Travel is both exciting and expensive. One of the worst things that could happen while on a great adventure is fall ill.
If you are travelling in sophisticated, developed places then you should not have trouble obtaining care. If you are out in the wild doing an eco-vacation your options may be limited.
As travel grows in popularity, more travel companies arrange and include travel medical insurance in their packages. I am a strong believer in having travel insurance. I have had occasional difficulty getting certain benefits, but a little persistence can pay off.
Arranging medical evacuation from a third world company can be quite a feat to accomplish, having experienced experts do the work for you just makes good sense.
Hopefully, you will not experience much more than airsickness, traveller’s diarrhoea, or an upper respiratory infection. Your travel medical kit should contain adequate amounts of any medications you regularly take in the properly labelled bottles.
A prescription for Cipro with instructions for how to take it can save the day during an episode of severe diarrhoea.
Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim (Septra or Bactrim) for a urinary tract infection or an upper respiratory infection is also useful. Your personal physician, a company physician, or someone who specialises in travel medicine should be happy to accommodate these requests.
You should also have some over the counter medications for simple things. Some loperamide (Imodium) can help with diarrhoea. I always take some Pepto-Bismol or its equivalent as well.
A simple decongestant, something simple for sleep, usually some diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
If you are sensitive to bee stings or other insect bites, then, by all means, carry an Epi-Pen which in remote area’s can be life saving. A simple first-aid kit or a travel kit (available from the Red Cross) is essential.
If you are planning to travel Australia or New Zealand, you will only have to use the same judgment you would exercise travelling in the US or in Western Europe.
Plan Your Vaccinations In Advance !
It can be more of a challenge to “Stay Healthy When Traveling” if your plans include more tropical climates such as Vietnam or South East Asia, you need to do some further preparation. Vaccinations /immunisations are essential. Make sure you are up to date on all the routine vaccinations well before any trip, usually 5-6 weeks.
Hepatitis A and B immunisations are also important. Hepatitis B is recommended for long term travellers, people with chronic conditions, older people, healthcare workers, and people who participate in high-risk activities (such as injection drug use, local tattoos, and unprotected sex).
Hepatitis B requires a minimum of 8 months, as it is a 3 dose series of shots.
Immunisations for typhoid, rabies, and Japanese encephalitis should also be taken.
These immunisations have no hidden evil side effects and you should err on the side of taking them unnecessarily than avoiding them. Better safe than sorry.
A good insect repellent such as DEET is essential; DEET is effective in repelling mosquitoes. Malaria or Dengue Fever is a common disease in South East Asia the South Pacific and Northern Australia, and you may need to take prescription medicine to prevent malaria.
You should discuss your travel plans with an experienced travel agent or a physician who specialises in travel medicine. Most cities and medium to large medical communities have MDs who specialise in this area.
Plan ahead, Stay Safe, and enjoy your trip.