General travel advice and tips

Please note that advice provided on this page is of a general nature and may not be suitable for your circumstances. MedPlaza recommends that you make an appointment with one of our general practitioners to discuss your specific travel needs.

Importance of travel insurance

Travel insurance is one of the essentials when travelling. You may require medical assistance when overseas, without insurance you may be liable for very high medical fees - this is particularly the case when travelling to the USA (especially if hospitalised). Please review the various policies from travel insurance providers. If you have chronic medical conditions, have been recently treated in a hospital, or had surgery, it is important to disclose these circumstances and obtain a quote for insurance declaring all pre-existing conditions. If relying on insurance provided as part of your credit card, please ensure you are adequately covered as often this type of insurance has many exclusions and limits.

Check current risks and seek advice

Review your itinerary and seek advice regarding specific risks for your travel and destinations. Seek early advice regarding appropriate vaccinations - note that some diseases require multiple vaccinations over a period of time. So it is best to see your GP a minimum of 6-8 weeks before intended travel. If you are pregnant, have chronic medical conditions, or are travelling with children, you may need advice regarding specfic travel risks. Check to review current warnings and risk status for your intended destinations.

Vaccination status

Check your history of vaccinations. Many conditions require boosters after a certain period, eg. tetanus every 5 years. Many conditions will require specific vaccinations that are not routinely included in childhood and school vaccination schedules. The immunity provided by vaccinations may wane over time and a booster may be required (eg. measles/mumps/rubella, hepatitis B). Note that some medical conditions require a course of multiple vaccinations over a period of time (eg. hepatitis B, rabies).

Travelling to visit family and/or friends

Often those travelling to visit family or friends neglect to seek travel advice. Those who have emigrated from a certain country and return to visit are at increased risk of contracting local illnesses. Often innate immunity from childhood or later will wane over time. Those travellers visiting family and friends are also at greater risk of exposure to local conditions due to closer contact and consuming local foods and drink.

Register your travel

Register your travel with in case of local events such as earthquakes, floods, terror events, etc. Leave a copy of your itinerary and contact details with family or friends.

Travelling with Medications

Many travellers will take their regular medications with them. Usually this is not an issue, however, some countries have restrictions on the type of medications and/or quantities transported. Some countries have restrictions on opiate or opoid, antidepressant and psychotropic medication (eg. Middle Eastern countries). Please check with their respective lists.
Australia allows you to take up to 6 months supply of your regular PBS medication with you. You will require a special 'regulation 24' prescription from your GP/specialist to purchase the required quantity for the trip (normally PBS medication is only issued by a pharmacy on a monthly basis). It is best to keep your medication in your carry on luggage, or at least a sufficient quantity in case of delayed or lost check-in luggage.

Local food and drinks risk

Many illnesses can be contracted from contaminated food and drinks, eg. Typhoid fever, Hepatitis A, Cholera, Traveller's Diarrhea. It is important to be wary about the safety of food, drinks and water.

  • Consume thoroughly boiled or cooked food
  • Use bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth - ensure the seal has not been broken before use.
  • Use water purification if bootled water is not available
  • Avoid ice in drinks - ice may be made from contaminated water
  • Avoid uncooked foods, eg. salads, fruit that may have been washed with contaminated water
  • Avoid raw or poorly cooked foods such as seafood from waters that may be contaminated

Travelling with children

Travelling with children poses unique challenges. Please seek advice regarding travel. Some vaccinations are not available to infants (eg. Typhoid, Hep A) making them nore vulnerable to diseases.

Travelling pregnant

Travelling pregnant can be especially problematic. Please seek specific advice regarding travel. Most vaccinations (especially live vaccines) are not available in pregnancy. But routine vaccinations include influenza and Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis booster (from 20 weeks of pregnancy). Seek advice if travelling to an area endemic with Zika or Yellow Fever.

Disabled Travel

Travelling for people with a disability can be very difficult. Airlines can help with airport access to gates and planes but you will need to prebook any wheelchairs if having mobility issues. If travelling with a wheelchair please also make prior arrangements.

Travelling with Oxygen

Until recently travelling with a chronic medical condition that required supplemental exygen was very costly and difficult due to airline regulations. New portable oxygen concentrators are now available, eg. OxygenPlus. You will still need to check with the airline prior to purchasing a ticket on their specific policy for oxygen use. You will also need to check specific flight/airplane details for availability of power supply, etc. Take a letter from your GP stating - when oxygen is required, the required oxygen flowrate, and confirming your ability to hear/see and respond to the concentrator alarms and warnings.

For comprehensive information on travel health see

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention