The most common reason for medical tourism is to save money. Traveling for surgery or other medical reasons is always a daunting proposition. But, using the right tools, you can enjoy a bit of a vacation while taking care of your medical needs. With the thousands of other considerations to getting medical travel underway about to begin, it helps to know exactly where you plan to spend your money and how to make the most of it.
When we hear about medical travel in the news, it’s often to far-flung locations in Singapore, India or Japan. Still, New York and California offer budget-friendly options that may make your insurance provider a bit happier. Domestic flights and medical tourism in Mexico and Canada or beyond require careful consideration. Keep an eye out for big discounts from major carriers. Consider traveling during what would normally be considered the off-season. You’ll save on amenities and still get the medical savings or expertise that drove you to seek treatment elsewhere in the first place.
If you know where you’re going, put price alerts on websites that feature travel to those locations and watch social media for announcements from top carriers in the market. Sites like Secret Flying can deliver exceptional discounts, with the caveat that airlines may not always honor “error fares.” So keep these in your back pocket for elective operations or medical work that isn’t as time-sensitive.
When traveling for medical reasons, pay close attention to seat sizing and setups. Casts, prosthetics and other assistive equipment requires room that economy seats may not have. Use SeatGuru to find the best spot on each plane configuration and don’t be afraid to swap carriers for an extra few inches of space. It could make all the difference, comfort-wise.
Medical Tourism Insurance
Trip insurance is usually a good bet for expensive vacations or overseas travel, but what if you’re going for medical work only a few states away or just hopping the border to Canada? Do you really need travel insurance? Whenever you travel for medical reasons, the answer is usually yes. Emergency medical costs can easily be five to 10 times greater outside of your home country, and even if you’ve budgeted for the expected costs of surgery and recovery, insurance is there for the unexpected.
That doesn’t mean you need every coverage available. Work with a qualified insurance provider to put together a plan that fits your needs. You can find travel insurance that works with your existing medical insurance to make the most of both plans. Maximize coverage while minimizing costs. If you’ve got a standby ticket or an error fare, try to find a plan that can cover contingencies on that, as well. That way, all of your bases are covered. The added peace of mind has its own value, even if nothing unexpected happens.
Half of the medical tourism equation is the tourism side. Whether you schedule the vacation bit before or after your medical procedure, don’t slight yourself. Take your best guess at how you will feel during recovery and plan accordingly. Allow time for plenty of rest, and don’t let fear of missing out drive you to push yourself too hard. Create a slow and measured itinerary that hits all the top spots you want to see at your target destination.
If you’re traveling to a nation recovering from a natural disaster and worried about not being able to help out, remember that tourism aids disaster recovery. You’re doing your part just by being there. Relax, live it up and make some friends. Later on, when you’re feeling much better, you can plan a second trip and come back to save the planet and help the recovery efforts directly.
Armed with these three top tips on planning for your medical travel, you can take the next steps with confidence. Get out there, get your backers and plan the trip of a lifetime. Remember to keep everyone updated on your progress and send lots of pictures home for your family and supporters to enjoy.