Travel Health Kit: Things you should always carry with you

This is not another advice from a panic mother or girlfriend who wants you to carry half of the pharmacy with you on every trip. This is also not a sponsored post where I will mention all the things in my travel health kit that I actually never carry with me. This is a simple and honest advice from an experienced female traveler who doesn’t want to risk having a headache in the middle of the desert. This is also a very important reminder why you should take care of your health insurance for traveling abroad.

My time abroad is usually very limited and I don’t want to spend it searching for the nearest pharmacy. I don’t have any specific health problems however these are the things that are always in my travel health kit (I have divided them into groups so hopefully they will help you to make your own list):

1. Medications prescribed by your doctor

If you have some specific health issues you obviously need to pack your medications first. Fortunately, in my case I only need Antihistamine tablets to treat occasional allergies and birth control pills that I have been using since… well forever 😊

2. Pain relief medications

Speaking of that headache in the middle of the desert – unfortunately it happens to me all the time, and there are only one pills in the world that can help me. They are from Slovene manufacturer so I won’t bother you with brand name. If you are less demanding, you can buy pain relievers on every corner, however it is good to have them with you if you are on a plane or traveling to some distant parts with no civilization.

3. Plasters

An absolute must for all travelers. I carry plasters everywhere and I take tons of them with me when I travel. You can easily get blisters especially if you travel off season and your legs are not used to flip flops. Or you can just cut your finger while chopping some food… or step on a shark’s tale 😉

4. Immune system & vaccinations

Let’s be honest, traveling is always stressful and especially if you are visiting some distant countries it is highly likely that you will get some infections, or at least cold or a flu. For this reason, I start taking beta-glucan tablets (made by a company I work for) a couple of days prior to my travel to boost my immune system. I also take soar throat relievers and nasal spray just in case. Also, don’t forget to check if you need to take any vaccinations if you are traveling to the areas with increased risk of infections.

5. Ionic toothbrush

I take my oral hygiene very seriously and since I found this magical ionic toothbrush I carry it with me all the time. Again, this is Slovene brand and if you want more information you can always drop me a line.

6. Sunscreen

Those birth control pills, together with some heavy sunbathing in the past, have caused quite a few problems with my skin. One of them is called hyperpigmentation – I get dark spots on my face as soon as I just so much as look out of the window. Therefore, I never leave the house without a proper sunscreen – for my face I use Paula’s Choice products and for the body I just pick any sunscreen that has good recommendations from skin organizations.

At last but not the least I feel obliged to remind you: take that health insurance for traveling abroad.

Recently I had a small encounter with bed bugs (staying in a cheap motel in Long Island, California) and I almost got a heart attack when I saw the receipt from a hospital. I was charged 922$ just to get a quick diagnosis and ointment prescription. Luckily, I have year-round travel health insurance and I am now more than ever convinced this is a smart idea.

What about you guys? What do you carry with you in your first aid travel health kit? Have I missed out something important? Scroll down for comments 😉

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Nasvet za popotnike: Zdravstveno zavarovanje za tujino

Utrujena od raziskovanja San Diega in vožnje proti severu (članek o tem potovanju sledi kmalu) zavijeva v prvi Starbucks na poti, kjer veva, da bova dobila spodobno kavo in brezplačni internet. Še vedno sva namreč brez hotela za naslednji 2 noči, ki naj bi ju prebila v Los Angelesu. Pogled na hotelski aplikaciji Booking.com in Expedia ne kaže dobro – očitno sva naletela na precej oblegan termin, na voljo je samo še nekaj motelov in hoteli od 200€ na noč dalje. In to hoteli z dvema zvezdicama, brez vključenega zajtrka in parkirnega mesta. Glede na to, da rabiva samo prenočišče, saj na potovanju večino časa preživiva zunaj, se odločiva za cenejši motel v predmestju, z brezplačnim parkiriščem, pri čemer si bova za razliko raje privoščila obilen zajtrk in kavo nekje na obali, pa še za kakšne Allstarke mi bo ostalo 😉

