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Travel Preparation Tips

The summer is a season during which many Americans take vacations from work to travel, often to destinations abroad. Traveling can be both an action-packed adventure and a time to kick back and relax. Whatever kind of trip one takes, it is important to make plans to ensure a safe journey. Some safety precautions should be taken before the trip begins. An important pre-travel step is to visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) destination guide. This web page gives you country by country health information, detailing health risks like yellow fever and cholera. Also check the CDC's travel notices for your destination. This page offers recently updated travel information, including disease outbreaks and weather-related risks like earthquakes and hurricanes. It is important to see a doctor before traveling outside of the country. Be certain that you have all of the vaccinations recommended for your destination. Talk with your doctor about whether you have any special health considerations for travel. Some of these would include pregnancy, a weakened immune system, or disabilities. If you or someone you are travelling with has disabilities, learn what disability accommodations will and won't be available over your trip. If you wear medical ID jewelry, it is especially important to wear it when you travel. If you can, pack an extra medical id bracelet or necklace in case the other gets lost. Carry a medical ID card on your person to give more detailed information to a responder in the case of an emergency. Learn about the culture of your travel destination. The State Department has helpful cultural summaries for many countries. Having this information will help prevent miscommunications with the local people due to cultural differences. When packing, include a copy of your passport and travel documents in each piece of luggage. Also leave a copy with a friend or relative. Check with your airline about items that are restricted in carry-on and regular luggage. Put together a travel health kit. Pack prescription medications in your carry-on luggage along with copies of all prescriptions, including generic names. If you have severe allergies, have epinephrine pens on hand. Some other items to include in your travel health kit are:
  • a prescription of antibiotics in case of moderate to severe diarrhea
  • over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medicine
  • antihistamine
  • decongestant
  • anti-motion sickness medicine
  • pain and fever medicine like acetaminophen or aspirin
  • cough drops
  • insect repellent
  • sunscreen
  • eye drops
  • antibacterial hand wipes or hand sanitizer
  • band aids
  • tweezers
  • moleskin for blisters
  • aloe gel
  • cotton balls
Thinking ahead and being prepared for the health risks of travel will lead to a safer and happier trip.

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