Skip navigation
Risk Management Banner

International Travel

Health Considerations for International Travelers

Health Consideration Checklist

  • Schedule an appointment with either DU's Health & Counseling Center or your physician, and/or contact International SOS to discuss required or recommended vaccinations and/or prophylaxis, current medications, on-going health issues (physical, mental, or emotional) and other health concerns.
  • Confirm that your health insurance provides comprehensive coverage abroad for expenses related to emergency and standard medical care and medications. This study abroad health insurance consideration document provides helpful questions to ask your health insurance provider. DU only provides evacuation and repatriation coverage; you are responsible for maintaining U.S. health insurance while abroad. 
  • If you are traveling with medications, make sure that they are legal in your host country, that you have enough for the duration of your time abroad, and that you keep them in their original containers. 
  • Travelers with disabilities are encouraged to contact the relevant sending department and the Disabilities Services Program (DSP) early in the process to gather relevant accessibility information. Note that U.S. laws and regulations relating to disabilities generally do not extend beyond U.S. borders.
  • Gather information about the local health services provided while abroad. International SOS can provide you with information regarding the closest hospitals and clinics and comment on their standard of care.
  • Research health issues and concerns prominent in your host country (resources found below).
  • Consider the potential effects of cultural adjustment and determine coping methods before departure. 

International SOS Support for Travelers

Contact International SOS for Pre-Travel Advice & Information 

The University has a membership with International SOS, a medical and travel security services company. International SOS provides travel, medical, and security advice before and during travel, as well as emergency help, 24/7 worldwide. All University travelers engaged in full-time educational or research activities while traveling internationally are covered under the International SOS evacuation and repatriation plan at no additional cost. 

The University’s International SOS membership number is 11BSGC000067. Use this to login to the International SOS website or use when contacting International SOS by phone (1.215.942.8478). Travelers should carry the International SOS membership card while traveling. The card includes important contact information, including phone numbers for the four International SOS call centers. Obtain an International SOS card by printing a card from the International SOS website or request a hard copy from Enterprise Risk Management (risk@du.edu). 

Travelers can use the International SOS website to view country guides and online medical and security reports, and sign up for email alerts, which can provide helpful emergency information while traveling. Travelers can also call the International SOS Assistance Center at no cost for pre-travel information. A free International SOS phone consultation presents an opportunity to gain familiarity with the services available while traveling internationally. 

Before calling International SOS, make a list of relevant questions about health, safety, and travel to countries where travel will occur. Suggested topics to cover include:

  • Vaccination requirements and recommendations
  • Traveling with prescription medications, including customs requirements
  • Traveling with a pre-existing medical condition and physician recommendations
  • Availability of needed medications at your destination

Contact International SOS while Abroad for Health Assistance

All University travelers are encouraged to contact International SOS before seeking any medical care while abroad. International SOS can assist with routine care as well as emergency assistance. International SOS can locate a local doctor or other provider credentialed by International medical staff, provide health advice from experienced, Western-trained medical professionals, arrange for medical transportation or care, locate supplies of medications or equipment, monitor a traveler's medical condition, and occasionally advance funds to cover medical fees if approved. 

If a traveler needs medical care, the traveler should expect to pay for services personally while abroad, submitting receipts to the traveler's health insurer afterwards. If a medical facility will not accept a credit card or the traveler does not have enough cash to pay for services, International SOS will pay for the services and then bill the University. You or your unit will be responsible for reimbursing the University for money advanced for services. Keep in mind that students may be able to pass all or some of the charges on to the student's health insurer. For University employees, whether the University covers the medical care depends on the circumstances and whether the employee was engaged in activities related to University business at the time of the injury. As such, employees must also maintain personal health insurance while traveling internationally.

Contact International SOS for Emotional Support Coverage

All travelers are eligible for mental health counseling sessions organized through International SOS. Travelers can speak to a Western-trained counselor for up to five 45-minute sessions per incident by phone, Skype, and possibly in-person depending on the situation. To utilize this option, call International SOS at 1.215.942.8478, provide the University's membership number (11BSGC000067), and ask for Workplace Options (WPO) support. 

International SOS Evacuation and Repatriation Coverage

Please note that International SOS evacuation and repatriation coverage is available only for University-related international travel. Persons traveling on personal matters before, in the midst of, or after University-related travel are strongly encouraged to purchase additional membership benefits at a personal cost to avoid any possible gaps in coverage. The International SOS website offers coverage at a discount off the normal rate when the University’s membership number (11BSGC000067) is entered when logging into the site. This discounted coverage is also available for family members traveling with the student, faculty, or staff.

Review Online Resources

Here are some online resources that will help with your health pre-departure preparations:

DU Statement on Zika 

Travelers are responsible for being well-informed about exposure to a variety of health concerns while traveling abroad. Mosquito-bourne illnesses like Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, Malaria, and Zika are all of particular concern, and travelers should research preventing exposure to mosquito bites and any available prophylaxis options. Travelers can find more information relating to the Zika virus disease (Zika) here