As I boarded my train to Paris, I could feel a touch of something – I was sniffling a little (sorry, seatmate) and felt more tired than I ordinarily would.
Fast forward to Day 3 in Paris, when I found myself sleeping over twelve hours a night and in a near-constant state of sneezing. As someone who usually maintains pretty good health and an early morning rise time, this new state was unexpected and unwelcome, to say the least.
I had a feeling that biking around in the London rain would come back to bite me, and it looked like I was right.
With that, here are the five things that helped me get through my time of being sick while traveling:
1. Acknowledge that you aren’t feeling well.
You won’t enjoy the sights if you’re so miserable that you can barely open your eyes, and you’ll only prolong your sickness if you try to push through. Instead, make peace with your illness (it sucks, I know), and break any plans you might have had for the rest of the day.
2. Try to get to sleep as quickly as possible.
Sleep is your best and quickest road to recovery, so snuggle up and turn off any alarms you might have tried to set. You’ll get over your feeling of guilt when you wake up a half-day later and feel a million times better.
3. Consider finding local medication.
This one can be tricky: depending on where you are in the world, you might be better off with sticking to fresh fruit and warm broths than indulging in the local remedies or questionable pills. However, if the option is available to you, by all means take it! I became best friends with a box of Dolirhume while in Paris and didn’t regret it for a minute.
4. Take it as an opportunity to indulge in the “feel better” food wherever you are.
Growing up in the Midwest meant that childhood illnesses were sated with a bowl of warm chicken noodle soup. It wasn’t until my twenties that I discovered the magical healing powers of a spicy bowl of pho, but that is now one of the first things I look for when I feel a cold coming on. Every culture has some sort of food designed to make you feel better, whether a core-warming roast in France or a fresh cup of Samohan tea in Sri Lanka, so seek that out and try to enjoy.
5. Get over your sense of FOMO.
This is tough. Whether you’re in a new place or one of your favorite home-away-from-home destinations, being sick is never fun and the feeling is only heightened by a desire to get out and explore. Ultimately though, your health comes first and you’ll be much more able to enjoy your location when you’re in a better state. When you’re feeling up to it, get out there and make the most of your remaining time, and know that you now have the perfect excuse for a return visit.