Student Travel

Over the last ten years there has been a rapid rise in school excursions to ever more remote and exotic locations around the world.

Sometimes student travel includes activities that bring students into close proximity with local environments lacking in modern sanitation and healthcare facilities. In remote areas, locals may not have access to modern healthcare, and diseases seldom ( if ever ) seen in Australia may be present (eg tuberculosis, leptospirosis, tick encephalitis and schistosomiasis). The consequences of catching one of these diseases could be devastating.

Even trips to so called ‘safe destinations’ like the USA, UK, and Japan may expose students to travel health risks.

Many teachers and organizers are quite rightly aware of the need for extra care in these situations and are seeking information to share with their students.

As well as information about vaccinations, the well prepared student must learn about safer health behaviours to practice on their journey ( eg hand washing, correct use of repellent, avoidance of high risk foods etc ).

The cost of travel health preparation for student travel can be significant. It is helpful to parents if estimates of medical costs can be available and included in budgeting for proposed trips. Travel health costs may be anything from $200 – $600 for a first trip to the developing world.   It is not possible to give definite costs for travel health care as it depends on many factors including the cost of the vaccines, a persons past medical history, their existing vaccine records, the standard of medical care available locally, and even the risk tolerance of the family.

All those participating in student travel are advised to seek medical advice at least 6-8 weeks prior to departure. Some vaccines like Rabies and Japanese encephalitis are significantly cheaper if started early. (eg late vaccination with just those two vaccines can make a difference of $450 to the total health care costs.)

Teachers or Parents are invited to consult their nearest TMA member to plan the best preparation for the travelling adolescents. The book, Travelling Well is an essential resource for travelling students and is provided with consultations in TMA member clinics.

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Why should you be vaccinated?

The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.

- Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854)

The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.

- Gilbert K. Chesterton

Travel Health Information

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