Travel Health Advice
On average, over 8.2 million Australians travel to another country every year. These trips may be a holiday, a business trip, seeking thrills and adventure overseas, doing charity or aid work, visiting friends and relatives (often called VFRs) or emigrating.
It doesn’t matter whether you are travelling for business, leisure or pleasure; the risks of travelling to another country are still applicable to you. Each country has its own environment, ways of operating and health related issues you need to be aware of. When you travel to another country, your risks aren’t just related to health and being vaccinated. You can be at risk for:
- viruses and illnesses
- injuries caused by being in an accident (accidental injuries)
- diseases carried in the food and water (food or water borne diseases)
- bites from animals or insects
- STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)
Travel tips and advice
Here at the International Travel Vaccination Centre (ITVC), we want to ensure you have a safe and happy time travelling overseas. To help you, we’ve put together some travel tips and advice.
Our Travel Vaccination Clinic has doctors trained in travel medicine who can give you travel advice and vaccinate you based on your travel destination. Get destination specific health advice and vaccinations, book an appointment.
TRAVEL ADVICE: Before you travel
Planning a trip overseas can be a time consuming task, making sure you have the tickets, booked a place to stay and arranged all your visas. It can be easy to leave checking health advice for your destination to the last minute.
However, as busy as you might be, you should try and plan to visit a travel doctor or clinic at least six to eight weeks before you leave to gather general health advice, get immunisation boosters (including those you should have had as a child), vaccination advice and destination specific health advice. Some countries will refuse entry if you haven’t had the correct vaccinations before leaving.
Some countries may require special precautions such as altitude sickness if you are going to be travelling above 2500m. Some treatments, such as anti-malaria medicines may need to be started a few weeks before you travel.
Make sure you pack your regular medications and have them in their original packaging with the label. Get your doctor to write you a letter regarding the medications you take and check to make sure the country you are entering will allow your medication as some medicines may be banned overseas.
Visiting friends or relatives (VFR'S)
If you are travelling overseas to see your family or friends, you need to remember that any immunity you had for a particular country will be lost gradually over time. VFRs are usually at a higher risk for some diseases because they generally stay longer than tourists, eat the local food in people's homes and may forget to take additional precaution such as preventing insect bites as normal travellers would.
Because you have a higher risk of contracting an illness when visiting friends or relatives overseas, it's important to consult your travel doctor and gain proper advice for the country you're visiting, just as a general tourist would.
Avoiding accidental injuries while travelling
Many travellers don’t make it home simply because they’ve had an accident of some sort. Take extra care and precautions to make sure you’re not one of them.
See our fact sheet about Accidental injuries while travelling.
Food safety when travelling
Tasting the local cuisine is often something travellers look forward to when going overseas, however your chances of getting food poisoning is increased when eating foreign foods. Some countries don’t have the stringent hygiene and food safety practices we have here in Australia, putting you at risk of food safety hazards such as food and water borne bacteria, parasites and viruses.
Tips for preventing insect and animal bites
Animals and insects can be carriers of a range of diseases that you really want to avoid on your travels. Here are some tips to help you avoid animal bites and prevent or reduce the risks of getting bitten by insects while you’re travelling.
Sexually transmitted diseases - STDs
Some diseases such as HIV (Aids), Hepatitis B, Syphilis, Herpes Gonorrhoea and Gonococcus are more common in countries outside of Australia. To reduce the risk of getting these, practice safe sex.
The travel advice above references and acknowledges advice from the CDC, WHO and NSW Health.
Come in and see our range of travel health accessories. You can also see a list of some of the items we stock on our Travel Health Accessories page.
TRAVEL HEALTH CHECKLIST
To help you plan an enjoyable and safe trip (and ensure you have better chances of coming home healthy) we have an in-depth travel checklist. Be sure to print it out and check-off items as you prepare for your trip.