Before traveling abroad it is vital that you take out adequate travel insurance. However, before you even do that, there are many things you can do to make your travel experience less stressful. As long as the UK remains in the European Union we are entitled to reduced medical costs and in some occasions , free health care in the countries making up the EU.
To qualify for this you have to apply for an EHIC card which is completely free. Be careful not to log onto any site asking for a fee for this process as there is no need to pay for the privilege. Start the process by logging onto www.nhs.uk and search for the European Health Insurance Card. The card takes 7-10 days to arrive so don't leave this to the last minute and you must have it in your possession to qualify.
The EHIC card covers reduced or free health care in state hospitals in European countries. It does NOT cover private hospitals and it does not cover repatriation back to the UK should you need this service.
To ensure you are covered adequately you will also need travel insurance. Once you have found the travel insurance policy that suits your needs there are also other factors that are very important to consider.
Please read the small print especially around the details regarding past medical history. Historically people have been reluctant to fully disclose all their past medical history in the belief that it will put up the cost of insurance. This may or may not be true, depending on circumstances, however if your medical condition has not been fully disclosed to the insurers you leave yourself open to the chance that your claim will be rejected. The cost of private health care and or repatriation to the UK can be really high so don't get caught out by being uninsured.
Always contact your insurers prior to travel, giving a full and frank disclosure of your past medical history, your medications, any hospital admissions and also any up and coming investigations or appointments you have. You can't be faulted for giving too much information but omitting anything could be costly.
Prior to leaving home ensure you have sufficient medication for your trip and as a precaution take enough in case your return is delayed for any reason. Take a list of your medications or even a prescription detailing the drug, dose and frequency so that you can show any medical personnel abroad if needed.
Never put all your medications in your checked in luggage and instead keep them with you in your hand luggage . That way you'll never be caught out without your medications. If you have any health worries or concerns before traveling make an appointment to see your GP and tell them where you intend to travel to. They should be able to put your mind at ease with regard to your medical condition.
A routine health ‘MOT’ might just show up any concerns before you depart. Other considerations to bear in mind would be to ensure your inoculations are up to date as well as anything specific to the area you are traveling to.
Remember being abroad may mean a change to your normal routine. People may walk or exercise more, eat and drink more and all of this combined with a change of climate can effect your health even slightly. Blood sugar levels may change, oxygen saturation levels may fall , blood pressure may alter. Know your body. The main point to remember is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS arrange travel insurance.