Travel tips for overseas trips
- Consult the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for information on the medical, political and social issues that may affect travel to certain destinations.
- Take out travel insurance to cover medical care and medical evacuation. Medical and hospital treatment in other countries can be very expensive, and travellers without insurance are personally liable for these costs.
- Make sure you have sufficient supply of any regular medicines, such as blood pressure pills, and keep them in their original containers with clear labels. Take a letter from your doctor outlining the medicines you are carrying and stating they are for your personal use.
- Pack your medicines and prescriptions in your carry-on luggage on planes. For non-prescription medicines in liquid, aerosol or gel form, pack a reasonable amount required for the flight – larger quantities may not be allowed.
- Don't forget to pack sufficient birth control pills and condoms. They may not be easily available in all overseas areas.
- Put together a small medical kit with first aid items, such as antiseptic, band-aids, scissors, tweezers, medicines such as headache tablets and antacids, SPF 30+ sunscreen and insect repellent.
- Make sure you drink lots of water on a long flight to avoid dehydration.
- Try to eat and sleep according to local times when arriving at a new destination. Arriving at night will give your body a chance to adapt.
- Take care if you are being tattooed or pierced; having your hair cut; or receiving acupuncture or dental treatment in another country. Remember that blood-borne viruses, such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, can be spread via needles and syringes. Check needles and syringes are sterile before use. Preferably make sure they are single-use disposable needles.
- Avoid contracting diseases through insect bites by using insect repellent, and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants around dusk.
- Spray insect repellent in your room or tent before going to sleep, and sleep in a room with screens, if possible, or use a mosquito net over the bed. Place mosquito nets over cots to protect babies.
- The early diagnosis of malaria is crucial. Seek immediate medical treatment if you develop a fever, either with or without other symptoms, between one week after your first possible exposure to malaria and 4 months after the last possible exposure.
- If you are bitten or scratched by any animal when overseas, wash the wound with soap and water immediately and then seek medical treatment, in particular to cover the possibility of rabies or tetanus. Remind your children to avoid all animals.
- If you need medical attention while travelling overseas, visit the Australian embassy or consulate in that country for advice on where to go. Well-respected hotels are another possible source of reliable medical information.
- If a serious emergency occurs overseas, it is best to head directly to the largest medical facility in the area. Your doctor may be able to recommend medical facilities at your destination.
- Remember that some vaccinations recommended before overseas travel are not suitable if you have a serious condition that weakens your immune system and some are not suitable during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about keeping you and your baby safe.
Last Reviewed: 01 December 2010
- 1. Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Travelling well. http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/tips/travelwell.pdf (accessed Dec 2010).
2. Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Travel insurance. http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/travel_insurance.html (accessed Dec 2010).
3. World Health Organization. Health risks and general precautions: general considerations. In: International travel and health: situation as on 1 January 2010. Geneva: WHO; 2010: 1-11. http://www.who.int/ith/en/ (accessed Dec 2010).
4. Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Transport. Frequently asked questions – travelling with medicines (updated 25 September 2012). http://www.travelsecure.infrastructure.gov.au/international/faq/faq_medicines.aspx (accessed Jan 2013).