The Healthy Travel Checklist – Part 1


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The Healthy Travel Checklist – Part 1

After the excitement of booking a trip or even bore your thoughts should turn to your health your health. Here are some handy pointers on how to prepare for an adventure to a different country.


It always pays to find out what the climate will be like in your chosen destination, what the maximum and minimum temperatures will be, and also the altitude range, as this will often inform what you pack. Nights can get surprisingly cold, even in the tropics and especially at high altitude.

Try to also get an idea of how bug infested your destination will be and guidebooks are a good place to start looking, and whether you’ll need to cover up for climatic, entomological or cultural reasons. Also, ask yourself if the region you are going to has an air pollution problem that might affect you.

Then there’s basic safety. Be sure to check for any recent local travel warnings. Two good places to check are the US State Department (travel. state. gov) and you should also view the relevant destination page on the UK’s FCO site ( People continue to go into unsafe destinations through ignorance and it is worth knowing,or at least be forewarned, about what you might be getting into.


Another piece of homework worth doing is on local laws and what restrictions there are on crossing borders with prescription only medicines. You may not consider yourself to be a drug trafficker, but if you are carrying diazepam, to keep you calm on a flight or codeine for your backache, there is a chance that you could be detained in some places. Travellers have got into trouble with the authorities in the past, even while only in transit, by carrying addictive prescription drugs with them. The following; Opiates (tramadol, codeine), benzodiazepines (diazepam, temazepam) and sleeping pills (zopiclone, zolpidem) seem to cause the most problems. To prevent misunderstandings you need to bring some documentation that confirms your medical need for carrying medicines. A brief summary print out from your notes that confirms what is prescribed and can be stamped by the practice is good.

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Repeat prescription lists will also be helpful as would keeping the meds in their original labelled pharmacy pack, as this should have your name on it. Another drug to be careful of is alcohol. Take special care when drinking in public in Muslim countries. Remember that drink-driving regulations are comparatively lax in the UK. In many countries, including the European states of Slovakia, Romania and the Czech Republic, having any alcohol in your blood while driving is an arrestable offence. If in doubt as to the rules, check one of the mentioned websites which has entries for each country on its ‘Foreign travel advice’ pages, while its ‘Local laws and customs’ sections make for interesting and informative reading.

Continued part 2.

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