The Steps to Take if You’re Injured on Vacation

Vacations are meant to be a time of fun and relaxation, but injuries and illnesses can happen even when we’re trying to get away from it all. If you suffer an injury or fall ill during your travels, here are some steps to take to get the care you need and get back on track.

Assess the Severity

The first thing to do if you are injured or become sick on vacation is to assess the severity of the issue. For minor injuries like small cuts, bruises, or upset stomach, you can likely treat yourself with rest, hydration, over-the-counter medications, and first-aid. However, more severe injuries or persistent illness requires professional medical attention.

Seek Medical Care

If an injury or sickness is not minor, then you should seek care from a local doctor or hospital right away. This is especially important for head injuries, broken bones, severe pain, difficulty breathing, prolonged fever or vomiting, or any condition that stops you from being able to care for yourself. Don’t downplay symptoms or wait and see if you feel better – get evaluated promptly.

Contact Your Travel Insurance Provider

After seeking initial medical care, contact your travel insurance provider to report the injury and determine coverage. Travel insurance often covers emergency medical expenses abroad. Your provider can help you locate English-speaking doctors, arrange hospital admissions, and may even guarantee payments so you don’t have to pay upfront. Have your policy number and details available when you call.

Touch Base with Your Travel Company

If you booked your vacation as a package through a travel agency, tour group or cruise line, reach out to representatives right away. They may have on-site staff that can assist in getting medical care or other support services. For serious injuries requiring extended recovery, they may also help modify travel plans, like changing flights or hotel reservations.

Consider Medical Transport Options

For very serious injuries that require hospitalization or surgeries, discuss medical transport options with your doctor and travel insurance company. In some cases, RN medical flights may need to be arranged to transport you home or to a hospital in your home country. While expensive, medical flights can be covered by insurance plans. Evaluate the options to make the safest, most prudent choice.

Stay in Communication with Family

Be sure to keep family and emergency contacts updated on your condition and location. They can help coordinate next steps and care once you return home. If you are alone when injured, the U.S. embassy can connect you to stateside relatives if needed. When you are able, stay in touch to alleviate worry.

Recover and Recoup

Your main goals after an injury abroad should be to get proper medical treatment for recovery and take the necessary steps regarding insurance and travel plans. Don’t exert yourself trying to salvage vacations plans. Focus on healing and do your best to remain positive. Once home, follow-up with your insurance, doctors, and employer as needed.

While falling ill or getting injured during travel is stressful, keep calm and take the right steps to address the issue promptly and safely. Put your health first and lean on assistance services to navigate the hurdles. With patience and care, you can make it through an unexpected medical situation abroad and be home swiftly.

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