To vaccinate or medicate? Plan before you go!


There’s a lot to take into consideration when planning a trip: flights, accommodation, activities. However an often overlooked area of planning is that of healthcare. I’ve written previously about the importance of having comprehensive travel insurance when travelling, but there are other aspects which also need to be taken into consideration. For example; do you need any vaccinations for your intended destination/s? If you’re taking any medication, is it legal where you’re travelling? Furthermore what happens if you run out while you’re still on holiday? I’ve complied a few notes on things you need to factor into your planning before you leave.


Vaccinations help to protect you from diseases which we may not have in Australia. It’s important that you visit your doctor before you leave. They can advise you on any vaccinations you may need, or boosters for any vaccinations you’ve previously had. Try to visit your doctor as soon as you’ve decided on a destination. Some vaccinations take longer periods to take effect, and some may require more than one dose. Furthermore, having vaccinations for particular diseases may be an entry requirement for some countries. Be sure to research if this is relevant to your destination (or any countries you may be transiting through). Not having the appropriate vaccinations may mean you’re refused entry or you may be required to have the vaccination at the border before gaining entry. For example; if you’re travelling to Africa, South/Central America or the Caribbean you may be exposed to Yellow Fever. It is a requirement for Australia that you have documentation to prove you’ve been vaccinated against Yellow Fever. No documentation means you’ll have a more difficult time gaining entry.


Brining medication overseas can help to maintain your help. Making an appointment with your doctor prior to departing is the most effective course of action. You’re able to discuss all health issues relevant to your travel. Additionally, you should ask them to provide you with a letter explaining that any medication you’re taking is for personal use, and why you require it on your travels. However, there are some important things to remember when travelling with medication:

  • Leave all medication in its original packaging – this may assist you should customs enquire about your medication
  • Ensure you have a sufficient supply of medication for the duration of your trip
  • Bring prescriptions just in case you run out of medication on your trip – it helps simplify the process particularly if there is a language barrier
  • Be aware that medication which is legal in Australia may not be legal in your destination – research prior to departing to minimise the chance of it being confiscated

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