Travelling in good health
Some things will have to be sorted out before you can really get stuck into your travel plans. One of these is the matter of health. For example, will you need vaccinations? And, depending on where you’re headed, how long you intend to stay and what you wish to do while you are there, you may need a visa. The visa itself will stipulate certain health requirements, and vaccinations etc. are often mandatory before an entry permit is issued. This applies, for example, to the USA. Detailed information is available from the respective embassies and/or consulates, and also on the website of the Federal Foreign Office under Reisen und Gesundheit (Travel and Health).
Your travel destination determines what vaccinations are required. It is always advisable to obtain specialist medical advice before embarking on a journey abroad. You could consult with a GP specializing in travel medicine or make use of the expertise provided by the Institutes for Tropical Medicine and sometimes by local health authorities. The World Health Organization (WHO) issues a guide to international travel and health, which includes an Interactive World Map of infectious diseases. The German Standing Committee on Vaccination Recommendations (STIKO) provides information on travel and infectious diseases. The Centrum für Reisemedizin (CRM) has information about refunds of travel vaccination costs.
The European Health Insurance Card entitles you to medical help by official health service providers in case of illness or emergency throughout the EU (as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), whether you are on holiday, studying abroad or on an internship.
The card is not a replacement for travel insurance, but it guarantees that you will receive treatment in a participating country at the same conditions and costs as do citizens of that country. If medical care is provided free of charge to the country’s citizens, then it is provided free of charge to you, too. Please remember that each country has its own health system: it is entirely possible that treatment provided to you free of charge at home may have to be paid for by you in another country.