience a taste of tropical paradise, as the South Pacific is home to some of most exquisite tropical islands in the world.
From the pristine beaches of the Cook Islands and Fiji to Samoa’s unique scuba diving adventures, the options are endless. But no matter where your next tropical destination is, there are a few essential self-care tips you’ll need to follow to stay safe and healthy on your travels. Here’s what you need to know:
When travelling somewhere new, you should always research the conditions and health precautions relevant to the country or parts of the country you are visiting. General information about food and water supply, hygiene conditions and virus outbreaks are important things to be aware of. Many diseases are especially prevalent in tropical areas of the world, including malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever. To protect yourself from contracting such diseases, follow the Safe Travel advice from the Ministry of Health and find out which vaccinations are recommended for your destination.
Proper hydration is absolutely crucial when travelling in the tropics. The heat causes increased sweating which can make you dehydrated very quickly. Dehydration can lead to heat stroke, heat exhaustion and dry skin if you’re not careful. Bring bottled water with you whenever you can to keep hydrated throughout the day.
It’s also wise to avoid drinking alcohol, especially if you’re spending lots of time outside. While it’s tempting to drink a lot on vacation, too much alcohol can lead to dehydration when in a tropical climate. This is because alcoholic drinks are a type of diuretic, which causes your body to lose more fluids through increased urination – and hot climates will only worsen these effects.
Take Care of Your Skin
Your skin will need additional care when exposed to the tropical weather, especially if you’re coming from a winter climate. Firstly, you will need a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin from sun damage. Aim to reapply sunscreen all over your body at least every two hours, especially if you sweat a lot or go swimming. To be safe from UV rays, cover up with protective clothing as much as possible.
The excessive humidity can also make your skin more susceptible to clogged pores and acne breakouts. By the end of each day, your skin will need a thorough cleansing to remove the sweat, dirt, and oil from your face. Simply rinse your face with cold water to cool off, then cleanse your face with a good-quality cleanser foam. After cleansing, you’ll also need to moisturise your skin to keep it hydrated. The humid temperatures in the tropics can leave your skin looking overly greasy and shiny, so make sure to use a high-quality moisturiser.
Prepare a Health Kit
In the event of a health problem or injury, it’s always best to be prepared. Putting together a small medical kit ahead of time will minimise your health risks and save you the trouble of searching for supplies on your travels. In your health kit, pack some bandages to manage any minor cuts and grazes, as well as some pain relief. If you’re planning to travel on a boat at some point, it’s also a good idea to pack some sea-sickness pills just in case. Last but not least, don’t forget to bring insect repellent and ointment to keep away mosquitos and other nasty insects.
Harper Reid is a freelance writer from Auckland, New Zealand who is passionate about travel and adventure. On her days off, you’ll often find her spending hours on the beach or impromptu hiking trips with her friends. Find more of her work here.