How to Cope with getting Sick while Traveling

When you have spent months dreaming about the perfect vacation, the last thing you want to deal with  during your travels is being sick. Not only will you have to cope with the physical pain and discomfort that comes with illness, but you will also endure the mental anxiety of being away from the comfort of home and family.  Check out these tips and consider what you can do preventatively to keep yourself safe and healthy while traveling abroad. . 

Before you leave

Unless you plan on staying in your hotel or Airbnb accommodation all day and night without leaving, take these important tips relayed by Johns Hopkins Medicine:

Bring your medications 

A first aid kit is handy while traveling to take care of minor cuts, scrapes, injuries, sores, or aches. Make sure the kit is fully stocked before flying out.  Specific medications may not be available out of the country, so make sure to include whatever you need in your luggage. However, check the travel policies of the country you are visiting regarding the usage and permission of transporting such drugs. You can use virtual consultation apps such as TelaDoc or Doctorspring to get in touch with specialists whenever required.

If allowed to bring the medications, do not forget to label the containers and bring the prescriptions from your physicians. Likewise, also carry with you the official document or certificate detailing your illness and the list of medicines you are taking. 

Check insurance coverage

If you have an existing insurance policy within your home country, it is wise to ask your service provider if they cover expenses associated with sickness abroad. If it does, bring your health insurance identification card and forms with you. 

On the contrary, if the insurance provider does not, you can opt to buy a short-term insurance policy specifically designed to cover your travel duration. You can still consult with your insurance agent regarding this special type of insurance policy.

Carriers also can provide insurance coverage if you wish. This is usually an option when booking a ticket and is included in your airfare. When you decide to pursue purchasing travel insurance, make sure to align it with your local insurance provider. 

Understand the medical environment of the foreign country

Medical benefits differ from one country to another. In this regard, inclusions and exclusions of health care coverages should be known first before traveling. You can ask a friend residing in that foreign country about their experience and find out if they have any advice. Find out the basics and protocols if you need to be admitted to a hospital. In case of an emergency, contact your friends to assist you through the medical process.  

For a complete reference of English-speaking facilities around the world, check the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers (IAMAT) booklet. IAMAT also provides information about some tropical diseases and how to locate medical care in foreign countries. 

Store up some travel knowledge

While researching the places you want to visit in a foreign country, be realistics about the possible dangers involved  in certain areas and activities. For example, in high mountains, there are potential risks during a climb of injuries caused by accidents or falls, shortness of breath, and maybe cases of hypothermia.

Furthermore, it is also wise to learn some medical terms ahead of time in case you are brought to the hospital, such as sutures, saline solution, CT, BP, and other medical jargon. This way, you may feel more comfortable in an otherwise difficult situation.

During your travel

Injuries are inevitable during travels; therefore, it is integral to be prepared in case of disaster. These steps will guide you for future reference: 

Find a local reference

Whether your reference is a local guide or a fellow traveler you meet on the road, it is always handy to have a companion during travel. Of course, be cautious in choosing one. A partner or friends can help ease your emotional situation related to homesickness or anxiety while being far from your comfort zones. It is good to have someone to look out for you, especially when an unexpected need arises.

Avoid displaying atypical behaviors

In any country, there are certain behaviors which are not welcome. Once you arrive at the hospital, respect the people administering your medications; do not speak disrespectfully or rudely of their medical training or ability. 

You may share your concerns with them, such as your history or your medications currently taken. Remember that you are not in your local facilities so be patient in explaining to them your medical situation. 

Communicate with your insurance company

Get in touch with your insurance agent to update the situation and heed advice on how they can help you from afar. Take note of the documents needed to make a claim back home. Make the most out of your policies to save some cash during your travel.

Call your family

In your head, you may only want to call your family once everything has been settled and the danger is past to reduce their worries. However, this is not always the best option. As soon as you can, consider informing your close relatives to provide you emotional support to get better soon. The comfort of being looked after always has positive effects on patients. 


Being far home is not easy when you are healthy, let alone while sick. By employing these tips before and during your travel, you can be prepared for the risks that come so you spend less time worrying and more time enjoying your trip. The best way to avoid major risk is to be aware of the surroundings. Be vigilant and cautious.

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