A well-curated life looks different for each and every one of us. While a life worth living for you may involve reading, cooking, or dancing, traveling the world it what fulfills me beyond belief. Each chance I get to explore, I’m left with a broader mind, an open heart, and stories to tell for years to come!
However, traveling, especially abroad, can be as much of a daunting and time-consuming task as it is a pleasurable one. From figuring out packing lists and itineraries to booking hotel rooms and meal reservations, it’s clear that this process isn’t for the faint of heart. Yet, among all the things a typical person considers while preparing for a vacation, their health is not usually something of much concern. What can’t be solved with just a few painkillers, right?
While many can get away with having such a mindset abroad, others may not be so fortunate. Not only do some individuals travel with pre-existing medical concerns but, far more frequently, can you expect to be faced with non-emergent medical concerns that may not be life-threatening per se, but can put a serious dampener on your perfect adventure. Growing up, I would visit Vietnam every other year for at least a month at a time. And each time I went, I would get either terrible food poisoning or some type of bacterial infection. Even though I was with my family members who knew the healthcare system (and you would think I should too with my frequent visits), we still had a difficult time finding a clinic or hospital that met our preferences, such as accepting foreigners as patients, meeting our sanitation expectations, or having availability. I was worried I wasn’t going to get the care I needed to make it through the trip.
From situations like these, it is evident that travel health is not only a vital part of any journey, but applicable to everyone’s lives, as no one can predict when unfortunate situations will arise. In a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, it was determined that anywhere from 6-87% of travelers become ill either during or after their trips. Not to mention, this number skyrockets to a minimum of 64% when traveling to developing nations. What most people may not realize is that many ill travelers never end up seeking medical attention at all, with only 8-55% attempting to find care during or after their time abroad.
Staying on top of your health needs is the best way to ensure you spend your time abroad how you’ve always dreamt of, so it is vital that you have a team that can back you up when you’re in a country you may be unfamiliar with. Companies like Wander Health can help you stay in the know about where you can access health resources and English-speaking physicians abroad when you need them most. As they keep you aware of what healthcare services are available nearby, how to get prescriptions filled, and how the healthcare system works in this foreign country, you are able to slowly become a more health-conscious traveler.
With a world full of opportunity and experience at my disposal, I, much like many of you, can’t keep my feet rooted in one place - it’s the last thing I’ll ever do. I don’t know where I’ll end up next, but I know I’m going. Let’s walk through the steps of planning our next trip together and get lost on yet another crazy adventure. Are you coming with me?