Travel checklists – while you're away

  • Important contacts

    Stay up to date with the latest travel advice

    Subscribe and register your travel plans with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Smartraveller. The service is free and provides the latest travel advice including health alerts. Registering details of your itinerary, will make it easier for authorities to contact you or your loved ones in an emergency.

    Know who to contact if you need medical attention

    Do you know what to do if you or a loved one gets sick or injured while travelling and needs medical assistance?

    Australians who need urgent assistance while overseas can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre, which is based in Canberra on:

    Contact your travel insurer

    If you or someone is unwell and needs medical attention, contact your travel insurance company straight away. Most provide 24-hour emergency assistance and can usually be contacted from anywhere in the world.

    Health services can be costly in many countries so it pays to have travel insurance if something unexpected happens.

    Seek local assistance

    If you still need medical assistance or do not have adequate travel insurance:

    • Visit a doctor, hospital or health service in the area where you are staying – get advice from your accommodation provider or tour operator.
    • Contact the Australian embassy or consulate in the country you are in and follow the telephone prompts. Most will have a list of local doctors or hospitals. If you do not speak the language, ask for someone who speaks English. 
  • Choosing what to eat and drink

    A bout of gastro or traveller’s diarrhoea can really ruin your holiday, follow these simple tips and practise food safety while travelling:

    • Don’t drink tap water – and that includes ice cubes in drinks. The best bet is to drink bottled water, boiled water or use a water purifier or purifying tablets.
    • Eat at reputable and clean restaurants – busy restaurants and hotels are best rather than street vendors.
    • Food should be well cooked – avoid raw, rare or undercooked meats of any kind.
    • Don’t eat food that looks like it has been left out for a long time, such as buffets.
    • Eat fruit (e.g. bananas, oranges and mandarins) and vegetables that can be peeled. 
    • Avoid seafood, particularly raw or inadequately cooked shellfish or fish. 
    • Steer clear of unpasteurised dairy products (especially if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby).
    • Take care with personal hygiene – wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after going to the toilet, and before eating or preparing food. If you have young children, be extra vigilant.
  • Mozzie-proof your holiday

    Mosquitoes can carry serious illnesses, such as malaria, Zika virus, yellow fever and dengue fever. If  you are travelling to places where mosquitoes are prevalent, take these precautions to mozzie-proof your holiday:

    • Take prescribed medication and wear a repellent that contains at least 30 per cent DEET. 
    • Avoid going outside between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are feeding. 
    • When outdoors, wear clothing that covers your body, such as socks, long pants and long-sleeve tops. 
    • Stay somewhere with air-conditioning, screening and bed nets.
  • Ways to avoid infection
    • Don’t risk your health and safety by getting a procedure done overseas. Medical tourism may be tempting due to its low cost and the appeal of post-surgical care in a luxury setting. But any medical, dental or cosmetic procedure can put you at risk of infection, including life-threatening multi-drug resistant infection, which is increasingly common globally. If something goes wrong, you may find yourself in intensive care or needing repatriation to Australia, with enormous financial costs.
    • Avoid tattoos and piercings – many countries do not have the same hygiene standards as we do.
    • Always practise safe sex, especially in places such as Africa and Asia where HIV and sexually transmissible infections (STIs) are widespread. 
    • Make sure all your travel vaccinations are up to date. 
Food safety while travelling

Enjoy the local cuisine

It's exciting arriving in a new destination and taste testing the local culinary delights. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, take these few simple precautions - bon appetit!

How to practise food safety on your trip
Man asleep on airport chairs

Coping with jet lag

When we travel to another time zone, our bodies fight hard to adjust – hormones, body temperature, digestion and heart rate can be affected.

Learn more about jet lag

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Travel health basics

Mosquito prevention

Infectious diseases

Travel first aid

Food safety

Travel safety