[an error occurred while processing this directive] The Healthy Traveller’s Packing List - Steven and Chris

The Healthy Traveller’s Packing List


Nothing ruins a vacation more quickly than coming down with an illness. Dr. Melissa Lem reveals the most common health-related travel troubles and what you need to pack to avoid them.

The healthy traveller's suitcase.

Above: Rimowa luggage.

Jet Lag

Jet lag typically occurs when you fly across time zones and your body doesn't have a chance to adjust your natural sleep rhythms to compensate.

Don't leave home without...melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces to regulate your sleep cycle. Taking a melatonin supplement can help to reset your circadian rhythm.


It's no secret that even the most luxurious hotel rooms are crawling with germs. The worst spots are those that are rarely cleaned, such as light switches, remote controls and alarm clocks.

Don't leave home without...a shower cap,
Use the hotel shower cap to wrap the remote and/or telephone receiver before you use them.

Protect your feet from fungus and plantar warts by wearing flip-flops in your hotel room and even in the shower.

And a queen-size sheet.
If you're especially concerned about hygiene, bring your own sheet and pillowcases. And remember that hotel comforters are not necessarily changed between guests.


They may be small, but the World Health Organization has named mosquitoes the most dangerous creature on earth. Yellow fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile and malaria can all be transmitted by the pesky insects.

Don't leave home without...mosquito netting
Inexpensive and easy to pack, it should be hung over your bed.

And mosquito repellent.
When travelling, wear mosquito repellent with 50-70% DEET as well as long pants and long sleeves.

Bed Bugs

Bedbugs are oval, flat, brown and wingless. Their bites leave itchy welts on the skin. Since bedbugs survive entirely on the blood of humans and animals, you're as likely to find them at a pristine five-star hotel as you are in the filthiest hostel.

Don't leave home without...a flashlight.
Inspect your sheets for signs of bedbugs: Look for small bloodstains, dark or rust coloured marks from excrement and a musty odour.


Travelers' diarrhea is the single most common illness encountered abroad. While it's rarely dangerous, it is certainly inconvenient. Avoiding tap water, ice, street food, raw and undercooked meats and seafood, and unpeeled vegetables and fruit will protect you from most strains.

Don't leave home without...antibiotics,
Your doctor can prescribe antibiotics to take with you on your trip in the event you end up with travelers' diarrhea.

Over-the-counter medications
Bismuth subsalicylate, dimenhydrinate and loperamide can be travel lifesavers. Take note of the generic names of these OTC medications in case you need to purchase them abroad.

And a UV water purifier.
Though a little pricey, they can purify water in as little as 45 seconds.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Even if you don't plan on having sex on your trip, be prepared. Your risk of acquiring an STI abroad is significantly higher than at home.

Don't leave home without...condoms!
And don't just pack them; use them!


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