Opinion: Remedies for travel


My wife is planning our 40th anniversary vacation to Iceland. She anticipates all potential problems. That’s why she made me re-read an article from Prevention magazine, which scared me so much I wanted to cancel our 25th anniversary trip to Germany.

Traveler’s gastrointestinal disorder: Seven out of 10 travelers experience this. No wonder requests for aisle seats outnumber those for window seats on most overseas flights. An infectious disease specialist suggests you pack a drug called bismuth subsalicylate, but just say Pepto Bismol to the foreign druggist. You really haven’t got a lot of time to mess with the scientific pronunciation. The doctor says to not drink tap water or eat local fruits and vegetables that may be contaminated.

Constipation: A different doctor (medicine is getting really specialized) says 4 out of 10 travelers suffer from this disorder. Wait a second: 7 out of 10 have the first problem and 4 of 10 have the other problem? That means somebody has both problems … or neither? Clearly, those 4 out of 10 people don’t need an aisle seat. This physician suggests eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. Seriously, do these doctors ever talk to each other?

Blood clots: This cheery section recommends airplane passengers stand up often and stretch, and to “get an aisle seat.” Sadly, most of those seats are being taken by you-know-who. If you end up with the middle seat, you better hope the guy in the aisle seat isn’t sitting there much of the time, which come to think of it, he won’t be.

Motion sickness:  Once again, an aisle seat is recommended, but hurry — those are going fast. The opposite is true if you’re traveling by car: Always take the window option. 

Back pain: “When people lift bags into the top compartment, many swing them in a way that can cause harm,” an orthopedic surgeon says. On our trip to Ireland, I decked a man and half his family with a poorly timed toss of my duffle bag into the overhead. Dr. Rao advises holding your bags close to your body. Good advice, especially in the New York and Amsterdam airports.

An accompanying full-color photo shows travel drugs neatly packed into a smart-looking designer carry-on. There’s Miralax, Ricola, Dramamine, Pepto Bismol and Benadryl — a visual representation of everything that can potentially ruin your trip.  The magazine warns against purchasing over-the-counter products overseas where they are often counterfeit. You’ll probably end up having to buy them there, anyway. Once the TSA agent here in Indy sees that stash in your bag, you’ll be lucky to still have your 2-ounce bottle of shampoo.