If you’re headed south of the border this holiday season, you’ll want to make sure you arrive at your Latin American destination in good shape and ready for your adventure. After having spent many many hours traveling through Central America, I can tell you that a little bit of prep can make all the difference in your travel experience. So here’s my quick and dirty list of the travel day essentials you’ll want to have handy.
On travel days, it can be hard to predict when you’ll be able to eat. Instead of finding yourself starving with no access to food for another 5 hours, just bring along a good ol’ PB&J. Peanut butter and jelly is one of the best travel day foods because you can make it ahead of time, it’s not terribly messy (if you do it well), it’s not terribly sensitive to temperature, and it’s really easy to come by. When you make it into Latin America, you’ll find peanut butter and banana to be your travel day staple. (photo from bakingbliss.blogspot.com) 5. Hand Sanitizer
Generally, I’m not a fan of this stuff. It perpetuates the creation of superbugs, and it’s generally kind of unpleasant. However, sometimes, you’re going to find yourself in a pretty germy situation and if you plan to cram that PB&J in your mouth, you’d best do it with hands that are a little less dirty. 4. A Good Supply of Clean Water via a Water Bottle + SteriPen
If you carry your own water bottle and sterilizer, you can fill your bottle at any airport or bus station tap without worry of what microbes, bacteria, and viruses are swimming around in that water. Plus, hydration is one of the foundations of staying healthy. Got to keep it flowing! 3. Rehydration Salts
Often after a long hot day of travel, you’re a little more dehydrated than you expect. After all, even though you brought your water bottle and sterilizer, you weren’t keen on drinking liter after liter of water when there was no promise of a bathroom break. You’re tired, cranky, and super thirsty. No fun! This is when rehydration salts / powdered electrolytes come in handy. Mix yourself a bottle full and you’ll be back to your watery happy self in no time. Pick up a few packets at your pharmacy before you head out (or ask for “Suero” at any pharmacy in Latin America — it’s everywhere). It packs light and it can be a lifesaver, especially if you did end up doing something silly like drinking non-purified tap water or ordering a drink with ice in it and Montezuma is having a little revenge on you. 2. Immune System Boosters
Immune boost tinctures and dissolvables are my absolute favorite way to knock a bug out of my body fast. Any time I feel something icky creeping in, I take a few doses of immune tinctures and in a few hours, I’m good as new. This is especially useful for long travel days when your immune system is a taxed anyway with stress, lots of new germs, dehydration, and usually not enough sleep. This stuff works every time. I recommend a dropper bottle of any “immune boost” blend. If you can’t find that, pick up some zinc + Vitamin C. 1. Motion Sickness Management
Being motion sick is a really really crappy way to travel. I’ve been there too many times. So now, I use a small arsenal to keep that inner ear of mine in check. First, psi bands. There are wrist bands that use an acupressure point to relieve the woozies. Second, a couple of whole cloves. Chewing on a whole clove will help to settle your stomach and also give you kind of a new experience to focus on instead of how sick you’re trying not to be. Third, non-drowsy Dramamine. It’s hard to find, but the regular sleepy kind is not always a good option. If you arrive near your destination and have to figure out how to find a taxi, tuk tuk, or boat to a small town or to your hotel, it’s a lot harder when your brain is fighting sleep. Fourth, Mike swears by headphones and music. Find what works for you and keep it handy. Like in your pocket. If you have to go fishing around under your seat while you’re fighting off motion sickness, you’re gonna have a bad time.
Annnnnd… if you want to learn some key travel and beach phrases in Spanish — between hands of Poker or Crazy 8s, be sure to order your copy of Chatty Gringa, the travel phrase and playing card deck I made just for you, and just for this occasion. Have fun, be smart, and enjoy the heck out of your beach time in Latin America!