Though it’s easy to assume you won’t get sick on your big trip abroad, it can certainly happen. And with healthcare being a complex system worldwide, it can be daunting to seek medical care in a foreign country.
In cities with major tourism, there are often doctors who specialize in providing care for expats, international students and tourists alike. However, finding these doctors can be tricky. Each country has different policies for what times of day medical services are provided and varying practices that may differ from the medical system you’ve come to know at home. So what are your options if you become ill or are injured while traveling?
If you’re abroad and you have a cough, allergies, or a minor injury, it’s likely that you can find a helpful remedy at a local pharmacy. Even if you don’t speak the language you can still easily walk into a pharmacy with your phone and use Google Translate to communicate what you might need, or use the opportunity to practice the language.
Contact the U.S. Embassy
A trustworthy option is contacting the US Embassy in the country you’re visiting to ask for a list of English-speaking doctors who treat tourists or expats on a walk-in or last minute basis. It’s always important to find a doctor who can understand you as you communicate your symptoms or situation. English-speaking doctors may be accessible in many countries, but it helps if you know your options in case of an emergency.
Travel Health Insurance
If you’re traveling for an extended period of time, it’s a good idea to get health insurance for your trip. The cost for this coverage will depend on how long your trip is and which countries you’re staying in. Frequent travelers often protect their trip investments with general travel insurance that will cover you if you miss a flight or have an emergency that causes your plans to change.
According to Forbes, there are various reliable options for travel health insurance. On most insurance sites, you can input your travel dates and age to get a quote. For example, an adult between the ages of 35-50 can pay anything from $150 to around $300 for a two month trip. The longer your trip the higher your rate will be.
Insurance providers typically determine your quote based on age, length of stay, but also on the total price of your trip, for this reason it’s important to keep track of expenses so you can appropriately protect your trip. Some highly regarded travel insurance providers with good medical deals include:
AXA Travel Insurance, which covers any medical expenses from your trip resulting from accidental illness or injury and also provides coverage for repatriation.
Travel Guard, that offers medical coverage for doctor’s visits, hospital visits, and also covers up to 150% of your repatriation costs should you need to return home for medical reasons. Under their Preferred Plan they also offer dental coverage for up to $500.
USI Affinity Travel Insurance provides healthcare for international students while they study abroad and works with a network of over 250 insurance agents, travel agents, tour operators, travel programs and more.
Luckily, if you’re in Europe without travel health insurance you can still find English-speaking doctors who will treat you online or at a health facility. It’s likely that the bill for your visit will be affordable, since many EU countries have an equitable or even free healthcare system. This means you can visit a doctor, pay for the visit with cash or card and get a prescription at very affordable prices.