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International Travel: Medical And Visa Requirements When Traveling Abroad

Regardless of whether one is at home or traveling abroad there are three things which seem to matter most – health, safety and complicity with the law.  Naturally, if you’re going to be moving into unknown territories, where you’ve perhaps never set foot before, it’s a good idea to know some things about your proposed destination.  For example, it might not be the responsibility of any government or airline to inform its visitors/passengers of any health hazards.  Simply put, this is also an area in which you should do (at the very least, a little light) research in.

At the same time, each country has different rules as far as visas are concerned.  In order to visit some places, for example, you won’t just need a tourist visa, you might also require a business and/or official visa as well.  Similarly, in some countries, you won’t even be permitted entry without either a business or official visa as tourist visas are not recognized.  For more info about visas and the requirements for each country, visit this site: http://www.visahq.com/citizens/United-States/

Getting back to medical concerns, there is one thing that all international travelers must have done however, and that is to get vaccinated.  Specifically, vaccinations are divided into three distinct categories, routine, recommended and required.  Obviously, those falling into the routine category are just your standard injections which everyone receives throughout the world, mostly to protect against well-known diseases.  While it might not seem like its that important (possibly because you rarely hear about someone falling ill due to some older disease / infection), please realize that some of these vaccines can and will keep you from becoming infected, especially in countries where these illnesses might still be running rampant. In short, if you’re not sure that you or your family is up-to-date, consult with your physician so that your medical records can be retrieved.

Next we have recommended vaccinations, which are generally pointed at specific countries and/or regions of the world.  The truth is, some diseases are endemic to certain parts of the world and simply aren’t known or advertised to travelers.  In short, find out what vaccinations might be recommended for your intended destination and plan ahead; after all, you don’t want to be sick the entire time or put your life in jeopardy, do you?  To learn more about country-specific vaccinations, visit this site: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm

Lastly we have those vaccinations which are required for international travel.  There are only two, one for yellow fever, and one for Meningococcal Meningitis.  You will need a yellow fever injection for travel to certain countries in South America or Sub-Saharan Africa.   A Meningitis vaccination is also required for travel to Saudi Arabia during the Hajj.

Vaccinations aren’t the only thing you should be thinking about though.  For people who might be categorized as having “special needs”, like pregnant women, the elderly, the very young, or those suffering from diseases which affect the immune system (like HIV), there are additional considerations.  Visit this site for more information:  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/vaccinations.htm


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