There is no shortage of advice of what to do to stay safe and healthy when travelling.
Where you are travelling to and how you will be travelling will also have a major impact on your preparation and behaviour.
Before upcoming trips I recommend you research where you are going to get detailed advice on anything to watch our for in that area and add to the list below any other recommended items to ensure your health and safety in the locations you are travelling to, at the time you are travelling.
9 Essential Health & Safety Travel Tips
1) Visit your Doctor
Several months before your trip make sure you talk to your Doctor about your travel plans. Although you can speak with your GP, I recommend you visit a dedicated Travel Doctor or Travel Clinic as they specialise in this field and can ensure you are medically well prepared for your trip.
When you meet with your Doctor items to discuss include:
Possible pre-trip medication requirements
Precautionary medication for your trip e.g. for motion sickness, nausea or diarrhoea
Essential medication that you currently take, making sure you have enough to take and authorisation letters for carrying that type and quantity of medication having confirmed it will meet the legal requirements of all countries you are visiting.
Travel First Aid Kits
Extra items to buy such as Tropical Strength Insect Repellent
2) Contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Visit smarttraveller.gov.au to research your destination(s) to assess their safety and get additional information on how to stay safe. You should also register the full details of your trip. By registering it can help the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to contact you or your family in the event of an emergency.
3) Get travel insurance
Make sure you have adequate travel insurance in place well before your trip. Whilst it is essential to ensure you will get any essential health treatment you need if required while you're away, if you have the right style of insurance it can also ensure you get the maximum refunds possible should you need to cancel your trip e.g. for health reasons and you will be covered for a range of other potential issues such as lost luggage as well. If you have pre-existing conditions that could potentially cause you any issues when you are away, even if the chance is low, make sure you have declared all the details and paid any additional premiums, as your treatment for pre-existing conditions will not be covered otherwise.
4) Keep copies of all essential documents and cards
Make sure you leave copies (printed and digital) of all essential docs such as your passport, drivers licence, visas, itinerary, credit cards etc. with someone you trust at home. It is also a good idea to keep a digital copy with you on a USB and keep that on you but naturally in a different location to where you are carrying the originals.
5) Leave valuable items at home
Unless it is absolutely essential you take the item e.g. you have a good camera you really want to use on the trip, leave all valuable items, or items of strong personal value at home. In particular, do not travel with expensive handbags, jewellery, watches, technology etc. that could be left at home. If someone was to try and rob you be ready to given them what they have asked for, it is not worth putting your life at risk to protect your things.
6) Be careful with your luggage
Use bags you have purchased, always pack your own bag, never carry anything for other people, do not leave your bags unattended and secure your bags against tampering.
7) Respect local culture and customs
Find out about the culture and customs of the places you are visiting and comply with them, dress appropriately and obey all laws.
8) Don't task risks
Do not take any unnecessary risks or do anything you wouldn't do at home. If you are not sure you can always ask hotel staff which areas and activities are safe and get them to help you organise transport with reputable guides, taxi services and tour companies.
9) Closely monitor food and water consumption
Find out whether the water is safe to drink, if it isn't always have bottled water, ideally buying large bottles and carrying small refillable containers as this will reduce waste. If the water isn't safe to drink avoid salads and don't eat any raw fruit or vegetables without peeling them.