Nepričakovan zaplet

Naslednje jutro se v tem istem motelu zbudim s tremi večjimi bulami na vratu in dvema manjšima na obrazu. Očitno bi morala včeraj namesto jagodnega smutija vseeno spiti kavo, si rečem, a z rahlim nelagodjem, saj takšne alergijske reakcije nisem doživela še nikoli. Odpraviva se na raziskovanje Hollywooda in med vožnjo po Beverly Hillsu, ko bi morala biti na preži, da v objektiv ujamem kakšnega zvezdnika, začutim neprijetno srbenje. Pogledam se v ogledalo, na obrazu je nastala tretja bulica in zdaj je vse skupaj že malo bolj zaskrbljujoče. Do večera »pridelam« še eno na roki in se odločim, da za nasvet vprašam svojega zdravnika. K sreči je le-ta tudi moj sosed in po e-sporočilu ga prosim, naj pogleda fotografijo ter mi svetuje, kako naj ravnam naprej. Njegov odgovor je bil pričakovan: »Verjetno gre za kakšno alergijsko reakcijo, vsekakor pa priporočam pregled pri zdravniku.«

Halo, zavarovalnica!

Načeloma nisem preveč panično bitje (dokaz je vsebina moje potovalne lekarne), ampak ko se znajdeš v neprijetni situaciji tako daleč od doma in nimaš pojma, kaj je vzrok, še manj pa, kakšne so lahko posledice, raje dvakrat pomisliš, preden zadevo ignoriraš. Na srečo imam sklenjeno celoletno zavarovanje za tujino, zato priznam, da je bila odločitev o obisku zdravnika precej lažja. Poklicala sem na številko, ki je zapisana na Vzajemnini zavarovalni kartici in agentka na drugi strani telefona me je vprašala, v katerem kraju želim iti na pregled. Čez slabo uro sem na svoj elektronski naslov prejela informacijo, v kateri bolnici naj se oglasim in kak je postopek uveljavljanja zavarovanja.

Vse skupaj, od sprejema do prejetja izvida, je k sreči trajalo le dobro uro (kar je za slovenske razmere, če nimaš naročenega termina, svetlobna hitrost) in z receptom sem se odpravila v lekarno po mazilo, ki naj bi vnetje postopoma ublažilo. Vse dokumente in račun iz lekarne sem shranila in pomirjena (šlo naj bi »samo« za ugrize stenic) sva se odpravila naprej po začrtani poti.

Šok ob pogledu na račun

Dva meseca kasneje sem na dom od bolnice prejela poročilo o pregledu in račun za storitev. Znesek je iz mojih ust najprej izvabil krik groze, potem pa izdih olajšanja in zahvale, da mi ga dejansko ni bilo potrebno plačati. Pregled v bolnici je namreč stal reci in piši 922 dolarjev. In v tistem trenutku sem se odločila, da z vami delim svojo izkušnjo, v upanju, da iz vas preženem vse dvome v zavarovanje za tujino.

Glede na to, da potujem zelo pogosto, med drugim tudi zaradi svojega dela, zdravstveno zavarovanje za tujino zame že dolgo ni več vprašanje, ampak samoumevna odločitev.

Vsako leto vplačam premijo za Multitrip – Svet, saj skoraj polovica mojih poti poteka izven Evrope. Letos je bilo prvič, da sem zavarovanje dejansko tudi izkoristila in priznam, če ga ne bi imela, zdravnika verjetno ne bi obiskala. Še posebej ne, če bi vsaj približno vedela, o kakšnem znesku je govora. Vendar tako nikoli ne bi izvedela, kaj je bil vzrok in kako reagirati, če se situacija ponovi. Sedaj vem, da moram biti pri izbiri hotelov malo bolj izbirčna, čeprav menda tudi to ni zagotovilo za mirno spanje – zdravnik mi je namreč povedal, da so stenice prisotne v 70% hotelov, tudi tistih z več zvezdicami, le da so reakcije telesa včasih bolj, včasih manj burne. Glede na to, da vsako leto »fašem« kakšno novo alergijo, mi ne preostane drugega, kot da svojo potovalno lekarno redno dopolnjujem in upam na najboljše.

