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Overseas travel tips

Travelling overseas or planning to?


  • Be prepared and plan
  • Talk to your Haemophilia Treatment Centre well in advance, so treatment product, paperwork etc can be organised on time
  • You will need to have travel insurance for overseas travel
  • If your travel insurance asks you about “pre-existing health conditions” make sure you mention your bleeding disorder or else you won’t be covered if you have problems when you are travelling
  • It is advisable to tell the people you are travelling with about your bleeding disorder and what to do if you need help. You never know when or where an emergency might occur
  • Make sure you get an ABDR patient card from your Haemophilia Treatment Centre and carry it with you. This is a wallet-sized card with brief info about your diagnosis, recommended treatment and who to contact in an emergency
  • Consider wearing a medical alert bracelet or having an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number in your phone
  • Think about how you are carrying your luggage – backpack or suitcase? Choose luggage bags which will not injure your back, shoulder or neck muscles e.g. wheelie bags. If you’re carrying a one shoulder bag, switch sides often to avoid stressing one side of the back or shoulder. You can consult your physiotherapist or Haemophilia Centre for individualised tips on ways to carry luggage safely
  • Take a photocopy of your travel documents and leave them at home e.g. passport, itinerary, travel insurance, doctor’s letters
  • For overseas travel you will need documentation for customs and security – talk to your Haemophilia Treatment Centre about this at least 3 months before you travel so you have plenty of time to prepare
  • When going through customs checks, your ice packs may need to be examined as they could be interpreted as contributing to the liquids limit for international flights. This is why you need the documentation mentioned above!
  • In some cases, the National Blood Authority will need to approve taking factor products out of Australia
  • Different counties require different documentation, so it’s important to let your Haemophilia Treatment Centre know exactly where you’re going
  • You may also consider having the documentation translated into the language of the country you are travelling to
  • Be patient with border control! Don’t assume immigration officials are knowledgeable about bleeding disorders!
  • If you require regular on demand treatment it is recommended that you take treatment product with you on your trip
  • You should have enough treatment with you to give yourself 24-48 hours’ cover to get to a country where you can access adequate medical treatment. If you are on prophylaxis, you should take all of your required treatment with you for longer trips or organise for more to be delivered to you overseas
  • Your treatment product may not be available in the country you are travelling to. There may be a different range of plasma derived, recombinant and non-factor products available
  • Be aware that some countries don’t have as much money as Australia. This means that their services may not be what you are used to receiving at home. For example, blood products may not be checked as thoroughly for blood borne viruses like HIV or hepatitis and you may only have access to reused needles and equipment. It is a good idea to carry your own treatment and injecting equipment
  • Even if Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with the country you are in, you will probably still need to pay for the treatment product and this can be very expensive. This is why travel insurance is very important!
  • What is a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement I hear you say. Check out this link… 
  • Take your Medicare Card so you can prove that you’re eligible to receive health care treatment (if Australia has an agreement with the country you’re in)
  • You cannot give unused treatment products back to your Haemophilia Treatment Centre when you come back – they cannot be returned.
Date last reviewed: 30 November 2012

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