Getting Ready to Go Abroad
Know your rights as an airline traveler with a disability. Contact the airline about their procedures for travelers with disabilities and know your rights. Read our tipsheet Air Travel Tips for People with Disabilities.
Make sure you have insurance. Even if your program provides insurance, it may not cover pre-existing conditions related to your disability. Read more at Insurance Considerations for Exchange Participants with Disabilities.
Get vaccinated. Especially if you are visiting developing countries, it’s important to find out what vaccinations are recommended. You can check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. Your local travel clinic will also have recommendations.
Make sure prescriptions are properly labeled. Include information about the prescription and disability condition written in the language of the country of destination for customs officials. See our tipsheet Medications and International Travel.
Make a packing checklist. Look at checklists for suggested packing items for international travel. People with mobility disabilities should check out our tipsheet Packing for Easier Travel with a Mobility Disability and make sure any electrical transformers and plug adaptors are ready when charging a power wheelchair abroad.
Be aware of safety concerns where you are traveling. Check the U.S. Department of State’s resources on international travel, which includes information on travel advisories and safety issues for each country.
Know the immigration and flight requirements for any guide dogs or service animals. Find resources at our tipsheet Guide Dogs and Service Animals While on International Exchange.
Get in touch with disability organizations in the countries you are visiting. They can provide information on accessibility as well as connect you with others who have disabilities in their communities. Search our disability organizations database for potential contacts.
Identify local specialists and disability resources in the host country. Find out if there are disability-related specialists and organizations in your host country that can provide services such as wheelchair repairs, mental health counseling, or hearing aid battery supplies.
Learn disability-related vocabulary in the language of the countries you are visiting. This will make it easier to address accessibility and disability-related issues as they arise.
Be prepared for different cultural attitudes and perspectives on disability in the countries you will be visiting. See Cultural Differences and Disability.
Have a contingency plan. What will you do if something goes wrong, or if you have unanticipated disability-related needs? Make sure you have a contingency plan to prepare for a wide range of scenarios by reading our Disability-Specific Information.