International travel is a time for relaxation and inspiration, but many travelers every year are the victims of unfortunate accidents. Statistics collated by the CDC outline this risk, with particular attention drawn to overseas road traffic accidents – the #1 killer of US citizens abroad. Even the most vigilant explorer can find themselves in a tough situation leading to injury and/or hospitalization. It follows that the most important piece of preparation before heading on vacation is to prepare yourself for the worst case situation.
Protect yourself with the law
Every traveler takes out insurance, but this isn’t always the fail safe against financial loss resulting from injury that it claims to be. This is the case in all areas of insurance, with USA Today regularly reporting on huge bills left unpaid as promised by insurers. This can be for a range of reasons, but when it comes to international travel, it can come down to ultra-specific policy wording being interpreted in different ways. Accordingly, protect yourself before you go on vacation by finding a good quality attorney. Legal industry gurus 1800 injured note that retention can be very affordable, and having that protection in place before you are injured can make the entire process smoother.
Become aware of your surroundings
Healthcare standards vary hugely from country to country, and this can lead to unexpected situations. Take, for instance, the Dominican Republic, visited by 3 million Americans every year (according to Love Exploring). As noted by the US Department of State, while private hospitals have acceptable healthcare and levels of care, many public facilities and those outside of big cities do not. Research your destination country thoroughly before traveling, and have knowledge of where you will be likely to receive good quality care relative to where you are staying or undertaking activities. Don’t take the level of healthcare you can receive at pretty much any town in the USA for granted.
Staying in touch
It can be scary to be injured in a foreign country, so it’s crucial that you stay in touch with co-travelers and family abroad. Provide daily updates when you are not able to host friends or relatives in the hospital itself, and give regular updates on your condition and how you are progressing. Seek out updates from hospital staff on the ins and outs of your condition, and use technology such as translation services, where needed, to get the full picture of what’s going on. If you have a regular physician in your home country, see if there’s potential for them to liaise with the staff in your destination country to get a full understanding of everything that’s going on.
Aside from everything, stay safe. Assume the country you are visiting has different standards for things like food and road safety. Don’t take unnecessary risks, and always have something prepared for when all of this is unavoidable. Most of all, have fun, but always keep one eye on your personal safety to make sure your trip isn’t cut short.