Specialized medical treatment isn't likely the reason you wanted to travel. However, the care you need may be outside your country of residence. If this is the case, make sure you protect yourself both physically and financially before you step foot on the plane or get in the car and hit the road. Here's a look at how medical travelers can protect themselves when in a foreign country:
Before you leave, do your homework. Know about the country you will be in, including cultural differences or travel warnings. Check the State Department's website for traveling warnings, suggested vaccinations and more. Make sure you check with your primary care physician before you get vaccinations, buy airplane tickets and make other travel arrangements. Also, consult your doctor if the procedure or treatment you seek abroad hasn't been cleared in the U.S.
As a person with medical issues, make sure your insurance covers you while you're in-transit and abroad. Travel medical insurance covers people who are worried about coverage while abroad. This type of insurance doesn't typically cover trip cancellations but focuses on emergency medical complications and procedures, as well as evacuation in extreme circumstances. Medical plans such as these are priced based on the duration of your trip, your age and the type of coverage you want. Usually, it costs no more than a few dollars a day. Plans commonly, though don't always, cover unexpected medical and dental costs, emergency travel assistance and travel accidents. Travel Insurance Review has a user-friendly website that compiles and compares different plans.
You may not be a sight-seeing tourist, but you likely still look like a visitor. This makes you a target. People who travel typically have money, or at least that's the assumption made by thieves. Protect your finances in case your credit cards are stolen. Since you'll be carrying your passport, it is even more important to keep track of your travel documents. Take the extra step and protect yourself with an identity theft prevention and detection service like Lifelock. Lifelock monitors your bank accounts, credit cards and even your social security number. As soon as Lifelock finds any discrepancy in your accounts, it will notify you, your bank and the credit unions.
Try to avoid traveling alone. Have one other person, family member or friend, accompany you. A new country may be difficult to navigate, so the help of someone you trust is essential. While abroad, use a money belt that is hidden underneath your clothes. Store your passport, credit cards and other important documents here. Never leave these items in your room or in one of your bags. Keep them on your person. It's also a good idea to use a dummy wallet. Only keep the equivalent of ten or twenty dollars in this wallet. If it gets stolen, it won't be a big loss. Also, make sure you keep those at home up-to-date on your plans and progress. If anything goes wrong, they will be the first to notice you haven't checked in.