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Guide for traveling outside the United States

Guide for traveling outside the United States | UPMC Health Plan

Traveling can be very fun, especially to different countries around the world. So many countries have their own unique culture; the opportunities to explore and learn seem endless.

My fiancé and I are currently planning a trip to the Philippines to celebrate our marriage. This trip is exciting for me because I get to share my roots and culture with the love of my life. To get there, we’ll fly 22 hours and then drive three hours from the Manila International airport to Olongapo City. That is an entire day’s worth of traveling! We will be stopping in Olongapo City, where I was born and lived until moving to the U.S. in 1993. Then we’ll be traveling to another island of the Philippines called Boracay.

Before traveling outside of US, there are a few things to consider. First, plan ahead to get to your destination with as few complications as possible.

  • Be aware of any travel alerts or warnings involving your destination. You don’t want to travel there if there are major events going on such as typhoon season, an epidemic, or anything catastrophic that might endanger your life. Some of the best places to check on alerts: the Traveler’s Health section of the CDC website and
  • Make sure you have all the required documents to enter the foreign country and re-enter the U.S.
  • Also make sure you have copies of your itinerary; travel documents; and contact information for your lodging, hospitals or clinics in the area, and U.S. embassy location in case Internet access is limited. You may want to make a copy of your passport and leave it behind with family in case yours goes missing/stolen while traveling. A family member can fax it to a local embassy for you to obtain a temporary passport while traveling.

The second thing you need to remember is your health. Since you will be leaving the U.S., you may be at risk of exposure to diseases found in your destination country. Here’s how to protect yourself:

  • Visit your doctor four to six weeks before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need.
  • Stick to safe food and water habits. Only eat food that is cooked and served hot; only drink bottled water that is sealed.
  • Bring prescriptions and medicine to treat unexpected illnesses like altitude sickness, motion sickness, and upset stomach.
  • Plan and be prepared for an emergency.
    • Carry your health insurance documents, emergency contact card (family member or close contact in the S., and your health care provider).
    • UPMC Health Plan members, carry your Assist America® card as well. As a member, you can connect to care through the Health Plan’s global emergency travel partner at no charge. UPMC Health Plan provides Assist America to members free of charge. To print your Assist America card, log in to MyHealth OnLine and click the Self-Service Tools link at the top of the page under your name.

Do you have any travel tips to add? Leave a comment!