Nasveti pri izbiri zdravstvenega zavarovanja za tujino

  • Vprašajte se, kolikokrat prestopite meje naše države: če je to res samo poleti, ko greste na Hrvaško, tam pa zdravstvene storitve niso tako drage, potem vas lahko razumem, da na zavarovanje pozabite. V praksi pa veliko ljudi vsaj enkrat letno obišče še IKEO, skoči na izlet v Trst, gre na smučanje v Avstrijo, preživi novoletno noč v Beogradu ali pa si ogleda kakšno reprezentančno tekmo naših športnikov.
  • Če imate družino, preračunajte: koliko potujete sami in koliko skupaj – verjetno se vam bo bolj splačalo družinsko kot pa posamezno zavarovanje.
  • Preverite, kaj vključujejo vaša preostala zavarovanja: imate morda sklenjeno življenjsko ali naložbeno zavarovanje? Splača se vam pozanimati tudi pri delodajalcu, kako je s tem – če potujete službeno, ste morda že tako in tako zavarovani.
  • Shranite si podatke vašega zdravnika: če greste na kakšno daljšo pot, prosite vašega zdravnika, da vam zaupa svoj mail ali morda celo svoj mobilni telefon, da ga boste vprašali za mnenje. Odlomljenega zoba ali lepotne operacije vam zavarovalnica pač ne bo plačala 😉
  • Zavarovalno kartico imejte vedno pri sebi: jaz jo imam shranjeno kar v denarnici, na njej je telefonska številka, kjer imate 24-urno pomoč.
  • Če se zgodi nesreča, storite naslednje: pokličite številko na kartici, sporočiti boste morali številko zavarovanja, datume potovanja, vašo lokacijo in opisati težavo. Agent bo glede na podatke poiskal najbližjo lokacijo in vas usmeril na pregled. V tem primeru ne boste potrebovali nič plačati. Če to ne bo možno in boste morali zdravnika poiskati sami, shranite vse račune – zavarovalnica vam bo znesek povrnila naknadno.
  • Po koncu potovanja predložite vaš zahtevek: pri Vzajemni je tako, da greš lahko v katerokoli poslovalnico, s seboj prineseš račun in izpolniš zahtevek za izplačilo, ali pa celo izpolniš obrazec in zadeve urediš elektronsko. Jaz sem, vsaj za prvič (upam pa tudi zadnjič 🙂 ), raje izbrala osebno varianto in vse je potekalo gladko in hitro.

Na srečo moj primer ni imel večjih zdravstvenih posledic, poznam pa precej ljudi, ki so na potovanjih potrebovali mnogo več kot samo pregled in »kremco«. Kaj pa vi, ste že imeli kakšno podobno situacijo? Se zavarujete ali raje tvegate? Podrsajte navzdol in zapišite v komentar 😉

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7 stvari, ki jih je dobro imeti v potovalni lekarni

Ne glede na to, kako pogosto potujem, pakiranje je zame še vedno nočna mora. Tisti zoprn občutek, da bom nekaj pozabila, je verjetno ostal še iz časov, ko sem za potovanja dajala zadnje prihranke. Spomnim se, ko sem v Tuniziji pozabila sončno kremo (no, oba sva jo pozabila), v hotelskem resortu pa je bila tako draga, da sva raje zvečer opekline mazala z jogurtom, kot da bi kupila novo. To so bili tisti časi, ko si moral priti domov vsaj 2x opečen, da je dopust nekaj veljal. Zdaj je seveda precej drugače, saj se lahko držim načela »potni list in kartica«, za vse ostalo bodo poskrbeli bankomati in POS terminali.

Pri pakiranju mi še vedno največ časa vzame izbira oblačil (čeprav se vsaj ne dogaja več to, da bi jih vzela s sabo trikrat preveč), medtem ko imam kozmetične pripomočke in ostale dodatke zverzirane »v nulo«. V bistvu imam toaletno torbico bolj ali manj vedno pripravljeno – ko se vrnem s potovanja, jo samo dopolnim s stvarmi, ki sem jih porabila, ali pa imajo pretečen rok uporabe. V njej imam poleg kozmetike tudi nekaj osnovnih zdravil oziroma medicinskih pripomočkov, brez katerih bi bila moja potovanja precej neprijetna. Seznam stvari , ki so vedno v moji »potovalni lekarni«, sem razdelila v kategorije, v katerih vsak lahko najde kaj zase. 

1. Zdravila, ki vam jih je predpisal zdravnik

Brez tega seveda ne gre, še posebej, če imate specifične zdravstvene težave in morate zdravila jemati redno. Pri meni v to kategorijo sodijo tablete in kapljice za oči proti alergiji in pa tiste “tamale« tabletke 😉 Morda velja na tem mestu omeniti še zdravstveno zavarovanje za tujino, ki vam ga res toplo priporočam.

