If you are a last-minute business traveler, returning to your home country for a family emergency, or traveling internationally on short notice for another reason, you can still plan for safe and healthy travel.
Even if you are leaving soon, there are steps you can take to prepare for a safe and healthy trip.
- Check CDC Destination pages for important travel health information about your destination, including information about recommended vaccines and medicines.
- If possible, get an in-person or telehealth appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your trip and any vaccinations and medications you may need.
- Check with you healthcare provider to see if any of the vaccinations you need can be given on an accelerated schedule.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate of your trip and for help in case of an emergency.
Talk to your doctor about vaccines and medicines
If you are short on time, some vaccines can be administered on an accelerated schedule, meaning doses are given in a shorter period of time.
You may also want to get at least the first dose of certain vaccines that usually require multiple doses so you get some protection before your trip. These include hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis, and rabies vaccines.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Some countries require, proof of yellow fever vaccination before entering the country. This proof is usually a signed and stamped International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) card that you receive after you get the vaccine. Your proof of vaccination is not valid until 10 days after you get the vaccine because of the time it takes for your body to build protection. If your destination requires proof of yellow fever vaccination and you are not able to get the vaccine 10 days before travel, you may need to change your travel plans.
If there is a risk of malaria at your destination, your healthcare provider may prescribe medicine to prevent malaria. Be sure to let your healthcare provider know when you are leaving, so they can prescribe the right amount of medicine for you. Some malaria medications must be started 1-2 weeks before you go, while others only need to be started 1-2 days before you travel. You will still need to take steps to prevent mosquito bites during travel, since malaria drugs are not 100% effective and they don’t protect against other diseases spread by mosquitoes (like Zika, dengue, and chikungunya).
Additional Travel Tips
- Wash your hands often with soap and clean water or use hand sanitizer (made with at least 60% alcohol) if clean water is not available.
- Choose safer food and drink options. Contaminated food or drinks can make you sick with travelers’ diarrhea and other diseases.
- Wear EPA-registered insect repellent to prevent mosquito and other bug bites. .
- Consider if your destination means you need to prepare for extremely hot or cold weather. Bringing multiple loose layers and a warm jacket for cold weather or light-colored clothing and sunglasses for warm weather.
- Avoid animals when traveling. In addition to the risk of rabies, animals can spread other diseases to people.
- Pack a travel health kit with your prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Bring enough medicine to last your whole trip, plus a little extra in case of delays. Also, pack sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and EPA-registered insect repellant and other supplies.
- Avoid Bug Bites
- Food and Water Safety
- Pack Smart
- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
- Travelers’ Diarrhea
- CDC Yellow Book: Last-Minute Travelers
- CDC Yellow Book: Vaccine Recommendations for Infants & Children
- CDC Yellow Book: Travel Vaccine Summary Table