Travel Health and Vaccinations

Staying safe on your gap year

Staying healthy on your travels is more important than anything else. All those amazing temples, beaches, and rainforests might as well not be there if you’re stuck in bed feeling awful. Maintaining good health when travelling is all about being prepared before you leave home, and getting into healthy habits while you’re away.

Before you travel, you should always get any vaccinations you might need for your chosen destination. Scroll down for more information. We also recommend packing a small travel health kit, so you’re prepared for every eventuality. Yes, it sounds dull, but having this practical stuff squared away means you can stop worrying and have fun while you’re travelling.

The type of precautions you need to take while on the road will depend where you’re travelling. They might include putting up a mosquito net before sleeping, not drinking tap water, or being cautious what you eat. Research is your friend – a quick Google search could prevent you being glued to a toilet for three days when you could be out exploring.

Let us play the worried parent – read through our travel health advice and, y’know, listen to us. We’re trying to keep you safe! Come home with memories as a souvenir, not an exotic disease.

Organised experiences where you can just enjoy the ride

Search

Kamchatka Adventure

from £2107

13 days

Russia

Rafting, climbing, flying by a helicopter and exploring volcanoes - everything is combined in this exciting adventure. The holiday you...

Kyrgyzstan Overland

from £575

15 days

Kyrgyzstan

Join this expedition to venture off the tourist trail through Kyrgyzstan and take in the stunning scenery in one of...

Summer Blast – South Island

from £1687

16 - 19 days

New Zealand

Experience the best of the South Island on this all points covered tour with stunning accommodation, amazing hikes, awesome bike...

Canada Road Trip – Central to Maritimes

from £600

26 - 26 days

Canada

Get a taste of the Maritimes in the Bay of Fundy & Halifax. Get to know these huge and beautiful...

Spring Break Ibiza

from £105

3 days

Spain

Stay at our beach-side hotel on the world’s best party island, Ibiza for your Spring Break! We come here not...

Ultimate New Zealand Gap Year

from £510

8 days

New Zealand

Our Ultimate NZ working holiday package will blow your mind! Experience a week of fun with people from all over...

Savanna Dawn Nairobi to Victoria Falls

from £1145

34 days

Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zimbabwe

Get up close to the amazing wildlife in the Serengeti National park, chill out on the white sandy beaches of...

3 Island Explorer

from £269

7 days

Greece

Tick 3 of the most popular Greek Islands off in one go! Enjoy the natural beauty, laid back lifestyle and...

Ultimate Thailand

from £560

11 days

Thailand

Explore Bangkok’s temples and night life, wake up in the jungle on our floating raft houses, see baby monkeys in...

Best Of Greece

from £445

10 days

Greece

No time frame is long enough to enjoy the beautiful Hellenic Republic, but in 10 days you can experience the...

Search

Laos Traveller – Bangkok to Vientiane

from £705

In Thailand discover a country where ancient and modern collide to create the glorious chaos of Bangkok and the cultural...

Dubrovnik to Athens

from £1588

This adventure combines the must-sees of the Balkan region and the lesser-known glories of Macedonia and Albania to create the...

Marrakech to Barcelona

from £1775

Travel through Morocco and Spain. From the splendidly chaotic medina of Marrakech, through the ancient city of Seville, to the...

Explore China

from £1925

Capture the spirit of China on this 13-day tour from Shanghai to Beijing. Stroll along the narrow lanes of Shanghai’s...

Lima to Rio

from £5426

On your marks, get set, go! This incredible Overland adventure from Lima to Rio will blow your mind. Enjoy the...

Jordan and Israel Adventure

from £2199

History. Religion. Adventure. Beauty. This tour highlights all of the above and more during a two-week exploration of Israel and...

Coast to the Bay (SF)

Go in search of the wonderfully wild and wacky as we take the scenic route from La La Land to...

Kimberley Trail Broome to Darwin (Original)

from £2575

Experience the beautiful rugged Kimberley on this true Australian adventure from Broome to Darwin. Uncover some of the country’s most...

Ecuador and Galápagos Explorer

If you're short on time but still want to experience the awe-inspiring majesty of hot springs and volcanos and the...

