Immunisation is one of the most important developments of the twentieth century towards the prevention of infectious diseases, and in particular those associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Immunisation has an important role in protecting travellers from infectious diseases, and the majority of travel immunisation is concerned with pre-exposure vaccination. With the development of more immunogenic vaccines, pre-exposure passive immunisation has only a very limited role to play while post-exposure prophylaxis by immunisation is feasible for some diseases but is generally much less effective than pre-exposure vaccination. Appropriate travel vaccination forms an essential part of the pre-travel health consultation, providing the traveller with enhanced protection against serious infectious diseases to which they may be exposed while travelling. Protecting a traveller against travel-related infectious diseases may also protect populations as well by reducing the potential for the importation of infectious diseases. This addresses important public health implications of travel, which have been increasingly realised in recent years. 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.