Medications For Travel & Health Preparation Tips

In this week’s episode we’re sharing how to prepare for a trip when it comes to health, medications, and being prepared for anything that could happen!

We always recommend getting certain vaccines and prescriptions prior to trips. You can get there from your regular doctor or a local travel clinic. Before you call in to inquire, do you research! Go to the CDC website destination list to look to see the recommended medications for the place you are going to visit.

A few checks to consider:

  • Are you up to date on your regular vaccinations?
    • Tetanus, Hepatitis medications, etc 
    • You can normally get these from your doctor and usually they are considered preventative and don’t cost extra if you have insurance 
  • What medications are REQUIRED vs recommended
    • You may not want every medication that was recommended 
    • Seasonal- will you be visiting during mosquito season?
  • If you are using your personal doctor, they may not know what to recommend so you just guide them with what you want based on what the CDC website says.

Here are some common ailments that can come up while traveling and the medications we recommend packing just to e safe.

  • Traveler’s diarrhea
    • Antibiotics like Azithromycin or Cipro are great choices 
    • Imodium 
    • Pepto bismol 
  • Typhoid
    • life-threatening infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella Typhi. It’s usually spread through contaminated food or water, but it can also be spread person-to-person. Get a vaccine if going to a place where its common or prescription pills to fix it after the fact.
  • Mosquitos
    • Malaria pills 
    • Japanese encephalitis vaccine 
    • If the destination is know to have yellow fever, it may be required to enter the country.
  • High altitude
    • Diamox (Acetazolamide)
    • If going over 9,000 ft such as Machu Picchu – you WILL want the preventitive medication.
  • General medication to always have on hand
    • Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Excedrin
    • Benadryl 
    • Antacids 
    • Cough drops 
    • Cold medicine 
    • Melatonin and/or magnesium
    • Electrolytes like Liquid Web – Use promo code TRAVELSQUADPODCAST for 20% off!
    • Pack all of these in your travel-sized pill organizer

Get even more travel tips and hacks in our other episodes!

Travel Medications & Health Tips – Episode Transcript


Hey Squaddies Travel Squad Podcast is back with Just the Tip, a new Friday mini episode where we give you quick travel stories, hacks and recommendations to set you off into the weekend.


Today you have just myself, Jamal, and Brittanie as your hosts and we’re going to dive into some of the important medications and things you need to bring to keep you safe and healthy when traveling.

As a nurse, I always travel with a small pack of medication.


I also have a pill organizer that I love and that I pack as well, and we’re going to link that in the show notes.

But we’re going to talk about a variety of different things, going over where to get medications, how to do research in advance, and some of the common medications you may need.


So the first thing when you’re traveling is where to get your medications.

You’re either going to get them from your primary care doctor or if your primary care doctor isn’t willing to prescribe you travel medications because you tell them you’re going to be traveling, there’s lots of travel clinics that will do that.


When you tell them where you’re going to be going, they’ll give you a whole list of recommendations on what is either required for that travel destination, immunizations that are required, or things that may be voluntary that you may want to take but don’t necessarily have to.

So we always recommend to do your own research in advance, whether you’re going to your own doctor or to a travel clinic.


You can actually go to the CDC website for travel and you can see what the recommended medications are for an area.

But some things that you’re going to want to research up on yourself are are you up to date on your regular vaccinations?

These are like your tetanus, hepatitis medications because you can normally get these vaccines because they’re preventative from your doctor at no extra cost with insurance, because there are ones that you’re kind of expected to normally have.


And I just want to say outright, we aren’t here to say you should get vaccinated or say you shouldn’t get vaccinated.

We’re not promoting vaccinations or not promoting vaccinations.

We’re just telling you some information.

You can make that decision up for yourself.

You should also do research on if medications are required or just recommended.


For example, there are some countries that you can’t enter without, like a yellow fever vaccination.

That’s not recommended, it’s required.

You will not get into the country without it.

So you do need to see what’s required and what’s recommended, and if there are some recommended ones, you may not want to take those medications at all.



A perfect example to that was be, you know, malaria medication.

We’ve traveled to a lot of different countries where they say malaria is prevalent and spread through mosquitoes, of course, but that’s a personal choice.

A lot of times we’ll maybe get the prescription for the medication just to have it.


Depending on our feeling, we’ll say yes or no, we are or aren’t going to take it.

A really good example of that is again, you know, yes, malaria may be prevalent in a location, but it may not really be mosquito season for you to want to have it or need to take it.


