Planning & Advice

Healthy Travel

Healthy Travel

After investing thousands in a vacation, the last thing you want to have happen is to get sick, preventing you from enjoying the much-anticipated destination and trip activities. A few trip precautions can help keep you healthy and enjoying your vacation.

Never brush teeth in countries where U.S. standards of cleanliness are lower (i.e. Mongolia, Haiti, Pakistan, Palau) unless using bottled water. Wash hands constantly, but use Purell afterwards as a sanitizer (Why would you avoid drinking the water, but you’ll wash in it?). Note: If carrying this product in your carry-on if you’re flying, be sure it is less than 3 ounces and is put into a clear quart size bag to go through screening, as outlined by TSA. Only drink bottled water with the seal in tact. Order bottled beer vs. drinks with ice or frozen beverages. Request to have a drink already chilled (i.e. can of Coke) to avoid using ice cubes. Have Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate in a pill form (easy to transport) in your overnight bag just in case. Keep water out of your mouth while showering. Never eat raw vegetables. This is because the water that is used to wash the vegetables could be contaminated.

Ensure shots are current for countries slated to visit. Despite taking health-precautions to stay healthy, it is possible to still come down with something. So, what do you do when something goes wrong or need medical attention? There are some items you can do prior to departing to help ensure you are protected when traveling to foreign countries.

First, consider purchasing travel insurance that extends medical coverage. Some policies offered by travel insurance companies, such as Travel Guard, allow pre-existing conditions to be covered while traveling. This, of course, depends on the policy selected. For a complete overview of travel insurance product inclusions, visit comparison sites such as or

Be sure to check with your health insurance policy before you depart to see what is covered when you’re out of the U.S. Does your policy provide guaranteed payments abroad, a 24-hour support system for emergencies, and emergency medical evacuation coverage? If not, you might consider purchasing a separate policy specializing in medial evacuation such as Travel Guard or MEDEX. Even some credit cards, like American Express Platinum, also offer evacuation coverage. Keep in mind that evacuation coverage is not medical coverage. And, it’s important to note that medical evacuation providers decide whether and to where you’ll be evacuated. Med Jet Assist is one company which takes clients to any hospital of their choice, albeit if the client is already hospitalized.

Before you depart on your international travels, make an appointment with a travel health specialist or preferred physician to discuss places that require vaccinations or anti-malaria medication. Note that some of these preventative medical items require advance notice and time to actually administer.

If you take ill while traveling, you can contact the U.S. embassy or consulate at our destination for local health care recommendations. Another resource is the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers, which has a directory of English-speaking doctors in 125 countries. The online listing is free to obtain at so you can print the countries you’ll be visiting. All of the medical professionals listed in the directory received their training in the U.S. or Europe and charge $80 for the initial office visit.

Once you arrive at your destination or aboard your cruise, make yourself familiar with where the medical facilities are located. I’ve noticed on my recent travels the increases of public stations offering hand sanitizers to reduce the spread of germs and disease. And take a moment in your room or cabin to do a “wipe down”use a disinfectant wipe on the public touch areas of the room to further sterilize.