Getting Health Care Abroad
Travelers may get sick or injured without warning while traveling, and you should plan in advance how to get care when you’re overseas. This applies to all travelers but is especially important for senior citizens, pregnant women, people with pre-existing conditions, and long-term travelers.
Prepare in Advance
- Not all medical insurance plans cover international travel. Consider whether you might need travel health or evacuation insurance.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program on the US State Department’s website to receive emergency updates. Know which US Embassy to contact in case something goes wrong on your trip.
- Bring any medicines you may need from the United States and pack some a few days’ worth of extra medicine, just in case.
- Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, any chronic illnesses you have, any medicines you are taking, and any allergies you have.
- Wear a MedicAlert bracelet if you have serious medical conditions.
Already abroad and need to see a doctor?
The following list of resources can help international travelers identify health care providers and facilities around the world. CDC does not endorse any particular provider or medical insurance company, and accreditation does not ensure a good outcome.
- The nearest US embassy or consulate can help travelers locate medical services and notify friends, family, or employer of an emergency. They are available for emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, overseas and in Washington, DC (888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444).
- The Department of State maintains a list of travel medical and evacuation insurance providers.
- The International Society of Travel Medicine maintains a directory of health care professionals with expertise in travel medicine in more than 80 countries.
- The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers maintains a network of physicians, hospitals, and clinics that have agreed to provide care to members.
- Travel agencies, hotels, and credit card companies (especially those with special privileges) may also provide information.
- A number of countries or national travel medicine societies have websites related to travel medicine that provide access to clinicians, including the following:
- Australia: Travel Medicine Alliance
- Canada: Health Canada (www.phac-aspc.gc.ca and https://travel.gc.ca)
- China: International Travel Healthcare Association
- Great Britain: National Travel Health Network and Centre and British Global and Travel Health Association
- South Africa: South African Society of Travel Medicine