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Travel Health

Despite media attention on global terrorism or high-crime in developing countries, the most consistent problems Northwestern travelers face are health-related. Be proactive about maintaining good health. In this section you can find information on necessary immunizations prior to departure and tips for staying healthy while abroad.

COVID-19 Travel Considerations

International and domestic mobility during the pandemic should prioritize health and safety. Despite high vaccination rates within our community, travel will require careful planning and flexibility to adjust plans as conditions change, such as the emergent of new variants. As a first step, review Northwestern’s COVID-19 Travel Guidelines for the latest University-wide advice and possible restrictions and check back often to stay abreast of updates.

The OGSS supports all different types of university-affiliated travel. The two most common are individual/independent travelers and group travelers (three or more travelers on the same or similar itinerary). All travelers should review the following COVID-19 Travel Considerations when planning a trip. Independent travelers should also review a our COVID Independent Traveler checklist specific to solo travel during the pandemic. Faculty or staff planning short-term group travel or are working to re-start study abroad programs, should travel should consult the Faculty and Staff Checklist page for further instructions.

Health conditions and care abroad

Preparation is particularly important for travelers that are taking prescription medication or currently in regular treatment for a health condition such as anxiety, arthritis, depression, diabetes or an eating disorder, etc. Learn about traveling with health conditions or a disabilitytraveling with medications abroad and managing dietary requirements

The Office of Global Safety and Security (OGSS) strives to help all travelers have successful experiences abroad and can best support travelers with pre-existing conditions by having plans in place prior to international travel. 

International health insurance

All Northwestern students are required to obtain Northwestern’s international medical assistance and insurance plan with GeoBlue.  Learn about GeoBlue for Students, accessing routine medical care and reimbursement for care abroad.

Furthermore, Northwestern requires all full-time students to have health insurance coverage during enrollment. Because GeoBlue only applies while abroad, not while in the United States, all travelers are strongly encouraged to maintain domestic health insurance coverage while abroad to avoid any gaps in coverage. This is particularly important in case a medical emergency abroad requires a traveler to return home early for continued treatment or recovery. 

Northwestern employees traveling on university business are automatically covered under a specialized employee medical insurance and assistance plan through GeoBlue. Refer to GeoBlue for Employees for coverage and enrollment details.