Research the area you are going to
This way you can discuss with your GP if any precautions are required (such as vaccinations). It will also be beneficial to be aware of any unique customs this country may have.
Register your travel plans
Register your travel and contact details online at the Australian government’s smart traveller website http://www.smartraveller.gov.au. This makes it easier to be contacted in the event of unforseen events including natural disasters, civil unrest etc.
Declare your pre-existing medical conditions
When purchasing travel insurance, it’s your duty of disclosure to declare pre-existing medical conditions.
Visit your dentist
A dental check- up before travel is also recommended. If you have dentures, make sure you take sufficient supply of denture adhesive. This can be somewhat difficult to find to buy when travelling.
If you receive a pension or Centrelink payments, always contact Centrelink at least six weeks before you leave the country to find out if your travels may affect your payments.
Take your seniors card
Whilst this is applicable for discounts in Australia, by showing this card in other countries you may still find they will offer you a discount too.
Make copies of everything
Take copies of your itinerary, credit cards, travel insurance policy, travellers cheques, etc and take a copy with you as well as leaving one with a family member or close friend in Australia.
Contact your bank
Advise your bank of the dates and destinations in which you are travelling to. The last thing you want is your financial institution to freeze your account because of suspicious overseas transactions
Is your medication legal?
If you are taking medication with you – make sure you find out that it is not illegal in the country you are visiting. You can do this by contacting the Australian embassy of the country you are visiting. If you are travelling with prescribed medicine, ensure that it stays in the box with your name and pharmacy sticker on it to prove they are yours.
Large amounts of medication?
If you are taking a large amount of medication with you – you should get a letter from your doctor stating why this is necessary.
Form more information, please read our guide on travelling with prescription medicine
If your medication requires syringes (such as diabetes) ensure you have enough for the duration of your trip and it is best to use a sharps container (which can be purchased at a pharmacy).
Wear a medical alert/ID bracelet
If you are concerned about any particular medical condition you have – you may want to wear a medi-alert bracelet / necklace.
Get a Webstercare® Webster-pak®
It is a good idea to get a Webster-pak® made up by your local pharmacist to ensure you have enough medication required for the duration of the trip and you also remember that you’ve taken your recommended doses.
If you use reading glasses – take a spare pair. Finding a new pair of prescription glasses whilst overseas can be a hassle so having a spare pair will be very handy.
If you wear hearing aids – take spare batteries.
Emergency contact numbers
Your travel insurance emergency contact numbers should be with you at all times. If you get into trouble, call the call the insurer’s emergency assistance department. This way they will also have records of your issue in the instance you need to make a claim when you return home or require medical assistance whilst overseas.
For more information about what to do before you travel, read our handy Travel Checklist guide.
Before you fly
Advise your airline of your disability
If you have a disability it is always advisable to contact the airline before you fly to arrange shuttle services, seating arrangements and any special meals that may be required.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
If you are prone to, or worried about deep vein thrombosis (DVT) you should wear loose clothing, avoid alcohol on flights and stay hydrated with water, take walks up and down the aisles and avoid crossing your legs. Many airlines will have videos that recommend and display how to perform leg exercises to avoid DVT. Flight socks can also be helpful.
Suitcases with wheels make life easier when travelling. Roller wheels make it much easier to navigate around airports and hotels when travelling.
Avoid looking lost
This may make you more vulnerable to unsavoury characters. Always ask for help from someone in uniform or a staff member in a public store. If you’re travelling alone, be sure to read our Travelling Solo Guide.
Avoid tap water
It’s important to stay hydrated and is best to stick to bottled water. In certain countries you will also need to use bottled water or boiled water for brushing your teeth. Ask for your drinks without ice just to be on the safe side.
For more information, read our guide on Drinking Water Overseas.
Be aware of your alcohol intake
Many travel insurance claims may be denied if you are under the influence of alcohol.
Watch out for pickpockets
Your wallet, passport and cash can be safely carried in a travel belt around your waist.
Wear comfortable shoes
Your feet and legs will thank you at the end of the day whilst travelling.
When receiving change from a store, ask for a mix of smaller notes and coins. This will come in handy so you won’t need to use large notes for smaller items. Some public transport services only accept exact change, and some toilet facilities may require small change aswell.
Take a break
Have rest days or ensure you take breaks. The last thing you want to do is burn out and get run down during your travels. This may dampen the mood towards the end of the trip and may make you more susceptible to getting sick.
Be sure to read our travel etiquette guides for various countries to avoid culture shock when you hit your holiday destination!