By: Sarah Schafer and Raychel Hamada
While traveling around Thailand is exciting, there are a number of discomforts that one should be prepared to face. Some examples experienced by our group in particular included:
- Heat Rash: We both dealt with the inconveniences of heat rash throughout a couple of weeks towards the beginning of the trip. The main expression of this rash includes dry, itching bumps ALL OVER your body. The bumps are unpleasant both aesthetically and physically but the most annoying part is the migratory pattern. Everyday Sarah and I would meet each other in the morning and compare where our heat rash had spread throughout the night. This may seem like a trivial matter, but when one is hot, bumpy and itchy, it can wear you down pretty quickly.
- Gastrointestinal (GI) Problems: When one travels to a foreign country and is ingesting cuisine different from the ordinary, GI problems are sure to ensue. Our group was not an exception to this rule and we experienced a range of GI discomforts from constipation to diarrhea on a daily basis. Our suggestion for conquering the GI battle is to carry Pepto Bismol on your person at all times and possibly take Cipro if symptoms are experienced towards the beginning of the trip. If symptoms persist for several days, it may be time to consider what you are eating.
- Bug Bites: Thailand harbors some very large insects that seem to love American blood. Despite our greatest efforts to deflect the mini monsters Deet does not always live up to our standards. Creating a barrier between your skin and the bugs is the surest way to prevent bites, but in 90 degree weather with 90 percent humidity that may not be an option. Since preventing bites proves to be more difficult than one would expect, the best advice we can offer is treatment of said bites. Toothpaste, ammonia, hydrocortisone and Benadryl are just a few of the anti-histamines used by our group members to manage the itch.
- The effects of the sun: The sun in Thailand is more intense than most of our group was used to and sweating was inevitable. Preventing dehydration had been discussed prior to the trip but this was easier said than done. Realizing the amount of water we had to consume to replace the amount lost was staggering. Overall, our group did a great job of staying hydrated, but we still think this is a topic that needs to be known before traveling to a hot and humid area like Thailand. Although we stayed hydrated, many of us suffered minor sun burns especially towards the end of the trip at the beach. In the states many people forget to reapply throughout the day and this is even truer while on vacation. The last thing on a college student’s mind while playing on a beautiful beach in Thailand is to apply sunscreen every 2-3 hours, so burns are sure to occur. To play it safe we recommend bringing, and applying, aloe vera.
We learned a lot on this trip and hope this blog is helpful to those looking to travel to Thailand or a similar destination.