For most guys, going away on holiday with your mates or with the lady in your life is exciting and filled with planning where you will stay, eat, drink and visit. But an important element of going away is organising healthcare provisions just in case the worst does happen and you need some form of medical help. So what do you need to do to travel abroad?
Travelling to Europe
Travelling to Europe is perhaps the simplest in terms of the healthcare provision you should provide for yourself. All the EU countries such as France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain as well as Switzerland have all agreed to free or reduced cost medical treatment for people from other EU countries. This scheme is called the EHIC or European Health Insurance Card.
As long as you carry one of these cards, you can get treatment in the country you are visiting to the same standard as an insured person would, though this can vary between countries. It might be a little different from the NHS and you may be required to make a payment towards the cost, called a ‘co-payment’ but this is much less than paying for the treatment entirely. You can get a card online and it is valid for five years then you simply use the EHIC Renew section of the website to ensure you are covered once more.
Most countries outside Europe don’t have a healthcare agreement with the UK and this means that travellers to these countries need some form of insurance in case anything happens. We have all heard stories about people travelling to countries such as the US, taking ill and having to sell their homes to pay the thousands of pounds of medical bills they accumulate – these stories aren’t scare tactics but are true.
Travel insurance costs different for these countries for this reason but is a crucial part of travelling. If you are visiting the US, Canada, Mexico, South America, many part of Asia, Africa and the Pacific countries excluding Australia and New Zealand, you will need to have insurance that covers the cost of any medical treatment.
The final step in being ready to travel is to check out the travel vaccinations that you need. Many of these are available through the NHS where you can also get any paperwork needed to confirm you have had the vaccination. For example, countries in South America and Africa won’t allow travellers to enter unless they have had a yellow fever vaccine. You can find out how to get the right vaccine through the NHS website.