IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers| IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers|

Travel Health Basics

Photo By: Danielle Hilgen

What is travel health?

Travel health is about prevention and common sense: Being aware of health issues that may arise and taking the appropriate measures to prevent illnesses and injuries when you are travelling not only for your own well-being, but for the people and communities you encounter during your trip.

Pre-trip planning: Type of travel, health status, vaccinations, and more

When you’re planning a trip, the last thing on your mind is getting sick away from home.

To ensure a healthy trip, you'll need to determine the type of travel, geographic location, climatic and environmental conditions, itinerary, and duration of your trip, as well as your health status. This will help you determine how far in advance you need to prepare, what immunizations and medications you will need, and what precautions you should take during your trip.

Travel health literacy

Vaccinations and medications

Medical exams and special needs

Mental health

Fitness training

Cultural awareness

Staying Healthy During Your Trip

First and foremost, enjoy your trip! Don't let all the travel health precautions discourage you. Using common sense with prevention in mind is key to a healthy and safe trip.

Did you know?

  • Influenza is present year-round in the tropics. Your health practitioner may recommend antiviral protection for your trip.
  • Gastrointestinal infections due to improperly treated water and poor food handling are common illnesses among travellers and can be contracted abroad and at home.
  • Traffic-related accidents are the primary cause of injury and death among travellers.



Seek medical attention immediately if you experience the following:

After Your Trip

Post-trip follow-up is overlooked by many travellers, but it could prevent future health complications and even save your life.

Seek medical attention if you experience the following symptoms upon your return. Don’t forget to tell your health practitioner that you’ve travelled abroad.

Last reviewed and updated: November 23, 2016

Travel Health Journal