Okay, so its not the travel bug that you were thinking of. However, it’s a situation we are all familiar with: being abroad, either on holiday or travelling, and *cue dramatic music* - illness strikes. Then we face the age old dilemma: what to do when ill in a country with no local pharmacy that you are familiar with? Anyone who has ever been ill when travelling has probably experienced the same local drug store homesickness. So, what to do when you are ill in an unfamiliar place?
From multiple experiences of illness abroad, here are NowCureMe’s top 5 tips:
1. Travel prepared (even if just a little bit)
This is equally important if you are planning to stay in one place or hop around countries in true gap year style. You will save a huge amount of effort and stress by taking an hour to pop into your local pharmacy before you go and grab a few essentials. Many pharmacies do some great travel kits, but if you don’t want to spend too much money, then doctors recommend at least including the following essential items in your luggage:
• Antihistamine cream (for allergies and insect bites)
• Dioralyte (rehydration tablets for diarrhea)
• Antiseptic wipes or cream
2. Google (but in the native language)
If you are lying in bed and wondering what cough medicines they have in Spain, googling ‘cough medicine Spain’ could work, but is very likely to come up with your home country solutions that aren’t actually available where you are. Use websites like Google Translate, Linguee and WordReference (for single words) to look up ‘cough medicine’ in the native language, plug it into Google and then Google Translate the search results / websites. It normally is a lot easier to find medicines you need this way, and it has the added bonus of learning a few words in a new language so you don’t look like an idiot when you get to your local pharmacy.
3. Always ALWAYS get travel insurance
Yes, it may just be a week long holiday to Greece with friends. What could possibly go wrong? Well, hopefully nothing will, but if it does, we have it on good authority that nothing is worse than lying in a hospital bed in a foreign country, scared and with a massive bill. It is always worth taking out good travel insurance before you go anywhere, and with tools like Money Supermarket where you can compare super cheap travel insurance, it really doesn’t have to be a pain.
4. Who you gonna call?
Again, this one is about preparation, but if something goes wrong you need to know the emergency numbers for ambulances pretty quickly. Save the number on your phone, use a handy guide like the British Governments to make sure you know exactly who to call in a crisis.
5. Just Ask!
In any country, whatever language you are speaking, humans often don’t need language to communicate. Don’t be afraid to ask people or sign at people, do a Bridget Jones and combine many different language and movements to get your point across. People are surprisingly helpful and kind if they see you are feeling ill, and even more so if it then becomes clear that you are completely hopeless at communicating it.
Good luck and safe travels!