Before you go

See your doctor
  • As a general rule at least 6–8 weeks before travelling.
  • For those going to live or work overseas seek advice 6 months before you go.
  • For those leaving at short notice, it is never too late to seek advice.
Ensure vaccinations are up-to-date

Discuss vaccination needs for travel and healthcare with your doctor AT LEAST 6–8 weeks before departure.

Pack a medical kit

Essential items you should not leave behind. The actual contents of your kit will depend on where you are going, what you will be doing, duration of travel and your personal and medical needs.

Regular Medication

  • Ensure you have ample supplies of all regular medication, even those you only use occasionally
  • Carry medication in your hand luggage. Check that it is legal in the country you are visiting

First Aid Items

  • Adhesive tape
  • Antiseptic wound cleanser (e.g. iodine solution)
  • Bandages
  • Sterile dressings
  • Blister dressings

  • Clinical thermometer, preferably digital
  • Emollient eye drops
  • Eye pad
  • Tweezers, safety pins, scissors (not in carry-on flight luggage)
  • Simple painkiller (e.g. paracetamol or aspirin or stronger if going to remote areas)

Preventative care

  • Sunscreen (at least SPF 15+)
  • Condoms
  • Decongestant for air travel with hay fever or a cold
  • Motion sickness medication

To ensure safe water

  • Clean and sturdy one litre water bottle
  • Immersion heater or filter for disinfecting drinking water
  • Water purifiers (iodine tablets, alum or vitamin C powder) for disinfecting drinking water

If travelling to areas where malaria and other insect-borne diseases occur

  • DEET-containing insect repellent for personal use
  • Long sleeved, light coloured clothes for protection
  • ‘Knock down’ insect spray to kill flying insects inside accommodation
  • Mosquito coil
  • Bed nets
  • Permethrin for treating clothes (shirts, socks) and bed nets
  • Malaria prevention tablets if prescribed (See your doctor)

Medical care

To treat stomach problems

  • Oral rehydration sachets (e.g. Gastrolyte)
  • Antidiarrheal medications (e.g. loperamide)
  • Antibiotics (For extended travel in remote areas. See your doctor)

To treat allergies/insect bites

  • Antihistamine tablets
  • Stingose gel
  • Corticosteroid cream

Other items according to destination and personal needs

  • Antifungal powder
  • Cough & cold preparations (e.g. decongestions, throat lozenges, etc)
  • Short-acting sleeping tablets (See your doctor)
  • Spare pair of glasses, contact lens solutions, optical prescription
  • Usual health monitoring equipment (e.g. blood glucose monitoring)

Women travellers

  • Adequate supplies of tampons/sanitary pads
  • Medication for period pain
  • Adequate supplies of contraceptive pill (take additional supplies to allow for unexpected delays)
  • Emergency contraception (morning after pill)
  • Treatment for vaginal thrush
  • Treatment for cystitis/bladder infection

Medical equipment if travelling where adequate health services are difficult to access

  • Sterile needles and syringes in different sizes (not in carry-on flight luggage)
  • Disposable gloves
  • Dental emergency kit / oil of cloves, etc

Essential documents

  • Doctor's letter detailing medical history and medication
  • Travel/health insurance with good medical cover for emergencies
  • Bracelet or similar device containing details of potential emergency health issues
  • Vaccination certificate (essential for yellow fever)

You can either make up your own kit or buy a ready made one. Travellers Medical Kits are available from your local travel physician clinic, however a doctor must prescribe these.


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