Taking care of your health for traveling around the world

Visite o médico antes de viajar

When you decide to take a trip around the world you have to start thinking about your health for traveling. This is probably the time when you are going to make a dream come true, or when you are going to do something you have planned for a long time. You will not want anything to ruin your plans or take away your freedom during your journey, even less have a health problem while you are traveling.

When it comes to adventure, there are several types of travelers, in a spectrum of going unplanned to the opposite, who are travelers who cannot start their journey without having a detailed and highly planned itinerary. We’re somewhere in the middle, we like to plan enough so as not to lose the freedom and adrenaline of adding extra things during the trip, but to allow us to keep a pace of travel according to our goals, which in this case is to complete a trip around the world in 6 months.

Regardless of adventure level, no one wants to be stuck with health issues while traveling, so here are the 10 basic tips on how to take care of your health before starting your trip.

Do a health check-up before traveling

Taking a routine general exam is something we should all do regularly. If this is not something you usually do, before your trip you should consult a doctor and a dentist to make sure your health is ok. This way you will avoid surprises during the trip that could be prevented before.

Doctor Appointment about health while traveling

Analyze your general health for traveling

Before you start your trip you should understand if your general health and fitness suit what you want to do on your trip. If your plans are to do extreme sports and you are not in the physical condition to do so, you may want to consider other activities for your plan.

Make an appointment a travel specialist doctor

Making an appointment with a travel specialist doctor well in advance will help you look at the itinerary and understand the health risks of the countries you are going to visit and what action you should take. In this appointment are prescribed the immunizations and/or prophylaxis that you must do before traveling. You will usually also receive advice on general health and safety while traveling and a prescription for emergency medications.

Please note that some immunizations have to be done early enough to be effective when you start traveling. We chose to make this appointment two months before the start of our trip.

Do the necessary immunizations and prophylaxis according to your itinerary

Once you have a prescription for your immunizations you should go to a vaccination center or your pharmacy (depending on the type of immunizations, so you should always check with your doctor) to start the process. Some immunizations are given in several doses, separated by a few days. Make sure you handle this task well in advance.

Laboratory Materials

For malaria prophylaxis, and depending on the method used, you may have to start a few days before the risk period. This information will also be given by your doctor.

Analyze health risks during your trip: epidemics, outbreaks, safety or food risk for the destinations you’ll be traveling to

Risk analysis for your trip will also be done with the help of your doctor. If you’re not sure what your itinerary is, FitForTravel can help you with useful health information in every country or area of the world. If there are advised immunizations and you are unable to do so beforehand, you should consult a doctor before heading to the country.

There are countries that may require certain types of immunizations for entry. For example, to enter Angola you must be immunized against yellow fever.

Regarding food hazards, the most basic caution is that you should always avoid eating any uncooked product. If you go to tropical and warm countries, you will feel like having drinks with ice or natural juices, but you should be very careful because there are diseases that may be in the untreated water like the one that could have been used to ice your drink.

As for drinks, you should not accept drinks that you do not know where they came from and never lose sight of your glass, because someone may have intentionally tampered with it to take advantage of you.

Buy emergency medications

Emergency medicines should be purchased according to your doctor’s prescription. We have never had a problem on any trip, however, as a precaution, you should always keep a copy of the prescription that comes with your medications to avoid problems with security checks in some countries.

Medications for your health while traveling

Buy a first aid kit

A first aid kit with basic emergency supplies is something you should take on this type of travel. A superficial wound or a simple burn can easily get your first assistance if you are away from a care network. There are situations where, regardless of how simple it may seem, you should seek immediate medical help, such as a bite from a mammal (monkey, dog, cat) or a bat that may carry rabies or other diseases.

First Aid Bag to take care of your health while traveling

Purchase insect repellent and a mosquito net

There are areas of tropical or exotic countries where the presence of mosquitoes, besides being annoying, can carry serious diseases, such as Malaria, Dengue or Zika. A repellent suitable for tropical countries and applied according to the instructions and a mosquito net is essential for your protection.

Buy sunscreen and water bottle

On a trip around the world, you will invariably spend a lot of time on the street in the sun, so we recommend that you always use sunscreen in exposed areas (should be applied before repellent) and that you hydrate properly. You should always have water in a bottle with you. The water of unknown origin and not bottled should be avoided. Always ensure that the water you are drinking is sealed and you should always avoid ice and natural juices in the riskiest areas.

Buy travel insurance covering medical emergencies

Travel insurance will help you cope with various unforeseen events. In this case, it is important that insurance has emergency medical assistance like Iati or WorldNomads.

See here more information about Iati insurance (if you buy with this link you get 5% off)

See more information about WorldNomads insurance here


Before starting your trip, don’t forget that unforeseen events can always happen, but if you follow the instructions of a travel doctor and basic health and food safety, you can always minimize the impact of these events on your trip and what it can give you.

This is the sixth publication in the series: How to plan an RTW. If you want to know more about planning a world trip visit the other publications in this series.




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