In all the excitement of making plans to travel, it’s easy to forget the basics. You’re deciding where to explore, planning an itinerary, brushing up on local phrases and finding a place to stay, perhaps even arranging to work.
There’s a lot to organise, so it’s little wonder that health matters can seem to come quite far down the list. Bump them up a few places, if only because being in a foreign country if and when something does go wrong can be a frightening experience.
If you do have an accident or fall seriously ill, it can ruin your experience and go wrong in far more drastic ways than you may have anticipated. A bit of preparation before you climb on the plane can save an awful lot of heartache should the worst case scenario happen.
Before You Go
Make sure you have enough time before leaving to schedule in all the vaccinations you may need for travel – about seven months allows you enough time if you need to have a series of immunisations. Never be tempted to skip these, as being unvaccinated in some countries is asking for trouble. A good doctor or travel clinic should be able to advise what you will need for your intended destination.
Dental problems overseas are no joke – toothache and root canal work can cut short your trip – as dentistry in your destination country may be less advanced and a lot more expensive. Schedule a thorough check-up and any follow up work before leaving and consider Full Coverage Dental Insurance as well.
Put together a basic first aid kit to travel with – good immediate care of any minor injuries can save a world of pain and complications further down the line. Include bandages, plasters, antiseptic spray, rehydration sachets, paracetamol, burns ointment and a foil blanket. Make it small enough to carry with you wherever you go.
If you have any ongoing health issues that require management through medication or diet, make sure that you are able to continue that care at your destination. Speak to your doctor about obtaining medication in advance or how to go about it overseas for extended trips. Have a plan in place to manage your symptoms before they appear. When travelling, keep essential medicines in your hand luggage with a doctors’ note and check the legal status of them in the country you are going to before you fly. There’s nothing worse than having vital medicine confiscated at customs or lost in a suitcase somewhere – that can quickly turn into a serious emergency. The same goes for any allergy medication you know you may need. Know the brand and generic names, and how to ask for it in a pharmacy in the native language of your destination country. Know your blood type and how to communicate it in an emergency. Plus, make sure your travel insurance policy is tailored to take account of existing health conditions and that you have the cover you need. Bon voyage!