International Travel Medical Insurance and Traveling Abroad

When traveling, it’s always a good idea to investigate your destination for potential issues, especially if you are traveling outside the US. It’s also preferred to get international travel insurance.

A good website to check is http://www.travel.state.gov. This website gives information on international travel for US citizens, Visas for US citizens, Visas for foreign citizens, and children and family of US citizens. It was also give you alerts for various countries.

The State Department strongly encourages American citizens planning travel abroad to register their travel with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact a traveler if necessary, whether because of a family emergency in the United States or because of a crisis in the place the traveler is visiting. Registration is a free service provided by the State Department, and is easily done online at [http://www.travelregistration.state.gov].

If your family needs to reach you because of an emergency, they can pass a message to you through the Office of Overseas Citizens Services, which can be contacted from within the United States at 888-407-4747 (toll free), and from overseas at 202-501-4444. The Office of Overseas Citizens Services will contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country in which you are traveling in order to pass the message to you.

Make sure you have a signed valid passport, and a visa, if required, and fill in the emergency information page of your passport. Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visas with family or friends, so you can be contacted in case of an emergency.

Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws. While in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws. The State Department website has useful safety and other information about the countries you will visit.

Take precautions to avoid being a target of crime. To avoid being a target of crime, do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of money. Also, do not leave unattended luggage in public areas and do not accept packages from strangers.

While traveling, contact the US Embassy in case of an emergency. Consular personnel at US Embassies and Consulates abroad and in the U.S. are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens. Contact information for U.S. Embassies and Consulates appears on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://www.travel.state.gov. Also note that the Office of Overseas Citizen Services in the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs may be reached for assistance with emergencies at 1-888-407-4747, if calling from the U.S. or Canada, or 202-501-4444, if calling from overseas.

While you are planning your trip, see your doctor at least 6 weeks before you leave. Some vaccines don’t reach their highest protection up to 6 weeks after you get the shots.

Have medical and dental check-ups before your trip, so you can be aware of problems and to find out about medicines you might want to take along.

Check your overseas medical insurance coverage. Ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas, and if it covers emergency expenses such as medical evacuation. If it does not, consider supplemental insurance. Bring your eyewear prescription, and wear a medical information bracelet if needed.

And lastly, look into buying international travel medical insurance. International travel health insurance plans include international travel insurance and student international travel insurance for international travelers. Coverage lengths can be flexible and vary according to your plans.

Tom Buhlinger is President of [http://www.getawayinsurance.com], which offers AIG Travel Guard international travel medical insurance [http://www.getawayinsurance.com] in the US and Canada. Tom has traveled extensively throughout the US and abroad, and knows the benefits first hand about buying travel insurance [http://www.getawayinsurance.com].