So, you’re planning an overseas holiday. Maybe you’re going solo or taking the whole family. Either way, as easy as it seems to get aboard the international travel express there are many things you’ll need to prepare for in advance to ensure your time away is as safe as possible.
First-time travellers are often very excited to get going and start their trip of a lifetime, but as we’ve seen a rush to travel can have devastating effects. Even seasoned travellers can get a little too comfortable doing what the know so well and forget some crucial preparations before they go only to experience exactly what they thought they’d never be a victim of.
In Bali alone between May 2015 and May 2016 approximately 59 travellers died, while a further 121 were hospitalised. In Thailand, figures were worse – with 164 travellers dying and 158 were hospitalised. And this is only the reported cases of illness. This is not counting the many thousands of Australian travellers who would have encountered illness such as diarrhoea, dengue fever and other less serious physical injuries.
So how can you prepare for your time away? Here’s where to start:
6 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR TRIP
Research, research, research.
This is the best time for you to be gathering as much information as possible about all the destinations you’ll be visiting. There are plenty of online resources from official agencies and government websites that will give you all kinds of information including associated risks, diseases, local customs and culture, social expectations and criminal activity. Know your facts about where you’re going and ensure you are informed of not only the risk of disease, illness and injury but also of your social responsibility when it comes to respecting other cultures.
3 MONTHS BEFORE YOUR TRIP
You need to start planning for this well before your trip as many vaccines require that you are treated at least 6-8 weeks prior to travel. By researching exactly what vaccines and medications you should have you’ll know what sort of timeframe you have to get them done by. Certain vaccines also require a booster shot so you’ll need to allow time for this. Furthermore – even if you’ve been vaccinated before it may be time for you to get a top up – not all vaccines last for life!
If you’re unsure about what vaccines you might need then we suggest you start by using our travel vaccine guide to see what potential vaccines and health risks are associated with the destination you are travelling to. This information should be used as a guide only and we highly recommend that you book in some time with our doctors to go over the details.
1 MONTH BEFORE YOUR TRIP
Don’t leave it til last minute! You’ll need to properly compare insurance plans and pick one that is appropriate for your journey. It will not only need to cover the duration of time that you are away but also the various places you will be visiting and the activities you will be partaking in. For example, if you plan on engaging in snow sports or scuba diving then you’ll need a special type of cover.
It’s also important to consider the level of coverage your plan allows. Different insurance plans pay out different amounts for things like lost luggage and hospital bills. Don’t cheap on your coverage – make sure that you’d be happy with the level of coverage should anything bad happen to you, your family or your belongings.
1 WEEK BEFORE YOUR TRIP
Pack the essentials!
It’s time to get packing. Besides the obvious, there are some other special items you should consider taking with you. Here’s a short list of some essentials we recommend you take with you on any trip away:
- Insect repellent
- Diarrhoea medication
- Hand sanitizer
- Electrolyte/fluid replacement tablets
- Antibacterial cream
- First aid kit with essentials like tweezers, scissors, bandaids, cold & flu, pain relief, antiseptic
To save you time we make specialised travel kits tailored to your needs. Just book in a time with one of our doctors and we’ll get you sorted.
DURING YOUR TRIP
Know the risks.
Because you’ve done lots of research on the risks, then you’ll know how to stay as safe as possible while travelling. Whether it be applying insect repellant to keep dengue fever at bay, or avoiding drinking tap water if it’s known to be contaminated, wearing the appropriate protection in the water, sun or wild – it pays to stay safe!