5 ways to help protect your health during summer travel

Taking a vacation this year? If so, join the crowd. In one survey, 8 in 10 Americans said they plan to go somewhere this summer, including 2 in 10 who plan to travel internationally.

There’s a lot to think about when planning a getaway. But in the buildup to a trip, sometimes there’s an important question that goes unanswered: What happens if you or someone with you becomes ill or gets injured?

Just like at home, mishaps can happen while you’re traveling, so it’s important to be prepared.

Here are five tips that may help with a healthy summer vacation:

  • Address ongoing health conditions and medications – Consider getting a checkup before you leave, so you can discuss your travel plans with your primary care physician. Make sure you have enough medication for your entire trip or find out where you could get a refill during vacation. Pack your prescriptions in your carry-on luggage in case your other bags go missing.
  • Be COVID-19 aware – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you get up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines before travel. The CDC also suggests checking your vacation spot’s current COVID-19 situation to ensure there aren’t travel restrictions, as guidance can change depending on case numbers. Also, make sure you understand and follow the latest travel rules, including requirements for masking, testing and presenting proof of vaccination.
  • Consider your destination’s other health risks – You may need additional disease-specific vaccines, depending on where you’re headed. The CDC recommends getting travel-related inoculations at least a month in advance to allow time for them to take effect. Use the CDC destinations page to find helpful information about vaccines for specific places.
  • Pack a health kit – What seems readily available in your city may be a chore to find somewhere else — especially if you’re under the weather. In addition to medications, think about putting together a portable health kit with items that may help you stay comfortable while on the go:

                             - Motion-sickness remedies 

                             - Sunscreen

                             - Sunburn relief

                             - Insect repellents

                            - First-aid supplies

  • Download your health plan app – If your health insurer offers an app, having it on your phone puts important information at your fingertips, which may be especially helpful if there’s a medical emergency. For instance, the UnitedHealthcare app gives members easy access to their insurance ID card, a virtual connection to a doctor and a way to locate nearby health care facilities.

One more thing: Consider checking your insurance coverage to find out if it’s valid where you are going, especially if you’re traveling overseas. Most domestic health plans provide limited coverage overseas, so it is a good idea to consider international medical coverage. In the case of a serious injury or illness, these policies can direct you to an appropriate hospital or support evacuation to an alternative facility, as well as work with local health care providers to coordinate and monitor your care.    

If you err on the side of caution and work to ensure your health is protected before you leave, you may find it easier to enjoy your vacation — even if a health-related issue pops up while you’re away.

For more information, visit uhcsafetrip.com.