Call Your Closest Clinic, Australia-Wide
Call Your Closest Clinic, Australia-Wide

Health Support for
Student Travel

In the past decade, there has been a notable surge in school excursions venturing into increasingly remote and exotic locations worldwide. While these experiences offer students a unique perspective, they also expose them to potential health risks, especially in areas lacking modern sanitation and healthcare facilities. Even seemingly safe destinations like the USA, UK, and Japan may present travel health challenges.

Student travel activities often involve close interaction with local environments where diseases uncommon in Australia, such as tuberculosis, leptospirosis, tick encephalitis, and schistosomiasis, may prevail. Catching one of these diseases could have devastating consequences, emphasising the importance of thorough health preparation.

Many teachers and organisers recognise the need for extra care in such situations and actively seek information to share with their students. Beyond vaccinations, well-prepared students must learn about adopting safer health behaviours during their journey, including proper handwashing correct use of repellents, and avoidance of high-risk foods.

The cost of travel health preparation for student travel can be substantial, ranging from $200 to $600 for a first trip to the developing world. Providing parents with estimates of medical costs facilitates budgeting for proposed trips. However, exact costs are challenging to determine due to variables such as vaccine prices, a person’s medical history, existing vaccine records, local medical care standards, and the family’s risk tolerance.

To ensure comprehensive health preparation, all participants in student travel are strongly advised to seek medical advice at least 6-8 weeks before departure. Starting certain vaccines early, like Rabies and Japanese encephalitis, can significantly reduce costs, emphasising the importance of early planning. For instance, late vaccination with just these two vaccines could make a difference of $450 to the total health care costs.

Teachers or parents planning student travel are encouraged to consult their nearest TMA Travel Doctor for expert guidance in preparing adolescents for their journeys. The book “Travelling Well” serves as an essential resource for travelling students and is available for purchase during consultations in TMA member clinics. This comprehensive approach ensures that students embark on their travels well-informed and adequately prepared for potential health challenges, promoting a safe and enjoyable experience.

Are you a Student or School planning travel?
Our Members can help facilitate your travel medicine needs