Visiting friends and relatives abroad

Travellers intending to visit friends and relatives in a foreign country (often referred to as VFRs) are a special group of travellers with unique risk factors and travel patterns. These individuals often travel to destinations with higher disease risks, stay for longer periods of time, are more likely to eat local food in people’s homes and drink untreated water, and are less likely to seek pre-travel advice or to be adequately vaccinated before they leave Canada. Often, these travellers have a different awareness and perception of the risks than tourists travelling to the same destination. 

No matter where you will be travelling, it is important to discuss your travel plans with a health care provider, preferably six weeks before you leave, for advice to help reduce your risk of sickness and injury while abroad.

Discuss the immunization history of each family member who will be travelling (including any children) with your health care provider to ensure that routine vaccines recommended in Canada are up-to-date. Your health care provider will determine if any vaccines are required or recommended for your travel destination.

Some individuals, including children, older travellers and those who are immunocompromised, are at a higher risk of illness. A health care provider will be able to provide personalized advice to help protect their health.

Be aware of the current local situation: consult the Travel Advice and Advisories for the country you are visiting to learn about the political and security situation, as well as any disease risks and how you could reduce your risk of contracting them.


Food- and water-borne diseases

Additional considerations

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