The ideal vacation goes off without a hitch – with nary a medical concern on the horizon. There’s nothing worse than falling ill or injured while on a trip. Unfortunately, problems when travelling are common enough – and they can happen to you too. If disaster struck on your vacation, would you know how to react? Here are some key steps to take in a worst case scenario.
Keep Up To Date
Conflicts, natural disasters and other concerns can lead to worries about unsafe travel to foreign destinations. Keep yourself informed as you plan your trip via the Government of Canada’s travel web site. FYI, many travel insurance companies will void your policy if you travel to a country under a travel advisory.
Read The Fine Print
Look over all your travel documents in advance to be sure you know the limits of your travel insurance, your flights (some can be changed, some cannot) and your hotel and transportation reservations. If something happens, you may need to change your plans and use things such as trip cancellation insurance. Print out all your documents in advance (even if you have them electronically — who knows if you’ll have wifi while away) so you have all phone numbers, addresses and dates easily at hand.
Double Up On Documents
Passports, plane tickets and other pieces of information are beyond valuable on the road — but they can get lost or stolen. Make copies of all your ID and keep a printed set with you as you travel (a copy of your birth certificate can also be helpful), and leave a set at home where a friend or family member can easily find them. If something does happen, having these backup versions can help you get replacements quickly.
Protect Your Health
Take your health seriously when you travel. Make sure any minor health problems are dealt with before you hit the road (they may not be covered by travel insurance if they existed before you left, so get treated in advance). If you do take medication, bring extra with you, plus a copy of the printed prescription. (And always travel with your meds on hand at all times; never check them.) Pack extra contact lenses and solution and other personal care products that you rely on daily but might not be able to find on the road.
Know Your Home Base
Write down the address and phone number of the local Canadian consulate if you are travelling to a location where crime or violence might be a concern. If you run into any problems, you can turn to them for help. Be sure friends and family at home know your itinerary, have addresses and phone numbers so they can find you on the ground (not just via email or cell) and check in regularly as you travel.
Think Of The Kids
If you are travelling alone with your children, be sure you have a note from your spouse that the trip is approved, or you could be detained. Children’s passports don’t last as long as an adult’s, so check well in advance that everyone’s is valid when you’re set to go. Make sure the kids are up-to-date on all their booster shots, have extra inhalers and other medications on hand and you have easy access to a travel first aid kit at all times.
Being ready for an emergency when you travel seems paranoid, but it’s actually pretty smart. Precautions can turn a potential emergency into a mere blip on an otherwise amazing trip.