health checklist

You’ll certainly picture a lot of images in your head about your next trip, but scarcely one in which you’re making frantic calls home about covering emergency health bills or being denied access into your destination country because you didn’t have the required vaccination certificate.

To ensure your trip goes smoothly and you return in good health, here are 6 important things to do long before you’ve even left home!

  1. Book a pre-travel checkup with your doctor

Book an appointment with your doctor before you travel to confirm you’re healthy enough for the trip, especially if you have a chronic condition. Make sure to also visit your dentist for a dental check-up to be certain your teeth are in a perfect state.

These are important to get you well prepared for your trip, as your doctor will, in addition, very likely give you specific health advice with regard to your destination and any potential risks.

  1. Get vaccinated

A common puzzle of travellers is what to get vaccinated for. You could decide to do your own research, but it’s more advisable to speak to your doctor about the diseases prevalent in your destination country or city. You can also check up for more helpful information from your government’s website.

Make sure to get vaccinated against the right disease between 6 to 8 weeks before your departure. Remember too that some vaccinations are multi-dose and needs to be taken weeks apart, so you must put this into consideration.

Don’t forget to always have your vaccination card and documentations ready with you, as it could be a requirement for entry in the country you’re travelling to.

  1. Have your medical histories in both soft and hard copies

It’s recommended that you save your medical history in a flash drive, as it’s small and portable. You should also have printed copies and duplicates to keep in your suitcase and also as a travelling companion.

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Be sure your medical record is comprehensive and contains vital personal health information, including any allergies you may have, your current medications, and contact numbers in case of an emergency.

  1. Pack a traveler’s medical kit

Your traveler’s medical kit or health kit includes everything you pack to help you manage your ailments and illnesses. The question is what should you include in your kit?

First, be as minimal as possible and take only essential medications and ones you won’t regret not packing when you need it. Also consider if the medication is readily available, scarce or unavailable in your destination country. In summary, only pack what you need and nothing more.

A standard traveler’s medical kit will include medications for pain and fever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen; and drugs to treat nausea, indigestion and other traveller sicknesses.

You may also decide to purchase a traveler’s health kit if you have any doubts about what to include.

However, some family holiday goers or business travelling group simply choose to go along with a healthcare specialist from a travel nurse agency like Gifted Healthcare, who takes cares of everyone’s healthcare needs and concerns on the trip.

  1. Get travel insurance

With the right travel insurance, you get adequate cover for any emergency health problems that may occur while you’re on holiday or a business trip, including medical evacuation.

You may never be able to fully evaluate the importance of travel insurance or how different it is from personal insurance until you get seriously injured or ill while overseas.

Unlike travel insurance, personal insurance generally, including Medicare, doesn’t take care of your health needs or emergencies while on a trip (except there’s a part of the policy that covers it).

However, when you buy travel insurance, be sure to ask all the necessary questions, including whether it covers any preexisting conditions.

  1. Install useful health mobile apps and check helpful government websites
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There are some really helpful government websites and mobile apps that can serve as useful health guides when you’re overseas on a holiday or business trip. For example, the travel page of the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) website includes important holiday and business trip advice and information, including travel health notices.

CDC also has a mobile app called TravWell which can help you decide on your packing lists and store your medical record. And if you’re worried about how well your stomach can take some new food or beverage in your travel city, you can count on its Can I Eat This? app.

The State Department website also provides vital travel information and guide on healthcare. Besides, you can download the Smart Traveler app, which contains useful maps and alerts; or the register on the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. It will help notify the nearest embassy or consulate about your trip updates and whereabouts. In addition, you’ll get safety notices and the embassy can quickly reach your family contact in the event of an emergency.

On a final note, never fail to also take some personal healthcare precautions of your own.  Avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes and other insects. Use insect repellant regularly. Also, be careful about touching or going near animals.

When you eat, make sure it’s safe; that is, it’s either cooked or peeled. Drink only bottled water or canned soft drink; and always wash your hands before eating or after visiting the bathroom.

Lastly, practice safe sex, if you’re alone and want to get intimate. Always use a condom. And if you’ve been sick in any way while overseas, make sure to have a checkup with your doctor when you return.