One of the most common concerns among travelers and vacationers is how to stay safe and healthy on their trip. Healthy traveling as a topic can cover a range of ideas from traveler’s insurance, to staying connected in some of the most remote places on Earth, to what to do if you do find yourself sick in a foreign setting. In this post, I’ll share a few of my thoughts and must-haves for traveling safely on any trip.
Traveler’s Insurance – Yay or Nay?
Do you need travelers insurance for healthy traveling?
Traveler’s Insurance is a topic where you will find plenty of people on both ends of the argument. In my opinion, you need to consider your own personal situation and what makes the most sense for you.
First, check whether your current health insurance will cover issues abroad. Think of different issues from smaller problems like a sprained ankle to catastrophic issues like emergency evacuation. See what coverage is already available to you.
Next, check sources you may not be aware of, like credit cards. Some cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, have some medical and health benefits built in.
The image to the left shows an example of some of the benefits baked into the Chase Sapphire Reserve. You can see the full list here.
It is common for credit cards to offer some travel insurance or emergency benefits. You can find another example, Capital One, who offers roadside assistance and travel accident insurance here.
Make sure you are aware not only of your regular health insurance options but those you might be implicitly receiving from other sources.
Finally, consider an additional provider like GeoBlue, which is what I personally opt for. Services like GeoBlue provide easy signup, low fee traveler’s insurance that will cover many accidents and incidents abroad that may not be covered by your regular insurance. You enter the dates of your trip and pay only for those – no annual plan or subscription needed. Most of the time you won’t need this insurance – and that’s great! But if you’re like me, you’ll rest better knowing you are covered.
Easy communication is super important for staying safe
Traveling abroad brings with it a host of connections and communication issues. Setting your phone or device up for international travel is worthy of its own post (coming soon) but suffice it to say, this can be a challenging process. Even once you have managed to get your phone on the right international plan / on the right SIM card / etc you might find yourself in an area without coverage or means of communication. If you enjoy more remote destinations like me (I’m looking at you Namibia, Iceland) you need to consider what this means for your health and safety. Being without means of communication in a place like the Namib Desert is not an option.
For situations like this, I highly recommend a satellite phone. These phones allow you to track your location as you move anywhere in the world and send an SOS if you find yourself in an emergency. You can also receive weather forecasts or send messages to let loved ones know you are doing fine on your remote adventure. These services do require a subscription service (price varies but mine is around $35 a month when active), but should you find yourself stuck in a desert, on a mountain, or in some other bad situation with no signal – you’ll be glad you signed up.
I personally use the Garmin inReach Mini when I travel to more remote regions. It tracks your position every X minutes (you can adjust this) and external parties (like nervous parents) can access the Garmin website to view your progress. I’ve added an affiliate link below for ease – again I actually use this product and highly suggest it.
In Case of Emergency
If you find yourself in a scary situation despite your best planning – don’t ever hesitate to seek help. It may be scary to go to a hospital in a foreign place or call the rental company to say you blew a tire in the middle of nowhere – but you must put your safety and health above fear. In my experience, the world is a kind and generous place – if you ask for help, you will find it. Safe and healthy traveling is achievable with a little planning. Be safe and have fun! For more tips check out How To Choose Your Next Vacation or Essentials for Your Next Trip.