Travel Health

International Health and Travel Insurance

All FAU students, faculty, and staff engaged in university-related travel abroad must enroll in approved international emergency health/travel insurance. Students engaging in academic study abroad and faculty-led program faculty and staff are automatically enrolled in insurance as part of their program participation.

All other students, faculty and staff must enroll in the approved university plan. Please review the International Health and Travel Insurance for enrollment information.


Mental Health Abroad

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Mental Health and Travel website, international travel can be “fun but also stressful… Anticipating possible stresses of travel can help you cope with some of the thoughts and feelings that you may have before, during, or after your trip.”

All travelers are encouraged to do the following:

  • Prior to the trip, discuss with a doctor about their physical and mental health history, including substance abuse, depression, psychological problems, prescriptions, or over-the-counter medicines and supplements.
  • Research cultural practices and views regarding mental health in the host country. Attend information sessions regarding your selected destinations and prepare for the possible culture shock you may experience while you are abroad.
  • Review health insurance benefits and mental health coverage while abroad; please note that all approved FAU travelers must purchase international health/travel insurance.
  • During the trip, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and exercise. If you take medication to treat a mental health condition, continue your normal routine and the course of your treatment.
  • After the trip, reconnect with your health provider to discuss any changes that you may have experienced because of the travel.

Students participating in academic study abroad programs will receive additional information during the mandatory pre-departure orientation sessions. Information will also be included in their study abroad student handbooks.

FAU faculty and staff leading study abroad programs will also participate in pre-departure training sessions, which will include resources pertaining to mental health while traveling abroad.

Students may use the following resources before, during, and after their study abroad or other university-related travel experiences:

FAU Counseling and Psychological Services

FAU Student Health Services

FAU Center for Global Engagement and Education Abroad

Additional Resources:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Mental Health and Travel

Mental Health and Study Abroad by TerraDotta


Staying Healthy Abroad

Your Survival Guide to Safe and Healthy Travel (From CDC Travel Survival Guide).

Whatever your reason for traveling internationally, be prepared when it comes to your health—and the health of others—before, during, and after travel.

Before You Go

Take steps to prepare for your travels abroad and anticipate issues that might arise.

    • Know your health status before you make travel plans. When you are sick you can spread diseases to others. Postpone your travel and stay home when you are sick.
    • Check your destination to get country-specific health advice. Depending on where you’ll be going and what you’ll be doing, you may need vaccinations or medicines before you leave.
    • Make an appointment with your doctor at least a month before you leave. Work with your doctor to evaluate your health and the health of those planning to travel with you.
      • CDC does not provide personalized medical advice. What vaccines and medicines you need (and are safe for you to take) depend on many factors specific to you. Give your doctor all the details they need to make the right travel health recommendations for you. Provide them with information such as where you’ll be traveling, how long you’ll be gone, what activities you’ll be doing, and your medical history like, if you’ve recently had surgery, a heart attack, a stroke, a history of blood clots, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or pulmonary embolism (PE), or if you’re traveling with a disability, a weakened immune system, or a chronic illness.
      • Before you travel to have a medical procedure in another country, see medical tourism advice and talk to your doctor.
      • Find a clinic.
    • Consider travel insurance.
      • Trip cancellation insurance. Trip cancellation insurance covers your financial investment in your trip.
      • Travel health insurance. If your health insurance policy doesn’t cover you while you’re traveling (not all do—best to check in advance), consider purchasing additional insurance. Otherwise, if you need to go to a hospital or clinic overseas, you will probably be asked to pay out of pocket for any services.
      • Medical evacuation insurance. If you become ill or injured in remote areas or in countries where medical care is not up to U.S. standards, medical evacuation insurance will cover the cost of transporting you to a place where you can receive high-quality care.
    • Register for the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This free service provides travelers from the United States with important safety information in your destination and helps the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
    • Pack smart.
      • Pack for a healthy trip. A complete travel health kit includes first aid items, sunscreen, insect repellent, over-the-counter medicines, and all your prescription medicines.
      • If you take any medicines regularly, pack enough for your whole trip plus a little extra, just in case.
      • Check with the U.S. embassy or consulate of the country you will be visiting to make sure your prescription medicines are permitted there. Not all medicines, even if they are prescribed by a doctor, are legal in all countries. Read more about traveling abroad with medicines.

