Getting Health Care During Travel
You can get sick or injured during travel and might need health care. Before your trip, make a plan for how you will get health care when traveling. This plan is especially important for senior citizens, pregnant women, people with underlying medical conditions, and people who will be traveling for more than 6 months.
Make a plan
Before you travel, know how you will get health care.
- Get travel insurance. Find out if your health insurance covers medical care abroad. Travelers are usually responsible for paying hospital and other medical expenses out of pocket at most destinations. Make sure you have a plan to get care overseas, in case you need it. Consider buying additional insurance that covers health care and emergency evacuation, especially if you will be traveling to remote areas.
- Enroll with the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Check for and monitor any travel advisories for your destination. Enrolling also ensures that the US Department of State knows where you are if you have serious legal, medical, or financial difficulties while traveling. In the event of an emergency at home, STEP can also help friends and family contact you.
- Take recommended medicines as directed. If your doctor prescribes medicine for you, take the medicine as directed before, during, and after travel. Counterfeit drugs are common in some countries, so only take medicine you bring from home and make sure to pack enough for the duration of your trip, plus extra in case of travel delays. Learn more about traveling abroad with medicine.
- Prepare a card that identifies your blood type, any chronic illnesses you have, any medicines you are taking, and your allergies. Have this information available in your destination's local language, if possible.
- Wear a MedicAlert bracelet if you have serious medical conditions.
Health Care Resources for Travelers
The following list of resources may 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 your 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 US 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 may also provide information on local health care resources.
- 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