Family Emergencies and Travel

One of the worst experiences a person may have to live through is the trauma of hearing a loved is ill, in an accident or has died. Whether you receive the information at home, work or while away the intensity of the loss or change in your day-to-day pattern may cause you to go into panic mode. Some people go into high action and others just stop in their tracks.

No matter what level of emotion you are experiencing there are things that you need to know before that event occurs.

So how do you plan for the family emergency? What are the steps you can take if you away on holiday and something does come up? First things first you need to remember it is never too late to plan.

One thing you might want to consider investigating is international travel health insurance. There are many companies that handle international health insurance.  If you are traveling with family you do not want to be without care. Look into plans that have emergency transportation and air transport back to the States , Canada, the EU or where ever you live.

Investigate by calling your domestic travel insurance number and really grill the person on the other end of the phone. Find out what their time requirements are for reimbursement. What do they cover? Ask hard questions about medical care and air evacuation. Meaning transport back to the States or where ever you live. What is the deductible and what are you responsible for. Medical coverage is really important.  Planning ahead and knowing you are covered is such a relief.

I know when I had an accident with a car I called and spent one hour on the phone. I found out I needed the exact location and time of the accident. Photos were needed. A police report. Then reporting it to the rental car company. Filling out their paper work and making copies of their paperwork. I made lots of copies mailed and faxed the company their paperwork .

I had to call the company to follow-up every few days. It ended up that they paid in full. It took  time on my part and I did not let up. I had everything they asked for including my credit card statement which they also needed as proof of rental. Find out all the details and follow them to the letter of the law.

Look at the countries you are going to visit. Become familiar with their hospital policies and how their 911 services work. If you are going to be traveling in the country far away from  urban services then how about going to your local first aid squad or to the American Heart Association and take a CPR course or basic first aid skills. Being forewarned and forearmed is the best way to approach this.

Now imagine you are the lonesome traveler. You are feeling pretty good about that trip to a tropical paradise. Finally, you are going SCUBA diving. As a diver myself I know how important it is to know your equipment and know your surroundings. Never go anywhere whether its diving, climbing, walking or riding around without having a friendly note or two given to someone nearby that you trust or a trusted friend or family member to look out for you if you do not return.

Traveling alone is great but have some basic first aid supplies with yourself. Include a flashlight, a map (yes they still exist), water and non perishable food. You never know. The reason I said a map is for the obvious reasons. You do not have internet access everywhere in the world. I know for some of you that may be hard to imagine but it is what it is.

Know how to say help in all the languages of countries you are visiting. Learn to say  “I need your help.” “I am lost.” “I am injured.” “I do not speak much_____.”That I would say is one of your biggest weapons concerning emergencies. Learn simple phrases so you are not passed by when you are in distress. It’s just good to know simple phrases anyway when you travel. My most important phrase is, ” Coffee with cream to go please.”

Know where the local embassies of your nation are. If you do not want to register with them that is fine. Just know where they are. Also find out in advance how much currency from your home country you need with you incase you have lost your passport. That is right you need dollar bills to get a new passport. I do not know about Canada or other countries.

Email a copy of your birth certificate and your passport to yourself and family members as insurance incase yours is lost. These are good things to have available and accessible if you are in another country.

If a family member becomes ill in the United States and you are home first thing I would do is call the airline. Let them know what your emergency is. If one person is unwilling to help you then hang up and call back. You will find a person who actually is able to give you a decent price for the flight you need.

In the case of death you may have to prove to the airlines for reimbursement a death certificate. Also in the event of an illness you maybe able to receive a discount by providing a note from the attending facility or physician.

Do not wait until it’s too late. Do not wait until you are facing your ground zero. I am a firm believer in calling the airlines, trains, buses, cruise line and rental companies. Call before you go. Call and ask them what is their protocol. Is there written material they can send you? Have it somewhere safe. Bring it with you or email it to yourself.

You may still be standing their stunned if an emergency arises. However, when you get your composure back you will be grateful that you have the steps, the knowledge and the  plan to get you out of this painful situation.

I know that you are a wonder filled person and plan to enjoy every second of life. I know that you will enjoy every second of life. I also know that there is peace in knowing how to handle emergencies with grace. May you be well. May you and your family be healthy. Most of all enjoy life. Its the best vacation that you will ever enjoy.


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