Relocating Overseas/Long Term Travellers

What you should know

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Relocating Overseas/Long Term Travellers

Those travelling for extended periods or taking up residency in developing countries or tropical regions are at increased risk of developing diseases specific to that area. For example, the adventurous long-term travellers that tend to wander “off the beaten track” are at an increased risk of developing malaria or gastrointestinal infections.

Expatriates or those relocating overseas must take into consideration the same infectious diseases as the short-term traveller in addition to other factors. How to manage any existing medical problems overseas, the stresses associated with relocating and living in a foreign country, and the stresses of social interaction, particularly if language is a barrier, all need to be considered and should be discussed with your organisation. It is also important to have a baseline check up with your GP as well as a dental check-up prior to departure.

Those who are living or working overseas may benefit from speaking to local health authorities prior to departure and also while away. Find local medical facilities soon after arrival so that you are prepared should a medical emergency arise but beware of obtaining anecdotal advice from other expatriates, as this may not be accurate.


Vaccinations recommended for long stay travellers can be extensive and often require several visits to plan and appropriately immunise against infectious diseases. It is therefore important to seek advice from a Travel Doctor as soon as possible.


Malaria prevention often differs for long term travellers compared with shorter trips. Anti malarial medication is not recommended long term so it is important to optimise insect avoidance measures such as using insect repellent and insecticide-treated nets and clothing on a daily basis. It may be recommended to start malaria medication initially when first relocating overseas so that you have time to mosquito proof your home and ensure you have good access to medical care when the need arises.

Reference : Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Yellow Book 2020: Health Information for International Travel. New York: Oxford University Press; 2017.

*For more detailed information, make an appointment at our travel health clinic and our travel health professionals will be more than happy to discuss your personal needs.