6 Things To Do If You’re Injured While Traveling

Nobody wants to get hurt on vacation, but ignoring the problem can do lasting harm. So know when it's time to get help, and take these travelers' tips to heart.

No matter where we go, accidents are bound to happen at some point. Obviously, our vacation destination is one of the last places on earth anybody wants to deal with an unexpected injury. Not to mention, navigating the healthcare system in a foreign country is rarely fun for anyone. But sometimes, there’s no way around it.

While you’re on your trip, take care of yourself. The CDC says strongly recommends making your way to a doctor ASAP. And here are a few smart moves to make if you’re injured while traveling.

Be Prepared

man walking down steps about to step on a banana peel

When traveling, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Obviously, no one plans to be injured on vacation. But if it happens, you can alleviate some of the stress and save time by knowing who to contact.

Before you start your trip, jot down the necessary number for the American Embassy, local authorities, and any emergency contacts you might need. Those with traveler’s insurance will be able to reach out to their provider for help. And don’t rely solely on technology.

Traveling can be unpredictable, and so can wifi connections. You might find yourself in a situation where you can’t connect to the internet to look up numbers. Prepare for the unexpected and hope for the best. Write down any all numbers you’ll need and keep them on you at all times.

Understand Exactly Where You Are

Travel Budget money/coins on a world map.

In this spirit of being prepared, research what the healthcare system is like wherever you’re going. And be sure to do so before you go.

Will there be hospitals and urgent care clinics nearby? If you are injured, what will be your best course of action based on what’s available in the region? If you won’t have a car, what is the public transportation system like? What is the local emergency phone number? Now is the time to find out.

Read More: Getting Lost in a Foreign Country: The Dos and The Donts

Keep a Record

Woman waiting on station platform on background light train using smart phone in night.

In the middle of a medical emergency, it’s easy to forget about keeping a record. But documentation of what happened can often be a traveler’s best friend. You may have to file an insurance claim at some point. So the more documents you have as evidence, the better off you’ll be in the end.

If you see a doctor, or medical practitioner, or take a visit to the emergency room, be sure to ask for a report. It should note the nature of your injury and the necessary treatment method. If you’re admitted to the hospital, ensure you get the proper paperwork before leaving. If a police report was made, take the time to get a copy of it when you have a chance. Rounding up all relevant documentation will work in your favor.

Seek Medical Help

man with crutches while travel on the beach.

If a first aid kit won’t cut it, it might be time to seek medical attention. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to downplay an injury when it’s cutting into your vacation time. Be honest with yourself about the injury’s severity.

If you’re unsure how bad it might be, getting a professional’s opinion can give you peace of mind. It may also stop a problem from getting worse. A doctor will also be able to honestly tell you whether or not they recommend going on that hiking trip you had planned the next day.

Build Your Travel Fund Accordingly

Paper plane on travel map symbolizing and expensive journey

Some types of travel insurance can cover a significant chunk, if not all, of your injury-related expenses. Depending on what insurance you have, they may even pay for some of it before you file your claim. Regardless, it’s never a bad idea to have a financial cushion while on vacation.

While you’re building your travel budget, save some funds back in case of emergency travel money. Your injury could unexpectedly extend your trip. Or you may need an immediate flight home. Prepare for it by always having a bigger travel fund than you think you’ll need.

Read More: 6 Tips for Saving Big on Hotels

Prioritize Your Well Being

A woman with sprained ankle while hiking and her friend uses the first aid kit to tend to the injury

If you’ve just been injured, prioritize taking it easy. Don’t obsess about what you could be doing or what you had planned. Putting your well-being first is never a waste of vacation hours. So if you’ve been advised to rest, don’t dismiss the doctor’s orders. Otherwise, you may push your body beyond its limits and wind up in an even worse situation.

Maybe you will continue your trip, or perhaps you’ll decide to return home. Decide what is best based on how you feel and how severe your injury is. Healing properly is crucial. And the chance to travel will still be there when you’re feeling better. So do what must be done to fully recover, and don’t delay. Your future travels may very well depend on it.

Read More: Tips for Avoiding Illness on Vacation

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