Skip to Content

Happy Travels: Tips to Stay Healthy While on Vacation


It is important that everyone in the family, young and old, get the appropriate vaccinations, especially if traveling internationally. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, travelers should visit a travel medicine physician four to six weeks before their trip because most vaccines take time to become effective in your body, and some vaccines must be given in a series over a period of days or sometimes weeks.

Health Insurance

Because travelers are responsible for hospital and other medical expenses incurred during their trip, it is important to find out if your insurance can cover it. Think about purchasing additional health insurance for your trip if your health insurance does not cover you while you are traveling. To find a list of possible travel health and medical insurance companies, visit the travel section of the U.S. Department of State website at

Travel Health Kit

Essential medications should be taken on the plane in a carry-on bag rather than packed in your checked luggage to avoid loss. Take along a copy of the prescriptions for necessary medicines. Ask your doctor to include the generic name, as some trade name prescriptions are not available in foreign countries. Make sure to keep medicines in their original labeled containers. 

Travelers should always bring a first aid kit that includes basic things such as antacids, anti-gas pills, anti-diarrheal medicine, antimicrobial ointment, band aids, moisturizing cream, throat lozenges, small alcohol wipes, a mild laxative, insect repellant containing DEET (30%-50%) or picaridin (up to 15%), sunscreen (preferably SPF 15 or greater), antibacterial hand wipes, lubricating eye drops, and if approved by your doctor, include a decongestant, antihistamine and acetaminophen.

Visit Your Doctor

It is important that you visit a travel medicine specialist or a doctor familiar with travel medicine to answer your questions and make specific recommendations for you. A travel medicine specialist can:

  • Help you prevent or treat travel-related conditions such as infectious diseases, traveler’s diarrhea, jet lag, motion sickness and high altitude sickness.
  • Recommend items that should be brought with you in a travel kit.
  • Help you to get in contact with a physician in your destination country.
  • Give information for traveler’s health insurance.
  • Inform you about the current political and cultural climate of the country in which you will be staying so that you can be as safe as possible.

When you visit your doctor, you should bring a list of your current medications, any allergies that you may have, your previous immunizations and your medical history. You should also have your complete travel itinerary including the countries and regions you’ll be visiting, the duration of the trip, any planned activities, and your place of residence (a modern hotel/resort, tent/campground, rural home, etc.).

For more information or to set up an appointment with a travel medicine specialist, call Delaware County Memorial Hospital’s Travelers’ Health Service at (610) 622-8900 or the Crozer International Travel Medicine Center at (610) 619-8500.

eNewsletter Signup

Our eNewsletters from Crozer-Keystone Health System help keep you up-to-date on your health and well being. View recent editions or sign up to receive our free eNewsletters.