Visa and Immunization Requirements
- Western Europe: Nationals of the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union are not required to obtain a visa for visits of 90 days or less.
- Non EU Eastern Europe and the Middle East: Most of these countries will require a visa for travel of any kind.
- Asia: Some countries in Asia will require a visa, while some will not. Touristy Thailand and Japan, for example, do not require visas from US citizens, EU residents, Australia and New Zealand citizens for visits of less than 30-90 days.
- Africa: With the exception of heavily traveled South Africa, Morocco and Mauritius, most African countries require a visa for entry.
- Australia and New Zealand: A visa is needed for travel to Australia, although an Electronic Travel Authority visa is acceptable and can be handled by your travel agent. New Zealand does not require a visa for entry.
- Central and South America: Most countries do not require a visa for entry; however, if you are traveling to Brazil you will need a visa.
Obtaining a Visa
Some countries will allow you to obtain your visa once you reach the airport, but make sure you verify this before you hit the road to avoid a quick return home.
The big three are Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Yellow Fever (in some cases you will actually be required to show proof of vaccination against Yellow Fever). If you are traveling to a region that is susceptible to these diseases, you’ll need to get some shots. The regions that you’ll most need to worry about are Africa, parts of Central and South America and parts of the Caribbean. Also keep in mind that some parts of Asia will require a Japanese Encephalitis vaccination.
The other main diseases and infections that you should consider are those carried by insects, such as Malaria and Dengue Fever, those carried by food and water, such as E Coli and Cholera, and those carried by person to person contact, such as Hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS. You can help protect yourself by taking antimalarial pills (the type of pill will vary by region), always wearing insect that contains DEET, making sure your food and water are clean and sanitary and practicing safe sex if you decide to hook up with the locals.
For a more detailed list if immunizations and vaccinations by country, visit the Center for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/travel/.