Getting Sick on a Trip Can Be a Headache If You Don’t Plan

Beyond lost luggage, getting sick is another event that can throw a major wrench into a relaxing, enjoyable vacation. As part of your travel preparations, take steps to ensure you’re ready for when the unthinkable, and inconvenient, happens.

According to a July Consumer Reports article, the following tips can help reduce stress and confusion if you become ill while traveling:

Bring your medical insurance information. Bring your health insurance identification card with you, and have your provider’s contact information with you.

Be sure to bring your medications and a written list of them with the dosages. You can ask your doctor for a “vacation override” to get an early refill if you think you may run out of a medication.

Let your doctor know you’ll be traveling. He or she may be able to give you referrals to doctors in the areas you’re visiting. Make sure to always verify your doctor’s license by visiting the Medical Board of California’s website at or Osteopathic Medical Board of California’s website at

Find out if your doctor offers telehealth appointments. You may be able to meet with your doctor and possibly receive a short-term prescription via a telehealth call.

You’ll need to make additional preparations if traveling outside the United States. For example, check if your insurance covers you when traveling abroad, and if it doesn’t, you may want to consider buying a short-term health insurance policy. Be aware that Medicare does not cover health care costs outside of the United States. Before you leave, check lists of English-speaking foreign health care providers on the International Association for Medical Assistance Travelers website. For more tips on preparing for illness while traveling in a foreign country, visit the John Hopkins Medicine’s Health Library.  


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