What do I need to know before I travel?
Public Health Scotland logo

Fit for Travel Logo

Information on how to stay safe and healthy abroad. About us.

Travelling Abroad to Attend Festivals and Other Large Gatherings 2024

29 Apr 2024

 The summer months mark festival season both in the UK and abroad. Festivals offer a fun escape from everyday routines; however, they can also bring with them some potential health risks.

Advice for Travellers

If you are planning to travel abroad to attend a festival, parade or other large gathering this year, you should be aware how you can stay safe and protect yourself, your family and/ or friends against common health risks.

In addition, you should be aware how to reduce your risk of becoming infected with diseases such as measles and mpox which can spread easily between people in large crowds.


Measles is a highly contagious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes leads to very serious complications. Measles can spread easily between crowds of people attending mass gatherings, such as festivals. Large measles outbreaks continue to be reported in the UK and abroad, including Europe. People who are not vaccinated against this infection are at risk.

Two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine are needed in your lifetime to protect you against all three viruses. Check with your General Practice to ensure you have received two doses of MMR vaccination before travelling.

  • See the Measles Mumps Rubella page for further information on the disease, including how you and your family can find out how to access MMR vaccination in your local area
  • Check the news section for latest information on disease outbreaks, including measles


Since 2022 cases of mpox have been reported in the UK, Europe and other international countries. Mpox has not gone away and there may be an increase in cases this summer as more people start to travel and attend events and festivals in the UK or abroad. While mpox does not spread very easily between human beings, it can spread between people through close contact with an infected person with mpox from:

  • the touching of blisters or scabs and/or having any skin contact (including during sexual contact)
  • touching clothes, bedding, towels or personal items that have been used by a person who has a mpox rash, blisters or scabs
  • coughs or sneezes from a person with mpox infection

If you are travelling to summer festivals this year, you can reduce your risk of exposure to mpox by:

  • avoiding close contact (including sexual contact) with someone who is unwell and may have mpox
  • avoiding touching the clothes, bedding or towels of a person who may have an mpox rash
  • avoiding coughs and sneezes from a person who may have mpox
  • practicing safer sex

People who are most likely to be exposed to mpox may be offered a vaccine to reduce their risk of infection. Further information about the mpox vaccine and eligiblity is available for those living in:

Other Health Considerations

In addition to the advice above, if you are planning attending a festival or other large gathering abroad this year, it is important to:

  • take care with respiratory hygiene and hand hygiene to protect yourself and others from illnesses caused by germs (such as bacteria and viruses) that enter our bodies through our eyes, nose or mouth
  • take safe food and water precautions and drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated, especially if the weather is hot
  • protect yourself against insect bites at all times of the day and night to reduce your risk of exposure to diseases spread to people by biting insects
  • practice safer sex, and use condoms to reduce your risk of blood borne viruses and other sexual health risks. Take condoms with you when you travel, even if you aren’t planning to have sex
  • practice sun safety to reduce your risk of sunstroke and other heat conditions, especially in warm weather, and also to help you to avoid getting skin cancer later in your life
  • consider carrying a simple first aid kit to self-manage basic health problems
  • be aware that excessive use of alcohol and/or drugs can increase your likelihood of risk-taking behaviour. Accidents and injuries are not uncommon at festivals. It is also worth being aware that your travel insurance may become invalid if you claim for an incident which occurred whilst you were 'under the influence'.

After Travel

After returning home from a summer festival abroad, you should always:

  • seek medical advice as soon as possible if you or your family are experiencing any symptoms of infection or illness, and always mention to the health care professional that have recently returned from abroad
  • seek sexual health advice and screening if any unprotected sexual activity has occurred