Not only do you need to ensure you pack all of the necessities, you also need to consider things like medical concerns and insurance. The checklist below will assist you in covering all of the details of health and safety so you can focus on a memorable trip.
Packing is arguably one of the hardest parts of preparing for a trip, and the list of necessities goes beyond just clothing. The good news is, there’s no need to stress out. We’ve broken up your health and safety packing list into three parts, so you can easily check the items off as you pack.
Keep in mind: Medications that are common in the United States could be unlicensed or uncontrollable substances in other countries, which could impact your ability to find certain medications. Before you plan a trip abroad, visit Travel.state.gov to see which medications you aren’t allowed to bring into your destination country.
A full supply of prescription medications in their original bottles
You always want to have enough of your prescription meds to cover you in the event that you decide to extend your trip.
Over-the-counter pain relievers
If you’re traveling overseas, it might be difficult to find the same pain relievers you use back home. It’s easier to bring your own and avoid any confusion.
If you have allergies, especially severe allergies, it’s best to take your medication with you and not try to locate it once you’ve reached your destination. You never know what regulations could prevent you from finding a decongestant or having your EpiPen filled abroad.
List of emergency contacts
Keep a small card of contact names and phone numbers next to your identification. This will ensure you don’t have to rely on your memory during an emergency.
Photocopies of medical information
Make photocopies of medical information, such as insurance cards, allergy lists and a medical history so you can easily give your health care provider all the information they need.
You’ll likely be able to find sunscreen anywhere you travel, but it doesn’t hurt to toss a travel-size tube in your carry-on just in case.
These are useful for jotting down the addresses of local pharmacies and hospitals as well as emergency contact numbers. Plus, it never hurts to write in a journal while you’re on vacation.
Photocopies of travel documents
Make sure you pack copies of other important documents that you would be lost without, such as your passport or visa. If you should lose these important documents, the U.S. State Department provides information on how to navigate the situation.
An international SIM card enables you to use your phone abroad.
Power plug adapter and converter
These items will come in handy for charging electronics and appliances like your cell phone, computer or hairdryer.
Instead of carrying your money and valuables in a purse or wallet, consider using a money belt so they stay tucked away under your clothing.
Bring an eye mask and earplugs if you’re a light sleeper, especially if you’re sharing a room with someone else.
Consider getting a pair that folds up so you can toss them in your carry-on without wasting extra space.
If you’re visiting a non-English-speaking country, you’ll want to bring a language book to make sure you can easily ask for directions or impress the locals.
Information on local customs
Be courteous and make sure you understand what behaviors are and are not acceptable in the country you’re visiting. Consider this list of habits that are perfectly normal in the U.S., but can be perceived as offensive in some countries.
Do you have concerns about accessibility or medical conditions on your vacation? Here are some tips and ideas to help you choose a trip that fits your needs:
- If you’re looking for easy accommodations but still want the option to explore different cities, a cruise may be just right. Many cruises accommodate guests with special needs, medical conditions and limited mobility.
- If you want flexibility, road trips are a great option. Consider a guided bus tour, taking your own car or renting an RV.
- If you have trouble with stairs, be sure to request a room on the first floor.
- If you need a handicap accessible room, make sure the hotel is aware of that before you arrive.
- If you want to walk to restaurants and attractions, be sure your hotel is within a reasonable walking distance.
Wherever you want to go, try engaging with a travel agency that can find and arrange the best accommodations for your needs.
Make sure you understand your insurance coverage — whether it is through an employer, Medicare or travel agency.
If you are covered by Original Medicare, you can travel anywhere within the U.S. and receive medical care from any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare. This includes the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Medicare typically does not cover medical costs outside of the U.S. and its territories. However, there are a few exceptions, including the following:
- If you live in or are in the U.S. and need care, but a foreign hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital.
- If you are traveling a direct route between Alaska and another state and the closest hospital is in Canada.
- If the care you get on a cruise ship is received while the ship is in U.S. territorial waters.
There are other ways to get coverage while traveling outside of the U.S., including purchasing travel insurance or a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plan.
Some Medicare Supplement plans cover 80% of foreign travel emergency costs up to your plan limits. The only caveat is that you can’t purchase a Medigap plan just before you leave for a trip, so make sure you plan ahead.
If you’re unsure if your insurance or Medicare coverage will protect you while traveling, be sure to contact your provider and ask the important questions. If you get your insurance through your travel agency, they will likely be able to answer those questions.
With this checklist in hand, you’re well on your way to thoroughly preparing for your next big trip. Enjoy your travels, and stay safe and healthy!