During Your Trip

    • Avoid road accidents. Accidents involving motor vehicles are the number one cause of preventable deaths of Americans abroad.
      • Always wear your seat belt, only ride in vehicles that have seat belts, and put children in car seats.
      • Hire a local driver when possible or ask your hotel for a trustworthy driver or taxi company.
      • Never ride with a driver who has been drinking.
      • Avoid riding on overloaded buses.
      • Avoid traveling at night and alone.
    • Prevent bug bites. Mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and some flies can spread diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and Lyme disease, all of which can have severe consequences.
    • Eat and drink safely.
      • Eat only food that has been fully cooked and served hot.
      • Do not eat fresh vegetables or fruits unless you can wash or peel them yourself.
      • Drink only bottled, sealed beverages, and avoid ice—it was likely made with tap water.
    • Prevent sunburn.
      • Pack sunscreen that provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
      • When using sunscreen and insect repellent, apply sunscreen first. Let it dry, and then apply repellent. Reapply both as instructed.
    • Be aware of your physical safety.
      • Follow local laws and customs.
      • Limit alcohol intake.
      • Wear protective gear during adventure activities, such as helmets when biking or climbing.
      • Use caution when swimming and during water activities.
        • Do not swim in fresh water in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
        • Do not go barefoot. Consider protective footwear when swimming in open water to avoid injuries that could lead to infection. Even on beaches there may be animal waste that can be a source of human infections.
        • Be aware of local weather conditions and forecasts.
        • Watch for large waves, strong tides, and signs of rip currents.
        • Supervise children at all times near and in water.
    • Avoid animal bites. Do not pet or handle animals. Even kittens and puppies can spread disease.
      • If an animal bites, scratches, or licks you, wash the area immediately and thoroughly with soap and water.
      • Call a doctor to find out if you need medication, a tetanus vaccine booster, or rabies preventive treatment.
    • Prevent sexually transmitted infections. Always use condoms with new sex partners.
    • If you get sick or injured during your trip:
    • If you are involved in a natural disaster during your trip:
      • Seek advice from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
      • Learn in advance if your destination is at increased risk for certain natural disasters. Visit the U.S. Department of State’s Country Information page. Enter the name of your destination in the “Learn about your destination” search box. When you land on the country-specific information page, scroll down to “Local Laws & Special Circumstances.” Click on the heading to expand the content. There you will find information about natural disasters typical to that country (among other relevant topics).

After Your Trip


Traveling with Medications

If you are currently taking prescription medications, you should plan to bring sufficient supplies for your stay abroad, and to become familiar with rules and regulations regarding legal use of medications in your destination countries.

Review the following recommendations and begin preparing at least one month in advance of your planned departure date:

  • Obtain sufficient supplies of your prescription medication. Work with your healthcare provider to obtain prescriptions that cover your entire period of stay abroad. Also, ask for a copy of the prescription and a letter documenting your conditions, medications, and dosages. If you are unable to secure sufficient medication before your travel, work with the CISI Insurance to ensure that medication is available locally and identify a local physician abroad who can prescribe the medication.
  • Keep all medicines in their original, labeled containers. Ensure that all medicines are clearly labeled with your name, doctor’s name, generic and brand name, and exact dosage.
  • Please be aware that some prescription medicines that are used in the U.S. may be illegal in other countries. Once you identify your destination abroad, familiarize yourself with the legal use of medications you anticipate needing during your stay. Students participating in academic study abroad programs will receive further information during their mandatory predeparture orientations.

Additional Resources:

Travel Smartly with Prescription Medications – U.S. Department of State

Traveling with Prescription Medications – U.S. Food and Drug Administration


Travelers with Disabilities

Students traveling with Disabilities

Laws and cultural norms regarding disabilities and accommodations vary greatly from country to country. Students interested in participating in academic study abroad or other university-related travel abroad should reach out to Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to discuss reasonable accommodations for the programs and locations of interest.

Study Abroad Participants:

While students are not required to inform Education Abroad about their disability, doing so will allow program staff to work with program faculty, providers, and host institutions and with SAS to identify the extent of accommodations possible, general accessibility, available resources, and any additional costs required to provide accommodations. This process requires extensive research and planning; it is recommended that students begin these discussions at least six months prior to their desired travel dates.

Some considerations while traveling and studying abroad include:

  • Local laws and policies related to people with disabilities.
  • Accessibility considerations for physical disabilities.
  • Physical activity requirements related to the curriculum and field activities.
  • Classroom accommodations if taking courses in an institution abroad.
  • Ability to travel with caretaker or service animal.

