Stay Safe And Healthy During Your Gap Year

December 23, 2013

A gap year is a wonderful period of time. It’s a time to relax and refresh yourself as you unwind after the nonstop pressure of having to study and do well through your school years. It’s also a time to travel and explore new countries and different avenues. If you are planning on applying to medical school, this is the time to participate in spend some time doing a medical placement in a developing country, which can do much to shore up your med school application.

Travelling to a foreign country can be very exciting but when everything is unfamiliar and you are miles away from home it can also be daunting. At times like these a little preparation can go a long way.

If you are planning on travelling abroad during your gap year, this useful advice and information that we’ve put together will help make it the best and safest it can be.

Students enjoying a weekend trip to Pai, Northern Thailand. Guidelines regarding health and medication

  • As soon as you’ve decided where you are travelling to, make an appointment with your GP and find out what jabs you need to take.
  • It is also a good idea to do a complete check up to make sure that you are fit to travel with no looming health problems.
  • If you are on medication for any existing health problems, get a prescription for adequate supplies of medicine that you can carry along with you and pack it in your hand luggage so there is no chance of it getting lost.
  • Check with the embassy of the country you are visiting and find out whether the medication you are carrying is considered legal in that country.  Inhalers as well as some over the counter medications and common prescriptions are banned in a few countries.
  • Irrespective of whether or not your medication is considered legal, to be on the safe side get a note from your doctor to explain what the medication is and make sure that you are carrying it in its original packaging.
  • Organize a First Aid kit that contains essential First Aid items such as band-aids, sterilized cotton, skin cream and dettol. Depending on the country you are visiting, you may also want to carry addition items such as mosquito repellent or water purification tablets.

Insurance guidelines

Before you set off, make sure you get comprehensive medical and travel insurance. Take time to shop around and make sure that the insurance you choose is the right one for you. Consider all the activities you may be doing and make sure you’re covered for these. It is a good idea to get a policy that also covers all medical costs, including an air ambulance. It may seem unnecessary when you are healthy and in your home country but without proper insurance in a foreign country, you could face a nightmare situation of having to pay the costs of any emergency yourself, including expensive medical bills. All of that can quickly add up.