2. Protibolečinske tablete

Načeloma jih sicer lahko kupite povsod, a jaz prisegam zgolj in samo na Nalgesin. Nobene druge ne »primejo«, pa če se postavim na glavo. V ZDA, recimo, so t. i. painkillerji dostopni na vsakem koraku (cene so včasih še nižje kot pri nas), a sem žal izkusila na lastni koži, da mi to kaj dosti ne pomaga. Zato Nalgesin, vedno in povsod.

3. Obliži

Ožuljene noge so nočna mora vsakega popotnika. Sploh, če greš na počitnice izven sezone (npr. pozimi v tople kraje, ko noge še niso vajene »štrikcev«), če greš na kak daljši treking, ali pa če si recimo na dopustu kupiš nove čevlje in jih MORAŠ takoj obuti. Ane, mami? 🙂

4. Ionska zobna ščetka

Zadnjih nekaj let uporabljam ionsko zobno ščetko, brez katere si sploh več ne predstavljam umivanja zob. Ker spijem ogromno kave, malo pa tudi zaradi genetike, se mi zobni kamen nabira precej hitro – odkar imam Ioniko, je moje življenje precej lažje. Fajn je tudi zato, ker pri umivanju ni treba redno uporabljati zobne paste, zato slednjo brez težav pustim doma.

5. Pršilo za nos in pastile za grlo

Ne glede na letni čas, Olynth in pastile za grlo (Septolete ali Neoangin, seveda brez sladkorja) so vedno z mano. Če potuješ poleti v kakšne bolj eksotične kraje, kjer so temperature v nakupovalnih centrih ali restavracijah (nenazadnje tudi na letalih) grozljivo nizke, lahko mimogrede fašeš prehlad ali celo kaj hujšega.

6. Imunski sistem

Ravno zaradi prej omenjenih klimatskih nihanj, malo pa tudi zaradi stresa, preventivno že pred potovanjem začnem jemati Imunofit tablete, da si dvignem odpornost, vzamem pa jih tudi s sabo, ker skrajšajo trajanje viroze, če ta vseeno nastopi.

7. Krema za sončenje

Tiste opekline iz prvega odstavka in pretirano sončenje v mlajših letih, v kombinaciji s »tamalimi« tabletkami, so na moji koži žal pustile posledice, ki se jim reče hiperpigmentacija. Temne madeže na obrazu dobim dobesedno v parih minutah, zato iz stanovanja nikoli ne grem brez sončne zaščite. Po letih eksperimentiranja sem končno našla kremo za obraz, ki mi odgovarja, zato je njena mini kopija z mano tudi na potovanjih. Če grem samo za nekaj dni, jo iztisnem v manjši lonček, da mi ne zasede preveč prostora.  Pri izbiri mleka za telo z UV zaščito ne kompliciram preveč – kupim tisto, ki je v tekočem letu dosegla najboljšo oceno na testu Zveze Potrošnikov Slovenije.

Seveda je v moji potovalni lekarni še kar nekaj stvari, vendar so le-te bolj pogrešljive, ali pa jih resnično lahko kupim povsod, ker mi znamka ni toliko pomembna. Kaj pa vi, koliko časa namenite tem stvarem? Komplicirate ali improvizirate? Podrsajte navzdol in zapišite v komentar 😉

 

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Joshua Tree National Park, California

According to the legend, early Mormon settlers thought that these tree-like branchy plants looked like biblical prophet Joshua raising his hands up to the sky and guiding the travelers westward. So, they named them Joshua tree. And somehow this “tree” also inspired one of my favorite bands to name their best-selling album after it. Driving through the Joshua Tree National Park during our 2017 USA road trip actually reminded me of the song “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from Joshua Tree National Park. I didn’t even know that these plants were actually species of Yucca and not trees. Looking at the photos on the internet I thought this trip would be boring as hell. But it was on our way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and we were fed up with the hustle and bustle of the Hollywood. Plus, we already had America the Beautiful pass which also includes the entrance to this park. Plus, we probably won’t have another chance to pass by here. And finally, we both love U2. So let’s do this!

