Travelers should carefully consider their personal health needs before traveling abroad. With some advanced planning, most medical issues can be managed. The information below can help you develop a personalized travel health plan to identify your needs, concerns, or issues and mitigate any identified risks.
- Research the medical risks in your location
- Know the standard of medical care
- Research transportation feasibility, such as access and reliability of ambulance services
- Know the disease risk (malaria/yellow fever/other)
- Know the areas you should avoid and precautions you should take
Visit your doctor or a travel clinic
It is advised to discuss your destination with your physician or medical profession and ensure that you have all required and recommended vaccinations. Start this process at least 6 weeks prior to departure as some vaccinations must be administered sequentially and over time.
- Get a comprehensive physical examination
- Discuss your prescriptions, refills, and check whether they are legal in your destination
- Discuss any personal risk factors
- Visit your dentist
- Address any outstanding medical and dental care before going abroad
It is important to discuss required and recommended vaccines (e.g., COVID, yellow fever), vector borne illness prevention (e.g., Malaria, chikungunya), and any illness upon return with a medical professional. You are advised to make a travel consultation appointment with a doctor or travel health professional at least six weeks before your departure to ensure enough time for certain vaccination series to be completed and become fully effective. You should bring your vaccine record and a detailed travel itinerary to your appointment.
For more information, please visit the CDC's website.
Tufts Medical Center Travel Health Clinic
260 Tremont Street
Boston, MA. 02116
Please complete the Traveler Questionnaire and bring it to your appointment.
Please note that you will be responsible for any expense incurred during visits to Tufts Medical Center’s Travel Medicine Clinic. These visits may be covered by your health insurance. If you have any questions about coverage, please contact your insurance provider.
For faculty and staff: If you require an expedited appointment (within two weeks) with the Travel Medicine Clinic, please contact Tufts Occupational Health Services (OHS). Tufts OHS will facilitate the scheduling of your appointment prior to your departure or upon your return. Tufts OHS is open Monday – Friday from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm and may be reached at 617-627-6500 or via email at OccupationalHealth@tufts.edu.
Medford: Tufts Health Services
124 Professors Row
Medford, MA. 02155
Students who live in or near Grafton or in other parts of Massachusetts should consult with their physician or the directory available through the International Society of Travel Medicine to locate a travel clinic closest to them.
Tufts University partners with On Call International to provide global assistance and medical coverage to all Tufts travelers on university-related business and programs.
To be eligible for the coverage your trip must be registered with the Tufts Travel Registry. This will ensure that On Call International is able to verify that you are a Tufts traveler and entitled to the services and benefits. These services and benefits are available for the duration of an international trip and end when your return to the U.S or your home country.
For complete details, visit our global assistance webpage.
For many travelers, it is necessary to carry medication for personal use across international borders. The rules about prescription and non-prescription (or "over the counter") medications are different in each country. A drug that is common in your home country may be prohibited in your destination. Or your destination may require a doctor's note explaining your need for the drug.
Travelers who violate medication transport rules may face serious consequences, even if the violation was unintentional. Drugs can be confiscated, and in some cases, criminal charges may be involved. With proper pre-trip preparation, many of these problems can be prevented.
- Bring an ample supply of medication to cover you for the duration of your trip, and a few extra days in case there are unexpected delays.
- Carry a letter from your physician that describes the medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic name of prescribed drugs and dosages.
- Make a copy of the prescription, including generic names of the drug.
- Keep medications in their original, labeled containers.
- Check with the foreign embassy of the country you are visiting or transiting to make sure your medications are permitted in that country.
- Travel with medication in your hand (carry on) luggage so that it stays with you the entire time.
Obtaining refills or replacements for lost medication while abroad
Drugs sold abroad are not always rigorously inspected or manufactured using high-quality methods. Counterfeit drugs are a worldwide problem. Since standards vary widely, it is best to pack enough medication to last the entire time you are away.
If you lose your medication or need an emergency refill on a prescription drug, you should contact On Call International.
Travelers are encouraged to pack a basic first-aid kit or travel health kit for common, minor medical emergencies. Examples of items to include are listed below and a complete list can be found on the CDC Pack Smart guide.
- Medicine you take at home regularly. Carry all medicine in original and clearly labeled containers that identify your name, the drug name, and dosage
- Common over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin to relieve headaches, pain, fever, and simple sprains or strains; antihistamines to relieve allergies; antacid medicine; anti-nausea or motion sickness medicine; medicine for diarrhea; cough and cold medicines
- Antibacterial hand wipes or an alcohol-based hand cleaner (should contain 60% alcohol or more)
- Bandages of assorted sizes to cover minor cuts and scrapes and bandage closures, such as butterfly bandages, to tape edges of minor cuts together
- Items to treat an injury, such as triangular bandage to wrap injuries and make an arm sling; elastic wraps to wrap wrist, ankle, knee, and elbow injuries; gauze in rolls, as well as 2-inch and 4-inch pads to dress larger cuts and scrapes; adhesive tape to keep gauze in place; scissors with rounded tips to cut tape, gauze, or clothes, if necessary (Note that this may not be allowed in your carry-on bag if traveling by air.); safety pins to fasten splints and bandages
- Items to clean and treat a wound, such as antiseptic wipes to disinfect wounds or clean hands; antibiotic ointment to prevent infection in cuts, scrapes, and burns; hydrogen peroxide to clean and disinfect wounds
- Disposable, instant-activating cold packs to cool injuries and burns, as well as for use in strains and sprains
- Tweezers to remove small splinters, foreign objects, bee stingers, and ticks from the skin (Note that this may not be allowed in your carry-on bag if traveling by air.)
- Disposable rubber gloves to protect hands and reduce risk of infection when treating wounds
- Thermometer to take temperatures in case of illness
- Items to protect against and treat insect bites, such as insect repellent; calamine lotion to relieve itching and irritation from insect bites and poison ivy; hydrocortisone cream to relieve irritation from rashes
- Sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher; aloe gel for sunburns
- Epinephrine auto-injector for individuals with severe allergies
- List of prescription medicines and generic names
- Latex condoms
- Water purification tablets
- Extra pair of contact lenses or prescription glasses
Each country has its own standards of accessibility for persons with disabilities. visit the Department of State web page on Traveling with Disabilities to find information about accessibility, local laws, and special circumstances. Unlike the United States, many countries do not legally require accommodations for persons with disabilities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides helpful resources and links.
It is recommended to discuss with your healthcare provider your medical history, travel plans, and personal circumstances. They can make recommendations about what vaccinations and medications you will need for your trip.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) hosts a helpline for travelers with disabilities and medical conditions at 855-787-2227 (toll-free). TSA also has a webpage for people traveling with disabilities and medical conditions. where you can find answers to questions about screening policies, procedures, and the security checkpoints.
If you plan to take a service animal abroad, it is important to begin planning early. Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate of the destination country for information on policies, requirements, and possible restrictions about service animals. You will want to learn more about any quarantine, vaccination, and documentation requirements, to consult a veterinarian about tips for traveling with service animals, and to contact your destination hotels or host to make sure they will accommodate service animals.
Mobility International also provides helpful resources to prepare travelers with disabilities for their international trip.