Are You Ready for Travel? Medically, That Is

Planning a vacation takes a tremendous amount of time and energy. Making sure to maximize every minute of your time away is often difficult and not realistic for travelers. William Brady, MD, Medical Director at leading travel insurer Allianz Global Assistance USA and Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia is sharing his top five questions on what travelers should ask themselves before they travel to the airport in advance of their next trip.

  1. Do you know your medical history? Speak with your doctor and seek advice.  Certain patients with significant, long-term illness likely should not travel to isolated areas of the world where advanced medical care is not available.  Should you find yourself abroad with an urgent or emergent medical need, consulting your travel insurance specialist, like Allianz Global Assistance (AGA), is the most appropriate means of securing medical care as soon as you feel sick. A good medical travel insurance policy, like one from AGA, can help you find a doctor, advise on when to go to a hospital, which hospital to go to base on your symptoms, and can provide coverage for your emergency medical care and evacuation, if needed.
  1. Are you fit to travel? Request guidance from your doctor.  If you have recently undergone a procedure or experienced an illness, travel and related stresses may not be appropriate for you at that time.  Rather, a delay or postponement might be more appropriate.  Finding oneself in a foreign land with an unfamiliar medical system if a recurrent problem should arise is very inconvenient and can be medically dangerous.  Your travel insurance specialist is the most appropriate means of securing medical care while abroad.
  1. Are you medically able to fly in a commercial aircraft? The cabin of a commercial aircraft is not pressured to sea-level; rather, pressures at cruising altitudes within the cabin range from that equivalent to a 6,000-8,000 foot elevation.  In other words, a very high altitude.  Thus, those patients with chronic respiratory (i.e., breathing) problems may not be the most appropriate candidates for air travel.  Consult your doctor and / or your travel insurance specialist on this matter and make preparations as needed in advance.
  1. Do you have a medical condition that requires the use of specific devices and / or medications? If yes, make sure that you will have access to these treatments prior to leaving your home.  For example, a patient requiring hemodialysis on a regular basis can certainly travel with physician guidance but the destination location must have the appropriate, pre-planned access to hemodialysis.  Your travel insurance specialist, like Allianz Global Assistance, will be able to assist in securing these services prior to departure and if you run out of medicine on your trip.
  1. Have you planned to partake in dangerous activities on your trip? Certain leisure activities and practices can be dangerous, whether you are at home or abroad.  If partaking in such events, please realize that you may be in a region of the world with medical care that is less advanced and less accessible than your home region.  Thus, adverse actions occurring during these practices may not be managed in a fashion consistent with your home region.

For more information on the benefits of a travel insurance policy from Allianz Global Assistance, please visit