Intercare Travel Clinics has compiled list of the most popular travel tips for women – especially when travelling alone …

These What To Do When travel tips provide some useful help for female solo travellers:

1. You update your Facebook status with your new travel plans

Visit your travel clinic. If it’s official enough to notify everybody you know on your social networks, it is official enough to visit your travel clinic. The travel health doctors at Intercare Travel Clinics can help you to ensure that the travel bug is the only bug you bring home.

And don’t think that because you’re visiting a first-world country you won’t need immunisations – the kind of immunisations you need depend on your planned activities, as well as your destination. Even different influenza vaccines are required for the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Because really, who wants the flu?

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2. You decide what to pack

Sunscreen! Always pack a high-SPF sunscreen … even if you don’t think you’ll need it. That snow-dusted winter wonderland – that’s where the sun can be pretty intense, as well as near water and at higher altitudes. If you’re on prescription medication, take more than enough to last the entire trip (for those unexpected delays). Keep it in its original labelled containers, and pack it in your carry-on bag. Don’t even think about leaving home without travel insurance. It’s an absolute necessity.

3. The drinks cart comes rolling around

Go for the water. Alcohol may help you fall asleep on a long flight, but it will probably also disrupt that sleep. Rather nurture your internal clock, especially if you’re travelling across time zones. You also want to avoid the risk of deep vein thrombosis, which can happen to anyone in a confined space on long-haul journeys.

So skip the booze, tea and coffee, and rather focus on staying well-hydrated and moving about when you can. Flexing and relaxing your leg muscles while seated also helps.

4. You arrive in a third-world country

Nobody wants a food or waterborne infection. Always drink bottled water (also use it to brush your teeth with). If there’s no bottled water on hand, boil the water first and leave it to stand for 48 hours, or treat it. Don’t ever add ice to your drinks. Wash your hands before eating. When it comes to your food, cook it, peel it, boil it, or forget it!

And even if you’re in a first-world country, beware of the buffet. Cooked food that has been sitting out for a while should be avoided … no matter how tempting it may look.

5. The mosquitoes are serenading you

If you’re in a malaria area, always take your malaria medication as advised. If your room is not screened or air conditioned, use a mosquito net. Wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants if you’re outdoors at night (and during the day if you’re in a yellow-fever zone). Apply DEET-based insect repellent to exposed skin, and spray insecticide or burn a coil in your bedroom or tent before going to bed.

Be aware of symptoms like tiredness, headaches, coughing, fever, diarrhoea, or a generalised body ache. Remember that these symptoms are not always dramatic – they can easily be mistaken for flu – and can develop as soon as seven days after arrival, or as long as nine months after leaving.

6. You absolutely have to pet that cute cat/monkey/dog

No! It may be the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, but rabies isn’t. An infected animal doesn’t necessarily have to bite you to transmit rabies. Just a scratch can do it. If you’re travelling to a country where there is an increased risk of rabies, make sure you get your pre-travel immunisation.

If you have been bitten or scratched, the wound should be washed with water for five to 10 minutes with an antiseptic such as Betadine, and then you’ll need a post-bite rabies vaccine as soon as possible. It might even mean an emergency evacuation.

7. S/he’s giving you those bedroom eyes

Aaah, the holiday romance. Just the thrill of being in a far-flung place can be enough to entice people to take more risks than they normally would at home. That’s probably why travellers are at increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 20% of travellers say that they have had casual sex with a new partner while in a foreign country. And people who have casual sex are at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. If you aren’t going to abstain, at the very least practice safe sex and use a condom.

8. You want to squeeze in that last dive

Don’t dive before you fly! The risk of developing decompression sickness (DCS) is increased by flying after a dive. Don’t fly above 2 000 feet (610 meters) in an unpressurised aircraft or in a commercial aircraft within a minimum of 12 hours after surfacing from a single no-compression dive (or for 18 hours after repetitive dives or multiple days of diving). Take even longer surface intervals to further decrease the risk of DCS.

9. You’re all packed up but have nowhere to go!

How about a trip for two to Zanzibar? Intercare Travel Clinics, in partnership with Mango Airlines SOC and Zi Villa, are running a competition right now!

The prize includes two return flights to Zanzibar and a seven-night stay for two at Zi Villa, breakfast, lunch and dinner included. The competition is open until 31 August 2016, and you can enter on www.intercare.co.za