Are you healthy and fit to travel?
Six to eight weeks before your trip, see your doctor for a health check and organise vaccinations and medications.
Your doctor can provide advice on any pre-existing medical issues, new medications or what to do if you have had any recent surgical or invasive procedures.
Tell your doctor if you plan to do extreme sports or strenuous activities (such as treks, scuba diving or marathons). In the lead-up to your trip, your doctor can monitor your health and give specific advice – for example, on how to prevent altitude sickness.
If you don’t have a doctor, see a specialised travel medicine provider. You can find a provider using the National Health Services Directory. In the 'advanced search', enter your postcode and 'travel' in 'Can't find what you're looking for?'
If you are going away for a long period, it's worth having a dental and eye check too.
Travelling with medications?
If you are on medication:
- Get copies of your PBS scripts to take with you.
- Contact the embassy or consulate in Australia to find out whether your medication is legal in the countries you're visiting. If it isn't, ask your doctor for an alternative.
- Get a letter from your doctor that lists what medicines or medical devices you or anyone in your care is taking. The letter should include the dosage, and state that the medicine is for personal use only. The Australia Government provides a template letter for your use.
- Take a copy of this letter to give to local authorities while you're away.
- Fill out a medicine export declaration form if you are taking or sending any medicines (including over-the-counter) overseas.
- Take enough medication to cover any delay in your return and avoid packing them all in the one bag (in case it goes missing).
Do your travel plans pose any health risks?
Keep up to date with the latest travel and health warnings and make sure authorities can contact you by subscribing and registering your plans with Smartraveller. Make sure you are aware of any disease outbreaks. If the risks are high, discuss with your doctor and consider changing your travel plans.
Are you prepared for any unexpected illness or injury?
- Get travel insurance with appropriate health cover. Read the fine print and know what you are covered for before, during and after your trip. Costs for medical treatment and emergency medical transfer back to Australia can be high. If you are pregnant or have a health condition, see if you can organise pre-existing cover.
- If you wear an electronic device, contact your airline to see if it can be operated during your flight.
- Get a medical bracelet or pendant that contains all your medical details to wear on your trip – it can be invaluable if you need urgent medical attention and have trouble communicating with locals.
- Pack a first aid kit, and stock up on any medical devices (for example, syringes for diabetes or puffers for asthma) as well as any medications you normally use. Make sure you have enough for your trip as some countries may not stock them.
- Although death or serious injury is not something we like to think about, it's a good idea to have your affairs in order by having an up-to-date will and appointing people to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to.