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Tourists traveling abroad face health risks in other countries that may not exist in the U.S. Vaccinations will minimize their chances of contracting a serious illness while overseas. What are the two most important tips for staying healthy while traveling? Visit a physician four to six weeks before embarking on an international trip, and invest in the type international travel insurance that provides emergency treatment and emergency evacuation while traveling should either become necessary.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) categorizes immunizations into three separate types: routine, recommended and required. At a minimum, a tourist will need the required vaccinations for the part of the world he or she will be visiting.

Routine Vaccinations

Vaccinations are not a legal requirement in the U.S., but the vast majority of infants, children and teenagers are immunized against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, hepatitis A and B, poliomyelitis, varicella, measles, mumps and rubella. These diseases are rare in the U.S. and other industrialized countries but are still common in many other parts of the world.

Recommended Vaccinations

Vaccinations against pandemic outbreaks in areas of travel are recommended for travelers who have not previously been vaccinated. A traveler should never merely assume that he or she was vaccinated as a child. Confirm vaccinations by referring to immunization records. Many vaccinations, like measles, only result in complete immunity after a schedule of immunizations; while others, like tetanus, may need to be updated periodically. If the traveler needs additional vaccinations before traveling, these should be administered four to six weeks before departing the U.S. so that travelers have time to build up immunity.

Africa and Asia are currently in the midst of a measles pandemic, while Europe is battling periodic outbreaks. Public health authorities recommend measles vaccinations for all prospective travelers to those areas who are not up to date on their measles vaccinations.

Required Vaccinations

Only two vaccinations are required for international travel at this time. International Health Regulations currently require yellow fever vaccination for travel in certain parts of Africa, while the Saudi Arabian government requires a vaccination for meningococcal meningitis for travelers entering that country during the Hajj.

Medical Trip Insurance

Medical trip insurance is a type of international travel insurance that provides treatment in the event that a medical emergency occurs while a tourist is traveling abroad. Most health insurance policies do not provide coverage outside the country where the policy originates. Medical trip insurance compensates policyholders for physician’s fees, hospital expenses and the costs of diagnostic tests such as x-rays. One of the best tips for staying healthy while traveling is investing in the peace of mind that medical trip insurance will provide.

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