Travel medicine is a topic of discussion this week. If you travel often enough, you’re inevitably bound to become sick overseas at some point. Depending on where you are when illness strikes, getting medical assistance quickly and easily is not always possible. For this reason, many of our members believe that being prepared is essential. Some members do so by taking medical kits everywhere they go. These kits may contain just a few essential items, or a host of medications.

…for me [the medical kit] is just a standard thing to throw in the suitcase, even when I’m ‘just’ going to USA and Canada. I’m happy never to use any of it. But if you are on an expensive tour, or a series of plane trips, how much easier is it just to reach into the medical kit and get what you need to tide you over rather than fretting about getting to a pharmacy (if there is one), or a doctor (ditto) and having your trip torpedoed. Age is a factor of course. I never used to travel with the portable pharmacy until I was about 40

Many people bring along medication against diarrhoea and nausea, as well as basic items like paracetamol, throat lozenges and band aids as a matter of course. Sleeping pills are also mentioned as an aid to getting some shut-eye on long flights and reducing the effects of jet lag.

The medication required also depends on the destination. For example, malaria tablets are a must if travelling to a part of the world where the disease is prevalent. And if you are planning to climb a mountain or visit a high-altitude destination such as Machu Picchu, altitude sickness remedies may be in order.

While some members may pack over a dozen medications, others however are not quite so prepared…

I don’t even take a hangover reliever … every bloody trip I need one!

If travelling with prescription medication, it is advisable to carry a letter from your doctor or pharmacist. It is also noted that some items which are commonplace in Australia may be restricted in other countries.

Be cautious with sudafed since pseudoephedrine is illegal to bring through customs in a number of countries. As are combinations with codeine.

Of course, wherever you may be travelling to, our members suggest consulting a doctor and seeking professional advice relevant to your circumstances.

Do you have a strategy for staying well overseas? What basic medicines do you never leave the country without? Join the discussion HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]