There is no good time to get sick. And the worst time for sickness is during a vacation-especially a vacation to Vegas.
It started at the airport.
In the hours before reaching the terminal, I’d popped a new medication as we prepared to start our journey. The end of the travel countdown had us giddy with excitement, and I had high expectations for a girls trip to Sin City.
By the time we arrived at our gate, something was wrong.
I felt light-headed and drained. Although my stomach rumbled, the smell of food – even my beloved french fries – made me nauseous.
I closed my eyes, hoping that deep, measured breaths would somehow calm the agitation. And it worked for a time. In fact, when they called my gate for boarding, my eyes were heavy.
I expected to spend the flight in a peaceful slumber. Unfortunately, things didn’t go exactly as planned.
Attack of the Medication
While the pre-flight safety demonstration is often a time of feigned interest, I was locked in a battle of wills with my stomach.
As the seat belt sign came on and the plane started moving down the runway, I knew that I would lose the battle before we were “free to move about the cabin.”
Flagging down the flight attendant, I explained my last minute need to use the restroom.
She waved me towards the back of the plane, and I used the last of my willpower to hold it together for those few steps. Once my stomach was empty, I cleaned up and exited the restroom to a quiet and motionless plane.
To Delay or Not Delay
The flight attendant was waiting near the bathroom door. She asked if I was absolutely sure that I was OK. I told her that I was nervous about flying (I’m allowed a handful of white lies yearly) and she moved to the front of the plane.
We resumed taxing shortly after.
My travel companions informed me that the flight attendant had alerted the pilot and the terminal of a sick passenger onboard.
She had also announced that the plane would be delayed if I needed to be removed.
The thought of delaying an entire flight mortified me, and on the next leg, I was smart enough to handle getting sick quietly without alerting the flight attendant.
I can imagine that a sick passenger is a nightmare for airlines. At 39,000 feet there is little anyone can do if a person has an emergency and mitigating that risk is paramount for a safe flying experience.
How to Avoid Medication Drama
A new medication doesn’t have to throw your trip for a loop. In fact, you can avoid medication drama altogether if you’re prepared. If I could have a do-over, here are a few things I would do differently.
Avoid taking new medications before a flight. It’s hard to know how those meds will make you feel, and side effects can put a huge damper on travel day. If you can, take medications once you’ve made it to your travel destination. It’s much easier to deal with an upset stomach on the ground than in the air.
Communication is key. Talk to your doctor about your upcoming trip and learn about your medication’s side effects. With the doctor’s help, you can prepare to handle nausea, rashes, or those other endless ailments the medication commercials ramble off.
Also, let your travel companions know about any potential side effects so they aren’t caught off guard if you do get sick.
Don’t worry the flight attendant with ordinary ailments.
Getting sick once or twice isn’t a huge deal and it’s definitely something that can be handled without alerting airplane personnel. If you aren’t experiencing exorcist-like symptoms, you could benefit from keeping quiet about any maladies.
Ginger is magic. I didn’t know about ginger at the time, but we have since become Besties. This root, which is found in various forms from tea to powder to chewy candy, is the perfect travel companion. Not only does it help with upset stomach, it can also calm motion sickness and dizziness. Grab some ginger and throw it into your carry-on so you don’t leave home without it!
While you’re packing ginger, throw in some peppermint essential oil. Dab a bit on your wrist to help soothe your stomach and calm the churning. If you can’t hold it in, add a drop of peppermint oil to a mouthful of water for a quick and effective mouthwash to get rid of the taste and smell.
Travel insurance is useful for all types of health-related incidents. While you almost never use it-and that’s a good thing-insuring any last-minute, unexpected changes in your travel plans is a smart idea. Some protection plans, like MedjetAssist, offer medical transport back home so that you’re not stuck in an unfamiliar hospital with doctors you don’t know.
If all else goes wrong, there are little baggies in your seat pocket. Somehow, those barf bags are the PERFECT size.
All’s Well That Ends Well
With all the planning that goes into travel, how often do we plan for what might go wrong? Even if you wake up with a pounding headache, gurgling tummy, or missing finger-no one wants to cancel the vacation that they’ve been counting down toward.
Ultimately, I think most of us would rather tough it out through travel day and bet that the rest of the vacation is as amazing as we’d planned.
My bet paid off.
I started feeling much better on day three and Las Vegas was every bit as spectacular as I’d imagined. From the themed-casinos to the food to the surprises on every corner, I can’t recommend this city enough.
Even though Vegas is known for its slot machines and card games, you don’t have to gamble a dime. There are so many other attractions that make this versatile city a worthy bucket-list destination.
Have you ever caused a delay for other travelers? I can’t be the only one. Share your story below! Or read about when I held up an entire cruise ship from leaving Puerto Rico. I have definitely made my share of rookie traveler mistakes!