How you can plan your travel to prevent health problems
Travel related health problems arise from a variety of factors related to your travel environment e.g. holiday destination, types of activities, food and water quality.
Travel related health problems can also arise when a pre-existing medical condition worsens during travel.
Fortunately most travel related problems can be prevented with careful advanced planning. Consult your doctor or travel medicine clinic so that a travel plan can be discussed in detail.
Consider the destination and how the following might affect your underlying health condition.
|Countries/Regions visited||Air quality||Water and food quality||Planned activities are consistent with usual levels|
|Type of accommodation and facilities available||Altitude||
Accessing health care
Any differences in electrical outlets and voltage
|Season of travel: hot/cold/humidity|
|Check for any epidemics||Flexible tickets||
Check in early
Arrive before darkness
- Take medical documents (e.g. letters, scripts) with you/have your GP liaise ahead with major health centres. Map out phone numbers of medical services.
- Have travel insurance or access to health care.
- Some travel insurance providers have a telephone helplines to assist you in finding appropriate health care while you are travelling.
- Insurance can be difficult for those with chronic disease. Some countries have reciprocal health care with Australia. Refer to:
- Take a plentiful supply of medicine and health equipment eg: relievers, puffers, oxygen tubing, masks, electrical adaptors, batteries.
General problems caused by commercial travel
- Dryness of air.
- Reduced mobility and potential DVT (blood clots) – those with chronic disease such as COPD would be advised to wear compression sockwear for long flights.
- Proximity to others and risk of infections.
- Long periods of travel disturb 24hr clock – sleep, eating, taking medicines.
- Stress of navigating busy airports, unknown roads.
- Try to avoid places that cannot provide smoke free restaurants and accommodation.
- If you need portable oxygen, check that your accommodation provider will allow oxygen cylinders to be delivered and stored on their premises.
- Check access to the room. Do you need to climb flights of stairs to get there, or is there a lift?