Admit it: You drink too much when you travel.
You know you do. We all do. Inevitably, those two extra margaritas and the gratuitous six-pack of Corona just sound like a better idea when we’re far away from home.
Things have a way of starting earlier in the day, too. By the pool, at the beach, on the golf course, as soon as we order lunch – What the heck, we tell ourselves, I’m on vacation! Bartender!
Unfortunately, this practice comes at a price. Typical side effects include an upset stomach, fatigue, headache, maybe some nausea. In more severe cases, just getting out of bed can be a struggle. A friend of ours once spent a long weekend in Prague without leaving the hotel before 5 pm. To this day, we know he regrets it. After all, he missed out on so many cool sights and worthwhile activities. Sure, he had fun partying at all the clubs, but he could have done that anywhere. I mean, what’s the point of going to Prague if you don’t make it to the Charles Bridge?
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. You can party AND see the sights. All it takes is some preparation and a little discipline.
By following these four steps, you will avoid a nasty travel hangover:
- Get “first-aid” supplies. Before you start partying, you need to think ahead. This means having the hotel or apartment stocked with necessary “first-aid” supplies: aspirin, anti-diarrhea medicine, Gatorade, crackers and lots of water. Before you open that first beer, make sure you have all of these items on hand — and enough for the duration of your stay. If you don’t have all of these items, stop at a convenience store to load up. Believe me, you don’t want to have to go out in search of these items AFTER you are in bad shape. Do it before you start drinking. Put the Gatorade in the mini-bar or refrigerator to make sure that it is nice and cold for when you need it.
- Have a water chugging contest before bed. The worst thing you can do after a night out of drinking is to fall asleep without drinking water. That’s how you end up feeling so nauseous and dehydrated. Of course, your natural instinct is to find a pillow and crash as quickly as possible. Resist this instinct. Also, many of us simply forget to drink water, despite the best of intentions. Don’t forget. Instead, have a water chugging contest. Seriously. Challenge yourself to drink an entire two-liter bottle of water before you sleep. Have it ready by your bed before you go out. Then take some minutes when you get to the hotel and drink the entire bottle. If you are with friends, challenge each other to finish the entire bottle. This step truly makes a huge difference.
- Breakfast of champions. When you first wake up, your head and stomach can feel pretty shaky. You will be chemically imbalanced. That’s why the chilled Gatorade is on hand. Drink it while munching on a few crackers. The crackers are easy to digest and will help to form a foundation in your stomach. Later, as you begin to gather your bearings, stopping at the convenience store a day earlier will seem like an act of pure genius. Well played. Indeed, as you leave the hotel, if you watch carefully, you will notice some unfortunate, bedraggled-looking fellow traveler who did not take necessary precautionary measures. Be glad that’s not you.
- Find a spa or local fitness club. Following steps 1-3 will get you far, but if you are planning on several successive days of liquid action, these steps are not enough. What you need is a way to sweat out all of the residual toxins. Doing so takes a little planning at the beginning of a vacation. If you can, stay at a hotel that has a spa or small gym and steam room. This isn’t always possible, of course, in which case you should do some research to locate a nearby fitness club. Asking the concierge or browsing on the Internet usually does the trick. Many fitness clubs in big cities offer free passes for prospective members. If you stop by on the first day of your vacation and tell them that you have just moved to town and are looking to join a new club, they will usually offer a coupon for free entry. Try to reserve the third morning of your vacation for this measure. Go ahead and mentally put in on your calendar. Tell your friends. It only takes an hour or two to sweat it all out. You will feel like a new person.
If you happen to be in Spain, you should try Spain’s Killer Hangover Cure. It works every time.
What is your routine for preventing and curing a hangover? Have you tried something else?
Please share your comments below.