Common emergencies don't have to ruin your R&R—if you take along our advice. (As for the threat of the tourist-trap souvenir shop? You're on your own.)

sailboat Seasickness

Try popping 1,000 milligrams of dried gingerroot (available in health food stores) before setting sail and, if necessary, again four hours later, says Robert Stern, PhD, who has studied the physiological bases for motion sickness.

water bottles Montezuma's revenge

Before you depart, ask your doctor to prescribe the antibiotic rifaximin, which you can take daily during your trip to prevent an infection.

pillows Bedbugs

Infestations have increased by 71 percent since 2001. Before you unpack, inspect the mattress (remove all bedding, including the mattress pad) and the wall near the headboard. If you see tiny blood spots or brown insects that are less than a quarter-inch long, find another room (or hotel).

Regardless of where you go, here's why vacations are good for your health
Woman lounging on the beach
Photo: Thinkstock
They say money can't buy happiness, but that may not apply to cash spent on beach getaways and wine-tasting weekends.
In a study published last year, Ryan Howell, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, asked 154 men and women about their recent purchases and found that people who'd spent money on experiences were happier than those who'd bought material goods, regardless of cost or income.

This research bears out a theory known as the hierarchy of needs, developed in the 1940s by psychologist Abraham Maslow. According to Maslow, once human beings have satisfied the basic necessities (food, water, sleep, and shelter), we seek to fulfill more complicated social needs, such as feeling connected to others. "Experiences are more likely than possessions to satisfy in this regard," Howell says.

Consider, too, that we don't judge our memories against other people's as we do our material objects. "If I went to Boston this spring and you went to San Francisco, we'd talk about our trips, but we wouldn't subconsciously be comparing," Howell says. Plus, "we don't get sick of happy memories like we do last year's cell phone model."

So you're all set for that exotic trip. But first things first: do you need a shot?
doctor giving a patient a shot in the arm
Photo: Thinkstock
Every year approximately 50,000 adults die of vaccine-preventable diseases, and your risk increases when traveling to developing countries, says Phyllis Kozarsky, MD, a travel health consultant for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A travel health clinic—find one at—can inoculate you based on your destination and itinerary. (Get vaccinated four to six weeks before your departure.) Below, a glance at the CDC's recommendations.
ChinaCentral AmericaIndiaSouth AfricaSouth AmericaSoutheast Asia
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
Yellow fever
Japanese encephalitis

What to pack for a 12-day vacation
Photos: Getty Images


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