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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.
  • 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?