How to: stay safe and healthy on travel adventures

If you’re about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, it’s easy to forget about health and safety in the excitement of planning bungee jumps or deciding how many pairs of flip flops to pack. But it’s worth sorting out the less thrilling bits of your holiday well in advance, as a few quick precautions can save you from such unsavory mishaps as holiday illness or injury abroad.

Make sure you’re properly prepared and protect yourself for your next big adventure with my guide.

Take some time and learn about the place you’ll be visiting. Find out what types of diseases are present there and what type of medical care is available. For example, is the place you’ll be visiting in a malaria zone? If so, you’ll need to make sure you take prophylaxis tablets. Your first step should be to visit a travel medicine clinic, where a doctor or nurse can give you advice specific to your destination and a prescription if you need one.

You should also be aware of any safety issues in your destination. Are there any places on your itinerary that involve travel through a war zone? Is there a high incidence of violent crime? Are there any political tensions in danger of boiling over? A good place are embassy websites for your relevant country, where you can find updates and advice for travellers, as well as warnings to avoid certain areas.


Medical care is often less readily available in far-flung places and deadly diseases can be very present problems. Check out what you should be vaccinated against and get jabs and boosters well in advance. Some countries also require proof of certain vaccinations, such as Yellow Fever, before they let you enter, so make sure you get all your paperwork sorted before you get on the plane.


If you are taking any medication regularly, ask your doctor for a supply that will last the entire duration of your trip. Take anything you think you might possibly need, such as painkillers, with you, as even basic medicines like Paracetamol can be expensive or hard to come by abroad. Take copies of any prescriptions you have with you, in case you are asked to identify your medication.


If you can afford the extra cost, travel insurance against injury and illness will stop cost being an issue if you get ill or are attacked by crocodiles. Companies offer myriad plans at different prices so it’s a good idea to shop around to find a deal that’ll suit your needs. If you’re planning anything especially adventurous, such as skiing or rock climbing, insurance is vital as getting helicoptered to safety from a snowy mountain doesn’t come cheap.


While you’re traveling, chuck a small pack of first-aid items into your rucksack. Some good things to carry include plasters, over-the-counter pain medicine and disinfectant for small wounds. You never know when you might need the and it’s not unusual to be a day’s walk from a hospital if you’re travelling to somewhere remote.


One of the great pleasures of travel is sampling the local cuisine, but it’s important to proceed with caution before tucking into a Llama sandwich. Take baby steps and start off with simple dishes. Make sure to take your meals in establishments that look clean and seem popular with the locals, and it’s best to avoid street food completely. You should also be careful about drinking tap water – in some countries it’s not advised at all, in others, make sure it has been boiled first.



  1. November 24, 2012 / 8:23 pm

    wow, that picture of you jumping over the clouds… how?? anyways, great tips because I love doing crazy things and this definitely reminds me a lot of things that I DIDN’T DO

  2. November 25, 2012 / 10:52 am

    Hey! we’re on the Bolivian salt flats – it makes for some pretty surreal photos!

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