Canadians Travelling Abroad - What You Should Know

Posted on 11/30/2017

Canadians Travelling Abroad - Travel Health and Safety

Who doesn’t love a vacation? Time off from your job to travel or spend at leisure with friends and family! If you're travelling abroad you should always be extra concerned about your health and safety. Here is essential information provided by the Government of Canada on travel health risks and preventive measures to keep you and your loved ones safe during your travels this holiday season, and whenever you travel outside the country.

Travel Health Notices

The Public Health Agency of Canada's Travel Health Notices outline potential health risks to Canadian travellers and recommend ways to help reduce them. Notices remain in effect until removed. View notices.

Travel Health Kit

Carry a basic travel health kit no matter where you travel. First aid supplies and medications may not always be readily available in other countries or may be different from those available in Canada.

A good travel health kit contains enough supplies to prevent illness, handle minor injuries and illnesses, and manage pre-existing medical conditions for longer than the duration of your trip. Learn more.

Receiving Medical Care in Other Countries

Medical practices, health standards and infection control measures in other countries may differ from those in Canada. Make an informed decision. Learn more

There are risks involved in receiving medical services, elective or not, in other countries, and you are on your own if you decide to do so. It is important to remember that medical practices, health standards and infection control measures in other countries may differ from those in Canada and could result in lower quality medical care..

Find a Travel Health Clinic

Use this list to find the travel health clinic nearest you. Visit the clinic or your health care provider six weeks before you travel. Learn more.

Travel-Related Diseases

Travelling abroad can put you at risk of contracting a disease that may not be common in Canada. Read these fact sheets and be prepared. Learn more.

Travel Vaccinations

Your health care provider may recommend that you be vaccinated against one or more diseases before you travel abroad. Learn more.

Insect Bite Prevention

Many travel-related diseases are spread by infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, or flies. Before you travel, be aware of the insects at your destination that cause disease and know their peak biting times (e.g. day vs. night) and areas (e.g. indoors vs. outdoors, rural vs. urban).

To minimize your risk, you should always take protective measures to avoid insect bites and ensure you have the appropriate preventive vaccines and/or medications. Learn more.

Eat and Drink Safely

How to avoid food poisoning, the stomach flu and travellers' diarrhea, the most common cause of illness in travellers. Always take precautions with food and water to avoid getting sick.

Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel. Learn more.

Travel Insurance

During a short vacation on a Caribbean island, a Canadian developed a severe form of pneumonia and had to be admitted to hospital. His health deteriorated, and he was transferred to intensive care and placed on a breathing machine for more than a month. Without insurance, he had to make arrangements with the hospital to pay a bill that amounted to more than $20,000.

If you travel abroad you need travel insurance, no matter where you're going or how long you'll be there. Read more. Learn more.

Travelling with Medication

Make sure your medication won't cause you any problems while you're abroad or when you return. Learn more.

Travelling with a Medical Device

Plan in advance, check with your doctor and avoid problems at airport security screening. Learn more.

Sun and Heat Safety Tips for Travellers

Strong sunlight and extreme heat are health risks that are often overlooked by Canadian travellers, especailly those on certain medications. Learn more.

Oral Rehydration Solutions

Important information on how to use oral rehydration solutions to treat dehydration caused by travellers’ diarrhea. Learn more.

Tips for Healthy Travel with Children

Children have different travel health needs than adults. These tips will help your children have a safe and enjoyable trip abroad.

Children (those under the age of 15) make up a small but important group of travellers. Their smaller bodies and developing immune systems make their travel health needs unique.

There are many considerations to take into account when travelling with children. It is important to consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic to discuss your travel plans preferably six weeks before you and your child travel. Learn more.

Travelling while Pregnant

Make sure to read up on the information necessary to minimize your risks and stay healthy while travelling during your pregnancy. Learn more.

Older Travellers

Older travellers may have medical conditions that are important to consider before and during travel. Learn more.

Travelling with Disabilities

Travelling with disabilities or special needs is not always easy, but this information will help make your trip as easy and safe as possible. Learn more.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Two-Spirit Canadians Abroad

Minimize your risk. Make sure you are aware of your destination country's laws and customs before you travel abroad.

Most lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit (LGBTQ2) Canadians experience no problems at all when they travel abroad. However, foreign laws and customs can be very different from those of Canada, which can result in increased risks. Researching and preparing for your trip in advance will help your travels go smoothly. Learn more.

Alcohol, Drugs and Travel

Numerous Canadians are imprisoned abroad every year for drug-related offenses. Make sure you're not one of them.

