Traveling is a dream for many. It broadens the mind, exposes you to new people and places and if you have a large family, it’s a wonderful bonding experience. Injuries and illness might still occur, though, and they can be frightening in an unfamiliar place. Here are some tips to help if the worst happens.
#1 Know your rights
How you behave if you fall ill or are injured abroad largely depends on the type of trip you’ve booked. If you booked a package holiday (with flights and accommodation managed through a third-party company) then you’re probably fully covered and will receive support via the travel agency. Independent travelers (those who book flights and accommodation separately) are in a slightly different position and must rely on their insurance providers to help.
#2 Check your insurance in advance
Following on from the previous point, read through your insurance policy before you leave home. It’s tempting to imagine that travel insurance operates on a type of “cover all” basis but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Different policies cover different types of illness and injury, with different levels of excess and varying payout amounts. Familiarizing yourself with this information in advance saves a lot of stress later and ensures that you’re well covered.
#3 Be aware of emergency contacts
As well as preparing your travel insurance, you should have prior knowledge of emergency contacts within the country you’re visiting. That could be doctor’s surgeries, university hospitals or pharmacies. Gathering this information in advance is invaluable. If you’re injured or fall ill, you’ll want to get help fast rather than waste time trying to find the right contacts.
#4 Find a doctor who speaks your language
This is invaluable and easier to do than you might imagine. A quick internet search should turn up doctors who speak your language, but there are other options. Your travel agent or insurance provider will be able to point you in the right direction. Some credit card providers offer this service too. They operate round-the-clock helplines for travelers, putting them in touch with a doctor who speaks their language.
#5 Research treatment at home
Some illnesses will be easy to treat abroad, and you’ll be able to return home fully fit. Others (especially injuries) might be longer-term and require additional interventions when you get back to your own country. Certain severe injuries, for example, require long-term therapies like those offered by bioxcellerator.com. Researching what’s available and where allows you to make a more informed decision about the treatments you need abroad and what can be followed up on at home.
#6 Keep all receipts and records
Keeping track of your care and how much it cost is vital. Not only will insurance companies want to know this information, but you’ll also need a treatment record for doctors back at home. Illnesses and injuries will likely require checkups in the future, and your local doctor will need to know exactly what treatments were administered abroad. Keeping records makes the process much easier.
#7 Have an emergency budget
Travel budgets are common. You’ll spend money on things like accommodation, food, experiences and even souvenirs. Every traveler (especially if you’re traveling with children) should have a separate budget reserved purely for emergencies. Some choose to keep this as a ring-fenced fund in their bank account, others opt for an “emergency” credit card that they can fall back on in the event of any problems. No matter how well insured you are, emergency funds are invaluable if you fall ill.