- Do I need vaccinations?
- What vaccinations do I need?
- Where do I get the vaccinations I need?
- Your vaccination record (the little yellow booklet)
- Travel health insurance
- Eye care
- Dental care
- First aid kits
- Government Health Advisory Websites
- Other helpful travel health links
- Further reading
Do I need vaccinations?
It depends on where you are going and what vaccinations you have had in the past.
If you are venturing off the path of major developed cities, seek the advice of a trained medical practitioner, preferably one that specializes in travel medicine, well in advance of your departure.
Important: If vaccinations are recommended for your destination, seek advice from a trained medical practitioner well in advance of travel.
What vaccinations do I need?
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides vaccination recommendations for travellers by country (see Other Helpful Web Resources below).
You’ll find information on whether vaccinations are recommended for your destination in many guidebooks, such as Lonely Planet guides.
Keep in mind vaccination requirements may vary between regions in a country. The vaccinations you need to visit a modern city compared to a wild jungle location, for example, can vary dramatically.
And it’s important to remember that some vaccinations expire and you will need to be revaccinated periodically.
Where do I get the vaccinations I need?
Specialist travel medicine doctors can be found in most cities. Start with a web search of travel medicine or travel doctors in your area.
Alternatively, visit your local general practitioner or medical centre. They may provide the vaccinations you require or refer you to a practitioner who does.
Your vaccination record (the little yellow booklet)
When you receive your vaccinations you’ll receive a small yellow booklet called the International Certificates of Vaccination that records details of when and where these vaccinations took place.
Important: Keep this document safely with your passport. As well as a valuable record of the vaccinations you have received, details such as your Yellow Fever vaccination may be required to enter some countries.
Tip: Scan or photocopy your vaccination record book and save it on a backup disk or in a safe place.
Travel health insurance
Health insurance as part of your travel insurance policy is a must for many countries in the world. Even if you’re travelling to a developed country, the US for example, an injury or illness could be a financial disaster.
See our page on Insurance for more information and to find the best policy for you.
If you require regular medication, be sure that you travel with enough for your entire trip, and then some, in case of delay.
Important: You cannot fill Australian scripts overseas.
Lonely Planet recommends:
- Pack medications in their original, clearly labeled containers.
- Carry a signed and date letter from your physician describing your medical conditions and medications, including their generic names.
- If you have a heart condition bring a copy of your ECG taken just prior to travelling.
- Bring a double supply of any regular medication in case of loss or theft.
Information for Australians travelling with PBS medicines
It is illegal to take or send Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines out of Australia that are not for your personal use or the use of someone travelling with you. See the page Travelling Overseas with PBS Medicine for more information.
If you wear prescription glasses, take a spare pair and/or a copy of your prescription so that they can be replaced if broken or lost.
It is recommended that you have a dental check-up before departure, particularly if you are visiting a destination where dental treatment is poor.
If you wear dentures, carry a spare set in case of loss or damage.
First aid kits
Especially in less developed countries or when travelling outside of cities and towns, it’s a good idea to carry at least a basic first aid kit or travellers’ medical kit.
Ready-made medical kits can usually be purchased from travel goods and camping stores and pharmacies. Your travel doctor may also be able to supply a medical kit tailored to your specific needs.
Alternatively, make up a simple kit yourself. This should include items such as headache tablets, antacids, antiseptic cream, band-aids, anti-diarrhea tablets, oral rehydration salts and water purification tablets if you’re going off the beaten track. And don’t forget a good quality sunscreen and insect repellant.
Government Health Advisory Websites
|Australia (also includes information about prescriptions and how to get help overseas)||http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/tips|
Other helpful travel health links
|World Health Organization (WHO) – International Travel and Health page:||http://www.who.int/ith|
|Lonely Planet online destination guides provide basic health information:||http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations|
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Travelers’ Health page:||http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel|
|International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers||http://www.iamat.org|
|About The Disease Yellow Fever||http://www.yellowfever.com.au/|
|MD Travel Health||http://mdtravelhealth.com|
Lonely Planet’s Healthy Travel guides (various regions)
Travelling Well by Dr Deborah Mills
Travellers’ Health by Dr Richard Daw
|Travel Insurance: The Essential Guide|
|Travel Safety: The Essential Guide|
|Destination Advice: The Essential Guide|
|Travel Money: The Essential Guide for Australian Travellers|
|Travel Visas: The Essential Guide for Australian Travellers|