From easing travel sickness to soothing insect bites 

If you’re about to head off on holiday, you might have a few travel-related health queries. From jet lag to germs, we offer advice on some common travel health issues. So the only thing you need to worry about is where you last put your passport!

Where can I find out what vaccinations I need for certain countries?

Easy, just go to, where there’s a quick check tool that can tell you which vaccinations and antimalarials you may need, and how much they cost. If you do require jabs or tablets, the Boots Travel Vaccinations and Health Advice Service can help. Book an appointment online* or go in store.** 

How can I delay my period?

Sometimes periods arrive right in time for your next trip away, so you may want to think about delaying your next period for a short while. An easy way to do this is by using the Boots Period Delay Clinic*, as there’s no need to make an appointment with your GP. If you’re currently on the pill then speak to your GP about how to delay your period.

How can I help avoid jet lag?

To help try and get your body in sync from the get-go, set your watch to the local time of your destination as soon as you get on the plane and begin to eat and sleep at the usual hours for that time zone. It might be tricky to sleep with the cabin lights on, so pack an eye mask in your hand luggage. Be sure to stay well hydrated before, during and after your flight – try and drink between six to eight glasses of water as this will help to keep your energy levels up.

Is there a way to dodge germs on planes?

There’s no real evidence to suggest we’re more susceptible to germs while we’re in the air than when we’re on the ground. Staying hydrated and well-rested can improve general wellbeing though, so pay more attention to these things before and during your flight. And every time you touch a new surface with your hands (such as tray tables, door handles, armrests), use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser afterwards, or wash hands with soap and water to help avoid picking up any bugs.

How can I help avoid deep vein thrombosis when flying?

DVT is a blood clot in a deep vein – usually in the leg – which you can get from sitting still for a long time, like you do on a long-haul flight. Also, if you take the combined contraceptive pill or are on hormone-replacement therapy, your risk of blood clotting is slightly increased. If left untreated, it can lead to a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs). So walk around the plane regularly to stop blood pooling in your lower legs, and when sitting, flex your legs, feet and toes every half an hour. Consider flight socks, too – they apply gentle pressure to help the upward flow of blood.

What type of sun protection do I need?

Whether you’re jetting off to sunnier climes or creating a faux-summer holiday in your back garden, it’s important to protect your skin from the sun. SPF (sun protection factor) tells us the level of protection a sun cream provides against burning rays, so the higher the SPF the higher the protection. Sun cream needs to be reapplied generously (especially after being in the water), every two hours or as often as the product recommends, helping you stay protected throughout the day. It’s generally recommended that you use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15, along with a UVA rating of 4 or 5 stars. Check out our guide to UVA, UVB and SPF to find out more.

Do I need travel insurance?

We all may have been guilty of thinking “But what’s going to happen when I’m away?” when looking at travel insurance, but you can never say never (even on a lazy beach holiday!), so it’s important you make sure you’re covered for all eventualities. Boots Travel Insurance offers cover for single, multi and longstay trips, plus you can save 15% online – perfect for holiday peace of mind.

How can I avoid insect bites?

The first thing is don’t panic! It’s easy to flap your arms or pick up the nearest paper to waft any pesky insects away, but this may anger them. If you’re visiting somewhere that’s prone to insects then make sure to cover up your arms and legs to avoid any nasty nibbles. But if you want to be more exposed on your holiday then make sure you apply insect repellent (ones containing 50% DEET are the most effective). We all want to look and smell our best, but strong perfumes and body lotions could attract unwanted attention from insects.

If you’re travelling to parts of the world where insect bites can spread more dangerous diseases then pop into your local Boots to find out more about our travel health services. You can also help prevent any nasty nibbles by investing in suitable nets and clothing too.

How can I stay safe in the heat?

Being out in the sun may put a smile on your face, but it’s important to make sure you take the right measures to avoid the risk of feeling unwell. The right sun protection is one key way, but staying hydrated and avoiding the sun between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day), and covering up with a hat are also top ways to help stay safe in the heat. Spending time in the heat without being properly prepared could result in heat exhaustion, so if you or someone you’re with starts feeling weak, dizzy, confused and has a temperature of over 38 degrees then move them to a cool place, apply a cool flannel to their skin and give them plenty of water.

If they don’t start to feel better after 30 minutes then seek medical help.

How can I ease my travel sickness?

If travelling by car, boat, plane or train makes you feel queasy then you’re probably experiencing travel sickness, but it needn’t spoil your trip. A few simple ways to help you feel better are breathing in fresh air where possible, sitting in the front of the car to minimise motion, look straight ahead at a fixed point, such as the horizon, close your eyes and focus on your breathing and avoid heavy meals before travelling. Speak to your pharmacist about suitable travel sickness treatments or explore our great range of travel sickness products.

*Subject to availability and clinician approval. Charges apply. 

**Selected stores only. Subject to eligibility and availability. Charges apply.