After you’ve spent weeks or months anticipating your vacation, the last thing you want is to get sick on the trip. Unfortunately, we can’t always control these things, and illness can strike when we least expect it.
As you’re planning for your trip, it’s best to contact your health insurance company and ask about coverage (especially if you’re going overseas). While packing your bags, you hopefully included some general over-the-counter remedies, just in case. But let’s assume you didn’t prepare for this outcome, and now you’re sick, far away from home. Follow these six steps to receive medical treatment and deal with your discomfort in the meantime.
Call your hotel concierge. It’s not widely advertised, but many hotels offer help to guests who become ill during their stay. Your concierge can refer you to a reputable clinic, provide basic first aid supplies, or direct you to the in-house pharmacy for over-the-counter medications.
Call your health insurance company. If you forgot to do this while planning your vacation, take the time to call your health insurance company now. Understanding your coverage limits can help you decide whether to seek treatment now, or attempt the return trip home. Of course, if you’re experiencing an emergency, skip this step and go straight to an urgent-care clinic or emergency room.
Remember your travel documents. Don’t panic and rush off to the clinic without taking your travel papers, health insurance card, and identification. Also, remember to bring any medications that you use on a regular basis. The doctor needs this information so that you can avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions.
Drink plenty of water. No matter where we go, illness works about the same. Your body needs to stay hydrated, so keep a bottle of water near you and remember to sip on it.
Call your primary care physician. You still need to seek medical care in your current location. But if you’re worried about complications from a chronic condition, or an interaction with a drug you already take, checking with your regular doctor can put your mind at ease.
Consider a change of plans. If you need to get home immediately, upgrading to first class might make your flight more bearable. But with most common illnesses, it’s not necessary to return home. You might need to change your itinerary slightly, so that you can stay at your current hotel until you feel well enough to continue your travels.