Four Tips for Safe International Travel

By Szuhua Lambdin, APRN

When planning for your trip oversees, don’t become so wrapped up in getting the necessary travel documents, booking your flights and planning your activities that you neglect the equally important task of planning to take care of your health during your travels.

Here are a few tips to remember as you prepare for your trip:

Take time to research your destination. Are there any health risks in the area? Is it prone to certain natural disasters? Are there any safety or security concerns? Consider how these answers might affect your travel plans or your behaviors while you visit.

Schedule an appointment with a travel medicine provider before your trip. Do this at least four to six weeks before you leave. He or she can help ensure you have the necessary immunizations and advice you need to have a safe, fun trip. Be prepared to discuss where you are traveling in a particular country, your trip’s length, any planned activities and your personal medical history. The University Health Center’s Travel Clinic is open to Nebraska students, faculty and staff as well as all members of the local community. Call 402.472.5000 to schedule an appointment.

Don’t let illness or injuries on your trip catch you off guard. Check your health insurance plan to see if it will cover health needs abroad. If not, consider purchasing additional travel health insurance. Know and be able to identify common travel ailments. It’s also recommended that you understand the signs and symptoms of illness so you can act quickly if something happens on your trip. Discuss these signs and symptoms with your provider during your pre-travel health appointment.

Although it may seem obvious, remember to continue practicing healthy behaviors during your trip:

  • Use sunscreen and insect repellant
  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Wear protective gear when doing adventurous activities
  • Wear a seatbelt
  • Understand and follow your destination’s laws and customs

For more helpful tips and information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Passports & International Travel websites.

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