You've got everything ready for your trip. You've stopped your mail, packed your bags, and checked into your flight. There's only one thing left to do — get rid of that pesky cold that mysteriously showed up right when you were in the middle of your packing frenzy. While we can't promise you'll be up for a full day of sightseeing as soon as you land, these tips will get you up and running as quickly as possible.
Go to the Doctor
If you're like most of us, you prefer to soldier on when you feel like you're coming down with a cold rather than risk wasting your time at the doctor. But when you're about to take off for a trip, putting off a visit to the doctor is a luxury you can't afford.
If you still have time before you're scheduled to leave, squeeze in a trip to the doctor. You might not have a cold after all, which means you might be able to get some quick relief in the form of antibiotics or other prescription medications. This is especially important if you're going to be traveling overseas. It will be significantly more difficult to get a prescription when you're in another country than it will be from your own doctor.
If you can't make it to the doctor, get to the pharmacy ASAP and pick up enough decongestant to last you until the end of your trip. Stick to capsule form instead of liquid form, since they're easier to travel with and can easily fit inside your carry-on bag at the airport. See our tips for making the most out of foreign pharmacies if you need meds while you're abroad.
Rest as Much as Possible
Resting is the most important thing you can do for yourself when you're sick with a cold. Try to get as much sleep as possible leading up to your trip. Let someone else tackle some of the tasks you still have left to check off your to-do list, or just accept that your house is going to be a disaster when you get home.
This is your time to recover, so go ahead and skip cooking dinner during the days leading up to your trip, and go to bed early when you can. Even getting a little more rest in the days and hours leading up to your trip can make a big difference in how long it will take you to get over your cold and get back to feeling like yourself.
It's really easy to get dehydrated when you travel normally, which means you need to be extra conscientious of drinking enough fluids when you're already sick. Along with guzzling water like it's your job, chicken soup, broth, and herbal tea are all great to sip when you're congested and feeling off. The warmth will soothe your throat and clear your sinuses. Plus, the soup or broth can deliver some of the nutrients you're probably missing due to a loss or lack of appetite.
When you're in the airport, grab a cup of hot herbal tea to sip throughout your flight along with your gigantic water bottle. Also, skip the alcohol until you start feeling better.
Chances are, you're stressing out right about now thinking about everything you have left to do and worrying that you're about to ruin your vacation. Well, stop that thinking. Stress is about the worst thing you can do to your body when you have a cold. After all, stress is one of the things that can shut your immune system down and stop your body from fighting an illness.
Think of what tasks you can delegate to someone else or avoid altogether. You might have to accept that you won't be as perfectly prepared for this trip as you want to be. Know that it will be worth it to have to buy a couple of things when you get there so that right now you can give your body the rest it needs.
Traveling with a cold isn't fun, but if you stop and give yourself a break, you can get back to feeling like yourself in no time. Stock up on cold meds, drink plenty of water, and get some much needed rest so that you can enjoy your vacation instead of spending it cooped up in your hotel room while all your travel companions have a great time.
Try to Keep Your Travel Companions From Getting Sick
The only thing worse than having one person sick on a trip is having the entire group sick for the duration. Take steps immediately to prevent your friends, family, and other travel companions from getting sick. Wash your hands, avoid touching any food they might come into contact with, and only handle your own things (that means not sharing laptops, phones, room keys, etc.). Make sure to sanitize your airplane seats before you sit down.
If you are feeling really sick and have the ability to do so, consider booking a separate hotel room for the first few days of your trip. This will keep you from getting them sick and also give you a quiet place to rest and recover while they're hanging out in the hotel room.