Global Health Center

Things To Do Before You Travel Abroad

Check your passport and get a visa

Passport basics:

  • It can take several months to get a passport; apply now if you don’t have one
  • Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after you return from travel

Determine if you'll need a visa:

Try the U.S. State Department, or your home country’s embassy

Then ask these questions:

  • What type of visa do I need (tourist, student)? 
  • How long will it take for my visa to arrive? 
  • Will I need a transit visa (for a layover or travel through another country on the way to my destination)? 

International students and visas:

Non-U.S. citizens returning to the U.S. after travel can run into complications, so begin the visa process early


Register your travel with International SOS and the U.S. State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

Print and take your International SOS and health insurance cards

Understand your health insurance coverage

Know you're covered! 

Don’t make assumptions about what will be covered!

  1. Determine if your current health insurance plan covers you while abroad, including for chronic medical conditions
  2. If you’re not covered abroad, or have incomplete coverage for your needs, other health insurance options are available.  For example: HTH Worldwide 
  3. Discuss your options with your parents or guardian, and decide if you need to purchase an individual plan for yourself   

Learn about your destination

Start with these resources: 

Learn about: 

  • Political climate, weather, crime, what to bring, health issues, cultural differences, risks, differences in laws, what to expect, transportation, holidays or election days
  • The location of the nearest U.S. embassy or your home country’s embassy 

See to your cash needs
Tell your bank and credit card companies that you’ll be traveling 

  • Ask if they charge foreign transaction fees
  • Ask if you’ll need a PIN to make purchases abroad

Clean out your wallet or purse 

  • Take only the credit cards and ID you will need

Find out if traveler’s checks are a viable option or if you should rely on a debit card and ATMs to obtain cash 

Share a copy of your itinerary with family or a friend
Provide them with a copy of your passport data page and any visas as well. This will make it easier for them to contact you in an emergency


Visit the Einstein Faculty Practice Clinic or your personal physician

Schedule a consultation: 

Schedule a travel consultation with Einstein Faculty Practice or your personal physician 6-8 weeks before you depart. Obtain a printout of your immunization record from Occupational Health (219-Mazer, 718.430.3141, and you should make an appointment with a physician who does travel medicine in order to obtain medical advice, vaccinations, and prescription for medications.

This can be done at the Einstein Faculty Practice at the Montefiore Medical Park, 1515 Blondell Avenue, appointment line 866.633.8255. Dr. Theresa Madaline is available for travel appointments at Montefiore Medical Park. Schedule your appointment at least 6-8 weeks in advance of the date of departure. All of the foregoing medical services are provided free of charge at Einstein (co-payments if provided elsewhere) if you have been approved for a fellowship award. Co-payments are reimbursed for required travel medications.

Schedule your appointment early; many immunizations are given in a series over time

Make sure to discuss: 

  • vaccinations
  • traveling with medication
  • other health concerns for the destination
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