11 Tips for Maintaining Your Health While Studying or Traveling Abroad


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South Shore Health

Studying or traveling abroad can be an exciting part of the college experience. However, it’s important to keep health and safety in mind when visiting another country.

Here are some tips to ensure you have a safe and healthy trip, whether you’re spending a semester overseas or traveling for pleasure.

Before you leave

  • Research country-specific health and safety information and heed advice from your program/university about local health concerns.
  • Discuss your plans with your healthcare provider. Make sure your routine vaccinations are up to date and obtain any others recommended by your provider. 
  • Make arrangements in advance for any care you know you will need abroad. If you believe you will need access to therapy, arrange for telehealth visits or a therapist at your destination.
  • Schedule medical, dental, and eye exams for before you leave, even if you are generally healthy.


Insurance and medication information

  • Make sure you have adequate health insurance and that you know how to access benefits while you are outside of the United States.
  • If you take medication, check to make sure you can legally bring it into your host country. For prescription medication, take a copy of the prescription with you.
  • Make prior arrangements for birth control, ensuring that you have enough of a supply to last the entirety of your trip.


What to pack for your trip abroad

  • The CDC recommends that you pack a travel health kit. This kit should contain things like prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines (enough to last your whole trip, plus a little extra), first aid supplies, condoms, and your health insurance card.
  • Pack any necessary medication in your carry-on luggage, not in checked baggage. You don’t want to be stuck without medication if your suitcase gets lost!
  • In certain countries, there may be a lack of access to sanitary products due to stigma behind menstruation. Be sure to research the availability of these products at your destination and pack accordingly.
  • Bring a copy of your medical records with you.


General safety information for travelling or studying abroad

  • Consider whether you need other types of insurance, such as trip cancellation, in case of an unforeseen circumstance.
  • If you are a U.S. citizen, register for the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
  • Plan how you will contact your family in the event of an emergency abroad.
  • Review State Department travel information, including specific information for Students Abroad.
  • Carry emergency contact information with you at all times, including contact information for your program or host, your country’s embassy, and the local equivalent of 911.


Prepare for your trip at South Shore Medical Center

South Shore Medical Center’s Braintree and Norwell locations offer a number of travel health services to help patients prepare for a trip, including common vaccines for international travelers.

We also provide current health-related travel information, food and water precautions, travel safety advisories, and destination country entrance requirements.


Learn more about Travel Health Services at South Shore Medical Center.