As spring break approaches, many UNC students look forward to beach destinations and a long week of chill. Some may travel to the tropics like Mexico or the Carribean, while others may opt for metropolitan adventures in Amsterdam, Bangkok or otherwise. Still others hit the slopes.
Most spring break destinations have health risks that may impact what you pack for your vacation. Connect with the UNC Travel Clinic as soon as you can once you know your plans for leaving the United States. We help you determine vaccines you might need, medications that could help you stay healthy, and health risks specific to your travel itinerary.
What to Bring
We know you’ll bring the fun on your adventures! It’s harder to think about when things don’t go perfectly. So for those less likely scenarios, also bring:
- Copies of your passport and travel documents. We suggest one copy in each piece of luggage (in case a bag gets lost!), one copy with a trusted friend or family member at home, and the actual documents with you.
- Prescription medications – the ones you regularly take (and enough of them to get you home) and any special prescriptions for your trip such as anti-malarials or meds to help with travel diarrhea (the #1 health issue for international travelers). Bring your EpiPen if you have one prescribed to you!
- Over-the-counter medications – ones you regularly use like supplements or asprin as well as those that might help if you become ill while traveling. Antidiarrheal medication is helpful since traveler’s diarrhea hits so many. Bring first aid items like bandages, antifungal and antibacterial creams, moleskin, a thermometer and hydrocortisone. Also think about what works for you if you get a cold, motion sickness, a headache, constipation, indigestion, etc and bring those items as well.
- Insect repellent containing DEET (30 – 50%)
- Water-resistant sunscreen of 15 SPF or greater with both UVA and UVB protection, hat and sunglasses
- Antibacterial wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Health insurance card (consider supplemental travel insurance as many US health plans do not cover all of your needs while abroad).
- Earplugs, travel pillow or other sleep aids
- Water bottle – as well as purification tablets or system if you’ll be in the backcountry
- Condoms – for you or to give away. You can get them for free at Campus Health Services.
- Yummy and nutrient-packed snacks for the trip. Try for a mix of fat, protein and fiber!
All of these items are available at Campus Health Pharmacy or Student Stores Pharmacy, right on UNC’s campus.
Learn more tips for healthy Spring Break Travel at the CDC.gov. And enjoy yourself!