In the event of an unexpected injury, illness or any type of emergency while on a trip away from home you should know where to turn for help, especially when in an unfamiliar country or place. It’s hard to predict that an accident will or will not happen, so before you book round trip flights for your next adventure there are a few emergency tips to be mindful of.

There are different ways of doing things in every country; for instance: if there’s a car accident, dialing 911 for medical and police attention probably won’t work if you’re outside of the US (some countries use 911, but most do not).

So, to avoid mayhem read on to learn how to deal with an emergency abroad.

Know How to Call for Help Internationally

calling 911 on cell phone

“Hello, 911? …HELLO?” Sounds like you’ve dialed the wrong number! In the case of an emergency, you’re not going to want to dial an incorrect number that won’t direct you to fire, police, or medical assistance. Some countries use 112, whereas the US uses 911 for emergency services and other countries around the globe use a variety of different numbers. So, depending on where you’re traveling, do some research to know exactly how to get in contact with emergency personnel for assistance. Before you head out for your trip, add emergency numbers to your cell phone or write it down and keep it with you.

For an Extreme Emergency: Contact Your Embassy

Being far away from home during an emergency can make any traveler frantic. If you or someone you’re with is extremely hurt or ill, contact your local embassy to help you (after you’ve already contacted emergency medical, fire or police). The embassy can assist with things like money transfers from your home country or transportation to get you home quickly. And if you’re on the fence of what to do in a critical situation, contact the embassy anyways to see what they can do for you; it’s always best to be safe rather than sorry!

Haven’t booked your round trip flights yet? Find yours now!

Pack First Aid and Medications

first aid kit

Headaches, an upset stomach and skin irritations are some common occurrences travelers experience while on vacation. Most are mild and can be cured easily with over-the-counter medications. To prepare for the worst, pack ibuprofen, Band-Aids, skin cream for irritations or sunburn, and any other medications you think will prevent your trip from being ruined. No one wants to have to step out of a resort or cancel an excursion to go find a drugstore or a doctor to get medication for a mild illness.

You may also like: Enlightened Explorer or Aero-Amateur? Test Your Knowledge on Travel Safety!

When and Where to Go for Medical Care

In the state of an emergency, you’re going to want to think fast. But how do you think quickly if you’re unfamiliar with the medical centers and hospital locations in the country you’re visiting? Divert yourself from mayhem happening and be prepared. Call your hotel or the host of the home you’re staying in for information on local medical centers and hospitals. That way, if there is a language barrier, you’re ready to go without asking many questions and struggling to understand directions. Also, don’t leave home without your medical cards and information so that you can receive medical assistance if necessary.

Now, the last thing you’re going to want to do on vacation is to go to a hospital in a foreign country. Time is limited when on a trip so if you only have something as mild as a cold or a bad sunburn you can probably avoid medical assistance. Use your best judgment on whether you should handle a medical issue on your own or go out and seek help from a doctor or healthcare professional.

Contact Your Health Care Provider

handing doctor medical card

Just as you would contact your credit card and cell phone companies to make a note that you will be leaving the country, call your health care provider too. Inquire if your health insurance has an international plan. Some insurance companies offer international medical coverage depending on where you’re visiting. Prior to boarding your round trip flights, it’s good to know what you are and aren’t entitled to when in an emergency.

Know of any other tips on how to handle an emergency while abroad? Tell us in the comments below! 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

About The Author

Shannon Durso

If she’s not searching for the world's coolest destinations she has yet to explore, you can find her writing content at Fareportal or maybe even drooling over a foodies latest post. Shannon’s a Brooklyn native who enjoys good company, new adventures, and a great laugh!