Avoid Medical Mayhem During Business Travel Abroad

No one wants to get sick while traveling abroad, but sometimes it happens. Even if you’re lucky and it doesn’t, you should be prepared – just in case. Whether someone is traveling to a hot spot in the Middle East or even in a modern city like Paris, Istanbul or Hong Kong, medical care isn’t the same as it is in the United States.

Regardless of where you travel, you should always carry a list of emergency contacts, telephone numbers and email addresses. Make sure your company also has a copy of this list. Keep a paper copy in your bag and this information in your phone.


Before you leave for the trip, call your insurance company and make sure you have a proper travel insurance program in place. It’s very likely you do not. Many insurance companies allow you to add short and long-term international health plans to your existing coverage in case of accidents or illness. If you don’t have this coverage, think about getting it before you leave for your trip.

Medical facilities

Study your itinerary and note nearby medical facilities where you will travel. Many hospitals specialize in helping foreigners and they can be much more helpful than hospitals that don’t.


  • Medicine you take in the United States may not be allowed in other parts of the world.
  • Research the laws about your prescribed medications before you travel to avoid incidents at customs.
  • Always carry your original prescriptions when you travel, pack twice the amount of medication you think you’ll need, and keep prescription medications in their original containers with the prescription labels on them.
  • Take a doctor’s note with you that lists the medications you take and the reason.
  • Call the country’s embassy before your trip and ask about any special regulations regarding prescription medication.


Many countries have required immunizations to enter their country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a checklist that can help guide you on what vaccinations are needed. Get any vaccinations at least a month before you travel. Some countries require the Yellow Immunization Card, which is issued by the World Health Organization. It may be required to travel to countries with increased health risks. It should always be kept in a traveler’s passport.

Other tips

  • Pack sanitizer wipes, hand gel, and sunscreen. It may seem obvious, but these items are hard to find in some countries.
  • Have six feet of 100 mph duct tape and roll it around a pen or pencil. Duct tape has many uses including making a make-shift splint and closing wounds.
  • Carry insect repellent or an essential oil alternative.
  • Travel with a small emergency first aid kit at all times.
  • Invest in a lightweight water purification straw.
  • Beware of “fresh” uncooked vegetables and fruit as they could have been washed with contaminated water.

Traveling safely and smartly may seem overwhelming. That’s why it’s best to travel with a protection team who knows the art of complex traveling and can help manage all of the logistics of a trip for you while you focus on your business.