Sadly, the favourable weather seems to have temporarily left the British Isles after the heatwave two weeks ago. And I’m sure many of you are instead opting to hop on a plane to seek out some guaranteed sunshine in various far flung destinations. Holidays are a great chance to rest, recuperate and also have some fun. However, you don’t want something as simple as missing your regular medication to ruin your time abroad.

Make sure your holiday gets off to the best possible start by following our tips on how to prepare for your holiday.

Plan ahead

  • Check your stock of prescribed medications and work out whether or not you’re going to need any extra. If you are, then make sure you follow your usual repeat prescription process (or, to make it even easier, do it online!).
  • You should have enough of your prescription to cover the duration of your holiday as well as some extra.
  • It’s always best practice to carry your medications in your hand luggage or on your person as checked-in baggage can sometimes go missing, leaving you without your treatment.
  • Keep all medications in their original packaging and make a separate list of their names in case of loss or theft.
  • It is advisable to check for any restrictions on taking controlled drugs out of the UK and into the country that you’re travelling to. You can find more information on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website (the FCO).


Not all holiday destinations require vaccinations. The level of cover you need depends on which country you are heading to and what you plan on doing once you are there. For example, some viral strains tend to be more prominent in rural areas than in urban areas, therefore trekking through the jungle is seen to be more at risk than staying in a hotel at a built up resort.

There are some vaccinations available for free on the NHS (such as typhoid and hepatitis A) whereas others you may have to pay for yourself (e.g. hepatitis B, japanese encephalitis and yellow fever).

First aid kit

A simple first aid kit can help in a variety of situations, so it’s a good idea to take one with you on holiday, as some items easily found in the UK might not be quite so readily available to purchase abroad.

When putting a travel first aid kit together you might choose to include:

  • plasters
  • bandages
  • tweezers
  • safety pins
  • antiseptic wipes
  • antihistamines
  • anti-diarrhoea tablets
  • rehydration sachets
  • pain relief such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • and altitude or motion sickness tablets.

Having access to these types of treatment can save unnecessary trips to doctors or hospitals while abroad.

Travel insurance

To cover for all eventualities it is important to arrange suitable travel insurance. It can help with the cost of cancellations, delays and loss of luggage as well as medical cover required for illnesses or accidents. There are lots of reasonable options to choose from offering varying amounts of cover; just remember to read over the policy and print out a copy of your insurance agreement to take with you.


The European Health Insurance Card is free and any British or European resident can apply to get one. It allows you to access state healthcare within the European Economic Area for a reduced fee or in some cases free of charge, depending on the treatment required (medical attention necessitated by an illness or accident is typically covered). Each individual family member will require their own EHIC, which can be applied for online, by phone or by post.

(It is important to remember that the EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance and will not cover private healthcare costs, planned treatments or medical expenses.)