Before you travel
Prior to your departure, consult with your doctor, particularly if you have ongoing health concerns, and to determine if you need any immunizations. Generally, travellers visiting Europe do not need any vaccinations.
Check your health insurance policy to be sure you are covered while travelling abroad, and bring a copy of your health coverage ID card with you. You may also want to consider purchasing travel insurance in case illness prevents you from completing your trip.
If you are coming from outside Europe, because you will be consuming foods and beverages to which your body may not be accustomed to, you may want to take a few simple precautions. Tap water in Europe is generally safe to drink. However, if you are travelling far from home, your body may not be accustomed to the local bacteria, so you might want to drink bottled water. Enjoy the local cuisine, but eat lightly until your body adapts to the different ingredients and methods of preparation.
Prepare for the journey
Jet lag, for those who come from outside Europe, causes more controversy than any other feature about travelling, and theories abound. Among the most common advice is to sleep as much as you can on the plane, and be sure to move around and stretch when you are awake to stimulate your circulation.
Switch your watch to the local time as soon as you board the plane. Drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages while in flight. Upon arrival in a new time zone, adhere as much as possible to local time: take a short nap, have a light meal at the appropriate local hour and perhaps a brief stroll afterward. Eat lightly for two or three days, keep the first day's itinerary relaxed, and allow about 24 hours to adjust to the time change. On day two, you’ll be raring to go!
Carry prescription medicine in its original packaging in your carry-on luggage as well as a copy of your prescription in case you need to replenish your supply while travelling.
It is useful to carry basic remedies for minor travel irritations, including headaches, blisters and motion sickness. Bring sunscreen and insect repellent as well or purchase them in Europe.
Pharmacies and Medication
Visitors will find pharmacies are a common site in any European town or city and are normally able to dispense all commonly prescribed drugs on-the-spot in addition to over the counter medicines for everyday illnesses such as cold and flu, aches, pains and headaches.
If you are planning on visiting Europe and have an illness which may require attention whilst you're away, the best advice is to bring enough medication for the length of your stay. If you do need to order medication whilst travelling, you may require require a prescription issued by a doctor in the country you are visiting.
If you are feeling unwell whilst travelling, pharmacies are often a good place to visit first, as the pharmacists will more often than not be happy to offer medical advice. Pharmacies are usually indicated by an illuminated green cross, although this various between countries. It may also be useful to know that the word for 'pharmacy' has only a few variations between languages such as 'Chemist' 'Pharmacie', 'Pharmacia', 'Apotheek'. If a pharmacy is closed, it usually lists the address of the nearest open pharmacy.