Personal Health

Stay Healthy Abroad With Travel Immunizations

Planning to take a trip abroad? You'll need to get your travel immunizations in order first. Leaving the country often requires immunization against any illness or disease you may encounter on your travels, and these vaccines also protect the people around you from becoming ill. No matter where you go, immunizations are critical for keeping populations healthy. Because you'll want to begin your planning at least two months in advance, follow this guide to managing your travel immunizations, and enjoy safe, healthy globetrotting.

Research Your Destination

While your doctor will provide you with the most accurate information when you go for your pre-travel appointment, it's important to thoroughly research the procedures for travel immunizations for the countries you plan to visit.

Check the U.S. Department of State's country-specific information guide, which you can use to stay up to date on travel alerts and warnings. This service will tell you whether you will be required to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination (also called a yellow card) to prove you've received the vaccinations you need to be in that country. Additionally, the guide includes information regarding certain countries' exit requirements, such as receiving additional immunizations before your departure.

Consider Which Immunizations You'll Need

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Travelers' Health guide helps determine which vaccines you should receive based on your destination and other personal factors. Travel immunization requirements vary greatly among individuals, so take into account any health status, lifestyle factors, or other special considerations that could influence your immunization. These details could hamper safe international travel.

The immunizations you require will depend heavily on where you're traveling. In some countries, no vaccines are needed for entrance. In other parts of the world, such as the meningitis belt of Africa, vaccines are necessary for outside travelers.

There could also be an outbreak of a serious epidemic, in which case you will likely be advised to avoid travel to that area. The World Health Organization offers guidelines for international travel, with updates on epidemics in countries and disease distribution maps. Learn about health policy in a number of individual countries.

Schedule a Pre-Travel Appointment

Four to six weeks before your trip, make a pre-travel appointment at a clinic to obtain your necessary medications and vaccinations. To provide you with appropriate medical care, your doctor will ask you about your destination(s), the duration of your trip, what activities you'll be doing, and other relevant information. Because you've already researched your destination and required immunizations, this appointment is also your opportunity to ask any and all questions you may have about your trip. Make sure you feel confident and fully prepared as you embark on your journey abroad.

International travel is always exciting, and you shoudn't stress about potential illnesses if you've done your due diligence. By following the above guidelines, you'll be well prepared to stay safe and enjoy your trip.

Posted in Personal Health

Julia is a freelance journalist specializing in health, tech, lifestyle, and culture reporting. Her work has appeared in, USA Today College,, and Healthline, among other publications.

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*This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute health care advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or physician before making health care decisions.