Tips for International Travelers

Tips for International Travelers

Wondering how to stay healthy and avoid getting sick during international travel?

Take these steps before departing and while traveling

Register with the embassy in the country you plan to visit. Embassy staff can assist you in many ways should something unusual occur during your stay.

  • Make sure you know which vaccines if any, you need to receive before traveling
  • Make out an itinerary of your travel plans and leave a copy with a friend or family member
  • When traveling, perform leg exercises to increase circulation and prevent blood clots. Begin by bending and straightening your legs and repeat this several times every 30 minutes. If possible, get up and walk
  • Drink plenty of water while in flight and after the flight
  • If you develop a swollen, painful leg or if you have difficulty breathing, go to an emergency department
  • Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs for your destination

Contaminated food and water

Easily the most common causes of illness among travelers, bad food or water can expose you to typhoid fever, hepatitis A, poliomyelitis, cholera, traveler's diarrhea and other diseases. Travelers' diarrhea is the most common illness travelers encounter. Check out these four tips:

  • Drink beverages from cans or bottles, NOT from a local source
  • Eat foods that have been recently cooked and are hot. Use the guideline: "Boil it, Cook it, Peel it, or Forget it"
  • Ice is the same as water. Ice made from contaminated water will remain contaminated
  • Do not wash fruits or other foods in unsafe water

Animals and insects

Animals, especially mosquitoes, are carriers of infectious diseases. If you will be traveling to areas that are not well developed, you will likely take on the increased risk of contact with infected insects, domestic or wild animals.

Try these tips for protection:

  • Wear insect repellent with DEET
  • Take medications to treat bites, such as antihistamine tablets
  • If you are traveling with your pet, you may need a health certificate and proof of vaccinations for your pet. Check with your veterinarian

Medications – plan ahead

Proper medications are not always available abroad, so it's important to plan ahead and have enough medication from the outset.

  • Take medications in their original containers or have your pharmacist prepare your medication in containers with just enough for your trip plus four days
  • Follow recommendations from a travel specialist (like us) on what medications you will need overseas
  • Take all necessary medications in your carry-on bag; do not put medications in checked baggage


Depending on the purpose of your trip, you may encounter places, people or circumstances that may affect your health. Pack and dress appropriately for the weather.

  • Limit close contact with those who may transmit diseases (rural and poor), and especially avoid blood and other bodily fluids
  • Avoid unprotected sexual activity.
  • In sunny locations, wear sunblock, limit your exposure time, drink plenty of safe water and wear a hat