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Before You Go

Pre-Departure Advice for All Travelers

The ASU Study Abroad Office strongly encourages American citizens participating in an ASU study abroad program to sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service that makes it possible for the U.S. Department of State to contact a traveler if necessary, whether because of a family emergency in the United States or because of a crisis in the place the traveler is visiting. 

In addition to signing up for the STEP program, ASU advises you to do the following:

  • Visit the Travel Medicine Clinic in ASU Health Services.  Students traveling to some countries will be required to visit the ASU Travel Medicine Clinic during the application process, but all students are encouraged to schedule a visit and become a more informed traveler.
  • Leave a detailed itinerary with family or friends.  This will be invaluable in case they need to contact you in case of an emergency.
  • Leave a copy of your passport biographical-data page with a friend or relative in the United States. If prompted to upload a copy of your passport within your online study abroad program application, be sure to do so.  It is always easier to replace a lost or stolen passport if a copy is easily accessible.
  • Sign your passport, and fill in the emergency information.  Make sure you have a signed, valid passport, and a visa, if required, and fill in the emergency information page of your passport.
  • Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws. While in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws. The U.S. Department of State has useful cultural, legal, safety and other information about the countries you will visit.
  • Do your research regarding any maintenance medications you plan to bring with you.  If you are required to take medications for medial or psychological conditions, make sure that you can bring your prescription medication with you.  If your prescription is legal in your host country, be sure that you have adequate supplies of these items for your program. Brand names and measurements differ and you may have difficulty finding your specific medication and/or filling any of your prescriptions abroad. Some medications may actually be illegal to bring into your host country, even with a valid prescription.  Click here for additional details and guidance on traveling with prescription medication. Prescription medication that is legal to bring into your host country must be labeled with your name, your physician's name and the generic (not brand) name of the medication. We encourage students with medical conditions to wear a medical alert bracelet or pendant.  More information about traveling with medication

Advice from ASU Health Services

Traveling outside of the United States is an exciting and life-enriching experience available for many ASU students and staff.  Whether you are traveling to study abroad, to engage in research/humanitarian endeavors or simply for personal enjoyment, it’s an opportunity for personal and professional growth. However, when traveling outside of the United States, you should take adequate time to prepare for situations that you may not have considered while at home. 

As excited as you may be about the prospect of visiting new destinations, travel can often present unanticipated mental and physical challenges.

The medical providers at ASU Health Services and the staff of the ASU Study Abroad Office would like to offer some important advice for your upcoming travel:

  • If you have any chronic or recurrent medical conditions (including but not limited to asthma, heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, attention deficit, chronic pain, immune suppressive disorders), please consider this and make sure that you are mentally and physically capable to participate in your upcoming travel itinerary. 
  • If you take medications, please make sure that you have sufficient medications for the duration of your travel and that you have a follow-up plan should you encounter a flare of your medical condition or loss of medications during your trip.  Keep in mind that there may not always be medical services near your destinations that can reliably refill your prescriptions.  If you are planning on bringing controlled substances (stimulant medications for ADHD, narcotic pain medications) or injectable medications- you should inquire with your destination countries/embassies to make sure that they are permitted on your travels, since some countries will not allow these medications, and you may risk medication confiscation and/or personal incarceration or deportation if they are found in your belongings.  More information and advice about traveling with prescription medications
  • If you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies, you'll want to make sure you do some research to explore how difficult (or easy) it might be to manage your diet while abroad. You should also learn how to describe your dietary needs in the local/host language in an effort to minimize the likelihood that you inadvertently eat something that interferes with your health. Tips from an ASU study abroad alumna with dietary restrictions
  • If you have any disabilities, you should inquire with your program and host countries to make sure that you have accessibility where you are traveling- many countries may not have accommodations available for disabilities.  More information about accommodations for students with disabilities who study abroad
  • Some countries will not allow you entry if you have certain medical conditions (HIV, undergoing treatment for infections, etc) and you should confirm with your host countries that your medical condition will not cause entry issues.  More information on traveling with prescription medication
  • If you will be going to destinations of higher medical risk (Mexico, Central/South America, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa) or need medical clearance forms completed for your travel, please give yourself adequate time to get a medical evaluation before your departure.  We generally recommend that you obtain this evaluation at least 2 months prior to your travel, since vaccinations generally take at least 2 weeks before providing any protective effect, and some vaccinations need more than one dose.  You can review in advance the standard recommendations for your destinations at www.cdc.gov/travelMore information about the services provided by ASU Health Services