What do I need to know before I travel?
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Information on how to stay safe and healthy abroad. About us.

Before you travel 

Before you book travel

If you're planning to travel outside the UK, your travel health needs will depend on your individual situation, including:

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

You should read the country specific advice for your planned destination(s) for information on advisable vaccinations, malaria and other health risks:

Do you need a travel health risk assessment?

If you think you need vaccines, malaria advice and/or tablets, you should have a travel health risk assessment.

A travel health risk assessment is also advisable for some people, even when vaccines or malaria tablets are not required. This includes:

  • older people
  • those with a weakened immune system
  • those with long-term conditions that require medications
  • pregnant women
  • children

Travel Health Risk Assessment

This site only provides general guidance on travel health risks. For tailored advice for your individual situation, we recommend you make an appointment with a travel health professional.

To make an appointment for a travel health risk assessment:

  • In Scotland, you should contact the NHS health board where you live.
  • In England, Wales and Northern Ireland you should contact your NHS GP.

Ideally, you should book your appointment 6 to 8 weeks before you travel. This gives time for any vaccinations you might need to become fully effective.

  • If your trip is sooner remember it is never too late to seek advice.

How to make an appointment in Scotland

You can make an appointment with a travel health professional via your local health board. Please be aware that your initial risk assessment may be over the phone or by video call.

If you need help to understand how to access a travel health risk assessment in Scotland, please call the NHS Inform helpline on 0800 22 44 88.

  • The NHS Inform helpline is open from 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday. ​

Not sure which is your health board?

When you get in touch with your health board or the NHS Inform helpline you should let them know your postcode. This can save you time by making sure you are contacting the right health board.

Record of Previous Vaccinations

It is helpful to keep a record of any vaccines you have received in the past, including as a child.

If available, you should bring your vaccination record with you to your travel health risk assessment appointment so that the health professional can determine if you need any boosters before travelling abroad.

  • To request a report of vaccines held on your GP record, you should contact your GP practice.
  • Please note GP practices cannot provide proof of COVID vaccine.

A-Z of Scottish health board contacts

Ayrshire & Arran


Dumfries & Galloway


Forth Valley


Greater Glasgow & Clyde







Western Isles / Eileanan Siar

  • Telephone: 0808 196 8383 - call between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday-Friday 
  • Contact your local GP for further information

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