Posted by Nicole on May 6, 2014

Avoiding an International Incident: Hangovers and Travel

 

Now that the weather's warmed up in most parts of the country, and a lot of students are graduating from college, it may be that time of the year when vacation is on your mind. Whether you want to take a brief trip to a scenic locale somewhere in the southern equator, or you've got your eye on a back packing excursion through Europe, you can leave your home soil behind, but not your propensity for hangovers.

 

Indeed, while on vacation, even the average person who occasionally enjoys a beer or two has been known to overdo it. A hangover can last as little as a few hours, or as long as two days, depending on your current health and the steps that you take before and after the hangover has stepped in. If you're smart, you'll stay on guard about the different causes of hangovers, and why vacationing can lead you toward some pretty bad behaviors. Here are three tips to avoid a hangover while you're away from home.

 

Account for Jet Lag

 Desynchronosis, more commonly known as “jet lag,” happens when you travel from one time zone to another. It's a disruption in your circadian rhythm, or your sleep cycles. When this gets disrupted, so does your serotonin and melatonin production. When those get disrupted, it can disrupt your sleep cycle, your metabolism, and your general energy throughout the day. It can also effect your mood. Alcohol, being a depressant first and foremost, can make this problem even worse.

 Upon landing in your destination, do not go heavy on the drinking if you're traveling through time zones. Your body may not have caught up with where it's “supposed to be” as far as sleep is concerned, so even if you don't feel tired yet, you may end up putting more alcohol in your system than you normally would, accounting for how tired you will feel. Alcohol takes roughly 45 minutes to be at “full strength” in the body. Give yourself a day before you start hitting the local discotheques.

 

Know Your Local Food and Drink

 If you're a seasoned traveler, you already know that there are bacteria and other microorganisms present in foreign food and water that can cause you some trouble in the form of frequent urination, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Compound that with the additional water loss you can experience due to alcohol, and you can see how dehydration goes from an inconvenience to a medical issue. Be careful about everything that you eat and drink, especially if you're going to have alcohol. Increased water loss is a sure way to get a hangover. When in doubt, talk with other travelers about what you should eat, and what you should avoid.

 

Travel with Company

 Aside from just being a safer way to see the world, having friends or family with you whenever you go out for a drink is a good way to avoid overdoing it. If you go out by yourself, chances are fairly high that you won't know too many of the local population. People throughout the world have different drinking habits, different diets, and thus all have different tolerances for alcohol on average. The last thing you want to do is get into a drinking contest while you aren't on your home turf, and the chances of that happening improve exponentially if you don't have a friend to tap you on the shoulder and tell you it's time to call it a night. Take care of yourself, and your friends, and everyone should have a great night out. Make sure to keep an eye on your whole party to ensure nobody's overdoing it on the vodka, tequila, or sake.