Many people are starting to look forward to getting away this summer now that May has begun and the weather is getting better. Staying safe and being prepared when traveling is more important than ever, especially if you have plans that will take you out of the country.
You should start by checking on your medical coverage. Many overseas doctors and hospitals expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your insurance policy may not cover treatment outside of the United States and uninsured patients may be denied treatment. Medicare is one program that does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the United States. You may need to purchase a separate policy that will provide coverage during the duration of your trip.
This would also be a good time to schedule a checkup with your doctor before any major excursion to discuss the activities you plan to do, and get written copies of prescriptions for any medications you may need. Keep your prescriptions in their original containers so that they can be identified properly. You may also want to consider getting a travel letter from your doctor to validate the need for your medications. If you plan to travel out of the country, contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for required immunizations.
Lastly, create an itinerary to let others know where you will be staying and when. Make sure they know how to get in contact with you while you’re away. It is also a good idea to sign up for the Smart Traveler Program with the State Department so they can assist you in an emergency. The State Department will contact you if there is a crisis where you are traveling. Another reason to enroll is so your loved ones can get information through the State Department if needed. Otherwise, the Privacy Act prevents them from releasing information to others without your authorization.
Hopefully you will never face an emergency while you are out of the country. Take the time to do a little extra planning in case you do. These few steps could save a lot of grief and anxiety.