Most people probably don’t have the thought of things going wrong during a vacation and often times if you play it safe, you’re probably in the clear. That wasn’t the case for me, though, last January when I was in Mazatlán, Mexico.
On our last night in Mazatlán, my girlfriend and I were lying in bed watching a movie. Suddenly, a feeling of extremely uneasiness came over me. I started sweating, I was dizzy, I couldn’t breathe and was extremely nauseous. I was going through something I had never gone through before, and it was a very scary moment in my life.
Of course, I panicked. I didn’t know what was happening to me and I was trying to figure out what to do. I had to find a hospital or emergency room. I remember going through Google Maps trying to find a hospital that was nearby, and then we had to figure out how we were getting there.
It was a moment of clarity realizing how unprepared I was, and it scared the shit out of me. After going through what I did, I now plan heavily for any potential medical emergencies I may go through in the future.
Here are 5 easy and simple things you can do (that we now do every time we travel!) to help plan for medical emergencies during your international travels.
Locate Nearby Medical Facilities (Hospitals and Emergency Rooms)
This is probably the most important thing to do ahead of your international travels. Since you already know where you’re going and likely staying, spend a few minutes researching the best medical facilities nearby. Read reviews and try to gauge if they’re going to be a good fit for you, and your health needs. We recommend bookmarking the locations in Google Maps or another GPS Map App, if you use one, and take a screenshot in case you don’t have cell service when you need it. Lastly, write them down (with actual pen and paper, or printed out) and keep them in your wallet – just in case your phone dies at the worst time possible.
Have A Copy Of Your Medical Records
If you have any history of medical conditions, have a copy of your medical records with you during your travels at all times. Visiting a new doctor or hospital in a foreign city or country in an emergency can be stressful enough. And without records, they have no idea about your medical conditions or medical history. It will help them get a better idea on how to best treat you, especially if you’re unable to communicate during a bad accident.
Know Your Transportation Options
Whether you’re staying in the city or traveling to the middle of nowhere, know your transportation options. Is Uber available? Do you have to take a cab? Always be aware of your transportation options when traveling internationally as this can be one of the most stressful things to handle if you are not prepared and find yourself in an emergency. Always aim for finding 3 options for transportation, and don’t forget to look up public transpo like busses, subways and trains.
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Have A Medical Kit With You At All Times
Simple, affordable and it may just save your life in a medical emergency. Purchase a travel size medical kit and keep it in your day pack at all times. I’ve had to use mine on various occasions with cuts, burns and even bug bites. Here are a few options for medical kits that you can purchase on Amazon Prime. I recommend picking up something compact and light.
Strongly Consider Travel Insurance
In most cases, your health insurance won’t cover anything that happens during international travels. One of the best things any traveler can do is to pick up travel insurance. It’s better that you’re covered rather than potentially facing a financial crisis in case something terribly goes wrong.
If you don’t have any experience purchasing travel insurance, check out my guide here. I recommend World Nomads as a good go-to and Squaremouth if you want to compare multiple travel insurance options. Once you choose your provider, jotting down any and all information regarding your plan will be super helpful. I often times do this in notes on my mobile device, and also write it down on a piece of paper, in case my phone dies.
These 5 easy ways to prepare can make all the difference when experiencing a medical emergency during travel. We’d love to hear other ways you plan ahead, too, so drop your recommendations in the comments below! Safe travels 🙂
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