Staying healthy on the road

This section consists of health and safety related information recorded from our own trips, plus other travellers information as we get it, and useful links to much more.

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On Terrorism page:

Travel Medical Tips

Diseases caught by eating contaminated food or drink include Hepatitis A, Salmonella, Typhoid and diarrhoea:

  • Do not drink milk or eat dairy products which may be unpasteurized.
  • Avoid salads unless vegetables have been treated
  • Avoid uncooked food unless you prepare it - for example, peel all fruit yourself.
  • Avoid food which has been re-heated, kept warm or exposed to flies.
  • Remember ice is made from local water
  • Drink fizzy bottled water or soft drinks - ensure you open the bottle yourself
  • Boiling water may not be sufficient to kill all bacteria - should filter, then treat with iodine or chlorine (Puritabs) tablets.
  • Strict personal hygiene

Avoid insect and mosquito bites. Cover up, especially after dusk. Use DEET based insect repellents. Take malaria prophylaxis strictly on schedule.

Sun damage is cumulative and can cause skin cancer - Use effective sun block.

Do not play with animals.

Travel Medical Kit - an example

Our travel medical kit actual contents for Africa

First Aid Kit
  • Small pressure dressing
  • Large gauze bandage
  • 3 Spenco Second skin
  • 5 2 Towelettes + 3 abrasion cleaning pads
  • 1 Thermometer
  • 1 Scissors
  • 1 Tweezers
  • 8 Safety pins
  • 1 Matches
  • Assorted small bandaids
  • 1 Elastic bandage
  • 1 Adhesive tape - small rolls
  • Gauze rolls
  • Disposable gloves (sterile)
  • Q-tips
  • 2 2 soakers
  • Triangle bandages
  • 2 Slings
  • 1 SAM splint
  • Wound closure strips
  • Tincture of benzoin (enhances adhesiveness of wound closure strips
  • 1 Sawyer's Extractor snake bite kit
  • 1 Tick kit and instructions
  • 1 Mountaineering Medicine
  • 28g Cortaid 1% hydrocortisone cream
  • 1 Aloe vera gel (burn ointment)-nalgene bottle
  • Blister treatment
  • 1 Dental kit
  • 14g Neomycin ointment
  • 56 Malaria prophylaxis - Mefloquine (Lariam) - 28 weeks supply
  • 54 Quinine (48) & fansidar (6) for two courses of malaria treatment
  • 30 Antibiotic - Ciprofloxacin (250 mg)
  • 80 Pain relief - Solpadeine (paracetamol w/codeine)
  • 60 Loperamide / Imodium - 2 mg
  • 2 Scopoderm TTS - motion sickness patches
  • 4 Bonine - motion sickness tablets
  • 20 Cinnarizine (Stugeron) - motion sickness
  • 10 Gastrolyte packages
  • 24 Sudafed (decongestant)
  • 14 Triludan (antihistamine for allergies)
  • 1 pkg. Syringes (with doctor's letter)
  • 24 Sodium dichlorisocyanurate - water purification
  • 10g Potassium permanganate (for cleaning fruits and vegetables)
  • 55g Mycil antifungal powder - 55g
  • 25 g Mycil antifungal ointment - 25 g
  • 10 ml Eye drops for conjunctivitis - 10 ml
  • 3g Antibiotic eye ointment - 3g
  • 11 Acid blockers (antacids)
  • Small tube of Vaseline
  • prescription drugs

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Medical Insurance

Many insurers consider motorcycling to be a hazardous activity, (I can't imagine why) and you must check the fine print of any online quote for exclusions to ensure you will have coverage. A favourite insurers trick is to say "yes we cover motorcycles" and when you check the fine print you discover the fine print: "up to 125cc". They aren't thinking long term big bike trips but riding around a Caribbean island on a scooter while on holidays.

We try to list the various insurers who provide long-term cover (up to 2 years) which does not exclude motorcycling, and we try document what nationalities they cover, and the rates for various ages and areas so you can determine costs. If you find any information to add or contradict the listings below, please let us know!

The following article is from

Travel Insurance: To Buy or Not to Buy?
By Jill Murphy

"I thought, "It's a waste of money. Every time I've bought it, I've never used it. This time I'll do without." So off to Australia I went for four months, and not only was I promptly robbed, I got sick as well.

So the question becomes "Would it have been worth getting insurance?" Well, after doing a few calculations and looking at what it cost me to see the doctor and get an antibiotic shot and some antibiotic pills, and what I had lost from the robbery, it would still have cost more to buy the insurance. So it becomes a matter of looking at what it would really cost you if the worst should happen." More on this topic at

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Don't be a Victim - Useful Advice on Crime from the Leningrad Association of Workers

- Make purchases at reputable outlets. Count your change carefully before leaving the cashier or the seller. Recount your change if the seller has recounted it a second time because of a problem to make sure you have not been tricked during the recounting. Check to make sure that the article you believe you have purchased is the one that is packed for you.

- Do not believe that you are getting a bargain. When you believe this, watch out; chances are good that you are being set up. Thieves understand and utilize human emotions such as greed and lust. Situations in which these emotions are most commonly played upon include dealings with vendors of so-called antiquities and in currency exchanges.

- Do not place convenience over your personal security. Street vendors are certainly convenient, but dealing with them necessitates that you subject yourself to the scrutiny of bystanders who will make note of the location of your passport, money and other valuables. In many instances, shortly after making a purchase, the customer falls victim to street thieves.

- Do not invite people you do not know well into your living quarters. Do not open the door to your quarters to unknown individuals. Do not tell strangers where you are staying or your travel plans.

- If you feel you are being followed, apply to the police for help. If you are in trouble, yell pozhar (fire) to attract attention for aid.

- Be constantly aware and on the alert.

- Do not purchase drinks from already-opened bottles, i.e. in bars. Never drink alcoholic beverages without having a trusted friend along who has agreed to remain sober. Even slight intoxication is noted by professional thieves.

- Dress down and do not flash cash or jewelry.

- Avoid crowds.

- When out on the town, leave hard-to-replace, nonessential items such as passports, credit cards, driver's licenses and family pictures with the hotel security office. Disperse your money throughout your garments. Remember the amounts in each location and when making purchases retrieve only the amount of money needed for the purchase. Never display large sums of money.

- Never patronize unmarked taxis or enter any taxi carrying unfamiliar passengers. Agree upon the price and destination prior to entering the vehicle.

- Do not leave any items inside the vehicle when it is parked. Do not park in dark and isolated places.

- When a victim of a crime, be it a violent act or general trickery, do not let your vanity or apathy prevent you from immediately making a report to the police and your embassy or consulate. Others will benefit. In addition, stolen items are routinely retrieved.

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Country Alerts

U.S. State Department Advisories

Advisories of risks to travelers, including crime, terrorism, road conditions, airline safety & medical, as well as USA consular info. for most countries. You can also subscribe to receive automatic updates by e-mail, but be warned, it is impossible to unsubscribe, so you may wish to give them a Hotmail address!

Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade - Advisories, travel info etc.

Foreign Office in London

"The FCO's country-specific Travel Advice notices aim to ensure that British travellers are well prepared before their departure".


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