Guide to Medical Emergencies While Travelling

By Samantha Lemna | November 23, 2017

Medical emergencies are scary especially when you’re in a foreign country. There can be language barriers questions of payment and additional worries about your care treatment and going home. There are a number of things you can do before you travel while you travel and when you’re in a medical emergency situation to ensure that everything will be okay. We’re experienced travellers ourselves (and have even been in a few emergency situations abroad) and experts in travel medical insurance – hint that’s the number one thing you need to make sure you get the medical care you need while travelling. So here’s our guide to medical emergencies while travelling abroad.

Before You Go

  • Get a check up from your doctor to make sure you’re healthy and fit to travel especially if you’re planning to do anything active like hiking.
  • Talk to your doctor or go to a travel clinic to find out which vaccinations you need. Most can be done on the same day but some may need to be done over a period of time or you may require boosters.
  •  Get travel medical insurance . Read your policy or talk to your broker to make sure you understand what is covered.
  • Get all the prescription medications you’ll need in order before you leave. Make sure you have more than enough for your trip and proper documentation and carrying equipment needed.
  • When You’re Travelling

  • Carry your healthcare information on you.
  • Be safe and make smart decisions.
  • Know the local number for “911”.
  • If you need to seek medical help:

  • Seek it! Emergency or otherwise!
  • Call your travel insurance provider (their number is on your policy card) as soon as possible whether it’s an emergency or not. Definitely call within 24 hours of admission to a hospital and before any surgery or invasive procedure is carried out.
  • Your travel medical insurer has staff to help you navigate the healthcare system of the country you are in. They will generally facilitate direct bill payment where it is possible. If necessary they will coordinate a safe return trip for you back to Canada.
  •  Talk to your broker in order to understand your travel medical policy and the steps to take in case you’re in a situation where you need medical attention while travelling. You can check out  this story for a personal experience with using travel medical insurance in a foreign country.