• Dr Michael Oehley

Taking Off? Here are some travel essentials...

Your bags are packed. Your passport and tickets are in your pocket. You've booked your accommodation and activities, packed your swimmers, sunglasses and hat... but you keep thinking that something's missing. If there's one thing you hate, it's getting to your destination and remembering that One Really Important Thing you forgot to pack!

Every traveller knows that sinking feeling when you realise that your toothbrush is still in the bathroom stand back home, or you forgot to pack your most comfortable, wear-around-the-hotel-pool jandals. But there are a few other things that travellers should not forget to pack that may come in handy if and when you get sick.

A traveller's diarrhoea treatment kit. Approximately 70% of travellers will get an upset stomach, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhoea while on holiday. This is almost guaranteed in some destinations such as Bolivia, India or Laos, where the water quality leaves something to be desired. At Waikato Travel Clinic, we prescribe the most comprehensive kit for managing your symptoms in this event.

A basic first aid kit. It's easy to forget, but we all stub our toes or scrape our knees from time-to-time, and it's not uncommon to get minor bacterial or fungal skin infections, outer ear infections, a cold or flu-like illness while on holiday. Make sure you have band-aids, tweezers, some antiseptic creams, paracetamol, ibuprofen and other basic essentials on hand.

Your own regular medications. These are especially important if you have conditions like insulin-dependent diabetes, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias or thyroid conditions. It might not seem like a big deal to 'skip' a few weeks' of taking your regular pills, but that's asking for trouble (in the form of an unexpected visit to an overseas hospital).

Tablets for prevention of malaria and/or altitude illness. At the Waikato Travel Clinic, you'll be given up-to-date, evidence-based advice and recommendations about the prevention of serious diseases like malaria and altitude illness. If you are prescribed medication for this purpose, please don't leave them at home!

Compression stockings. There is only one reliable preventative measure to stop D.V.T. (deep vein thrombosis) on long-haul flights - snug-fitting below-knee compression socks/stockings. These are available from most reliable pharmacies, podiatrists and travel shops. Keeping your legs moving during the flight, drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol can also reduce the risk.

A letter for Customs. If you are carrying supplies of medications for yourself, it pays to get a letter for Customs from your G.P. (for your regular drugs) or the Waikato Travel Clinic (for travel-specific medications). This will facilitate any border crossings in the event of a Customs agent questioning your possession of medications.

The above list is not comprehensive, so plan your packing lists carefully and ensure that you don't arrive at your destination missing key essentials.


Waikato Travel Clinic at Avalon Medical

6 Avalon Drive, Hamilton



T: 027 TRAVELS (872 8357)



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