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Safe travels: Understanding Health & Safety Abroad

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

Travelling to new destinations can be an exciting and enriching experience, but it is important to prioritise health and safety while exploring new places. Being informed about potential health and safety risks can help you make informed decisions and avoid hazards. In this article, we will discuss some of the key considerations for staying safe while travelling as a US or UK citizen.


Researching Your Destination


Before you travel, research your destination thoroughly. This includes understanding any potential health hazards, such as local diseases, food and water safety, and the availability of medical care. You should also familiarize yourself with local laws and customs to ensure you don't accidentally offend anyone or get into trouble. The US Department of State and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provide up-to-date travel advice for their citizens on their websites (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages.html) and (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice), respectively.




Getting the Right Vaccinations



Depending on your destination, you may need to get vaccinated before you leave. Some countries require certain vaccinations to enter, and others may have specific recommendations for travellers. Check with your GP or a travel health clinic to ensure you are up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations. You can find a list of travel clinics in the US on the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/find-clinic) and in the UK on the NaTHNaC website (https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/clinics).




Packing for Safety


In addition to packing your travel essentials, it's important to also consider safety items. This can include a first-aid kit, insect repellent, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing for the climate. You should also ensure you have any necessary medications with you, along with a copy of your prescriptions. The American Red Cross and British Red Cross provide a list of recommended items for your travel first aid kit (https://www.redcross.org/store/travel-first-aid-kit/790228.html) and (https://www.redcross.org.uk/first-aid/first-aid-kits-and-supplies/travel-first-aid-kits), respectively.




Staying Safe During Activities


When participating in activities such as water sports or hiking, it's important to take appropriate safety precautions. This may include wearing a life jacket or helmet, staying within designated areas, and following the guidance of local experts. Always research local safety guidelines and follow them. If you're not sure, ask a local guide or operator for advice.


Being Aware of Your Surroundings


No matter where you are, it's important to be aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables safe. This may mean keeping your money and passport in a secure location, avoiding unfamiliar areas at night, and being cautious of scams or theft. Make sure to have emergency contact details handy and share them with someone back home. The US Department of State and FCDO provide a list of embassies and consulates around the world that can offer assistance in an emergency (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/while-abroad/emergency-contact-information.html) and (https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations), respectively.


Understanding health and safety information while travelling is essential for having a safe and enjoyable trip as a US or UK citizen. By researching your destination, getting the right vaccinations, packing for safety, taking appropriate safety precautions during activities, and being aware of your surroundings, you can minimise the risks and maximise the fun. Safe travels!

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