The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the hurricane and typhoon seasons in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Check out what’s happening to see how your travel plans may be impacted by weather.
Cell phones can be very handy when you travel. They can act as a flashlight. You can take a photo of your hotel and if you can’t communicate with your cabby, show him a picture. You can take a photo of important things, like your passport, itinerary , immunization record, medical history, medication list, phone numbers of your credit card companies international line to report stolen or lost cards, and the number of your travel health insurance company.
Hey, you can even make phone calls!
|Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)|
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency. Sign up for Travel Alerts.
Traveling in under developed countries poses some unique challenges. What if I get cut and need stitches? What if I have a dental emergency? Get diarrhea so bad I need IV rehydration? Will they have properly sterilized equipment?
You can purchase syringe and suture kits to take with you. These are not do it yourself kits. They are to be given to a trained health care provider to use on you in such emergencies.
Typically, these kits contain needles, suture materials, IV catheters, gloves and antiviral and antibacterial wipes to close wounds and start IV’s. They can be used to administer anesthetics for emergency dental procedures, too.
To help with going through customs, get a note from your travel clinic provider that states that these items are being used for personal use only. One kit from Adventure Medical Kits has declaratory statements about use printed on the outside in 8 different languages.
Many travel clinics, including Travel Health of New Hampshire, have these kits available for purchase. Hopefully you will never need to use such a kit, but in countries where blood borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis are common, it is reassuring to know that if you the equipment used on you is definitely sterile.
“I just booked a trip to(a great destination outside the USA – fill in the blank)and I
don’t want to get sick or injured. There is so much information out there. I don’t want to be paranoid or foolish and I don’t want to spend a fortune. What do I do?”
Research a little first. Get some information about your destination and think about some of the activities you might do there. The CDC web site is compact, user friendly, complete and current. Start a folder either paper or electronic and keep your information all together. Get a current copy of all your immunizations.
Visit a travel clinic before you see your PCP. Travel health is a lot more than just shots. You may need some immunizations and sometimes they must be given in a certain order to be effective. At Travel Health of NH, we review the required, recommended and routine vaccinations and make a plan- which ones you actually need, a schedule to receive them and the least expensive way to do this. You will also get prescriptions for malaria prevention and self treatment of many common travel related health problems individualized for you and your trip.
Get travel health insurance. At least emergency evacuation insurance. Most US health plans don’t cover travel related health expenses at all or very poorly. To compare options go to www.insuremytrip.com. What might seem like a simple problem here, isn’t in many other countries. Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of serious health problems for travelers.
Pack a basic first aid kit. Consider water purification system (SteriPen), sea sickness acupressure bands, analgesics, antacids, think about common products you use that may be nonexistent where you are going.
Make a list of important numbers. Make a file and scan a copy of your passport, include emergency travel health information, past medical history and med list, immunization record, international phone number to report loss or theft of a credit card and email it to yourself. You can access email almost anywhere in the world. There are programs like mail2web.com to retrieve email if you don’t use a major account such as Gmail or yahoo.
Plan ahead, prepare and you’ll have a lot less to worry about when you travel.
Right phone numbers– Keep important phone numbers handy for use during travel. Program your cell phone or write it down and keep it on you. You will need your airline, car rental, hotel, travel insurance company, etc. If your flight is late or cancelled, you can avoid the long line at the airline desk by calling them on your cell phone to make your arrangements. If you have travel insurance, call them and they will assist you.
Fly early in the morning if you can. These flights are the least likely to get delayed or cancelled. You will have more opportunities for rebooking that day. It’s no fun sleeping overnight in an airport because you’re stuck.
Check flight status early and often. You can do this from a computer, smart phone, and tablet or at the airport. Always check the departing and arrival boards at the airport.
Fly direct. If you have a connecting flight you also need to monitor the flights and weather at that destination, too. If you do have a connecting flight and the weather looks bad there, call the airline and see if you can reroute to another connecting flight.
Remember to bring your cell phone and keep it charged. Be prepared for the worst and hope for the best for easier winter travel.
1. Be sure you are fully immunized. Check with your primary care provider or
travel clinic 4-6 weeks before travel if possible.
2. Be familiar with food and water precautions for your destination.
3. Know where the nearest US consulate is located.
4. Pack a first aid kit specific for your itinerary.
5. Don’t go barefoot.
6. Prevent bug bites to prevent bug borne illnesses.
7. Take out trip health and emergency evacuation insurance.
8. Use the right sun protection.
9. Register with the US State Department before you go.
10. Wash your hands! Wash your hands! Wash your hands!