Traveling abroad is an exciting opportunity to see more of the world, but things can still happen. While in a perfect world you’ll never have to worry about needing medical treatment overseas, it’s impossible to predict when accidents will happen.
The best thing you can do before you leave home is to protect yourself by purchasing travel insurance before you leave for your trip. With travel insurance, you’re covered in case of emergency medical treatment or hospitalization. This guide will discuss what to do if you need medical help abroad, and how to find the right travel coverage.
Before Your Trip
If you suddenly become ill or are injured abroad, it can become a scary situation quickly. Depending on your location, you might not speak the local language, and you might not know the best place to go for help. The best approach is a planned approach. The more preparation you can do before your trip, the better.
Before you start your journey, learn the local emergency hotline numbers, and program them into your phone for easy access. You can even locate English-speaking hospitals and medical centers near your accommodations. Your hotel concierge is usually an excellent resource for the latest travel and safety information.
For those traveling with pre-existing conditions or medications, get a list of these translated. Store this list somewhere safe in case you need to share them with a medical professional. It is also crucial to have an emergency contact who knows where you are at all times. Most phones today come equipped with emergency files like the Apple Medical ID so you can travel with your up-to-date health information.
Medical Coverage Abroad
European Union citizens have access to health insurance even when abroad in other EU countries. It’s crucial to always travel with your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to prove you’re insured in an EU country. If you don’t already have an EHIC, you can apply for one through your health insurer.
While you receive emergency coverage as an EU citizen in other EU countries, it is still worth investing in additional insurance. There are limits to this coverage, and you don’t want to find yourself in a life-threatening situation where you’re unable to receive the coverage you need. For instance, the EHIC does not cover any emergency evacuation or private healthcare.
Facing a Medical Emergency Abroad
No matter how many steps you take to stay healthy abroad, emergencies still happen. Knowing what to do will help you remain calm and take charge of the situation. Even minor medical problems like a cold or a sprained ankle can become more challenging in a new place.
Your first line of defense for minor treatment is the local pharmacy. In most countries, you can receive essential medical treatment in these places, and you can pay out of pocket for any prescriptions if needed. These pharmacies are more accessible than specialized physicians, and they’re cost-effective. A platform like booknowmed can help you find the best treatments, physicians and health practices at your destination if you’re in need of specialized treatment.th
For more severe medical emergencies, it’s best to proceed directly to the hospital. You never know when a small illness will turn out to be something more extreme, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you require a long-term hospital stay or medical evacuation, travel health insurance can help cover any extra costs.
Stay Protected While Traveling
There is no such thing as being too prepared when it comes to traveling. Sometimes, things are out of your control. You never know when a medical emergency will strike, and that’s why it’s best to educate yourself on what to do if you find yourself in a scary situation while you’re away from home.