Healthy living

Planning to travel

A little bit of planning before you travel overseas can make a big difference to your health.

See your doctor

Discuss your travel plans with your doctor or travel medicine specialist at least 2 months before you leave to determine if any vaccinations (e.g. measles, mumps, rubella) or medications (such as anti-malarial tablets) are required.

Ensure you have enough medication, kept in its original packaging, and check whether you need to take a letter from your doctor to state that it is prescribed for your personal use.

It is important to tell your doctor if you:

  • are pregnant
  • have an existing medical condition
  • have recently had surgery
  • plan to travel with children
  • plan to be away for an extended period of time.

If you think you might participate in any high risk activities, you may wish to discuss this with your doctor.

Pack a first aid kit

It is useful to pack a small first aid kit containing:

See a specialist in travel medicine if you are planning to travel or work in remote areas for a long period of time.

  • Consider packing condoms and lubricant if you are likely to have sex. These can be difficult to get a hold of in some countries so it is best to plan ahead.

Sexually transmitted infections (STI) including HIV and syphilis are common in some regions such as South East Asia. If you have sex while you're away, ask your doctor for a simple STI test when you get back.

For more information about STIs, testing and treatment. Visit Could I have it (external site).

Get travel insurance

Think about buying travel insurance before you leave. When you travel overseas you may not be able to get the same level of health care that you receive in Australia.

In the event of a serious illness or accident, emergency evacuation is very expensive.

Pack appropriate clothing and footwear

Planning ahead and packing the right type of clothes and shoes can reduce your risk of becoming ill when overseas.

Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes (mosquito-borne diseases) are common in many overseas countries and include:

  • malaria
  • dengue fever
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • chikungunya
  • yellow fever
  • Zika virus.

Wearing shoes in areas of poor cleanliness will offer protection against hookworm and other parasites that can break through your skin. Shoes also reduce the risk of stepping on discarded injecting drug equipment and getting a needle-stick injury.

No matter your age or how healthy you feel, think before you leave Australia about how to protect your health while travelling.

More information

Public Health

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

Photo of a young traveller Text: Planning to travel? Protect yourself against measles first