When you go off on a trip, you think more about the good stuff that might happen and less about the bad stuff. However, accidents and illnesses can occur at all times – and it does not care whether you are on a vacation or not.
This is even more troublesome if you are abroad in an unfamiliar country, one that is far more costly than where you came from. Plus, there’s a high chance that you won’t even be treated – simply because you don’t have the coverage there.
So, how do you deal with injury and illness when you are abroad and how do you avoid a colossal medical bill? Well, here are a few tips for you to do that.
1. Get Travel and Health Insurance
No one should leave the country without travel and health insurance – but a surprising 20% of people simply skip this step so that they can save up a few bucks. It might not turn out so economical if you end up breaking your leg during that trip – so you might want to ensure your insurance covers all the necessary grounds.
2. Get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
If you are traveling to Europe, then this is something you certainly have to do. This card gives you the right to healthcare when you are temporarily visiting Europe – and it can be given to anyone who’s 16 and above. It’s free and it covers state emergency treatment – but if you are in a bind, it would certainly solve a lot of problems.
3. Research Your Destinations
Doing some research before setting off might actually prevent some really unfortunate situations. For example, is the tap water safe to drink there? Can you buy any necessary medication there, in the event that yours run out? What would it be recommended to pack in your first aid kit? These might not sound important at first – but they can prove to be life-saving.
4. Locate the Healthcare Professional
Let’s say that you have some minor injury, illness, or dental problem – where is the nearest healthcare professional? If you already know where you are staying, you can use maps to find them or you can ask the hotel or tour operator to guide you.
5. Always Know the Emergency Numbers
Each country will have its own emergency numbers that you will have to dial. Most European countries will go by 112 or 911 – but you may want to put them on your phone. If you are dealing with a more complicated situation, you might want to contact the insurance company first.
6. Contact the Nearest Embassy
If you are abroad and are admitted into a hospital, you might want to contact your nearest embassy and notify them of your situation. In some cases, the FICO might have to notify your family or person of contact – those who are responsible for your medical decisions in case you are incapacitated. They might even set up a personal injury case if the situation asks for it.
We never think about the worst-case scenario, but the truth is that we should. It’s better to be safe than sorry – and it will save you a lot of money (and nerves) if something actually happens abroad.