Travel health and vaccinations

If you're planning to travel outside the UK, your travel health needs will depend on your individual situation. You’ll have to consider:

  • your destination
  • how long you'll stay
  • what you’ll be doing
  • your general health

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Travel outside the UK has been severely disrupted since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to booking any travel, you must consider:

Further information on travel and coronavirus, including country-specific advice is available on the fitfortravel website.

More about testing and overseas travel

Travel risk assessment

A pre-travel risk assessment provides a good opportunity to discuss travel-associated risk management with your GP, practice nurse or private healthcare provider.

You'll need to contact your GP practice to arrange this, ideally 6 to 8 weeks before you leave. If your trip is sooner, contact them anyway. They may still be able to help and provide you with useful advice about how to protect your health when travelling.

During the assessment, your GP or practice nurse will:

  • confirm if you're up-to-date with your routine vaccinations
  • assess your particular health risks
  • recommend any vaccines and/or anti-malarial tablets you may need

Alternatively, you can visit a private travel vaccination clinic for your UK boosters and other travel vaccinations.

Travelling abroad to visit friends and relatives

If you're travelling abroad to visit friends or relatives, you might be at higher risk of developing travel-related illnesses such as typhoid or malaria. This could be because:

  • you may be living with the local community
  • your trip might be longer than the average holiday
  • you might be visiting more rural areas where it can be difficult to take sufficient preventative precautions

The fitfortravel website provides:

Travel vaccinations

The following travel vaccinations are free on the NHS in Scotland:

  • diphtheria, polio and tetanus (combined booster)
  • hepatitis A
  • typhoid
  • cholera

You'll likely to have to pay for vaccinations against:

  • yellow fever
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • tick-borne encephalitis
  • rabies

Additionally, you might have to pay for the following vaccinations if they're only required for travel purposes:

  • hepatitis B
  • meningitis
  • tuberculosis (TB)

Proof of vaccination

Some countries require you to have proof of particular vaccinations before they allow entry:

Yellow fever vaccines are only available from designated centres.

Find clinics in Scotland that offer yellow fever vaccinations

Travel health advice

Many of the health risks experienced by travellers can't be prevented by vaccinations or anti-malarial tablets and other preventive measures should be taken.

The fitfortravel website provides health information for people travelling abroad from the UK, including:

Travelling with medications

If you intend on travelling with medication (including over-the-counter medications) check for any restrictions on medications before you travel. You can do this by contacting the embassy of the country you're visiting.

You can find further information and advice on travelling with medications on the fitfortravel website.

When you return home

It is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible if you become unwell and/or develop a high temperature (fever) once you return home, even if it's up to one month after travel.

Always make sure you tell the health professional that you have recently travelled abroad, especially if you have been to a country where malaria is a risk.

Travel safety advice

You can find country-specific safety and security advice through the GOV.UK website.

Phone your GP to arrange a pre-travel risk assessment