The M-Network blogs are doing a series on vacation tips this week. On Tuesday I talked about getting deals on airline tickets and my methods for doing so in the past. Today I have tips for dealing with an emergency while traveling. There are a number of different types of emergencies that could arise, but I am going to focus on two major categories: health emergencies and financial emergencies.
So you’re on vacation, and someone gets sick or hurt, and you know that they need more than a little TLC. When you are away from the familiarity of home, what can you do?
How to prepare in advance: Call your insurance company and find out what your specific coverage is. Know if you can use your insurance in hospitals away from home. If you are traveling to an area where you have specific insurance coverage, find the name of a doctor you may be able to see on your trip if needed. Know where the nearest hospitals are to your location, and if possible, along your travel route as well. Write a card with important health and home information on it, including who to contact in case of an emergency, for each member of your party. Bring your own medicine so you’re not out in an unfamiliar place buying common over the counter items such as pain relievers and fever reducers.
What to do when the emergency arises: If you’ve prepared, then take yourself or your child to the nearest medical treatment facility. If you cannot transport yourself, generally in the US, call 911. If you aren’t sure where to go or who will treat you – call 911 and go anyway. If your illness is severe enough to warrant immediate medical attention, please seek it and don’t try to tough it out until you return home.
No one likes to lose their wallet or have their credit card refused for reasons beyond their control, but when it happens when traveling its even more of an issue. What can you do to minimize the inconvenience and hassle?
How to prepare in advance: Create an information sheet of everything in your wallet. Please. Go do it now. Know what is in there, because you never know when you’ll need it. If you are traveling with more than one adult, split up important cards between people so no one wallet has everything. Carry more than one bank or credit card for use in case a problem arises with one of them.
What to do when it happens: If you lose your wallet or it is stolen, report all your credit cards and bank cards as lost or stolen immediately. If you’ve lost your license and you’ve flown to your destination, call the airline and find out their requirements for flight – some will still let you fly if they know the situation in advance, they just subject you to extra security.
Above all – stay calm and be as prepared as possible in advance. I’ve lost things on vacation, I’ve had sick children, I’ve even had to find a pharmacy in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar place. If I’d done more research in advance everything would have gone a lot smoother. Do as much preparation for the “what if’s” as you do for the sightseeing and chances are, things will turn out better than you expect.