Unfortunately accidents happen and one of the worst places for them to happen is when you travel, especially if you aren't completely prepared in case of emergency. Accidents and possibly dying while traveling is not a topic that brings joy but it is a necessary conversation to have with your loved ones. You need to think about what your options would be should you get into a precarious situation. The following five questions are what every traveler must ask before they travel. Do you have the answers to these?
1. What happens if I get sick/die?
No one thinks they are going to die on vacation but it happens more than we realize. When I was a Tour Manager my colleagues had clients die on tour and every year thousands of tourists die while on vacation. What would happen to your body if you died? Did you know it can cost upwards of $10,000 to ship a body back? That cost isn't normally covered under most insurance plans so it's critical to have travel insurance that covers bringing bodies back in case of death.
2. What if I need to travel unexpectedly? Do I have a credit card for emergencies?
Over the past 20 years I have had friends get into horrific and deadly accidents while abroad. What happens if you need to leave your trip unexpectedly and you can't change your ticket? You should have a credit card for emergencies with a big enough limit to charge last minute plane tickets.
Also, if you get hurt and have to pay for your treatment your card can take care of that. Trust me, if you are seriously hurt and need treatment you will be very happy if you have a credit card that can be used and you should be able to take up the cost with you health insurance provider when you return home.
3. Do I have an Advance Directive?
You should absolutely have one. If you are injured and can't speak for yourself an advance directive let's everyone know your wishes. But what happens if you are unconscious and need medical attention? Who would be able to tell the doctor or nurse your medical history? My mother (who is a Nurse Anesthetist) helped me come up with a Medical History Sheet that will help medical professionals treat you effectively in case of emergency. Please get one as it's best to be safe than sorry. Your emergency contact should also have a copy of your Advance Directive and your Medical History Sheet and you should also keep copies with you as you travel.
4. Can those closest to me get to me if need be?
Do the ones you would want by your bedside if you were severely injured have passports? Would they be able to fly to you should you be in critical condition? If you travel internationally those that are close to you need to also have a passport. If your emergency contact isn't traveling with you and they are the person you'd want by your side if you were hurt then make sure they have the necessary documents to travel.
5. If there is an emergency does my government know I'm here?
Do you register with your embassy while in another country? Look up info on your embassy website or your Department of State to find out what types of services they provide for their citizens in case of emergency. They may be of great help to you should you find yourself in an emergency situation.
There is no need to wait until tragedy strikes to worry about being prepared. Please take the proper precautions before you travel so you can be as prepared as possible for any unforeseen occurrences you may encounter.