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Planning helps your road trip skip the bumps in the road. Planning helps you avoid turbulence, even once your plane has landed.
A good first step as you plan your trip is to make sure you have health care that travels with you. Whether you’re taking a road trip or catching a plane, you don’t want sickness or injury to be part of your trip. Before you start to pack, take steps to be prepared. Double check that you have health insurance for travel, so you can get the help you need if something does happen.
Don’t travel without access to your health care information. Sign up for Blue Access for MembersSM (BAM) before you pack your bags.
You can make a list of the in-network doctors and/or hospitals near where you will be staying and keep it handy. This will save you time and worry if you or one of your family members gets sick. To find doctors and hospitals in your network, use our online Provider Finder®. Log in to see your network providers. Or download our BCBSIL App so you can search while you’re traveling.
Make sure you pack your member ID card. Bring along a photocopy in case you lose it. You will have to show your member ID card at the doctor's office, clinic or hospital if you need health care services.
If you are taking prescription drugs, pack enough to last you the whole trip and extra in case of delays. The U.S. Department of State recommends that you leave your drugs in their original, labeled container. Pack them in your carry-on bag if you are flying. Be sure to bring copies of your prescriptions.
Do you know if your benefits will cover you when you are away from home? You may have access to the Blue Cross Blue Shield BlueCard® program. This international program lets Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) members get health care services when traveling outside their service area. Members may also have access to doctors and hospitals in more than 200 countries and territories through the Global Core program.*
Talk to your doctor at least six weeks before your trip to allow time for any recommended or required vaccinations. Discuss your specific travel destinations and what shots you’ll need. Many take time to be effective. Some must be given in a series. While you’re there, make sure all your routine shots are up to date. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of recommended shots for children and adults.
To stay safe, do your research and heed local warnings. Before you leave, stay informed about travel conditions abroad by checking the CDC's Travel Health notices. You’ll find up-to-date news and travel warnings about current health issues linked to specific destinations. These issues may spring from disease outbreaks, special events, natural disasters or other conditions that may affect travelers’ health and safety.
As you plan your trip, make sure you know what will be required to come back to the States. Because of COVID-19, there are things you may have to do before you can get on a plane or leave the airport, from having your temperature taken to taking a quick COVID-19 test. And travel from some countries back to the U.S. may be ban because of contagious disease outbreaks, including COVID, measles, malaria and yellow fever.
Originally published February 19, 2015; Revised 2017, 2020, 2022
We got copies of our birth certificates for our vacation after reading this article. Thanks!
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