Before you depart...

Plan ahead and book a consultation with your nearest Travel Doctor – TMVC to  discuss which vaccines and medications may be recommended  for your destination.  Make your appointment 4-6 weeks prior to travel to ensure you have enough time for any required vaccinations.  Your travel doctor can also provide advice regarding whether your medicines are prohibited at your destination.

It may be recommended that you take a medical kit with you to treat common travel related conditions. The recommendation will depend on where you are travelling to, how long and the type of travel you are undertaking. An International Health Guide will be provided to explain the use of the medications, many of which are prescription only. It will also be signed by the doctor to show the kit has been prescribed for you.

Purchase travel insurance to cover you for any medical emergencies whilst overseas.  Make a copy of your policy to carry with your travel documents.

Research your destination to ensure you are aware of the health risks and what to avoid.

Make sure you have adequate supplies of your regular prescription medication and check the expiry dates of any medicine you might already have.  If you are travelling for an extended period you may also need a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, that it’s for your personal use and the amount you use each day.

Travellers with chronic or complex pre-existing medical conditions should carry an introductory letter from their own GP or specialist in case they need to consult a doctor overseas. Those with a known heart abnormality should carry their most recent ECG heart tracing.

During your travels...

Always pack your prescribed medication in the original packaging or if you have several medications it may be easier to ask your pharmacist to make up a Webster pack for you.

Carry your medications in your hand luggage. Illness can strike at any time and luggage can go astray. The temperature is more constant in the cabin of the aircraft as well.

Keep your medications cool and dry. Hot, damp or freezing conditions may cause them to deteriorate.

Read the instructions carefully before taking any medication.

Avoid sharing medications with fellow travellers. They may have allergies of which you are unaware and you may need the medications yourself later.

Always keep in mind that if you have visited a malaria-infected area, any fever could be malaria.

Carry instructions, medications, and your personal authorisation information together.

Keep a written record of what medications you take and their dosage to show a doctor if necessary.

Always keep medications out of reach of children.

If you require medical attention while overseas:

If you are injured or need medical care contact your travel insurance company for help in arranging treatment and check you are covered. Most insurers have 24hr assistance call centres.

If you don’t have insurance, seek medical assistance from a local doctor or hospital. Your hotel or tour operator may assist in recommending a clinic or hospital. You can also contact your nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate as they can provide a list of English-speaking doctors. You may be required to pay up front for any medical services.

You can also contact the 24hr Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas.