AS WE fast approach the height of the summer holidays, International SOS, one of the world's leading medical and security services companies, has compiled the following advice every traveller should read before setting off.
While each destination has its own set of unique challenges, the tips that follow are applicable to most international travel locations.
Don't wait with health concerns
In some locations, such as remote areas, it can take hours or days to locate and travel to an appropriate medical treatment centre.
When you are in unfamiliar territory, you can't afford to wait and see if a problem gets worse.
Test the waters
When swimming, remember that the water does not need to be very deep to cause trouble. Swift currents, rocks, tree branches and other submerged objects can cause serious bodily harm.
Cold water can also be extremely dangerous, causing hypothermia, even in hot weather.
When it comes to consuming liquids, from tap water to ice cubes, be sure to familiarise yourself with the country's water safety recommendations to avoid illness, and when in doubt, stick to sealed bottled water.
Mind the bite
Bites and scratches from animals and insects - including dogs, cats, monkeys, bats and mosquitoes - can cause major issues for travellers so make sure you have had the necessary medications and injections to protect you before you travel.
For travellers with severe allergies, be sure to carry a fresh epinephrine injection provided by your doctor for immediate response.
Manage your medications
When travelling, carry a copy of the prescription written by your doctor and keep all medications in their original containers with labels intact.
Bring at least a week's worth of extra doses of any medication you take regularly, to avoid running out if you are sidelined by a travel delay.
Take care of your skin
One of the quickest and most damaging injuries affecting travellers is sunburn.
Re-apply sunscreen often, particularly after enjoying a dip in the pool or ocean.
Many countries are facing rising levels of economic pressure and, as a result, there have been some reports of increasing instances of opportunistic street crime targeting foreign travellers.
Travellers should be aware of low-level scams at airports or railway stations, attempted over-charging by taxis, pickpockets and attempted theft or manipulation of credit card details.
Travellers should also monitor the news weather reports due to the increased frequency of tropical storms in summer months.
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