Before you go on your next vacation, talk to your doctor to be sure you're healthy enough for the trip!
Before you go on your next vacation, talk to your doctor to be sure you’re healthy enough for the trip!

Vacations and hospitals go together like oil and water. Nobody sends postcards featuring pictures of an emergency room that boldly proclaim, “Wish you were here!”

If you want to avoid dealing with unexpected illness or adding a surprise stop at the local hospital to your trip itinerary–or at least lowering the odds of this happening–take an extra step of preparation before you leave and check up on some health considerations.

One of the best things to do before you travel is to talk to your doctor about where you’re going and what your itinerary looks like. This way, he or she can take a look at the destination you’ve chosen or the activities you have lined up and warn you of any risks so that you can steer clear of any unnecessary strains on your well-being. Relaxing on white-sand beaches? No problem. Parasailing after your recent heart surgery? Maybe not.

The other benefit of visiting your doctor before your trip is that you can get refills of any prescription medication you take. While some destinations have access to hospitals or pharmacies, it’s often much easier to simply bring your own medicine and avoid the hassle altogether.

Another important health consideration–particularly for international travel–is to ensure that you have the required vaccinations to be able to enter a country. For example, if you’re traveling to India and they require a yellow fever vaccination, you’ll need to make sure that your yellow fever vaccination is up to date and you have proof of vaccination. Each country has different policies, so you’ll need to find out which rules apply to you; in most cases, your travel agency can inform you of this. Again, this is a great reason to visit your doctor prior to travel.

Lastly, check to see if there are any health advisories for your destination, and prepare accordingly! For example, if you travel to a tropical country that advises its visitors take precautions against malaria, that information will be helpful to you before you leave. Most of the time there will be no problem, but just in case your destination is suffering from an outbreak of bubonic plague, you’ll want to know ahead of time and plan around it (Which we’ve never seen before, but hey, you can never be too careful). You can talk to your travel agent or go on your destination’s website to look up this information.

So, when you travel, a bottle of aspirin and a pack of tissues might not be enough to stave off health issues. To make sure you’re as prepared as possible, medically speaking, before you travel, talk to your doctor ahead of time and check for any health advisories in your destination before you leave.

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