After two years of lockdowns and travel restrictions, Americans are on the move: About 6 in 10 Americans are planning a trip this summer, and about 20% of their travel will be overseas.
But travel can be a bit tricky these days, with ever-changing rules and regulations to navigate. Here are some things to consider if your travel plans include an international destination.
When it comes to medical care, all TRICARE beneficiaries are covered while traveling overseas, although you should always get all routine care and fill prescriptions before you leave. But what if you get sick and need to extend your stay? You might run up a large hotel bill and have to pay to change your flight back.
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Or what if you are on a cruise ship or hiking in a remote area and need to be evacuated due to a serious illness or injury? TRICARE covers air evacuation to the “nearest, safest location that can provide the required care,” but that location may not be your hometown, or even within the U.S. And for some TRICARE plans, you will be required to pay for the air evacuation up front and file a claim to get your money back (minus cost shares) later.
These are all good reasons to consider purchasing some sort of travel insurance plan before you leave home. You should also check to see if your credit card carries any type of travel insurance; if it does, put at least a portion of your trip on that card.
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Testing and Vaccination Requirements
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains a Travelers’ Health webpage featuring travel health notices and current vaccination and testing requirements.
It’s also a good idea to check travel requirements on an official website of the country you are planning on visiting, as regulations change frequently.
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The STEP, or Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, is a free Department of State service allowing you to enroll your overseas trip with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. This lets you receive information from the embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, and you’ll help the embassy and family and friends be able to contact you in an emergency.
Consular officers at embassies and consulates can assist U.S. citizens who encounter serious legal, medical, or financial difficulties overseas.