Protect Yourself While Traveling to the USA and Canada


Protect Yourself While Traveling to the USA and Canada

Travel is the general movement of humans between different, often remote, geographical locations. Travel is often done by car, bike, foot, plane, train, bus, boat or any other mode, with or without personal luggage, and may be one way or multiple ways. It is often an important aspect of commerce and tourism. Today, travel is even easier and more convenient because of the internet, which makes it much easier for people to find and plan travel, as well as finding accommodation. The internet also enables people to communicate with each other in a more efficient, cost effective and time-efficient manner than ever before.

Traveling for business or pleasure has always been a difficult and sometimes troublesome task, particularly for the traveler who must follow all sorts of restrictions, rules and regulations regarding his or her movement across state lines or even country to state lines. It was especially difficult and problematic for those who traveled between the United States and Canada. These restrictions, rules and regulations concerning movement across state lines were often very specific and strict, making travel between the U.S. and Canada very expensive and inconvenient. Today, however, much of this restriction and inconvenience has largely been eliminated or at least significantly eased, making travel among the western hemisphere much more common and easy. Still, there are still some restrictions that must be followed by individuals moving between the U.S. and Canada.

As a reminder, all travelers to the United States must obtain a valid passport issued by the U.S. government. The only exceptions are individuals who have a green card, those with extreme hardship, those with Disabilities act certificates, those over age 65, and military personnel assigned to the U.S. These requirements often do not apply, however, due to the increased numbers of border crossers in recent years. Still, regardless of the reasons for travel, it is important for travellers to have at least one passport.

The truth is that the risk of travelling to the United States is far greater than travelling to Canada. As a general rule, Americans travelling to Canada should expect to get tested for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B at some point during their travel. As a reminder, approximately one hundred thousand people travel to the United States each year for either a one-time visit or to accompany or join a family member, which means that approximately ten percent of all visitors to Canada will likely be subject to at least one Hepatitis B exam.

In addition to being subjected to a Hepatitis B exam, travelers to the United States may also be subjected to a screening for HIV. While no Hepatitis B test is perfect, it is a possibility that every traveler to Canada will have to face. If travelers to Canada are concerned about getting tested for HIV, they should take some common sense precautions to reduce the possibility of becoming infected with HIV while travelling to the United States. They should abstain from sex during any travel abroad that they are thinking about taking, they should make sure to use condoms and they should see a doctor if they have pre-existing health conditions that could put them at a higher risk for HIV. While the possibility of getting infected with HIV is higher among American than among Canadian travelers, the possibility is still relatively low.

As an aside, American tourists should also be aware that although their medications and private belongings can be quarantined when crossing the border, they cannot be returned once they are away. This means that travelers who have taken necessary precautions to protect themselves by following the recommendations outlined above should be in the clear. Remember that if you feel threatened or uncomfortable in any way during your travel abroad, you should consult a professional immediately. Your health should always be a priority!