Heading abroad on holiday is supposed to be an enjoyable, energising experience; sandy beaches, vibrant new cities and exciting nightlife. Illness abroad is a different matter; it can be difficult to get treatment in some destinations, and the language barrier doesn’t help. Hospital bills can be confusing and expensive, and the quality of medical facilities in some countries may leave something to be desired. Rather than going in blind, have a read of these tips for staying healthy on your holiday:


When you’re ill abroad, the last thing you’re going to want to worry about is your finances. There are swathes of companies offering excellent travel insurance deals, so make sure that you choose one which matches the types of activities you expect to be engaging in whilst away. Check the duration, costs and what the insurance actually covers; read the small print! Once you’ve got adequate insurance, it’ll be much easier to relax and worry less about illness or injury.

Vaccinations & Local Threats

When heading out to another country, it’s important to remember that there may be diseases around which don’t turn up in the UK. For many, there are vaccinations that can be provided in advance, so it’s best to check on the NHS fit for travel website (http://www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk/destinations.aspx) for which vaccinations may be required. Not all of these will be free, so check it out well in advance and keep it in mind for your budget. Other diseases can’t be vaccinated against, but still pose a significant threat to travellers. In particular, travel to areas in which malaria is prevalent may require anti-malarial drugs which might need to be taken as much as three weeks before travel. Take them regularly, as directed, and don’t forget to set up mosquito nets and repellent if necessary; prevention is better than treatment.

The world health organisation (WHO) provide a website which lists up-to-date information about disease outbreaks in the various nations they cover, as well as advice on how to avoid or protect against those conditions. Whilst this information can be useful, it’s good to keep in mind that the WHO provide information about outbreaks big and small, so take it with a pinch of salt. The website can be found at http://www.who.int/csr/don/en/index.html.

If you’re worried about getting everything covered, there are travel clinics in major cities, London obviously has the quantity, but all provide a full service for travel health preparations.

Food poisoning

Food poisoning, in particular ‘travellers’ diarrhoea’, can be quite common when travelling abroad, the latter condition affecting 20-60% of overseas travellers. Only drink or brush your teeth with bottled or sanitised water, eat freshly cooked food at high temperatures and avoid salads or iced drinks.

Keep these things all in mind and you’re sure to have a safe, fun, & healthy holiday.