Thinking about death while traveling definitely isn’t sexy or fun. However, it’s a necessary part of travel planning and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Travel.state.gov can guide Americans in the necessary steps if death happens to a loved one while traveling.
Unfortunately accidents happen and one of the worst places for them to happen is when you travel, especially if you aren’t completely prepared in case of emergency.
Did you know it can cost up to $10,000 to have a body shipped back to your loved ones? There are travel insurance plans that can cover this which is another reason having travel insurance is vital for all international travel. Please do some research and find the plans that are right for you and your family but whatever you do, DO NOT travel without the proper coverage!
In addition to having travel insurance, there are at least 5 questions every traveler must ask before they travel. Accidents of possibly dying while traveling is not a topic that brings joy but it is a necessary conversation to have with your loved ones in order for you to think about what your options would be should you get into a precarious situation. do you have the answers to the following questions?
1. What happens if I get sick/die?
No one thinks they are going to die on vacation but it happens more than we realize. When I was a Tour Manager my colleagues had clients die on tour and every year thousands of tourists die while on vacation. What would happen to your body if you died?
Did you know it can cost upwards of $10.000 to ship a body back? That isn’t normally covered under most insurance plans. It’s critical to have travel insurance that covers bringing bodies back in case of death.
2. What if I need to travel unexpectedly? Do I have a credit card for emergencies?
I recently had a group of friends get into a horrific deadly accident while abroad (hence this post). Some of their flights had to be changed and many didn’t have the money to do it. What happens if you need to leave unexpectedly and you can’t change your ticket? You should have a credit card for emergencies with a big enough limit to charge last minute plane tickets.
Also, if you get hurt and have to pay for your treatment your card take can of that. Trust me, if you are seriously hurt and need treatment you will be very happy if you have a credit card that can be used and you should be able to take up the cost with you health insurance provider when you return home.
3. Do you have an Advance Directive?
You should absolutely have one. If you are injured and can’t speak for yourself a advance directive informs everyone of your wishes. But what happens if you are unconscious and need medical attention? Who would be able to tell the doctor or nurse your medical history? My mother (who is a Nurse Anesthetist and has been for 40 years) helped me come up with a Medical History Sheet that will help medical professionals treat you effectively in case of emergency.
Your emergency contact should have a copy of your Advance Directive and your Medical History Sheet and you should also keep copies with you as you travel.
4. Can those closest to me get to me if need be?
Do the ones you would want by your bedside have passports? Would they be able to fly to you should you be in critical condition? If you travel internationally those that are close to you need to also have a passport. If your emergency contact isn’t traveling with you and they are the person you’d want by your side if you were hurt then make sure they have the necessary documents to travel.
5. If there is an emergency does my government know I’m here?
Do you register with your embassy while in another country? Look up info on your embassy website or your Department of State to find out what types of services they provide for their citizens in case of emergency. They may be of great help to you should you find yourself in an emergency situation. For American citizens you can enroll in STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) It’s free and easy to do.
There is no need to wait until tragedy strikes to worry about being prepared. Please take the proper precautions before you travel so you can be as prepared as possible for any unforeseen occurrences you may encounter.