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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Staying Healthy Abroad


Nothing will ruin your trip abroad quicker than an accident or illness, yet there are steps you can and should take to minimize this risk.

Know the risks: the CDC’s website has a wealth of general and destination specific medical information for travelers.
Be prepared: consult with your clinician BEFORE you travel, preferably one with travel medicine expertise.

Be sure to inquire about any special vaccine requirements, and whether malaria prevention is needed; the CDC website has destination specific information regarding these as well.

Educate yourself about routine first aid measures, and safe food and fluid measures.

Did you know that traffic accidents are a leading cause of serious injury and death for U.S. citizens abroad? Take precautions, avoid overcrowded buses and trains, don’t drive at night, and wear your seat belts. These websites have more tips to stay safe while traveling abroad:

Finally, make sure you are insured while overseas. For example, Medicare and some HMO policies do not cover you when outside the U.S. Check with your health insurer to make sure you are covered while abroad, and know the limits of that coverage. A catastrophic illness or accident requiring a medical evacuation can cost well in excess of $100,000. Supplemental policies can be obtained that cover these and other unforeseen expenses.


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