Travel health tips for backpacking Europe

Backpacking in Europe

Discover some top tips for backpacking Europe and staying healthy overseas

From the promenades of Paris to the boulevards of Budapest, Europe’s stunning natural beauty, epic history and amazing cultural diversity is evident at every turn. It’s easy to see why a European tour is high on the bucket lists of backpackers and luxury travellers alike. You may not be visiting a developing country or venturing into the wild but it’s still important to put your health first on your trip. We’ve compiled some top travel health tips for backpacking Europe to ensure you have the best time possible.

Beware of the sun

The strength of the sun in mainland Europe over the summer months should be taken very seriously. Our delicate Irish skin cannot handle extended exposure to the sun’s harmful rays, which cause sunburn and in turn increase the risk of skin cancer. Make sure you wear sunscreen at all times, even when there is cloud cover, and seek the shade.

Stay hydrated

You don’t want your frolics around France or escapades in Estonia to be impaired as a result of tiredness and dehydration.  Drink plenty of water throughout your stay, particularly when you’re out and about sightseeing. A common cause of sickness for travellers is exposure to contaminated water. In some countries, such as Austria and Croatia, it is safe to drink tap water but in others, like Albania and Belarus, you should always buy bottled water or use purification tablets.

Stay Safe from COVID-19

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for backpackers to follow local regulations and government travel advice while abroad to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. Some ways to stay safe from COVID-19 on your travels include, maintaining good hand hygiene and using an alcohol-based hand gel regularly, touching as few surfaces as possible and avoiding touching your face with unclean hands. Travellers should also follow individual government social distancing guidelines. Wearing face coverings in public spaces where social distance cannot be maintained is also a good way to reduce the risk of coronavirus. Travellers should stay up to date with regulations on social distancing and face coverings, which can vary country-to-country.


It’s important to have standard vaccinations such as tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles and rubella before you embark on any foreign adventure. Nasty illnesses and infections are rife all over the world and you need to make sure you are protected against these. Call into a TMB clinic to discuss your options with a qualified professional. Don’t forget insect repellent to protect against mosquito bites!

Eat nutritiously

Europe’s culinary delights are famous the world over – think hearty Italian pizza, spicy Spanish tapas, rich German meat feasts and zesty Mediterranean vegetable dishes. Sampling local delicacies will definitely be a highlight of your holiday but it’s important to maintain a balanced diet while you’re away. The temptation may be high but don’t resort to always eating foods that are high in fat and sugar. You may start to feel sluggish which will greatly impede your ability to enjoy your getaway. Remember – everything in moderation!

Pack the essentials

No matter how long or short your trip is, always pack a first-aid kit with the essentials – remedies for headaches, swelling, fever, stomach aches, cuts and bruises, blisters and motion sickness. Carry any prescription medication in your hand luggage in case your baggage gets lost and keep a copy of your prescription with you at all times. If you wear glasses or contact lenses it’s also advised that you obtain a copy of your optical prescription.

Practice good dental hygiene

Don’t forget about your teeth! If you’re going away for an extended period make sure you have a full dental check-up beforehand to address any underlying issues. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and replace your toothbrush every couple of months. Floss regularly to remove trapped food and keep your gums healthy.

Get enough sleep

It’s easy to get excited when you touchdown in fabulous Finland or gorgeous Greece and try to pack in as much as possible. Burning the candle at both ends is not advised as it will ultimately wear your body out and reduce your level of enjoyment. If you have an action-packed day checking out the local sights, take it easy that evening with a relaxed meal and early night. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep to make sure you’re in fine form for the adventures that lie ahead.

So there you have it, some top tips for staying healthy and happy on your European travels. Book an appointment with a TMB consultant to get specific advice for the countries you are visiting. A little preparation and common sense go a long way and will ensure you have an absolutely amazing time!

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