We entered Joshua Tree National Park through the West entrance, stopping at the Visitor Center to get a map and ask the staff about what can be seen there in one afternoon (actually before the sunset, which was around 6 pm). Basically, they told us to take the “Park Boulevard road” towards the North entrance station. The loop is around 40 km long and it will take you around 1 hour to drive through without stopping. But don’t do that. It would be a sin not to stretch your legs at the following places:

  1. Hidden Valley

Leave your car at the parking space and take some water. The trail across the Hidden Valley is around 1.5 km long and suitable for all ages. Children (myself included) can do their monkey business on the rocks, botanical souls can admire different plant species (although they all looked like cactuses to me 😀 ), and others can enjoy the views of the valley. Which is actually not a valley, it is more like with rocks surrounded deserted ground with plentiful nice spots for photography. I really loved it!

  1. Keys View

From Hidden Valley head south towards the Keys View lookout. You can reach it by car, and you will get a wonderful view of the valley and Indio Hills. If you can, try to go there at the sunset or in the morning when the sun will be behind you. The serenity up there is pretty amazing. Check out more of my photos here.

  1. Skull Rock

We were catching the last moments of the day so we went back towards the North entrance pretty fast. We wanted to see the famous Skull Rock before it got dark. And I can say we came there at the perfect moment. The rock actually reminds of a skull and thanks to the wonderful colors of sunset we had the privilege to see it in the orange and light grey version. The rock itself as well as the others around it are quite easy to climb and again you can make some awesome photos up there.

There are many other hike trails in Joshua Tree National Park, and I would recommend spending the night somewhere in Twentynine Palms (lots of nice motels and hotels there) and getting back in the morning to do at least Barker Dam trail where water meets the desert.

I absolutely loved the Joshua Tree National park, even though some might say it is just a bunch of Yucca plants and cactuses in the middle of the desert. It’s not, trust me. It is a way to wander around and get lost trying to find some serenity and peace of mind.

Have you ever visited Joshua Tree National Park? Did you find what you were looking for? 😉 Scroll down and let me know in your comments!

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Enchanting Sedona, Arizona

Imposing red rock formations that rise from the desert like skyscrapers have been on my bucket list ever since my first visit to Arizona in 2012 when I failed to see them due to the lack of time. And even this time our road trip schedule was so tight, it only allowed us one day to pass through this beautiful valley. However, one day is just enough to feel the grandeur of Sedona, stretch your legs with some modest hiking and have a great meal in one of the Uptown restaurants.

The most famous landmark in Sedona is the Cathedral Rock and climbing up there is practically a must. The trail to the rock is quite short (just over one-mile roundtrip), however it’s very steep at some points and it requires some climbing, sliding on your butt and spider-walking through the most slippery area. We met different age and shapes of people on the way so I guess anyone can do it. At least  climb half the way to the plateau, the lookout is spectacular from there as well. Just wear proper hiking shoes and lots of water.

After Cathedral Rock you can drive up to the Chapel of the Holy Cross (or leave your car below and walk less than 5 minutes to reach the chapel). Built in 1956 this Roman Catholic Chapel reminds more of an imposing tombstone and can be visible from quite far due its white color in contrast with those lovely red rocks that surround it. The views from the chapel are great as well. You can see some of the photos in my Facebook album.

As I already mentioned, we didn’t have much time left to spend in Sedona so we went for a pretty awesome lunch to a Mexican restaurant in the Uptown Sedona and walked through the shops at Pinion Pointe. It is hard not to buy a souvenir on every corner of your way but we did manage to stick to our tradition – a magnet from each state we visit.

Some travel tips:

  • Do stop at Visitor Center in Uptown Sedona, where you can get a very informative map of the area, chat with the friendly staff, refill your bottles with water and use the restrooms. Parking around there is free for a limited time.
  • If you have more than one day (I do recommend you to organize better than we did), you can drive to the Airport which is opposite of the Cathedral Rock and take the Airport loop trailhead – you will get a different view of the valley.
  • Sedona is a part of Verde Valley, named after Verde River – which means “green”. So, you can imagine there is much more to see in the area: you can do some boat trips, take the scenic route to Clarkdale and Jerome, visit a small “Out of Africa wildlife park” with a Predator Zip line (I absolutely hate myself for not taking more time to go there), or even take a helicopter ride with Sedona Air tours.
  • Wherever you go, find a spot to sit for yourself and watch the rocks. Take your time and enjoy the view.

Have you ever been to Sedona and want to share your experience with me? Leave your comment below, I would really appreciate it – I just might go back one day 😉

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