Out of all the things I’ve mentioned in my ESSENTIAL TRAVEL ITEMS series, this one is the most essential. Travel medical insurance. Maybe kind of boring and not as fun as Japanese face masks, but VERY IMPORTANT.
I think Canadians tend to forget about travel insurance, since we generally don’t have to think about medical costs or pay to go to a doctor. But your provincial health care plan does NOT cover you once you leave the province. A lot of workplace insurance plans and credit cards include travel insurance, but not always, so definitely check before you leave the country.
When we were in Taipei recently, Mike wanted to see a doctor about his worsening respiratory infection. He called his travel insurance and within an hour, someone was sent to our Taipei hotel in a cab. The insurance rep took us to a hospital, did all the paperwork (which was in Chinese only of course), and did all the translating. He also somehow (the hospital was PACKED) made sure that Mike was seen by a doctor in time so that we could still make our flight that day. He also picked up Mike’s prescriptions from the pharmacy and dropped them off at the hotel. The medical care and prescriptions weren’t terribly expensive, but it would have been extremely difficult to navigate the Taiwanese medical system without the help (especially in terms of language). So that was awesome.
The last thing you want is to be sick in a foreign country, far from home, and unable to get medical help because of the cost OR the difficulty. So yeah — travel medical insurance. Never ever travel without it!