What Should You Do If You Get Sick While Traveling?

From simple lurgies, to full-blown Delhi Belly, anyone who has done a bit of traveling knows getting sick is inevitable. Here's what you need to know if it happens to you.

Sick traveller

Get vaccinated 

When it comes to getting sick on the road, the old adage "prevention is greater than the cure" is the best principle to live by.

Find out about any bugs, viruses, diseases and other nasties you may encounter. Then, four to six weeks before your trip, talk to your doctor about the vaccinations you will need – and get them. It's amazing how many people still don't bother with vaccinations despite the very obvious risks.

Once you have your shots and are on your way, inform yourself about the different practices regarding food and drink in the countries you are visiting. Should you drink bottled water or is tap water ok? Are the food standards worse than the country you are from? From your research, make informed decisions about what to eat or drink; a huge amount of travel sickness simply comes from what you put in your body.

Prepare for specific health problems that you might encounter in your destination. If you are traveling to high mountain ranges, prepare for altitude sickness. If you are traveling to areas with a high incidence of dengue fever, pack lots of mosquito repellent. 

Take it easy on the alcohol and stock up on your vitamins. It's very easy to get carried away with the excitement of travel and forget about the vitals. Keep a couple of bottles of a multivitamin in your travel pack and make sure you munch on them at least once a day. Your immune system is boosted when you have a healthy dose of vitamins.

Get to know the health system at your destination

Health systems in every country differ. Some, like the UK, are funded almost entirely by the government, some are barely existent, and some are quite comprehensive. 

Make sure you know the number for emergency services should you need it. If you are sick in a country where you do not speak the language, learn phrases so you can explain at a rudimentary level what is wrong with you, and so your physician can make a proper diagnosis. Check the websites of the foreign office for the country you are staying, all the information you need should be there.

World Nomads provides a range of language guides for all over the world – all available as iPhone apps for ease of use.

You can find them here.

This all requires research and dedication, but it's time well spent if you end up sick overseas.

Get insured!

Having adequate medical insurance for your trip is an absolute must; you don't want to be hit with a whopping bill for medical costs. You need to look at where you are traveling, and what could potentially happen to you, and get adequate cover.

Also, if you are sick, you can contact your insurance company which can help you in a manner of ways, including recommending a hospital or clinic, or having a doctor sent out to you if necessary. They can also contact your family on your behalf, and even organize repatriation if it is required. It's not just peace of mind, it's real assistance when things get rough.

In destinations where health services are minimal, your insurance company will do their best with the infrastructure available.

Get a travel insurance quote for Travel Safety

You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.

2 Comments

  • Richard Bishop said

    One additional word of advise.
    My daughter has had difficulty claiming on her insurance cover.
    She's on an extended trip across New Zealand and Australia.
    She was fully insured for extreme activities with a company recommends by leading travel advisers.

    However she had a "no fault" incident skiing when an unsupervised young child from a poorly monitored ski school skied into the back of her. She ruptured several ligaments and requires surgery.
    The insurance company are demanding proof of a homeward bound flight ticket back to the UK within the 1 year policy to qualify her cover.
    Most travellers wait to book a return flight until their ready and I suspect they are using this as a loophole to escape payments to clients

    Hope this helps other travellers

    All very best and safe travels

  • Jack said

    Thanks for the information. We checked out this website http://freetripdeals.com/and got good rates for our Hotel and Flightbookings.

Add a Comment

Browse by country

Country list

Sign up for the latest news, deals & opportunities.