Tips To Prepare For An International Family Vacation

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We just returned from an amazing family vacation to Europe. I’m so happy to be partnered with CVS to share all about their MinuteClinic and how they can help you prepare for your next international family vacation. Disclosure: I’m proud to be working with CVS Pharmacy to help spread the word about #BetterHealthMadeEasy and how to #FindYourHealthy. All opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at or with the appropriate manufacturers.

Pete and I were out shopping when the email came over our phones inviting us to Europe this summer.

After the initial excitement washed over my body, I went straight into “practical mode”. There was no question we were going to go… but I knew I needed to get a lot of things in order, and quickly to make it happen.

I started making a list of everything we would need.

Medicine refills, new walking shoes, tons of snacks for the long flights, and so many other things. Then I started to think about vaccines. Did the places we were going to visit require ones we haven’t had?

All of these questions coupled with limited time had me a bit frazzled, but I was so excited that it was more of an excited feeling than full on stress running through my veins. 

That was the moment that I remembered everything I had read about our partner at MinuteClinic.

Seriously I had read all about their whole travel health offerings just a few months before so I knew that I had a great resource available to help prepare for this amazing vacation.

If you aren’t familiar with MinuteClinic’s Travel Health options, here is more information for you!

The nurse practitioners at MinuteClinic can help prepare you before you travel outside of the country. There are many components to the travel health services offered at MinuteClinic including pre-travel consultations, motion sickness prevention, and more. Since we were on a river cruise I did see people who had taken precautions for motion sickness. Thankfully none of them needed to use them because a river cruise ship barely even feels like it is moving, but an ocean cruise ship totally does. When we go back on an ocean cruise I will probably visit Minute Clinic for some help because the first day or two can feel pretty rocky.

In addition to the vaccines and prescriptions you may need before leaving for your trip, nurse practitioners can also provide tips on how to stay healthy during your travels and discuss any concerns or warnings from the CDC such as Zika and Malaria if it is applicable to the country you’re traveling to. 

To get the most out of your appointment, you should plan to visit 4-6 weeks before your trip and be sure to bring your itinerary with you so that your practitioner can see all the places you are visiting and provide you with a personalized travel health plan. I love that they can also send your primary care physician a summary of your visit so they can stay in the loop too!

Also, if you do end up needing vaccinations, you can get a variety of them, including DTaP, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Meningitis prior to traveling. This is especially important if your immunizations are not up to date or you need other recommended ones based on where you are going.

Before we left, we stocked up on sunblock and bug spray. When we landed, it was not nearly as warm as I expected it to be, but the sun was still very strong. I was so glad that I already had what we needed and we didn’t have to spend our vacation time buying sunblock. We also saved a lot of money bringing it with us. We stopped into a pharmacy while we were in Austria and it would have cost us 3 times what we paid at CVS. Our place tickets came with a checked bag for each of us, but we ended up just bringing one for all of us that we filled with our toiletries and other things we either couldn’t pack as a carry on or that we couldn’t fit in our carry on bags. 

Our stop in the pharmacy was not out of necessity, nor was our stops in grocery stores. I just love seeing all the different things you can buy in different countries! I’ve been doing that as long as I can remember. Even as a child I’d make my parents stop and look around. I’ve found some pretty cool and unique keepsakes in some very interesting places!

When you are at CVS MinuteClinic for your pre-travel visit, don’t forget to pick up snacks and other things you will need on vacation. We load up on snacks whenever we are flying. I can’t even count how many times we have been delayed either on the runway or in the air circling and having snacks has saved our sanity. Mainly because it keeps Emmy happy and that makes the flight better for everyone!

We also bring bandages, small packs of wipes, allergy ointment, and small toys that we buy at CVS for both the flights and on our trips. I’ve learned you can never prepare too much. I’d rather travel a little heavier than need something and have to waste some of my vacation buying something I could have brought from home.