When we were in South Africa as a good example we did a South Africa Zimbabwe trip all in one safari etc and our tour guide said well I can’t tell you what to do.

And of course I’m a native and lived here and I don’t take malaria medication.


But you are not in season.

So if I were you and in your position I wouldn’t necessarily be taking it.

So again, do your own research with your own comfort factor.

But it doesn’t hurt to have those medications and then you can decide to take it or not to take it, depending on your personal preference and comfort factor.


And along with the research that you’re doing, if you’re just using your own personal doctor, your personal doctor is likely not a travel medication specialist.

And so you may want to look to see what’s required and recommended to help guide them, just so that you can get what you need from them.



And that’s again, if you’re using your own primary care doctor, if you’re going to a travel clinic, of course, the travel clinics are specialized and catered to that they would know they’re actually going to be the ones to guide you.

Some insurances, depending on what insurance company you have, I’m just going to name one because we know that they have it is going to be Kaiser.


They’re not available in all states, but at least here in California, they have a specific travel clinic.

So you wouldn’t even work with your primary care provider.

You would go through your actual insurance through their travel clinic and then tell them where you’re going.

They would give you the list of recommendations of what they would recommend for you to take and have, give you those options, give you those prescriptions, and of course let you know if something is mandatory, such as that yellow fever that Brittany mentioned earlier for some countries.


So now we’re just going to talk about some medications that you may or may not want to have, and this is one I actually recommend you have in and that is medication for traveler’s diarrhea.

You can bring Imodium, you can bring Pepto Bismol to help ease those symptoms of discomfort, but it’s always good to also carry an antibiotic, specifically something probably broad spectrum like azithromycin or ciprofloxacin.


Those are both great choices.

They’re broad spectrum.

They can help with traveler’s diarrhea and as recently having this issue.

Same as Jamal.

Yes, we’re big proponents of this.

You know, a lot of times when we travel, we will always tell them we want an antibiotic for travelers.


Diarrhea. 90% of the time we make it unscathed.

Thank the Lord for that one.

But you know, there’s always that off chance that it happens.

One of our last trips it did, we were so thankful to have the antibiotics because we could have been out of Commission for a good couple of days trying to heal ourselves and rest had we not had them and it was a great comfort to have them and help cure us from our issues that we were having.


Another thing to think about when you’re troubling is the potential of possibly getting typhoid.

So typhoid is an infection caused by the bacteria salmonella, and it’s usually spread through contaminated food or water.

But it can also be spread person to person, especially if someone’s preparing your food with unclean hands.


Jamal’s mom actually once got typhoid.

My mom got typhoid fever and I don’t want to say she almost passed from it, but she was very very ill.

Required hospitalization for a good amount of time to recover from it.

So it’s one of those things from personal experience and knowing somebody that I feel a little bit more comfortable if they tell me that now you can actually get typhoid vaccines as shots or take pills if you are about to be going more immediately and closer to that point than the vaccine.


So again, always a comfort factor.

We’re not saying you should or shouldn’t, just letting you know if you want to take these things into consideration.

Typhoid is probably one of the more common illnesses that somebody will encounter when traveling, especially of course, when you’re going to be eating food.


We’ve already touched on mosquitoes a little bit, but mosquitoes are prevalent in lots of different countries around the world.

So you can have malaria, you can get Japanese encephalitis, or you can get yellow fever from mosquitoes.


Mosquitoes are vectors of all three.

And again, yellow fever, I can assure you any country that has yellow fever as a potential contagion of the mosquitoes in the area, they all have that as a requirement to enter the country and sometimes depending on the country even transit through it.


But there are no absolute 100% requirements for just regular malaria or the Japanese encephalitis.

So do take that with a grain of salt.

And again, always on your personal comfort factor, but that’s also a very common and vaccine or pill that they would recommend you take for malaria.


And mosquitoes are everywhere in the world, so you just have to see what location you’re going to, what you could possibly be exposed to.

And are you in that region?

Are you in that region for long?

Are you taking other precautions like using mosquito repellent or other bug spray repellent?

What are you doing to keep yourself safe?


And you can make that choice on your personal comfort level.

Another medication that we don’t always think about for travel is medication to help with altitude sickness.

If you’re in an altitude over, I’d say about 9000 feet, you may want to consider looking into having a medication to help ease those symptoms, especially if you live at sea level or you’re easily affected by altitude.


You know, altitude sickness is no joke.

The first time I ever experienced it, I think Brittany and I ever experienced it at the same time.

