When traveling to a foreign country, it is important to take precautions to ensure your safety and health. There are many risks associated with travel, such as contracting a disease or being the victim of a crime. However, there are also many ways to mitigate these risks. This guide provides an overview of some of the most important things to consider when traveling abroad, from vaccinations to travel insurance. By following the advice in this guide, you can help ensure that your trip is safe and healthy.
Before You Travel: Plan Ahead and Get Vaccinated
Before traveling to a foreign country, it is important to plan and to get vaccinated. Planning can help you to reduce the risks associated with travel and to make the most of your trip. First, make sure that you check the official website of the country you are visiting, as this may provide useful information about the necessary documents, required vaccinations and other necessary preparations. This can help you to avoid any unnecessary delays or costly surcharges when traveling. Before traveling, make sure to schedule a visit with a provider who specializes in travel medicine. Only 30% of providers who offer travel medicine are certified. They can provide valuable advice on any vaccinations or medications that may be necessary for your trip. They can also help you to learn more about other potential health risks in your destination country. Getting the proper vaccinations is an important part of keeping safe and healthy when traveling abroad. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains a list of necessary and recommended vaccines for travel, as well as specific instructions for each type of vaccine. Depending on the country you are traveling to, you may be required to get certain vaccinations, so make sure to check what is necessary before traveling. By planning and getting vaccinated, you can help ensure that your trip is safe and healthy.
Practice Safe Food and Water Habits
When traveling abroad, it is important to practice safe food and water habits. Eating healthy while traveling can be a challenge. You need to make sure that the food you are eating is safe, as it may not be prepared or handled the same way as food at home. Here are some tips to help you practice safe food and water habits when traveling abroad:
• Research: Before traveling, research the common food and water safety practices of the destination country.
• Stick to Bottled Water: It is best to only drink bottled water, and avoid tap and ice water.
• Be Picky About Eating Out: Eat at reputable and clean establishments. Avoid street vendors and food carts.
• Befriend Locals: Learn from local experts. Ask locals which restaurants they recommend and how to eat safely.
• Don’t be Shy: Make sure you ask questions when buying food. You can ask restaurant owners or vendors to make sure it is prepared responsibly.
By following these tips, you will be well on your way to staying healthy and safe when traveling abroad. Practicing safe food and water habits can help ensure that you have the best possible experience while traveling.
Be Aware of Common Health Risks
When traveling abroad, it is important to be aware of the potential health risks. Different countries have different health risks. Here are some tips to help you stay safe and healthy when traveling abroad:
• Get Immunized: Before you travel, check if there are any recommended vaccines for the destination country and make sure you are up-to-date on your vaccinations.
• Know the Risks: Research the local health risks of your destination country.
• Consult a Provider: Before traveling, consult a provider to get personalized advice on how to protect yourself.
• Pack a First Aid Kit: Pack a first aid kit that includes a thermometer, bandages, antiseptic and anything else that might be necessary in case of an emergency.
• Be Prepared: Be sure to bring enough of your medications and keep them in their original packaging.
Protect Yourself from Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes can carry many diseases, including malaria, dengue fever, and the Zika virus. To protect yourself from mosquitoes when traveling abroad, it is important to follow a few basic steps:
• Use Insect Repellent: Use insect repellent on exposed skin surfaces when in mosquito-prone areas. Reapply the repellent as needed, especially after being in the water. The percent of DEET recommended will likely be stronger than what you can purchase at local retailers.
• Wear Long-sleeved Shirts and Long Pants: Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when traveling in mosquito-prone areas. Light-colored clothing is best as it is less attractive to mosquitoes.
• Sleep in a Mosquito Net: Sleep in a house with windows and doors that are screened with mosquito netting. Alternatively, use a mosquito net in a tent or hammock if you are camping.
• Use Air Conditioning: When staying indoors, turn on the air conditioning or use windows and door screens to keep mosquitoes out.
By following these tips, you can help keep yourself protected from mosquitoes and the diseases they carry. It is also important to follow the recommendations of a provider or local health authorities to minimize risk in other areas.
Stay Healthy While You Travel
Staying healthy while traveling is a challenge, but it is possible with the right approach. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy while traveling abroad:
• Take Precautions: Practice safe water and food habits, wear protective clothing when outdoors, use sunscreen, and always wash your hands with soap and water.
• Exercise: Incorporate small amounts of exercise into your day while you’re traveling to get your blood flowing and help your immune system. This includes walking, cycling, running, or using a hotel gym.
• Keep Moving: Try to shift your body position regularly to help alleviate stiffness and discomfort from long periods of sitting. Take short breaks from your activities or move around slowly during long periods of inactivity.
• Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout your day and avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks.
• Get Enough Sleep: Your body needs rest for health and wellness. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and rest as much as you can during the day when you need to.
By following these tips, you will be able to stay healthy as you explore new places.
When to Seek Medical Care Abroad
Sometimes, even when you do everything to stay healthy, medical emergencies can happen. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for any medical needs while traveling abroad. Here are some steps to take if you do need a home to seek medical care while abroad:
• Understand the Location of Medical Care: Make sure you know the location of the nearest hospital, clinic or pharmacy in case of an emergency.
• Pack a Traveler’s Aid Kit: The aid kit should include items such as basic medications and a cold compress.
• Carry Health Insurance: Make sure you have health insurance that covers you while traveling abroad. Check with your insurance provider to understand what your coverage limits are.
• Check Vaccination Requirements: Check what vaccinations are required for the destination you’re traveling to and make sure you’re up-to-date on all your travel immunizations.
• Avoid Contact with Sick People: Exercise caution to avoid contact with sick people during your travels and avoid contact with places where you may be exposed to infection.
In the event of an emergency, make sure to stay calm, get medical attention as needed, and make sure that your insurance provider will cover costs overseas.
After You Travel: Monitor Your Health and Look for Symptoms
After you travel, it’s important to be conscious of your health and look for potential symptoms of illness. Make sure to stay informed about the current health situation in the areas you have traveled to and monitor for any potential signs of illness or exposure. You should also watch for any symptoms that may indicate a more serious medical condition. Here are some steps you should take to monitor your health as you transition back to your home country:
• Monitor Your Health: Watch for any physical symptoms such as fever, fatigue, or difficulty breathing.
• Get Vaccinated: Make sure to get vaccinated as soon as possible after you arrive home. This is especially important if you traveled to countries where certain vaccines are required or recommended.
• Ask for a Traveler's Health Form: Ask your provider for a traveler’s health form, which will help you track the health problems that occurred during your time abroad and monitor them upon your return home.
• Stay Updated: Read local and international news and information related to public health, epidemics, and other health-related issues. This knowledge will help you stay informed.
Remember that taking control of your health and safety is important after you travel. Healthcare in many other countries may be limited, so make sure you prioritize your well-being.
We have discussed some important steps you should take to ensure your safety and health when traveling abroad. It is essential to be aware of the health and safety risks associated with traveling to other countries and ensure you plan to protect your health. Make sure you keep up to date with vaccinations, if recommended. Research the healthcare systems in the countries you are visiting, access hospitals, and look up the US embassy. Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of illnesses and take preventative measures such as vaccinations, staying hydrated, eating healthily, and avoiding contact with sick people. It is essential to pay attention to your health before and after traveling and monitor for any symptoms of illness or exposure. Don’t hesitate to seek medical help if needed, and be sure to ask your provider for a traveler’s health form to help you keep track of any health issues which occur during your travels.