Dr Geoff Ramin, Allianz Global Assistance Chief Medical Officer, has shared his list of top ‘travel hacks’ to help anyone travelling overseas.
1. Remember your medication: Medications overseas can be substantially different from Australia, so if you’re on regular medications make sure you’ve brought an adequate supply from home, as it may prove difficult to obtain resupplies if you run out while travelling.
2. Get travel insurance: Doctors and hospitals will usually insist on payment up front, or absolute proof of capacity to pay, before they will treat a foreigner. Unless you have access to significant funds, having the appropriate travel insurance is essential to ensure that such a guarantee can be provided to the medical service provider you’re seeing.
3. Don’t drink and drive: T he legal limit can vary depending on which country you are in. In Japan for example, it is less than Australia at just 0.03 BAC, and the potential for massive fines and even jail time is much higher. If you’re driving, it would be best to avoid consuming alcohol altogether.
4. You may need a vaccine: Depending on your itinerary, you may require a vaccine. Be sure to discuss where you are travelling with your GP along with other vaccine requirements well before you depart on your vacation to make sure you’re prepared.
5. Remember emergency numbers are often different overseas: The Australian Government’s Smartraveller travel advisories lists emergency contact numbers across the globe. It would also be handy to learn a few key words to ask for help in case you do need to call, as the majority of dispatchers will not speak English.
"Travellers often have an expectation that people everywhere will at least speak some English, wherever they travel," said Dr Ramin on medical support available overseas.
"But if you end up requiring healthcare overseas, chances are your doctor or nurse won’t speak any English. Services like Allianz travel insurance can be of great benefit, as not only will they organise suitable medical care, but provide interpreters and translators when needed.
“The reality is, everyone should consider obtaining travel insurance, especially if people need to use it when something goes wrong, like a medical emergency.
"Costs for people that aren’t covered can be astronomical compared to the price of a travel insurance policy, which is why it is always worth making sure you are covered every time you travel."
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