Overseas travel is a favorite pastime and/or goal for many people. Travel can provide a new experience through the chance to see great landscapes and monuments and meet new people and learn their culture, not to mention temporary relief from the monotony of everyday life. However, it is vital that a traveler stays healthy to maximize the value from such trips to foreign locales. This post will provide some tips about health and care when traveling to overseas locations.
Travel health kit
Similar to an emergency kit, the necessity of a travel health kit is probably underestimated until the hour of need arrives, by which time it may be too late. Depending on the travel destination, medical supplies may not be easily available and it is better to be cautious when in a new land, especially one where language might be a barrier. The Government of Canada travel website offers an excellent Travel Health Kit Checklist that will assist travelers in their preparation. Also, please note that a kit should have emergency contact numbers and a copy of the immunization record where applicable (more information can be found through the link above).
Protection against diseases
When traveling overseas, it is possible that one may be exposed to viruses and parasites that are uncommon in Canada. While it may be impossible to safeguard against every disease (unless one lives in isolation without interacting with others), knowing more about the diseases that could be encountered may help in identifying symptoms early and seeking medical attention at the earliest. A likely cause of illnesses is consumption of contaminated food and water. Fundamental good habits such as washing hands before preparation and consumption of food, washing fruits and vegetables with clean water, drinking bottled water or boiling water if there is no pure source available, etc. hold true in any part of the world. Nonetheless, there are many more tips about food and water that need to be remembered while away on such sojourns.
Caring for children and older adults
Traveling with children comes with its own set of prerequisites. Children are bound to have less than fully-developed immune systems that can open a path for easier infection. Hence, it may be necessary to use an accelerated vaccine plan to ensure that they are ready for the trip. Packing an age-specific insect repellant that is safe to use on children, reading more and consulting a health care provider can go a long way in mitigating the health-related risks during a trip. Similar special care may be required for older travelers who constitute a considerable proportion of the travel community.
Receiving medical care in other countries
A pleasure trip can become a nightmare if an injury or illness forces a traveler to seek medical attention in a foreign country. Consulting a health care provider before travel and packing a travel health kit are essential to minimizing potential risks. After all, safety is about recognizing risks and keeping them at a low and manageable level.
It may be worthwhile to obtain comprehensive medical insurance coverage (like on some free credit cards) that includes medical care in other countries. Please check the ‘Before you go’ section of the publication, Well on Your Way: A Canadian’s Guide to Healthy Travel Abroad, to learn more about how to select a good travel health insurance plan.
Registration of Canadians Abroad service
Consider using the Registration of Canadians Abroad service offered by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. It is a free service that serves to keep travelers connected to Canada in the event of a natural calamity or political unrest in the overseas destination or personal emergency at home. The registration can be completed online.
Do you have any health-related travel tips for fellow readers? Are you aware of any other tool or service that overseas travelers may find useful?