Health & Safety Guidelines  »  Staying Well

Before You Go

  1. BulletFind out about health concerns where you are going and if immunizations are needed. (See Vaccines for Traveling Abroad.)

  2. BulletCarry all needed prescriptions (in their original containers) and supplies with you. Get a letter from your doctor, for taking a controlled substance, injectable medicines, notice for having a pacemaker, artificial joint, etc.

  3. BulletFind out what your health insurance plan covers and if you need extra insurance.

  4. BulletTalk to your doctor. Find out if you need to adjust medicine dosages and activity schedules. Arrange for special needs (e.g., wheelchair, special meals, etc.) with the airline, etc.

For Motion Sickness

  1. BulletGet plenty of rest before the trip.

  2. BulletTake an OTC medication (i.e., Dramamine®) 30 minutes before travel begins.

  3. BulletIf traveling by airplane, request a seat over the wings. Open the overhead vents and direct air at your face.

  4. BulletOn a cruise ship, get a cabin near the middle and close to the waterline. Spend as much time as you can on deck in the fresh air.

  5. BulletWhen traveling by car or train, gaze straight ahead, not to the side. Sit by an open window for fresh air except in a polluted area.

  6. BulletIf you feel sick, breathe slowly and deeply.

  7. BulletAvoid smoke and food odors. Eat crackers.

To Help Prevent Jet Lag

  1. BulletThree nights before you leave, change your bedtime. If traveling to a different time zone and going east, go to bed 1 hour earlier for each time zone you cross; if traveling west, go to bed 1 hour later for each time zone.

  2. BulletOnce on the plane, change your watch and activity to match the time where you are going. If it is daytime there, stay awake; if nighttime, sleep on the plane.

Other Tips for Air Travel

  1. BulletTo reduce the risk for blood clots in the legs, extend your feet and flex your ankles several times while sitting. Get up and walk every hour or so.

  2. BulletTo avoid ear pain, chew gum, suck on hard candy, or yawn during take-offs and landings.

  3. BulletDrink water, not alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, before and during the flight.

To Stay Safe While You Are Away

  1. BulletDo not look like a tourist. Wear plain clothes and little, if any, jewelry.

  2. BulletAvoid first floor rooms and those with doors facing outside. Lock your door using the safety chain. Make sure that windows and connecting doors are locked.

  3. BulletStudy the emergency exit map to prepare for an escape.

  4. BulletWalk at night with others and in well-lit, safe areas. Ask hotel staff for advice.


International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers (IAMAT)