MinuteClinics retail medical clinics are conveniently located inside more than 1,100 CVS Pharmacy and Target locations. They offer walk-in care seven days a week with evening and weekend hours too and are perfect for all your travel health needs.

Do you have any international trips planned?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • The CVS Minute Clinic seems to have everything under control and organised. I’d feel so much safer knowing they had my back. I’ve never been to England, I imagine it was exciting!

  • We have traveled quite a bit ourselves and we do the exact same thing. I love CVS minute clinic because they’re easy to get in and out of and you don’t need to make an appointment. I’m so jealous that you got to go to Europe. It looks like you guys had a blast.

  • Our family is heading over seas next year and these are great tips! Your trip looked amazing!

  • I have never been on an International trip before. It would be so exciting. I will have to look for a MinuteClinic near me.

  • This is very helpful to get started. We have not gone international yet – just on a cruise or two – and we hope to one day soon!

  • Travelling internationally is something we’ve never done before so I would be lost as to what things to pack for travel. I’m saving this to refer to later on. I’m hoping a great trip is in our future!

  • I bet this was such a fun trip for your family. My husband is going to Europe in October!

  • I loved Europe when we went there last. It’s a smart thing to make sure you have all your vaccinations. CVS offers such a great service with their MinuteClinics.

  • I wish we had CVS Pharmacy here. What a great service. I like that they forward a summary of your visit to your family doctor.

  • These are great tips. I would be nervous to visit another country with my bunch but there is four kids and two adults. Kind of out numbered a little.

  • I would love to take my kids on an international trip. What an amazing experience. CVS is great. I’ve been going there for years.

  • These are some really great tips. It’s so important to be prepared. Last thing you want is some kind of health related issue interfering with your fun.

  • I just want to go on vacation with my family and know that we’re prepared for anything. These ideas are fantastic.

  • We are planning our very first international travel net year! These tips will come handy.

  • I love the idea of the MinuteClinic! It can be so stressful to travel and then trying to find a travel Dr. to get vaccines and ask questions just adds to the already never ending to do list. I will have to check out CVS the next time we vacation. How convenient!

  • Oh wow what an amazing experience for you all to get to go on. I bet it is hard to get everyone ready and make sure everyone has everything they need.

  • Glad to know about CVS overseas health clinic. When I traveled to Africa a few years back it was a nightmare for no reason other than my health care provider trying to make extra money (about $200). Having living/worked in Tokyo & throughout Asia for 4 years, it was plain stupid … so this will be helpful

  • That was a good idea. Going to the MinuteClinic to ensure everyone is healthy and fit to travel is a great way to ensure you will enjoy your vacation.

  • I’ve actually used the MinuteClinic before to get immunizations for foreign travel and they were great. It was much easier to use them than when we’d go to the county health department.

  • It is true that having foreign travels requires some immunization, so this is pretty good for preparation. I hope i can travel again soon.

  • It’s been a long time since I’ve taken my family overseas, so this is great to know. I love Minute Clinic for getting things done like vaccinations, especially for a trip overseas.

  • This is the best advice I have read. Every time I get to read articles about what to pack for a trip, what to bring, how to keep kids entertained, etc. etc,. I always say to myself, “This is a given!” I think your advice of visiting your doctor or going to MinuteClinic before embarking on International travel is what we should be doing first before thinking about snacks and entertainment.

  • This is so helpful especially for families who are going out of the country for the first time. It’s really important that you have everything in order before you leave and that you have everything you need during the trip! Great tips!

  • MinuteClinic are indeed convenient for everyone going to C’VS. I didn’t know that they do travel health services but I have only been to Canada and that was when you didn’t need a visa. Thanks for sharing the information.

  • Even I dont have kids yet, I always make sure my vaccine is updated before I travel. I think is area is the most forgotten aspect that we must comply, for your own safety.

  • I am so excited to travel with my little one especially overseas! I have a passport ready for all of us in case we want to go on spur of the moment.

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