Making sure your health is covered is not just about buying travel insurance, although that is a very important aspect of your care. Before you set off you should visit your doctor for a medical. A quick check of your health could be the difference between dealing with a minor illness at home, and needing major medical intervention while you’re away. If you require prescription medications you should ensure you have enough to cover you while you’re away. Researching your ability to obtain your medication in foreign countries is worth the time it will take if you are setting off on an extended travel adventure. You’ll need to know how to get new prescriptions and where to purchase the items you need. Many countries will not sell your brand of medication so it pays to be aware of other brands that your doctor approves for your use.
If your home country offers cover abroad through your national health service you should make sure you have the appropriate identification and membership so that you can claim if you have health issues abroad. Once you know you are covered it could be as simple as presenting your card at a medical facility to receive treatment. Cards like the European Health Card are a great example. UK residents should carry these when they travel through Europe but the cards are only valid for five years. A quick check before you leave home will ensure that your card is within date and able to be used.
Even if you do have some kind of health card that covers you on holiday, you should still purchase travel insurance. Travel policies cover much more than your medical needs when you’re away from home. Refunds of lost deposits if an illness causes changes to your plans, money to replace lost luggage and even extra funds for pets to be housed if your return home is delayed, are just some of the options you can receive with a good travel insurance policy. When you’re planning a trip, the last thing you want to imagine happening is an accident or illness of some kind, but accidents happen more than most of us realize. When you’re in the ambulance on your way to hospital in a country that doesn’t speak your language, you’ll be relieved to know you are covered and that your travel insurance company will take care of the details for you.
Travel vaccinations are another important consideration before you visit foreign lands. Different countries have different recommendations for appropriate vaccinations. Your doctor can advise what you are likely to need or you can visit a specialist travel doctor. Many people choose to visit travel clinics overseas to save money; do your own research to decide what is best for you and your family in this area. Some vaccines are relevant only to a particular set of people or a particular type of travel. I urge you to research each one to see if it's necessary.
Good health is nothing to take for granted, especially when you are travelling far from home. Avoiding expensive treatments overseas means you save money too. By doing a little bit of work before you set off you can make sure that you have an enjoyable trip and return home in the same good health you enjoyed before you left.
Have we missed anything? What else related to your health should you check before you leave home on holiday?