Falling ill at the best of times isn’t easy but when you are travelling in far-flung places with only your guidebook and rucksack for company it can get a whole lot harder.
Things can be even more complicated if you have any pre-existing medical conditions but with a bit of planning and common sense things can still go smoothly.
We’ve put together a few tips to help you prepare for a trip abroad, whether it’s backpacking through the Andes or cruising the Med on a yacht.
First up make sure you know what vaccinations you need for your destination(s) and when you need to have them as some can take several weeks to become effective.
As a guide, 8 weeks is normally far enough in advance for most vaccinations. Some vaccinations are available on the NHS and others you will have to pay for.
To find out more detailed information visit the NHS travel vaccination planner or the NHS Fit for Travel website which also has vaccination information for every country in the world.
Some form of pre-existing medical travel insurance is essential if you are planning a trip, even if you are just heading out on a backpacking trip to EU countries.
Healthcare and its associated costs vary hugely across the world and taking time to find a good insurance plan will give you peace of mind and be invaluable if the worst should happen.
There are many types and levels of cover, from activity based to pre-existing medical travel insurance. Take time to research the most relevant one for you and your travels.
Learn a few key phrases that may be helpful in a medical emergency in the language of each country you will be visiting.
If you have an existing medical condition then get the key information translated into each language before you leave and always have the relevant notes on you.
Pharmaceutical drugs can be expensive abroad and in some cases you may not be sure what you are being given so it is worthwhile getting a prescription that will cover you for your whole trip, plus some emergency supplies in case you stay away a bit longer.
Although you can get the usual painkillers etc. in all countries they can be incredibly expensive compared to the UK so it’s worth taking your favoured brand with you just in case.
5. Emergency numbers
Always have emergency numbers on you and at your accommodation if possible. Your next of kin contact details, your insurance telephone and policy numbers need to be easily accessible in case of illness or accident.
Make sure your emergency contact at home also has all of your insurance details and itinerary. If you can, try to let someone at home know you are ill so they can deal with insurance if needs be.
It’s also worth making a note of the emergency numbers for the countries you are staying in – the equivalent to the UK’s 999 emergency number.
Those are our top 5 tips to help give you some peace of mind when it comes to falling ill on your travels. Of course hopefully you won’t get sick or meet any accidents…
Your trip will be a total blast from beginning to end and you’ll come back fitter and more relaxed than ever before.
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