Saudi Arabia Travel Health Insurance – Country Review
Learn more about Saudi Arabia Travel Health Insurance with an overview from the CDC and the US State Department. Here we cover Vaccines, Medicines and Insurance.
At AardvarkCompare we can’t recommend travel insurance enough. Whether you are just traveling a few hundred miles from home to see family, or traveling to the other side of the world, travel insurance should be considered an essential part of your holiday packing. The hope is that you won’t have to use your travel insurance, and that you’ll have a fun and enjoyable trip. The following advice should help you make the most of your trip to Saudi Arabia.
Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
Saudi Arabia Travel Health – CDC
You should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination. Some vaccines may also be required for travel.
Vaccines and Medicines
Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor (ideally, 4-6 weeks) before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need.
Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
- Infants (6 through 11 months old): 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. This dose does not count as the first dose in the routine childhood vaccination series.
- People 12 months old or older, with no evidence of immunity or no written documentation of any doses: 2 doses of MMR vaccine before travel. The 2 doses must be given 28 days apart.
- People 12 months old or older who have written documentation of 1 dose and no other evidence of immunity: 1 additional dose before travel, at least 28 days after the previous dose.
Get travel vaccines and medicines because there is a risk of these diseases in the country you are visiting.
CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Saudi Arabia, regardless of where you are eating or staying.
You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in Saudi Arabia. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.
Ask your doctor what vaccines and medicines you need based on where you are going, how long you are staying, what you will be doing, and if you are traveling from a country other than the US.
You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures.
When traveling in Saudi Arabia, you should avoid mosquito bites to prevent malaria. You may need to take prescription medicine before, during, and after your trip to prevent malaria, depending on your travel plans, such as where you are going, when you are traveling, and if you are spending a lot of time outdoors or sleeping outside. Talk to your doctor about how you can prevent malaria while traveling. Areas of Saudi Arabia with risk of malaria: Asir and Jizan emirates by border with Yemen. None in the cities of Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, Riyadh, and Ta’if. See more detailed information about malaria in Saudi Arabia for more information.
Meningitis (Meningococcal disease)
This vaccine is required if you are traveling to Saudi Arabia to take part in the Hajj. See Hajj Pilgrimage for more information.
Rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in the Saudi Arabia, so CDC recommends this vaccine for the following groups:
- Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities in remote areas that put them at risk for bat bites (such as adventure travel and caving).
- People who will be working with or around bats (such as wildlife professionals and researchers).
- People who are taking long trips or moving to Saudi Arabia
- Children, because they tend to play with animals, might not report bites, and are more likely to have animal bites on their head and neck.
There is no risk of yellow fever in Saudi Arabia. The government of San Marino requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. This does not include the US. If you are traveling from a country other than the US, check this list to see if you may be required to get the yellow fever vaccine: countries at risk of yellow fever virus (YFV) transmission.
For more information on recommendations and requirements, see: Yellow fever recommendations and requirements for Saudi Arabia. Your doctor can help you decide if this vaccine is right for you based on your travel plans.
Note: Yellow fever vaccine availability in the United States is currently limited. If you need to be vaccinated before your trip, you may need to travel some distance and schedule your appointment well in advance. Find the clinic nearest you.
Stay Health and Safe
Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in Saudi Arabia, so your behaviors are important.
Eat and Drink Safely
Food and water standards in Saudi Arabia are similar to those in the United States. Most travelers do not need to take special food or water precautions beyond what they normally do at home. However, travelers visiting rural or remote areas that are served by unregulated water sources such as private wells should take special precautions to ensure the safety of their drinking water.
Prevent bug bites
Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Saudi Arabia. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.
What can I do to prevent bug bites?
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
- Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below) .
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
- Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
- Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.
What type of insect repellent should I use?
- FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
- FOR PROTECTION AGAINST MOSQUITOES ONLY: Products with one of the following active ingredients can also help prevent mosquito bites. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection.
- Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD
- Always use insect repellent as directed.
What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?
- Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
- Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks
What can I do to avoid bed bugs?
Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs. For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites.
Stay safe outdoors
If your travel plans in Saudi Arabia include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.
- Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
- Heat-related illness, such as heat stroke, can be deadly. Eat and drink regularly, wear loose and lightweight clothing, and limit physical activity during high temperatures.
Stay safe around water
- Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
- Do not dive into shallow water.
- Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
- Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
- To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.
Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection that can be spread in fresh water, is found in Saudi Arabia. Avoid swimming in fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.
Keep away from animals
Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.
Follow these tips to protect yourself:
- Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
- Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
- Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
- Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
- If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.
All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:
- Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
- Go to a doctor right away.
- Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.
Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.
Reduce your exposure to germs
Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:
- Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.
Avoid sharing body fluids
Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.
- Use latex condoms correctly.
- Do not inject drugs.
- Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
- If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.
Know how to get medical care while traveling
Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:
- Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
- Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call the Saudi Arabia embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website (Joint Commission International).
In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.
Malaria is a risk in some parts of Saudi Arabia. If you are going to a risk area, fill your malaria prescription before you leave, and take enough with you for the entire length of your trip. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the pills; some need to be started before you leave.
Select safe transportation
Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.
In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.
Be smart when you are traveling on foot.
- Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
- Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
- Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.
Choose a safe vehicle.
- Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
- Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
- Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
- Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
- Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.
Think about the driver.
- Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
- Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
- Arrange payment before departing.
Follow basic safety tips.
- Wear a seatbelt at all times.
- Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
- When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
- Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of Saudi Arabia may be poor.
- Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
- Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
- If you choose to drive a vehicle in Saudi Arabia, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
- Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
- Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.
Medical Evacuation Insurance
If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.
Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.
The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.
Maintain personal security
Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
Before you leave
- Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
- Monitor travel warnings and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
- Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.
While at your destination(s)
- Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate.
- Follow all local laws and social customs.
- Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
- Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
- If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.
Healthy Travel Packing List
Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Saudi Arabia for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.
Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?
It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.
After Your Trip
If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic. Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.
If your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you could still get sick.
Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.
For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel.
Saudi Arabia Travel Health – The US State Department
U.S.- SAUDI ARABIA RELATIONS
Following recognition in 1931, the United States and Saudi Arabia established full diplomatic relations, with exchange of credentials and the first U.S. ambassadorial posting to Jeddah in 1940. Saudi Arabia’s unique role in the Arab and Islamic worlds, its possession of the world’s largest reserves of oil, and its strategic location all play a role in the long-standing bilateral relationship between the Kingdom and the United States.
The United States and Saudi Arabia have a common interest in preserving the stability, security, and prosperity of the Gulf region and consult closely on a wide range of regional and global issues. Saudi Arabia plays an important leadership role in working toward a peaceful and prosperous future for the region and is a strong partner in security and counterterrorism efforts, providing military, diplomatic, and financial cooperation. It works closely with U.S. military and law enforcement to safeguard both countries’ national security interests.
The United States and Saudi Arabia also enjoy robust cultural and educational ties with over 55,000 Saudi students studying in U.S. colleges and universities and scores of educational and cultural exchange visitors each year. The United States also provides promising youth and current Saudi leaders the opportunity to experience the best of the United States through our International Visitor Leadership Program and various other exchange programs.
U.S. Assistance to Saudi Arabia
The United States and Saudi Arabia have a longstanding security relationship. Saudi Arabia is the United States’ largest foreign military sales (FMS) customer, with nearly $100 billion in active FMS cases. Through FMS, the United States has supported three key security assistance organizations in the Kingdom—the Saudi Ministry of Defense, the Saudi Arabian National Guard, and the Ministry of Interior. Since the 1950s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has also played a vital role in military and civilian construction in Saudi Arabia.
Additional assistance supports closer cultural, educational, and institutional ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia. The U.S.-Saudi partnership is rooted in more than seven decades of close friendship and cooperation, enriched by the exchange opportunities that are key to the promotion of mutual understanding and the long-term development of ties.
Upon request, the United States provides technical support to ministries in the Kingdom, particularly in areas of education, trade, and good governance as newly articulated in its Vision 2030 program.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States and Saudi Arabia enjoy a strong economic relationship, as the United States is Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner, and Saudi Arabia is one of the United States’ largest trading partners in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia is the second leading source of imported oil for the United States, providing more than one million barrels per day of oil to the U.S. market. The United States and Saudi Arabia have signed a Trade Investment Framework Agreement.
Saudi Arabia launched its Vision 2030 program in April 2016, laying out plans to diversify the economy, including through increased trade and investment with the United States and other countries.
Saudi Arabia’s Membership in International Organizations
Saudi Arabia participates in a number of international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Saudi Arabia also is an observer to the Organization of American States.
Saudi Arabia maintain an embassy in the United States at 601 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037; tel. 202-342-3800.
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