Pad Thai In Paradise

Uncover the best parts of Thailand while squeezing in as many servings of saucey pad thai noodles as possible. Make...

Articles about staying healthy and safe on your travels

Search

Gap year vaccinations

You may need to be vaccinated against certain serious diseases before you travel, especially if you’ll be visiting developing countries in tropical climates. You might be able to get your vaccinations for free, depending on your nationality. UK citizens can usually get at least some free on the NHS – these typically include typhoid, hepatitis A, cholera and a combined boost of diphtheria, polio and tetanus. Jabs which tend to cost money include hepatitis B, rabies and yellow fever.

It’s highly recommended to visit your GP or nearest travel clinic at least eight weeks before you’re due to leave, as some vaccinations need to be delivered quite far in advance to be effective. Tell the medical staff exactly where you plan to visit, and they will be able to quickly advise what vaccinations you should have. Vaccinations which the NHS don’t cover will usually cost around £50 per vaccine.

If you want to research yourself, check out the NHS’s Fit For Travel advice page and select your destinations. It’s worth noting that vaccines are rarely compulsory; it’s ultimately up to you and your doctor to assess the level of risk. Some countries insist on particular vaccinations as an entry requirement and for your protection.

Travel health kit

There are a few items you can bring with you to further protect yourself against nasties on the road, just as some added precautions for emergencies. A mosquito net and insect repellent is always a wise choice for tropical climates. Even if the mosquitoes don’t carry serious diseases, like dengue fever, being covered in bites still isn’t much fun! A basic medical kit containing things like plasters, bandages, antiseptic wipes, imodium, rehydration salts and painkillers won’t take up too much room and could literally save your life. It’s also a good idea to pack contraception, sun cream and after sun lotion. Check out our packing list article for more detail on this.

Eating and drinking

In developing nations, such as those found in South Asia, Africa or South America, you should be very cautious not to ingest tap water that hasn’t been boiled or sterilised with something like iodine. This goes beyond avoiding literally drinking out the tap: you should avoid drinks with ice cubes, foods which could have been washed with tap water, like salad, and even ice cream. The tap water of some countries is more dangerous than others; in India, for example, you are strongly advised to not even use tap water to brush your teeth, and to keep your mouth firmly shut in the shower.

Try to eat the freshest food possible at all times. Sometimes there is just no way of knowing if food is contaminated, but as a rule of thumb make sure it is always piping hot, avoid food which could have been lying around for ages and stay away from seafood unless you’re next to the sea.

Travellers’ diarrhoea

It is almost inevitable that at some point in your trip you’ll suffer from travellers’ diarrhoea; it’s practically a rite of passage, so to speak. Mostly it will clear up by itself within 72 hours; if it persists beyond that time frame it might be wise to see a doctor.

The best way to combat it is to remain hydrated, ideally with rehydration solutions which contain valuable salts and nutrients. You’d be amazed at the amount of water you lose when you have the squits. Over-the-counter medicines like Imodium can be handy for plugging you up if you have to take a long bus journey, but keep in mind they only attack the symptoms, not the cause, and can actually make the infection worse. Only use as an emergency.

Animals & insects

In some countries, particularly in the tropics and in developing nations, animals and insects can pose a serious threat to travellers, particular in the way of rabies from stray cats and dogs, and malaria from mosquitoes. The best way to avoid rabies is to simply never approach a cat or dog; leave them be and they’ll do the same. With mosquitoes, avoidance is the best tactic. There are no vaccinations against malaria and even antimalarials are not a guarantee, they simply reduce your chances of contracting it. Cover up exposed skin wherever possible, particularly in the evening, apply good repellent to exposed skin and clothing and sleep under a mosquito net. You should probably also avoid saltwater crocodiles in Australia, because they can eat you, if you give them a chance.

SEX!!!(ual health)

You know the drill, you’ve heard it enough times at school: use contraception! Gents, always make sure you always have a condom about your person, and ladies, don’t let him do anything without one. It’s not all about avoiding pregnancy: you don’t want to be returning home with biological souvenirs – that can put a real dampener on things.

[contact-form-7 id="4" title="Contact form 1"]