Being sick is never fun to begin with, but being seriously injured or ill while traveling can sometimes be a life or death issue. I’ve been fortunate enough to never have had a major problem while abroad, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen or I shouldn’t be prepared. Here are some ways you can keep healthy on the road while still having a good time living abroad.
Make sure you can contact your doctor.
Whether it’s through Viber, WhatsApp, or some other form of communication, knowing that you can get a hold of someone in case something goes wrong can make all the difference. I make sure that I can email my doctor in case I can’t call, but I also have her number on my phone and I usually have a plan abroad that allows me to call if I am having an emergency. You should also have a number of a local doctor in case you need to see one right away. Usually, a simple Google search can help you find English-speaking doctors.
Have a plan for if something goes wrong.
Your health is incredibly important, and it’s a good idea to have a clear idea of what to do if an emergency happens and you are on your own. When I took a solo backpacking trip through the Balkans, I gave my parents my itinerary and kept them posted on each leg of the journey so they would know if something bad happened to me. I also carried an emergency contact card with my sister’s information on it so if something bad happened local doctors or hospital staff could get a hold of her.
Know whether you have health insurance abroad or not.
It’s a good idea to look into whether or not you have insurance available when you are away from your home country. Some insurance plans have you covered, while others don’t—you might have to buy some separate traveler’s insurance for your trip in case something goes wrong. If you take a tour, sometimes you can purchase insurance from them directly and save yourself the hassle of finding the best plan for you.
Have you ever had a medical emergency abroad? How have you dealt with it?