Make sure you're prepared
When planning that holiday of a lifetime, it’s all too easy to drift off in dreams of cocktails by the pool, exciting activities and delicious cuisine. But a longed-for trip can easily turn sour should you or one of your travelling companions feel unwell or have an accident. Of course, purchasing a robust travel insurance policy needs to be a vital part of any savvy traveller’s journey preparation, but checking the boxes on your very own travel health checklist will mean that you are covered for minor illnesses and ailments as well as those that might require expensive medical treatment. We’ve put together the ultimate travel health checklist so that you can be as prepared as possible for your trip.
1. Talk to your GP or travel clinic
This is particularly important if you have a pre-existing condition that might require medication or affect your trip or mode of transportation in some way. Your GP will be best positioned to provide advice and a prescription note if necessary – some airports might request notes in order to pass through. Additionally, you need to check whether your destination puts you at risk of any diseases that might need a vaccination or medication, such as typhoid or malaria. Some vaccinations need to be booked in a few weeks before you travel to properly take effect, so be sure not to leave your enquiries too late.
2. Pack a basic first aid kit
A basic first aid kit can be worth its weight in gold if you get into a scrape abroad, particularly if you are new to a destination and are unsure where to go to find the relevant items. We would recommend including the following items:
- Sterile dressings and bandage tape
- Insect repellent
- Insect bite treatment
- Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
- Anti-diarrhoea medicine
3. Be destination aware
Following on from checking whether any vaccinations are required for your trip, do a little research into other potential health concerns the country may have. Country specific health and safety advice can often be found at Gov.UK, while more specific health issues can be checked at TravelHealthPro. For example, you might discover that it is inadvisable to drink tap water or consume foods that could have been washed in contaminated water or that parasitic infections could be contracted from wild swimming in certain areas. Not that this should serve to put you off a destination; armed with the right knowledge and suitable precautions, you’ll be prepared to keep yourself safe and healthy.
4. Be sun savvy
Not all sunscreens are created equal, so make sure that the one you choose does what it promises on the tin. Severe sunburn can be painful, unsightly and result in an array of unpleasant symptoms such as a fever, nausea and dehydration. Avoid the sun at the hottest part of the day (12-3pm), be sure to drink plenty of water and purchase sunscreen that boasts a logo with UVA and offers at least four-star UVA protection. The NHS advises in choosing a sunscreen of at least SPF15 to protect against UVB rays, but the higher the factor, the better protection for your skin.
5. Note emergency numbers
Although it’s highly unlikely you will have to deal with a medical emergency whilst abroad, it doesn’t hurt to play it safe and familiarise yourself with where the nearest medical facility is, how you might get there if needed and what the emergency numbers are in your destination of choice. This can be especially helpful for putting your mind at ease if you have a pre-existing condition or are travelling with children. If an unfortunate incident does occur, where the best course of action is to visit a medical professional, you will be able to cut down on panic if you have numbers to hand and a plan of action in place.
Remember that the best protection against finding yourself out of pocket should any accident or illness occur on your trip is to buy the right travel insurance. Medical Travel Compared can help cut the hassle out of searching for the best policy for your situation – use our online comparison tool and get your travel insurance quote today.