Be aware of any travel alerts and warnings for your destination
International travelers should always be extra concerned about their health and safety. Here is essential information on travel health risks and preventive measures to keep you and your loved ones safe during your travels.
In many countries, vaccine preventable diseases are still common even though they have been eradicated from the US. Vaccination before travel is imperative to ensure global public health and to help individuals stay healthy during and after their travels.
You should consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel. This is an opportunity to review your immunization history and assess your needs based on when and where you plan to travel.
Insect Bite Prevention
Many travel-related diseases are spread by infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, or flies. Before you travel, be aware of the insects at your destination that cause disease and know their peak biting times (e.g. day vs. night) and areas (e.g. indoors vs. outdoors, rural vs. urban).
To minimize your risk, you should always take protective measures to avoid insect bites and ensure you have the appropriate preventive vaccines and/or medications.
Eat and Drink Safely
The most common illnesses among travelers are generally caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, or viruses. Always take precautions with food and water to avoid getting sick.
In most developing countries, tap water should probably not be drunk, even in cities. This includes beverages with ice, swallowing water when showering or brushing your teeth. In some areas, it may be advisable to brush your teeth with bottled water.
Unfortunately, cyber-based threats can significantly increase when you are travelling, and devices can easily be compromised or stolen. When you travel, protect yourself by being cyber aware.
You can connect your cellphone, smart phone, laptop or tablet to the Internet at wireless access points, sometimes free of charge, at coffee shops, in hotels or at airports during your travels. These highly unsecured networks are accessible to everyone. Any information that you send over an unknown network could be intercepted. Therefore, you should never transmit information that you wouldn’t want disclosed to an undesired or unauthorized party.
Alcohol & Drugs
When you travel abroad, you are subject to the laws of the country you are visiting. If you get caught with illegal drugs, being a foreigner or not knowing the local laws is no excuse—any more than it would be in the United States. Your United States citizenship does not give you immunity or preferential treatment in other countries.
Buying and using drugs, even in countries where such practices are common, can lead to criminal charges, arrest and imprisonment. Local authorities often mount “sting” operations against foreigners. If you break the law in another country, you are subject to that country’s judicial system, so do not agree to transport, hold, buy or use illegal drugs under any circumstances.
International Laws and Regulations
You are subject to the laws governing intellectual property, digital information and encrypted data in the countries that you visit. What is considered legal in one country may not necessarily be considered legal in another. The legislation may extend beyond the data to the hardware and the format in which it is stored. If you are not familiar with the laws covering intellectual property, digital information and encrypted data in your destination country, contact the embassy or mission of your destination country in Canada before you leave on your trip abroad.
Additional Online Resources
CDC Travel Health
Health information for travel to over 250 international destinations.