The Vaccination Checklist for Traveling Abroad

As you prepare for an upcoming trip, you likely have your own checklist that you go through. Do you have the passports? Did you pack enough socks? Do you have the right shoes for walking? Did you write down all of your reservation information for the trip? In spite of all of these questions, one important health question that many fail to ask is whether or not a vaccination is required or suggested for your destination.


Many people assume that if they aren’t headed to a remote part of Africa or South America, for example, then a vaccination is unnecessary. However, even popular tourist destinations such as Italy and France should make you think twice about whether your vaccinations are up to date. No matter where you are you going, you should do your due diligence to protect yourself from possible diseases.


A great starting place is the vaccinations that are routinely administered in the United States including measles, mumps, rubella, polio, tetanus and hepatitis B. You likely have had these vaccinations as part of ongoing medical care, but call your doctor’s office to see if all are in fact up to date.


Once you are confident that your routine vaccinations are current, find out whether or not your destination comes with any health warnings. The Center for Disease Control maintains a searchable database of destinations around the globe and their respective vaccination requirements. Simply log on to the CDC’s Travelers Health Website and click on destinations for more information.


Learning about the specific location to which you are traveling is paramount in enjoying a safe trip, free from health problems. To be sure that you’ve thoroughly protected your health complete the following checklist from the CDC before every trip you take:


  1. Did you schedule an appointment with your doctor or a travel medical provider?

  2. Do you know the vaccinations you will need?

  3. Do you have immunocompetence because of HIV or diabetes?

  4. Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?

  5. Will infants or children be traveling with you?

  6. Do you know the health information about your destination?   

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