When you explore the world, you can expect to try delicious foods, meet new people and surround yourself with diverse cultures. But with so much on your plate, it can be hard to stay healthy while travelling.

While some risks to your health are unavoidable, others can be prevented to make sure you don't miss out on any of the fun. For handy hints on how to stay healthy during travel, check out our guide below.

Visit a Travel Doctor

When preparing for your trip, visiting a travel doctor is a good place to start. Depending on your health history and where you're travelling, they can help you stock your first aid kit with everything you might need.

A travel doctor can help with:

  • Medication: Some medicines in Australia might not be legal or available in other countries, while others might need a signed medical certificate. Your travel doctor can provide you with properly labelled medications to travel with as well as certificates and prescriptions to help out overseas. 

  • Vaccinations: Travel doctors can tell you which vaccines tourists are required to get for certain destinations as a part of overall disease control.

  • Advice: With experience in domestic and international travel, these speciality doctors can help give you general advice on things you should consider when heading to your destinations. 

Pack the Basics

On top of specific medication, it’s important to have general items in your first aid kit as well. This could include:

  • Hand sanitiser (with at least 50% alcohol)

  • Disinfectant wipes

  • Pain relief

  • Bandaids

  • Disinfectant cream or antibiotic ointment

  • Electrolytes (to stay hydrated)

  • Cold and flu tablets

While holidays can be for rest and relaxation, often your body is doing more and seeing more than in its usual routine. On top of that, you could be suffering from a bit of jet lag and missing out on things like your normal exercise routine and a balanced diet.

This is why it's important to take daily preventative supplements such as Vitamin C to help give you a healthy immune system throughout your trip.

But no matter what you're taking, make sure you check your first aid kit with your travel doctor before leaving to avoid running into issues when crossing borders with certain medications.

Be Careful with Water

While you generally don't have to think twice before drinking out of the tap in Australia, the same can't be said for every country. Local tap water in some locations can cause serious stomach issues if ingested, even in small amounts.

If you're travelling somewhere with a risky water supply, you can:

  • Buy bottled water from local grocers. If you buy larger bottles of water, you can refill your own reusable water bottle to reduce your plastic use.

  • Buy a water bottle with an inbuilt water purifier that can help clean water before drinking it.

  • Boil your water before drinking it.

Keep in mind that it won't just be general drinking water you'll have to think about. You might also want to be wary of ice cubes in drinks, food that has to be washed, such as salad leaves, and even brushing your teeth with tap water.

Protect Against Insects

They might be small, but the mighty mosquito can be one of the most dangerous parts of a holiday. Many tourist destinations have a high risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as yellow fever, encephalitis, dengue fever, Zika virus and more.

The best way to protect against these diseases is to:

  • Wear a DEET-based repellent at all times

  • Use a mosquito net when sleeping, especially when sleeping outdoors

  • Cover up and wear loose, light-coloured clothing

  • Avoid being outside during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active

  • Get the necessary vaccinations before leaving

Enjoy Food Responsibly

Although a bad plate of food can be one of the easiest ways to get sick, you don't want to spend your holiday avoiding local cuisine.

Staying healthy while travelling is all about being as cautious as possible, without missing out on all the good stuff. When dealing with food, you can try:

  • Sticking to crowded restaurants rather than empty ones as they generally have a higher turnover of ingredients.

  • Head for hot and boiled foods over lukewarm options as these might be safer.

  • Avoid high-risk foods such as unpasteurised dairy, eggs, coleslaws, pasta salads, some seafood and some poultry.

If you’re really on edge, you might even decide to buy a few items from the market to make your own meals in your hotel room so you can control how it's cooked while still enjoying local produce.

Sleep, Eat and Drink Well

It can be easy to fall out of your normal routine when you're travelling as different time zones and jam-packed days can often change things up. When you're off all day enjoying yourself, you might not be getting enough sleep, eating too much junk food or becoming dehydrated without even realising it.

While it might seem like a chore when you're on holiday, sleeping well, eating healthy food and drinking enough to stay hydrated will only help make your holiday even more enjoyable.


Sleep is key to overall health so it’s important to make sure you have a full night's rest most evenings. A good night's sleep helps to boost your immune system and can also give you enough energy to get through all of your activities the next day.

If you're jetlagged, you can help get yourself back to a normal routine by:

  • Exposing yourself to daylight to reset your body clock

  • Drinking caffeine in moderation during the day

  • Avoiding alcohol and caffeine before going to sleep

  • Trying to mimic your usual bedtime routine


While exploring the local cuisine is one of the most important parts of travel, it's also helpful to maintain some form of a healthy diet to ensure you're fueling your body and getting the right nutrients.

This could be as easy as swapping your white bread for grain bread or stocking up on healthy snacks that are a good source of protein and healthy fat to keep your immune system strong.


While you have to watch out for water quality when travelling, it's important you still drink plenty of water where you can.

Hydration is always important, but it becomes especially vital when you're travelling to hotter climates or doing plenty of physical activity on your holiday.

Not only can hydration boost energy levels but it can also help you recover from jet lag quicker which can give you more time to enjoy your days exploring.

Know Your Treatment Options

If you do end up getting sick while travelling, you need to know how you're going to treat it. Before you leave, check on the location and condition of local hospitals to see what kind of treatment you can expect.

Find out which emergency numbers you need and make sure you understand how to communicate any existing medical conditions to local doctors to avoid confusion or mistreatment. This type of preparation is even more important if you’re travelling alone.

It's also worth considering the level of cover you have with your travel insurance policy. Medical costs can add up, especially overseas, so it's important to have peace of mind with the right insurance policy.

Compare your policy options before leaving to get the right level of protection on your adventure.