Whether you’re traveling to another country to volunteer or just relax and explore, you’ll want to plan ahead and prepare, so you can enjoy your trip overseas.
Check your destination’s travel notices and local news
Even if you’ve visited a country in the past, it’s wise to check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization to get their latest country-specific travel notices. Some countries will have special requirements or warnings that may have changed since you last visited.
Find out about any potential health risks
Will you need special vaccinations? Are there specific health risks associated with your destination? For example, a trip to Namibia will put you at a higher risk for malaria than other locations, so you might need a polio booster shot before you go. Start planning your overseas travel in advance, to make sure you’ll be up-to-date on all of your shots and medications.
Give yourself enough time
If you need vaccinations, you’ll want to start getting those at least a month in advance of your trip. That way, they have enough time to be effective and you can make sure you get all you need – sometimes you’ll need a series of shots. Your doctor can help you research the vaccinations you might need. The CDC also provides a list of routine, recommended and required vaccinations for various locations.
Research the country’s history of natural disasters
Some areas are more prone to earthquakes, hurricanes or tsunamis. You can research your destination by going to the U.S. Department of State’s website. You’ll find information about how to prepare, what to do and who to call in case something happens.