You have planned your trip and received all your required vaccinations. Despite the excitement of your upcoming travels, you may be worrying about the “what ifs” once you arrive at your destination. Unfortunately, various medical emergencies may arise during your travels. The best defense against worrying is to educate yourself and be prepared.
- Review your health insurance prior to traveling abroad. Keep details written down (paper and electronic copy) of your insurance contact information, any details about a current medical condition, emergency contact information and your current doctor’s details in your home country. For senior travelers, know that Medicare may not cover you when traveling outside of the United States.
- Consider purchasing additional travel insurance to cover any medical treatment needed. If you become ill or injured while traveling, medical evacuation coverage will transport you to the nearest hospital. Some policies also cover transportation back to the United States. Paying for treatment abroad can be prohibitive and could result in you not being treated if you do not have the funds.
- Be sure to have enough medications for two weeks beyond your scheduled trip and carry a list of your prescriptions with you.
- If you use a medical device that requires a power supply, be sure to bring any needed electrical converters. Know how to find backup power at your destination or other ways that will sustain your device or equipment during a power outage.
- Keep the contact details for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate with you. They are available for emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The embassy will help you locate medical assistance; however, the embassy is not a first responder, so know how to contact local emergency services if needed.
- Keep a list of your emergency contacts handy and create a communication plan for reaching family and friends in the event of a crisis. Keep family and friends aware of where you will be going, and even send over a schedule or itinerary to keep them informed of travel plans in case of emergency.
- Keep all important documents or information in a safe and secure location while abroad. Make sure your passport is ready for use. Most countries require it be valid for at least six months after the end of your trip. Have a photocopy of your passport on paper and on your phone.
- In the event of a medical emergency, contact the local emergency services. Afterwards, contact Dr. Goudreau.