Packing is always a chore under the best circumstances, but when you are traveling away from home for a medical procedure, it is especially important that you pack with care. Given the heightened security for travelers and the fact that you might not be feeling your best, you want to be sure you don’t add to your stress by forgetting something important.
Making a list of everything you might possibly need and then checking it before leaving the house will ensure your trip gets off to a good start. Here are some essentials you’ll need during your medical tourism trip.
Documents and Paperwork
Getting your papers in order with plenty of time to spare is always a good idea, just in case you have to send off something. If you wait until the last minute, you are setting yourself up for a possible last-minute glitch. For instance, ordering a passport to replace an expired one may take weeks.
If you’re lucky, you already have everything you need for the trip, but it’s always a good idea to triple check to be sure you don’t leave home without something crucial. The last hassle anyone wants to deal with is to be working out of a hotel, trying to get papers sent out and possibly delaying the procedure.
1. Medical Papers
Medical papers and records are a necessity and should be at the top of your list of things to pack. Just to be safe, it is always a good idea to have extra copies of key documents in different suitcases to be covered in case some of your luggage is lost.
2. Passports and Visas
Keep your passport close at all times and have some foreign currency on hand for incidentals. The first thing that should be done during the planning stage is to check the rules for passports in different countries and read them carefully.
In addition to a passport, some countries require travelers to have a visa too. You should always check with the embassy to see if this is a requirement for visiting that country.
Exchanging currency is easier done ahead of time when you can exchange it at a trusted institution in your hometown, getting the best rates. If you wait until you are out of your element on foreign soil, you may not fare as well financially when you exchange foreign currency. It’s always a good idea to get bills in smaller denominations so there is no problem using them and getting change for low cost items.
Bonus Tip: Credit Card Alerts
Credit card limits should be checked ahead of time so you are sure to bring the ones you need. It is also a good idea to let the credit card companies know where you will be, so there is no risk of having them block a transaction for “security reasons.”
While it is nice to know they are watching out for us, it can be problematic when you find yourself trying to pay and your credit card is declined. Save yourself the headache by giving them a “heads up” before you leave.
After Care Medications
4. Medication and Pain Relievers
You can’t always know what a hospital or care facility in a different country will have on hand. Aspirin and other painkillers may be abundant in your country, but they may be much harder to find in the country where you are headed. Assumptions about other cultures and hospitals in other countries can leave you without something you need.
5. After Care Products
Plan ahead to save money and guarantee your comfort. Depending on the procedure and the country you’re visiting, some common items you might want to bring are wound dressings, gauze, scissors, band-aids, and over-the-counter medications.
Miscellaneous Care Items
6. Comfortable Clothing
You will need to include clothes for traveling and for the hospital. Considering how unpredictable the weather can be, it makes sense to be prepared for whatever is possible. The last thing you will feel like doing is going shopping after your medical procedure. Loose clothing that works in a hospital setting should be packed. Pajamas with buttons in the front and a robe offer comfortable choices.
Overseas, you’ll be eating different foods. It is always a good idea to have medicine on hand to treat an upset stomach or motion sickness. Even people who rarely worry about this type of ailment can have problems in other countries where the food and spices can be quite different.
Being over-prepared is always better than the alternative, particularly in countries where you do not know the language and you might struggle to explain what you need. It is important to remember that tablets travel better than liquids and gels, especially if you’re flying.
8. Insect Repellant
Don’t forget the insect repellant. Some areas popular as medical tourism destinations also have a lot of insects. It would be a terrible calamity to travel to a country to take care of one medical problem, only to contract another. Some of the diseases spread by insects can be serious and even deadly.
9. Comforts from Home
Pillows, slippers and even bed linens are recommended for medical tourism trips. By having the comforts of home, you won’t have to depend on the hotel or country you are visiting to have what you need. Given the difference in customs and what is considered adequate by another country’s standards, you might be in for a big surprise if you don’t take some extra measures to take care of yourself.
10. Emergency Contact Information
Be sure to have all doctors’ names, relevant phone numbers, and addresses for the hospital, hotel and any other important destination. In countries where you don’t speak the language, you can always show them the address and get some help. Having everything written down in an easily accessible notebook can make life easier.
Lastly, it is always recommended that you bring a trusted companion with you on your medical tourism trip. Although, you can’t pack them, it is important to bring someone along in case of emergencies. They will also be beneficial to have someone to keep you company during recovery and assist you during the trip back home.
Medical tourism offers many people a viable solution for healthcare as medical procedure costs continue to rise, making it difficult for everyone to afford the care they require. While traveling for a medical procedure solves one problem, it can create others if you aren’t careful when you pack.
Anytime you travel far from home, there is always the chance that something unexpected can happen and you won’t be able to run home quickly and retrieve something you need. Making a checklist ensures that you are prepared for whatever comes your way and that your trip will be less stressful.
About the Author
British Solomon is a contributing writer and media specialist for Bacteriotstatic. She regularly produces content for a variety of health and travel blogs.