We were in the French Alps.

We went to the highest point in the Alps via gondola.


And once you get off the gondola, there’s a few stairs and steps that you have to take.

And Brittany and I were struggling.

It was at what, 12,013 thousand feet above sea level, if I remember correctly.

And we’ve been in high elevations before, you know, up to like 910 thousand feet, you know, here in California, where we’re from in the Sierra Nevada mountains.


And I’ve never really experienced it.

But at some point there is that threshold level for every person where it’s going to kick in.

And it could kick in on you at a lower level.

But if you’re going to be in high altitudes, it’s worth having because you can be severely exhausted because you are unable to grasp and take in a lot of oxygen because it is so thin at those altitude levels.


So the medication will help you avoid those issues.

And if you’re a hiker explorer and you’re doing like the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or the trail to Rainbow Mountain in Peru, you may consider getting these medications to have just in case they’re not going to help you necessarily in an emergency.


The only thing that can help you in an emergency is descending down to a lower altitude.

But taking them in advance, if, especially if you had a few days to acclimate, you know you’re going at a higher elevation can help ease your symptoms.

And then there’s just the general medications to have on hand that aren’t prescriptions or aren’t necessarily recommended based on the location that you’re going.


But you should always have as your own personal travel first aid kit.

It’s going to be, you know, ibuprofen and Tylenol, Benadryl, your antacids, cough drops, cold medicines, melatonin, magnesium.

And as the nurse, Bernie, why don’t you tell people why these are the number ones to always have on hand?


Well I mean a lot of them are self-explanatory.

Ibuprofen and Tylenol are painkillers.

Ibuprofen is a anti-inflammatory medication.

It can also be used to help with the high altitude and altitude sickness.

Benadryl is a great medication to have on hand if you are allergic to anything or have been bitten by anything.


I’m actually allergic to fleas.

Anytime I get bit by a flea my whole body breaks out in hives.

I have to have Benadryl on hand to help ease those symptoms.

Or even just general allergies.

Have your Benadryl.

Yeah, general allergies, antacids, you know, upset stomachs can hit anywhere.


As you age, you’re more likely to get GERD or acid reflux.

So just to have it on hand, especially if you’re trying new foods that you haven’t before in a foreign country.

Cough drops and cold medicine.

Again, pretty self-explanatory.

If you’re traveling, you may just be driving right?


But more often than not these days you’re taking a plane.

They’re not the healthiest of environments, cramped around a whole bunch of people who have who knows what.

So I feel like a lot of times where I actually do get sick, it happens to be while I’m on a trip and I do think I catch something while I’m traveling.


So it’s always nice to have those cough drops and cold medications.

Yes, depending on where you’re at.

And you can go to the store and pick those up, but then that’s taking time away from your trip.

Or maybe you’re in a place where a pharmacy or store to get those cough drops or cold medication isn’t easily accessible, so you’re just going to want to have them on hand.


I usually also travel with melatonin or magnesium just to help as a sleep aid.

You can be using it while you’re on your trip, or you could also use it while you’re on the plane to help you go to sleep.

So do you recommend those?

I keep most of these in my little pill organizer.


Obviously it’s not all of them are going to fit, but I have this little travel pouch with medications and other random things to bring along with me that go on every single trip we take.

And that’s really it when it comes to the medications and prescriptions, etcetera of keeping healthy while traveling and what you should always have on hand.


However, we always preach this.

If you are traveling internationally, one thing that you should always do to protect yourself just as well is get travel health insurance.

Now, this isn’t travel insurance if your flight is delayed, you lose your luggage, etcetera.


This is strictly travel medical insurance.

When you’re in another country, your health insurance, should you have it here in the US, believe it or not, is not going to be good in another country.

Very few are, and if they are, they give you very small limits of what they will actually cover.


You need something specifically should you fall ill in another country, need to be hospitalized, life flighted out.

We always use geo-blue.com. geo-blue.com is Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, some of the largest insurers here in the United States, protecting you for your foreign travel internationally should a medical issue arise.


You can also go to our website, Travel Squad Podcast and see the links there to be links to our preferred website.

And if you do subscribe to our newsletter, there’s always a link in our newsletter to this site.

Highly recommended for those international travel destination.


Well, I hope you guys learned something about travel medications that you haven’t already.

Thank you so much for tuning in to Just the Tip.

Make sure to subscribe, leave a review, and follow us on all the socials at Travel Squad Podcast.

Have fun traveling this weekend.

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