A Travellerspoint blog

Travel preparation: Health & Visa Checks

"To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear. Water surrounds the lotus flower, but does not wet its petals" - Siddhartha

overcast 9 °C

Health Checks

    Medical check up
    Prescription medicine
    Dental check up

The Travel Clinic Australia is an excellent resource for all matters pertaining to one's health overseas!

I'm off to see Dr John Scally's Travel Clinic at 278 Buckley St, Essendon on Saturday morning to get the various vaccinations that are recommended for travel to México. Last year I went to Brazil and didn't get a yellow fever vaccination. This wasn't so much of a drama in Brazil, but upon re-entering Australia, the alarm bells were signalled when Quarantine officials in Customs discovered I didn't hold the compulsory paperwork that would indicate I had been vaccinated against yellow fever! I was detained for some time as the geographically-challenged Quarantine officials sternly asked me to point out exactly where in Brazil I visited... as they spread out a map of Colombia in front of me! To cut a long story short, they let me go but gave me strict instructions to watch out for the symptoms of late onset yellow fever!

As I am only (officially) travelling to México, there are no shots that are compulsory, but I will vaccinate myself against yellow fever as I may get an opportunity to go to Colombia and Australian Quarantine require all Australians travelling to Colombia to be innoculated against this disease.

Travel Clinic Australia has an excellent page here which provides a list of vaccines required per country.

I've also booked in to see my dentist tomorrow - however, I fear that a little bit of work may be required. But better to have it attended to here in Australia than being overseas with a toothache.

Monday I have my full medical check up and will take the opportunity to refill my prescription drugs for asthma: ventolin and seretide. Perhaps too I might ask for some prescriptions for general antibiotics to take away with me - just in case I get hit with another chest infection (three this year already!).

Visa checks

Visa Link is an excellent source of information on visa requirements. Their website states that no visa is required for Australian passport holders travelling to México for less than 90 days - although a "tourist card" must be obtained, and stamped, upon entering the country. Failure to do so will cause problems down the track.

Central American countries and Colombia also do not require Australian passport holders to have a visa. Generally the length of the visa will be determined at the point of entry to the relevant country.

Ecuador also does not require Australian passport holders to obtain a visa prior to entering the country, although tourist visits are restricted to 90 days only.

Posted by knowmad 09:11 Archived in Mexico Tagged preparation Comments (0)

Travel preparation: Equipment

"There is no cure for my reckless wandering, forever misguided and destructive, forever alien to my true vocation" Maqroll (El Gaviero) - Álvaro Mutis

semi-overcast 13 °C

The advice given by the One Bag website states that "there are two kinds of luggage: carry on and lost."

As much as I would love to adhere to this advice, with the new changes to the airline carry on baggage allowances, it is going to be impossible for me to pack everything I need into a tiny cabin bag.


After much research on luggage I decided on the Osprey Meridian 28 (75L, including zip-off day pack) - a travel pack with sturdy wheels. I purchased it for AU$399.00 from Paddy Pallin in Little Bourke Street, Melbourne.

It's a fairly compact pack, sits very comfortably on my back (I have a slight "sway back" and other packs tended to cause me some discomfort) and the wheels are an added bonus. It sits firmly on my hips so that I am not carrying the weight of the pack on my shoulders.

It's designed for simple backpacker travel, i.e. just to get you from the bus stop/airport to the hostel/hotel. It's definitely not designed for hiking.

I am planning on filling it to a maximum of 10kg

What to pack?

One Bag have a great list of "what to pack on a trip of any length". However, I'm not going to take everything they suggest. My list is as follows:

1 jacket (wind/rain proof Feathertop $70 - on sale)
1 jumper/pull over
3 pants (zip-off to convert to shorts)
4 tee-shirts
1 long sleeved tee-shirt
1 swimsuit
4 pairs of socks
4 pairs of underwear
walking shoes (Merrell Pulse and/or Merrell Nerve)

cutlery (including sharp knife)
small water bottle
travel pillow
sleeping bag
cotton sleeping sheet (for use inside sleeping bag)

toothbrush, paste & floss
shampoo & conditioner*
liquid soap*
face wash*
face moisturiser*
body moisturiser
*all transferred into small bottles
small towel

small flashlight (Maglite)
1 power cord adaptor and powerboard
digital camera with wide angle & telephoto lenses
iPod & Sennheiser noise-cancelling headphones (can't fly without them!)
medication: antibiotics, malaria tablets (Chloroquin), Seretide & Ventolin (for my asthma), immodium (for the inevitable bout of diarrhoea), paracetamol, water purifying tablets

toilet paper & antibacterial wipes
insect repellant (gotta go for Aerogard tropical!)
sunscreen (30+SPF)
lip balm (Carmex - there is none better!)
eye mask & ear plugs

Posted by knowmad 13:28 Archived in Mexico Tagged preparation Comments (0)

Ticket booked

"...to understand the world is not enough, you must see it, touch it, live in its presence and drink the vital heart of existence in the very heart of reality." Teilhard de Chardin

semi-overcast 13 °C

I finally made up my mind where to go on my next trip: México.

I booked my ticket today and I depart Melbourne on 12 September, arriving in Ciudad de México on the same day a little before midnight.

I've spent the past two months researching itineraries, equipment and budgetary requirements etc. All to no avail. No one can tell you what to do, where/when to go, and what to take. And no one has the definitive answer to that oft repeated question "how much money do I need?" You have to work it all out for yourself. And this, I believe, is the most exciting aspect of pre-travel preparation.

Although I have six weeks before I depart, I've decided that I will start to keep a record here of my pre-travel preparation regime. In the absence of a definitive guide on what to take, where to go etc., potential travellers may find useful some of the information contained in subsequent posts.

Posted by knowmad 13:11 Archived in Mexico Tagged preparation Comments (0)

Strategic Planning

location: Kensington, Melbourne, Australia status: anchored

overcast 13 °C

I am currently in the process of planning my next trip.

Where will I go, when and how?

This is a really difficult question. Initially I had simply planned to go to México in December and take the Southern Migration trip with the Green Tortoise mob. But then I started thinking that if I were in the area why not go back to the north-east of Brazil (I was there in November last year)... and why not just overland it through Central America to Colombia, Venezuela...

And so my plans started to snowball.

Then, when I mentioned my desire to travel again to my Ecuadorian friend, Alejandro, who is currently living in Spain he suggested I visit him on the Costa Brava.

So at this point the current idea is to head off to the Costa Brava and catch up with Alejandro and then cycle along El Camino de Santiago, head down to Lisbon and fly out to Salvador de Bahia in north-east Brazil... make my way through the north of South America...

Well - the logistics are giving me a head ache. However, I have set myself a departure date of 1 September so have plenty of time to work out the final travel plan (which we all know constantly changes!).

Right now I'm just doing a lot of research and seeking advice from as many travel resources as I can find.

Posted by knowmad 00:17 Archived in Australia Tagged preparation Comments (0)

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