Additional Resources:

Americans Going Abroad – Mobility International USA

Travelers with Disabilities – U.S. Department of State


Preventing Insect Bites

There are some simple precautions you can take to reduce your risk of being bitten or stung by insects.

It's particularly important to follow this advice if you've had a bad reaction to an insect bite or sting in the past or you're travelling to an area where there's a risk of picking up a serious illness.

Basic precautions to prevent insect bites and stings:

The following measures can help you avoid insect bites and stings:

  • Remain calm and move away slowly if you encounter wasps, hornets or bees – do not wave your arms around or swat at them.
  • Cover exposed skin – if you're outside at a time of day when insects are particularly active, such as sunrise or sunset, cover your skin by wearing long sleeves and trousers.
  • Wear shoes when outdoors.
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin – repellents that contain 50% DEET (diethyltoluamide) are most effective.
  • Avoid using products with strong perfumes, such as soaps, shampoos and deodorants – these can attract insects.
  • Be careful around flowering plants, rubbish, compost, stagnant water, and in outdoor areas where food is served.
  • Never disturb insect nests – if a nest is in your house or garden, arrange to have it removed (GOV.UK has details about pest control services and how your local council can help).
  • Avoid camping near water, such as ponds and swamps – mosquitoes and horseflies are commonly found near water.
  • Keep food and drink covered when eating or drinking outside, particularly sweet things – wasps or bees can also get into open drink bottles or cans you're drinking from.
  • Keep doors and windows closed or put thin netting or door beads over them to prevent insects getting inside the house – also keep the windows of your car closed to stop insects getting inside.

Avoiding tick bites

Ticks are small spider-like creatures that are mainly found in woodland and heath areas. They attach to your skin, suck your blood and can cause Lyme disease in some cases.

You can reduce your risk of being bitten by a tick if you:

  • Keep to footpaths and avoiding long grass when out walking.
  • Wear appropriate clothing in tick-infested areas (a long-sleeved shirt and trousers tucked into your socks).
  • Wear light-colored fabrics that may help you spot a tick on your clothes.
  • Use insect repellent on exposed skin.
  • Inspect your skin for ticks, particularly at the end of the day, including your head, neck and skin folds (armpits, groin, and waistband).
  • Check your children's head and neck areas, including their scalp and make sure ticks are not brought home on your clothes.
  • Check your pets to help ensure they do not bring ticks into your home in their fur.
  • It's important to remove any ticks you find as soon as possible.

Extra precautions when travelling abroad

The risk of becoming seriously ill from an insect bite or sting in the UK is small, but in some parts of the world insects can carry serious diseases such as malaria and you need to be extra careful.

It can help to:

  • Find out what the risks are where you intend to travel and check if you need any vaccinations before travelling – vaccines can prevent some illnesses spread by insects, such as yellow fever. You can use the Travel Health Pro website to do this.
  • Speak to your GP about any extra precautions and medication you might need to take – for example, if you're visiting an area where there's a risk of malaria, you may be advised to bring a mosquito net and take antimalarial tablets to avoid malaria.

Read more about travel illnesses and vaccinations.


Infectious Disease Considerations

Infectious diseases can easily be picked up while traveling, particularly when traveling to resource-limited countries. There are things you can do to reduce your risk:

  • Be careful about water: If the water quality at your destination is questionable, use bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth. You may also need to avoid ice cubes, which may be contaminated.
  • Avoid raw or undercooked meat or fish: Eat foods that have been cooked. Even if a fish has been "freshly caught" and looks ideal for ceviche, there's a chance of contamination during preparation.
  • Avoid raw vegetables and fruits: When you do eat fruits, choose those that can be peeled, but make sure the peel does not come into contact with the rest of the fruit during peeling.

Finally, be sure you are up-to-date on all immunizations recommended or advised for people traveling internationally. You can reference these by accessing the CDC's Travelers' Health website; just choose the country you are headed to get a complete list with details.

The CDC's website also offers up-to-the-minute travel notices about outbreaks and other health concerns (both domestic and international), as well as advisories about outbreaks of food-borne infections.

If you are immunocompromised, speak with your healthcare provider before traveling as certain vaccines (like the yellow fever vaccine) may be contraindicated for use.