How to Prepare for a Medical Emergency When Traveling Abroad

By on September 21, 2020
traveling abroad

Falling seriously ill or getting critically injured while traveling abroad presents a myriad of challenges, first of which is how to get back to your country for further treatment or back home with loved ones once your condition is stable enough to warrant travel.

Part of planning a trip should always include a contingency plan in case of an unforeseen medical emergency. Contingency planning is especially needed when either you or a loved one has a pre-existing medical condition that makes you susceptible to serious illness.

Below we list a few things you should consider so that your trip abroad is a safe and salutary one.

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Do Your Research

When traveling to a foreign country, do your research on various things about the hospitals. Stuff like their location, how much they charge, the range of medical emergencies that they can handle, etc. Learning key phrases in the local language will do you a world of good. Terms such as “I need a doctor” or terms specific to your pre-existing conditions.

First Aid

One of the essential things you should pack is a first-aid kit, as a precaution against niggles like small cuts and bruises.

A few “must-haves” in your first aid kit should be:

  1. Your Medication: First aid kits should include medication to treat any pre-existing conditions such as allergy medication, or spare glasses/contact lenses.
  2. Travel related medicine: Nausea, and food poisoning, for instance, can rear their ugly head as you go about your travels, so it’s important to stay ready. While they may seem like minor medical issues, travel-related illness not only makes your trip an extremely unpleasant experience, it may possibly exacerbate existing medical conditions, turning what could’ve been a small issue, into a medical emergency.

Ensure you keep your first aid kit close to you at all times – preferably in your carry on luggage – if you need it, and so that you don’t lose it.

Your Medical Information

Keep a particular folder in your carry on luggage and in that of anyone else you’re traveling with. This folder should have copies of critical medical records or cards, your itinerary, and a list of emergency contacts.

Keep these alongside your medication. Leave a copy with someone at home if you lose your documents while traveling, or email yourself the information as back up.

Research Proper Medical Transportation

Often it’s impossible to avoid, but generally, you do not want to be ill or injured in a foreign country without the option to repatriate to your home country. Flying commercial back home in case of a medical emergency may not be typically possible, so it’s best to look into your options on how to travel back. A reputable air ambulance provider, for instance, is an excellent option if you need quick, emergency medical repatriation, and specialized care during the flight.

Do your research before your trip so that you have a plan should you find yourself hospitalized abroad. Service providers like can make sure you get home safely for further treatment and recovery and provide a bed-to-bed service that transports from your current hospital to a hospital of your choice.

Make Travel Insurance Your Friend

An additional $20, on top of all the other costs you’ll incur for your travel may seem like a needless irritation, but if you need to fly back home or get treated at a foreign hospital, the costs may be significantly higher.

While traveling, you should make travel insurance a necessity if your current health plan doesn’t provide it for eventualities outside of your home country.

Furthermore, if you have an existing travel insurance plan, make sure you understand what’s covered in the policy. If you don’t have a current policy, shop around not only for the best price but the insurance plan that provides the best coverage, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

Do you have any other additional tips you would like to share? Let us know in the comments section below!

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How to Prepare for a Medical Emergency When Traveling Abroad