The 10 best ways to stay healthy on your travels

Staying healthy on your travels isn’t just about making sure that you’ve had your jabs. There are a host of other things that can go wrong, especially if you’re adventuring into the unknown.

Hiking in jungle

In fact, there are so many things that could go wrong that the World Health Organization believes that the chance of death by accident or violence is significantly higher than death by disease when travelling abroad.

So, aside from visiting your local travel clinic, here are 10 other things that you should look into before you hop on that plane.

1. Go to the dentist

You would be amazed by how many people don’t get the all-clear from their dentist before they leave and end up having to cut their trip off early (or, much worse, trying to explain where it hurts to someone in the local lingo). Dental treatment while you’re travelling is no joke, and a check-up is a must if you’re going on a long trip.

2. Visit your gynae

As with the dentist, you want to be in top condition while you travel. Go for a check-up before you head out.

3. Take a basic medical kit with you

You don’t need anything elaborate unless you’re going somewhere truly remote. For the most part you should be able to get away with a small bag with basic essentials like painkillers, antacids, diarrhoea tablets, gauze, bandages, plasters, antibiotics, pins, tweezers, etc.

It’s also a good idea to carry a sterile pack if you are going somewhere with poor medical care. Ask your travel clinic nurse or GP for their recommendations.

4. Pregnancy

It’s generally safest to travel in the second trimester and you should always seek medical advice before you travel by air. Tell your doctor where you are going so that you can take any necessary precautions.

Also, make sure that the region you’re heading to can provide any medical care that you may need.

5. Insurance

This is non-negotiable. Get it, and make sure that it meets all of your travel needs. The last thing you need is to be turned away from treatment because you are not properly insured.

Also, you might have to be transferred somewhere with better medical facilities to receive the care that you need; this will cost you a fortune unless you’re covered.

Asking your travel agent and travel nurse is a good start, but you might want to spend a little time checking online to make sure you pick the right insurer and package.

6. Back up your essential docs

Make copies of your passport and other docs and store them separately from the originals. You might also want to store them online so that you can access them if you lose everything. There are a number of online storage solutions available, but you can always just email them yourself.

7. Keep friends and family informed

Let people know where you are going and when you are due to be at certain destinations and keep them updated on your travels.

They will feel better knowing roughly where you are and it might save your life if they bring attention to any troubles early on. Don’t forget to give them your contact and insurance details.

8. Electrical safety

Different countries often use different voltages for their appliances and plug points. Make sure you know whether your electrical gadgets are compatible. You might need to purchase a voltage converter when you arrive.

10. Extreme sporting activities

White water rafting, rock climbing, sky diving, surfing, skiing and quad biking are all pretty risky activities. Make sure that you go with a trusted company before you sign up for anything dangerous. Also check if there’s adequate medical care on hand if you need it.

It’s in the best interests of the tour operators, travel agents and airlines to keep you up to date with any information that might keep you safe on your journey, so ask questions all the way through.

If you need any travel health advice or travel vaccinations, visit 1st Contact Travel Clinic or book an appointment with one of our qualified travel health nurses.

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