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Thinking Ahead: Planning For Vacation Emergencies Part I

By Danielle Mitchell

Vacation time is a time of fun and excitement, and it's easy to get swept away in the anticipation of your upcoming trip. But before you embark on your dream vacation, take a few minutes to consider the possibility of medical emergency situations that could arise during your trip to the Caribbean.

Planning a trip to the beautiful Caribbean should be a wonderful experience, and no one wants to think about negative things, but the truth is, anything can happen at any time. Consider what you would do in case a health emergency occurs while you're on vacation. You could save yourself a lot of heartache and frustration in the long run.

Since you cannot predict medical emergencies, there are things you can do to be prepared just in case. Before departing for your Caribbean destination, be sure to carry with you emergency contact information, medication, and health insurance information. Then, make sure to locate medical facilities on the island.

Important Information

If you have a medical emergency during your vacation, you will need to find help on the island. Whether you need a police officer, ambulance, or physician, you will need to be able to provide the necessary information in order to communicate effectively with the proper officials. Many people panic during emergency situations, which could make it difficult to think clearly enough to find the right phone number and emergency contact information. This can lead to frustration, which can prolong your search for emergency information.

You shouldn't wait until an emergency happens to look for the phone numbers of emergency services. Prior to leaving for your trip, take a few minutes to find the information and phone numbers for ambulances, police stations, hospitals, fire departments, and the local U.S. consulate or embassy located on the island you'll be staying on. Write these emergency numbers down on a piece of paper or a flash card that will be easy for you to read. Put your emergency numbers in a place you can quickly remember like a wallet, purse, or suitcase pocket, so if needed, you can quickly access these vital numbers. This simple step can save you the trouble of fumbling through a phone book or other listings that may even be printed in a foreign language.

Packing Your Pills

If you're on prescription medications, or if you're taking over-the-counter drugs, may want to keep in mind some general advice. First, don't forget to pack enough medicine for your entire trip. Keep your medications stored in their original packaging, with clearly marked labels. Also, bring a letter from your doctor describing all of your medical conditions, the names of the medicines you've been prescribed, as well as their generic names. If you need to carry syringes in order to take your medications, be sure to carry a letter from your physician describing their necessity.

Pack your medication in your carry-on luggage so you can get to it quickly if you need to. Also, pack an extra supply of your medication in your checked baggage, just in case something happens to your other doses. Travelers who are subect to major allergic reactions or who have serious chronic medical conditions may want to consider wearing a medical alert bracelet should a trip to the hospital become necessary.

Before your vacation, you should find out if immunizations are required to visit a particular country. Keep in mind that you are going to be in a foreign country, which may have different health risks than your own country. Vacationers should be up-to-date on all routine immunizations, such as tetanus, measles, and mumps. This medical precaution can help you avoid contracting preventable infections and illnesses and can decrease the risk of some medical emergencies.

Travel Insurance

Many travelers are unsure whether their health insurance will cover claims or office visits while on vacation. Before leaving for your trip, contact your medical insurance provider and ask whether you will be covered while visiting the Caribbean. Many travelers are not aware that some health insurance companies will not reimburse for medical treatment overseas.

If you happen to face a medical emergency situation while vacationing in the Caribbean, the cost of your treatment can be considerably high, especially without health insurance, and you could be faced with medical bills reaching thousands of dollars. So if your insurance company won't compensate your medical expenses while you're outside of your home country, you may want to consider purchasing supplemental, temporary insurance, designed for travelers going abroad. This kind of insurance is perfect in case of a medical emergency while on vacation, and can cover the costs of emergency procedures and medical evacuation.

You can't always prevent a medical emergency from happening while on vacation, but there are a few things you can do in advance to make sure you're prepared in case a situation does come up. If you want to find out more about health and medical topics in the Caribbean, many helpful resources on traveler safety in the Caribbean are available, such as the comprehensive online guide found at Caribbean-Guide Health and Medical.

About The Author
Danielle Mitchell writes for,, and other Segisys travel Web sites.

© 2005, Interactive Internet Websites, Inc.

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