Foreign travel tips: How to stay safe and healthy while away from home

Traveling to far-away places can be exciting – experiencing different foods, language and culture. Hopefully, your vacation doesn’t include experiencing an injury or sickness.

Model airplane with globeThere are some basic steps you can take before you go to help keep you healthy on your adventure:

  • Learn more about health concerns at your destination and what vaccinations you may need.
  • If you have a medical condition, have your doctor write a letter describing your health and safety needs.
  • If you take medication, pack it in your carry-on luggage. Keep it in its original container.
  • If you have allergies, wear a “medical alert” bracelet.
  • If you wear glasses, bring an extra pair.
  • Find out if your medical insurance will cover you overseas. Some insurers cover expenses such as medical evacuation. If it does not, consider supplemental insurance. Note: Medicare does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the U.S.

 Here are some other safety steps to take before you trip:

  • Make sure your passport is signed and the emergency information is accurate and complete.
  • Leave copies of your itinerary, passport identification page, insurance card, medication list, driver’s license and other important documents with family or a friend in the U.S.
  • Sign up for the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This will help the US government contact your if there is a family emergency or a crisis where you are traveling.

If you get sick or injured while traveling abroad, contact the U.S. consulate for assistance in locating medical services and contacting your family.

Know what medical resources are available where you will be traveling. For instance, not every country has a poison center. In fact, only 46% of the World Health Organization Member States have one. If you are traveling overseas, find out if your destination has a poison center and write down the number. You never know when you may need it.

If traveling anywhere in the U.S., you can call a local poison center 24-hours a day at 1-800-222-1222. Consider programming your phone with this important resource.



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