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Travel Health Preparation Guide

Travel Health Preparation

The Travel Health Preparation Guide is designed to help you (1) identify and (2) plan for your health and well-being during travel, with a particular focus on how health conditions and/or disabilities that are managed in the U.S. healthcare context may change or be more challenging in an off-campus or international setting.

Whether you are traveling domestically or abroad, following the steps below will assist you in proactively addressing potential health challenges:

  • Review the questions on the page and research strategies to manage your health in your travel destination/s
  • Consult with your current psychological and/or physical health care provider or with resources available to U-M students (University Health Service, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), or GeoBlue Pre-Departure Program)
  • Share relevant information with a travel companion, on-site staff member, or program leader if it will make you feel safer, if you need routine support, or if you need support in case of an emergency

Health and Well-Being Considerations

  • Are there aspects of travel that you are anxious or fearful about?
  • What experiences may be most challenging for you (e.g., culture, interpersonal situations, etc.)?
  • Are there any particular health and/or well-being concerns so serious that you may be unable to
    manage them during travel? If so, is it better to:

    • Travel to another destination for another experience where you can better manage your
      health and well-being.
    • Postpone your travel to another time when you are better able to manage your health and
      well-being.
    • Implement strategies and utilize on-site resources that will better enable you to manage your
      health and well-being in your intended destination.
  • Are you currently being treated, or have you been treated for a serious physical health condition,
    injury, or disease within the last five years?
  • If yes, what do you do in the U.S. to care for these conditions (e.g., taking medication, seeing a health
    professional, maintaining personal networks, etc.)?
  • Do you plan on taking prescription medications while traveling? If so, are your medications legal and
    available at your destination/s? Some medications common in the United States, such as pain medications like codeine and tramadol, and others, may be considered illegal in other countries. See Traveling Abroad with Medicine for details.
  • What do you need to successfully manage your physical health conditions during your travel
    experience?
  • What concrete steps will you take to address these needs?
  • Do you need to consult with a healthcare professional at your destination/s for continued care or to
    refill a prescription?

    • Explore the GeoBlue Pre-Departure Program, which provides consultations with a GeoBlue
      clinician for planning your healthcare needs in your host country.
  • What precautions will you take for travel health risks? (See Additional Considerations for International Travel).
  • Are you currently being treated, or have you been treated during the last 5 years for a mental health
    condition (e.g., addiction, depression, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorder, a condition related to loss or
    grief, etc.)?
  • If yes, what do you do on campus to care for these conditions (e.g., medication, seeing a health
    professional, personal networks, etc.)?
  • Do you plan on taking mental health prescription medications while traveling? If so, are your
    medications legal and available at your destination/s? Some medications common in the United
    States, such as medications for attention deficit disorder like Adderall, Ritalin, and others, may be
    considered illegal in other countries. See Traveling Abroad with Medicine for details.
  • What do you need to successfully manage your mental health and well-being during your travel
    experience?
  • What concrete steps will you take to address these needs?
  • Do you need to consult with a mental health professional at your destination for continued care or to
    refill a prescription?
  • How would this condition be treated during an acute flare up, what coping strategies you have
    found helpful for it, and can you replicate this treatment or apply the coping strategies while
    traveling? Suggested resources include:

  • Do you have any drug, food, or other allergies (e.g., medications, gluten, nuts, shellfish, bee stings,
    wool, etc.)?
  • If yes, what are your reactions if exposed?
  • How likely will it be to encounter these allergies in your host destination/s?
  • What steps will you take to minimize the risk of exposure and/or plan for treatment?
  • If meals will be provided for you by a program leader or in-country host, how will you make your
    allergies known?
  • How will you accommodate these dietary preferences during travel?
  • Will your main sources of nutrition be available in your host location?
  • Are there any items you should plan to carry with you?
  • If meals will be provided for you, either by a program leader or in-country host, how will you make
    your dietary preferences and restrictions known?
  • Make a list of any prescription and over-the-counter medications you currently take (e.g., birth
    control, insulin for diabetes, Claritin for outdoor allergies).
  • Next, indicate which ones you will need during travel and in what amounts.
  • What are the translations for each medication in your destination language and a local brand
    name?
  • Are these medications available in your host location/country?
  • Are there any legal restrictions? Some medications common in the United States, such as Adderall,
    Ritalin, Sudafed, codeine, tramadol, and others, may be considered illegal in other countries.
  • For international travelers, the following resources can assist you in determining the legality or
    availability of your medications abroad:

    • See Traveling Abroad with Medicine for guidance, which includes calling the Embassy or
      Consulate of each country you will be visiting to determine if your medications can be safely
      brought into the country.
    • You may also want to check the International Narcotics Control Board, which provides general
      information about narcotics and controlled substances for countries that have information
      available for travelers.
    • Contact GeoBlue using the Pre-departure Program to determine if a particular medication is
      available in the destination/s. Please note that it is possible that a medication is available in a country, but it may be illegal to bring the medication through customs.
    • Search for your medications on the GeoBlue Students Drug Equivalents Guide:
      https://members.geobluestudents.com/TranslationTools/DrugEquivalents
  • Keep a copy of your immunization record in case of a health emergency or for public health entry
    requirements.
  • Review the list of required and recommended immunizations and prophylaxis for your host
    location/s. For general recommendations, look up your destination/s on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler’s Health site.
  • If you do not have these items, how will you locate them and arrange for any boosters or new
    immunizations needed before departure? You can also set up an appointment at UHS by following
    the steps listed on the UHS Travel Health Services page.
  • Are you traveling to a destination where English is not the primary language?
  • Do you speak the local language? If not, what strategies will you use to explain your healthcare
    needs?
  • If needed, have you identified healthcare facilities where English-speaking professionals are
    available? Note: Medical facilities affiliated with GeoBlue that have English-speaking staff are listed
    on their website: geobluestudents.com.
  • Do you have any conditions requiring special accommodations during travel (e.g., mobility or
    physical activity restrictions, learning disabilities, hearing or visual loss, etc.)?
  • If yes, what accommodations or support services do you receive on campus?
  • Will these accommodations be needed during travel?
  • Are these accommodations available in your host location?
  • What steps will you take to research your options?
  • Additional considerations and resources are on the Disabilities Abroad page.
  • Note: Students are responsible for initiating the accommodations process by utilizing the
    Disabilities Accommodations Abroad Form. If you are not already registered with the Office for
    Services for Students with Disabilities, please register at https://ssd.umich.edu/.

Resources

For international travel, once you are enrolled in GeoBlue, visit the GeoBlue website to locate
medical facilities and doctors in your travel destination/s. You can also call a GeoBlue Advisor to
schedule any appointments before you travel.

Having this information in one place can be helpful when seeking healthcare or emergency care:

  • Health Care Provider Name. List the name of your regular healthcare provider (personal
    physician, group practice, etc.).
  • Health Care Provider Office Contact Information. List the office phone number and email
    address of your regular healthcare provider.
  • Health Care Provider Emergency Contact. List the after-hours emergency number for your
    healthcare provider.