Travel Medicine Trip Prep

travel medical prepEver taken a trip abroad, fallen ill and didn't have your preferred medication? I have, many times. Searching for the correct medication in a foreign country can be daunting, frustrating and fruitless, sometimes resulting in the purchase of a wrong or ineffective med. In the spirit of easy preventative measures, here are some basic pre-trip preparations that can save time, money, and physical and emotional well-being while abroad:


  • Eat yogurt
    • For up to a month before you leave, eating yogurt is an effective way to encourage good bacteria in your system and guard against a sudden and continued need to sit on the 'throne'
  • Get lots of sleep
    • Whether you're traveling in your own time zone or across multiple, preparing for your trip with the right amount of sleep will help your immune system's natural defenses to run at full-throttle
  • Vitamin C is your friend
    • Prior to and during a trip I always take at least one Emergen-C (or Redoxin-B or C) a day to naturally boost my immunity and energy
    • Trip Styler Tip: next time you're in the US, stock up on Emergen-C, it's about $8 there and $22 in Canada
  • Pack
    • Bring a medical kit that's custom-tailored to your needs
  • Insurance
    • Make sure you have appropriate insurance coverage for your age, number of days away, etc...
    • Trip Styler Tip: Check your medical plan's fine print, I just found out mine offers travel medical for up to 6 months away

Hit me with your Big Shot Most trips outside your continent usually involve making an appointment at your local travel medical clinic to become informed about the potential hazards of the countries you're visiting, learn how to minimize health risks and inquire about preventative vacinations or medications. This visit should take place approximately 1 - 3 months prior to your departure. While there, the nurse practitioner or Doctor will suggest the precautions you should take based on the threats in the area you're traveling to, find out what vaccinations you already have, and suggest a list of medications and vaccinations you'll need. Just like any experience with a Doctor, some will have different opinions than others.

Mini Medi Kit Consider including the following in your travel medical kit:

  • All the regular suspects like antiseptic wound cleanser, adhesive bandages (even just for blisters), eye drops, medical tape, scissors and safety pins, antihistamines
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Insect repellent
  • Insect bite treatment
  • Personal medications
  • Meds you think you might need given past experiences like pepto tablets, cold & flu pills, ibuprofen or acetaminophen, allergy pills, etc...

[source emedicine]

Additional Resources BC Centre for Disease Control ~ Travel & Health US Center for Disease Control & Prevention ~ CDC Yellow Book

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