BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
Photocopy the data page of your passport and acquire an extra passport photo. Keep them separate from your passport while you travel in case of theft of loss so that you can replace the passport. In addition, leave the passport number, date and place of issuance with a relative or friend in the United States. Report any loss or theft immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. If you can provide the consular officer with the information contained in your passport, it will make getting a replacement easier.
Here are some tips and recommendations to help you prepare for a healthier journey:
- Review health care information available about your destination. Find out what you can about the health care system and prevelant diseases. Look in almanacs, a country overview in the encyclopedia. This information will help you to know what resources you will be able to rely on and how much you will have to take responsibility for.
- Get your body in shape. See a physician for any ongoing or acute medical problem, no matter how trivial. Resolve any problems before you leave.
- Verify your blood type. If you need a transfusion, you’ll want to know this information.
- Check whether you need immunizations with your health care provider. Ask about shots or boosters appropriate for the area you will be visiting. Here are some basic criteria:
- Tetanus-diphtheria booster if five years or longer since last booster. Tetanus vaccine overseas is often a different type of vaccine, and you may have a reaction to it.
- Tuberculosis (TB) test-within six months before leaving the United States and within 10 weeks after returning to the United States.
- Centers for Disease Control recommends ALL COLLEGE AGE STUDENTS be immunized for Hepatitis B and receive a second Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination.
- See a dentist for a check-up even if you are not having dental problems. Dental care treatment and practices vary around the world, so it is best to have any necessary dental treatments taken care of at the same time.
- Get an extra pair of eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses and/or contact lenses. Bring along your optical prescription.
- Take enough of your prescription medications for your entire stay. Be sure to carry prescription medicines in their original vials or packaging with the prescription labels attached. Like in the USA, most medicines are readily available in Europe, but many brand names are different in Europe. So make sure you know what the substance name of the medication is (the "ingredients), both for prescribed and nonprescription medicines. In case you run out of medicine, and need to get a new supply, the substance name is very important. Please note that there are American medicines, both prescription and nonprescription that are banned or illegal in Europe and may not enter the continent. If found by customs, these will be confiscated and destroyed, irrespective of purchase costs. This includes medicines sent by mail. Your pharmacist can advise you on such legal issues and give the brand names of alternative European medicines.
- Check the expiration dates on your medication. Do not bring medication that is past its expiration date.
- Hand-carry copies of your medical records and/or letter from your physician describing any special medical needs or requirements.
- Bring a medical kit to include: bandages, rubbing alcohol, anti-diarrhea medication, anti-bacterial ointment, pain reliever, sunscreen, etc. Again, be sure to pack regular medications and carry them in your carry-on luggage in the event that your bags should get lost.