There are over 1,700 Canadians in jail abroad—over one-third of them for drug-related offences. Carrying any kind of drugs, even prescription drugs, across international borders can cause problems. Learn more.

Using Cellphones, Mobile devices and Computers Abroad

How to avoid expensive roaming fees when you use your Canadian cellphone, mobile device or computer abroad.

If you use your Canadian cellphone, mobile device or computer in another country, or even if you don’t – smartphones use data intermittently even if you are not actively using them – you may receive an unexpectedly large bill for your data usage, known as “bill shock,” from your wireless provider after you return home. This is the result of the exceptionally high international data roaming fees charged by Canadian wireless providers to keep you connected to a wireless network while you are outside the country. Learn more.

Cyber Security While Travelling

The risk of cyber-based threats and compromised devices can increase significantly when you are travelling. Protect yourself by being cyber aware.

More and more Canadians are travelling and bringing their electronic gadgets, like phones, tablets and laptops, with them. Getting some work done or chatting with friends doesn’t stop just because we’re away from our offices and homes.

Unfortunately, cyber-based threats can significantly increase when you are travelling, and devices can easily be compromised or stolen. When you travel, protect yourself by being cyber aware. Learn more.

Security Situation in the Middle East and North Africa

Before planning your trip to the Middle East or North Africa, be aware of the possibility of civil unrest and demonstrations in your destination country.

Civil unrest and demonstrations have occurred recently in many countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Although the security situation is improving in some countries, there is always a risk of deteriorating conditions and of visitors finding themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Canadians should monitor local news reports, avoid public gatherings and demonstrations, as they may become violent without warning, and follow the advice of local authorities. Learn more.

Spring Break

Planning to go south for Spring Break? Here are some tips to make your trip more enjoyable. Learn more.

Water Safety

For many Canadians, a vacation abroad must include a lake or an ocean. Be aware of and plan for the dangers you may face while you are enjoying your time in, on or under the water. Learn more.

Travel Toolkit

An online toolkit full of tips to make sure your travels to visit family and friends or to vacation in your favourite spot go off without a hitch. Learn more.

Visiting Friends and Relatives Abroad

Visiting friends and relatives in a foreign country involves unique risk factors and travel patterns. Learn more about how to protect your health.

Travellers intending to visit friends and relatives in a foreign country (often referred to as VFRs) are a special group of travellers with unique risk factors and travel patterns. These individuals often travel to destinations with higher disease risks, stay for longer periods of time, are more likely to eat local food in people’s homes and drink untreated water, and are less likely to seek pre-travel advice or to be adequately vaccinated before they leave Canada. Often, these travellers have a different awareness and perception of the risks than tourists travelling to the same destination.

No matter where you will be travelling, it is important to discuss your travel plans with a health care provider, preferably six weeks before you leave, for advice to help reduce your risk of sickness and injury while abroad. Learn more.

Mass Gatherings (Large-Scale Events)

If you are planning to travel to participate in a major event or festival, take the time to prepare for your trip and know how to reduce the risks. Learn more.

Travelling with Animals

Everything you need to know to keep your pets safe from harm and injury whether they are travelling by land, air or sea.

All animals, including cats, dogs, exotic pets and reptiles, must be kept safe from harm and injury when they are travelling by land, air or sea. Learn more.

Overseas Fraud: An Increasing Threat to the Safety of Canadians

Don’t fall for attempts by companies or individuals in foreign countries to cheat you out of merchandise, services and money. Learn more.

Large-Scale Emergencies Abroad

Natural disasters and civil unrest may affect safety, services, and transportation. Make sure you know what to do.

If your destination is affected by a large-scale emergency, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, the Government of Canada will send out updated information and advisories through its website, social media accounts, by email and in some cases, by phone and SMS.

The Government of Canada may also, as a last resort, help Canadians with transportation to the nearest safe location on a cost-recovery basis when all other means of commercial and personal transportation have been exhausted. Canada sometimes coordinates evacuation assistance with other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

If you receive evacuation assistance from the Government of Canada, you will receive an invoice for the cost, which must be paid within 30 days. You are also responsible for paying for your travel beyond a safe location and any related costs. Learn more.

Forced Marriage

What to do it you or someone you know might be forced into marriage. Learn more.

Adapted from Source: Government of Canada, Travel and Tourism:

Canadians Travelling Abroad: Travel Health and Safety - For clients of Total Advantage Travel & Tours travelling abroad.