What the Doctor Said: How to Prepare for Travel

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Talk to your doctor about your health and any travel concerns prior to boarding your next flight.

This post is in collaboration with Nakturnal, and is contributed by an outside writer. While its tips are evergreen, note that now is a particularly important moment in history to consult with your doctor before embarking on any grand adventures.

You’ve planned your next big vacation and you can hardly wait! A trip to Thailand to explore Bangkok, visit beautiful beaches, and live like the locals — something you’ve been itching to do for years.

While you might be ready to jump on the plane now and head to your exciting destination, you’ll want to take a step back and consult your doctor first. There are a number of things you need to consider medically when traveling abroad.

From attending a yearly check-up to getting the proper vaccinations, you’ll want to hear what your doctor has to say. So once that once in a lifetime trip has been booked, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor and learn what you need to consider before packing your bags.

Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover in this article: 

  • Visit your doctor ahead of your trip
  • Get any necessary Immunizations 
  • Pack plenty of medication
  • Know what your health insurance covers
Consulting with your doctor will provide you a clear picture of what your health looks like and prepare you for an upcoming trip. That could mean getting recommended immunizations, refilling prescriptions, or understanding your medical insurance in the event of an emergency. Image courtesy of Pexels

Reasons to Consult with Your Doctor Before Travelings

It’s always a best practice to talk with your doctor prior to traveling. This is especially true for individuals with underlying health conditions or people who are looking to travel abroad. You should listen to all the medical advice of your provider to ensure a safe and healthy trip.

Here are a few of the things you should do before your next big trip to keep you healthy and prepare you for an unexpected emergency. 

Schedule an appointment with your doctor prior to your trip. This will let you know that you are in good condition to be traveling and identify any underlying health issues. Image courtesy of Pexels

Visit Your Doctor Ahead of Your Trip

It’s a good practice to visit your doctor ahead of your planned schedule for a quick check-up. This will allow you to address any potential problems and discuss things you may need to consider when traveling.

For many people, this visit might just be your yearly check-up. But for people who have underlying conditions, it’s a time for them to ensure their health is in travel shape and refill any needed medicines.

A few examples of when you’ll want to talk with your doctor before traveling: 

  • You’re pregnant.
  • You recently had surgery.
  • You’ve experienced blood clots in the past.
  • You recently had a heart attack or stroke.
  • You have a fever or severe sinus, ear, or nose infection.

If you’re unsure about whether you should plan a doctor’s appointment prior to your trip, give them a call and they can provide you with the best advice. 

For many locations abroad, you’ll need to get immunizations to keep you healthy. Talking with your doctor will let you know exactly what you need and why. Image courtesy of Pexels

Get Any Necessary Immunizations 

Another important reason for visiting your doctor prior to traveling is to identify any immunizations you may need. When you leave the country, you may expose yourself to diseases that are not present in the US.

You may not need to worry about this if you’re just traveling across the US — but if you plan to travel to another country you’ll need to consult your doctor.

If you’re traveling to a location that requires vaccinations, here’s what your doctor may require:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid and paratyphoid fever
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Yellow Fever
  • Rabies
  • Japanese Encephalitis 

Leaving yourself exposed to these viruses and diseases could not only ruin your trip but leave you very sick. It’s best to address this issue early on to ensure you have plenty of time to prepare your body before travel.

Make sure to pack plenty of medication. Depending on your destination it might be very hard to find a pharmacy if you run out of the pills you need. Image courtesy of Pexels

Pack Plenty of Medication 

Making sure you pack all the proper medication is another very important thing you need to consider. If you forget to fill your prescription and are short on medications, you could find yourself in a sticky situation. 

While you might be able to live without Tylenol for a headache, you may not be able to live without blood pressure or diabetes medication for more than a few days.

That’s especially true when you are traveling internationally or small cities that don’t have readily available pharmacies. So make sure to check and double-check your bag to ensure you have the medication you need to get you through the entire trip. 

In the unlikely event that you have a medical emergency while traveling, knowing what your insurance covers is important. Don’t be surprised by costly medical bills when you return home and start feeling better. Image courtesy of Pexels

Know What Your Insurance Covers

Last but not least, it’s important to know what your health insurance covers for travel.

What will your plan cover if you have to take an unexpected trip to a hospital in another country? Are there any limitations to what you can and can’t do when traveling if you need a prescription? 

These are all good questions to ask — but you’ll want to ask them before that emergency arises.

Here are a few steps you can take to gain a better understanding of your insurance coverage before you travel. 

  • Call your health insurance and ask about your policy’s coverage outside of the US
  • Know what to expect if you need to be transported back to the US and what costs that may entail
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance to help fill in coverage gaps

Knowing these things before you board your next flight will help you be prepared in the event of an emergency when traveling. 

Enjoy your trip without the fear of something going wrong. Consulting with your doctor will let you travel with confidence. Image courtesy of Pexels

Follow the Doctor’s Orders and Travel With Confidence

While you may not want to think about these things when you’re in the process of planning your dream vacation, it’s best to be prepared. 

Talking with your doctor ahead of traveling will let you travel with ease knowing you’re in good health, have plenty of medication, and understand what expenses you could incur due to illness. These are worst-case scenario situations, but if an emergency arises, you’ll be happy you considered it. 

1 thought on “What the Doctor Said: How to Prepare for Travel

  1. Griffin

    Thank you for writing this article! I know with COVID-19 being around right now travel will be at almost a standstill, but a lot of the information that you provided in this article will definitely be helpful for my next trip.


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