Even the most organized frequent travelers miss this step, but if you’ve ever experienced a medical emergency far from home, you know that things can quickly get out of control if you:
If you’re in a traffic accident, for example, you may not be able to speak for yourself, and just like having your In Case of Emergency (ICE) contacts in your cell phone back home, a travel medical portfolio can do at least some of the talking for you and help the medical care providers who are treating you.
A travel medical portfolio should contain the following for each person on the trip:
Don’t let the term portfolio scare you away. While the list above looks like a lot of information it really isn’t a lot and your travel medical portfolio doesn’t have to be a complicated thing with pockets and tabs after all.
Here are 4 tips to make a simple, effective travel medical portfolio.
Every year, you’ll likely have at least a few changes to your medical information. If you move, change doctors, switch medications, discover new allergies, those changes need to be made to your travel medical portfolio. So it’s important to make managing your travel medical portfolio easy.
We recommend keeping your travel medical information in a simple document on your computer which you can update, save to your mobile devices, and print when it’s time to leave for a trip.
It’s important to recognize that every trip is different, so what goes in your travel medical portfolio for one trip may be very different than what goes in for another. For example, on one trip, you may take the kids and you’ll need their medical information in addition to your own.
If you’re traveling to a location where you need particular vaccines, you’ll want to note that you received those (along with the dates and doctor’s contact information) in your travel medical portfolio.
Ideally, all this information will fit easily onto a note card, which can be placed in your wallet, in your money belt, and in your suitcase. You’ll want to keep this information safe with your other important travel documents, like the copy of your passport identification page.
If you’re traveling with another person, trade a copy of your portfolio with the other person. If they’re unconscious, you’ll want that medical information handy so you can speak for them; likewise if you’re the one who needs support.
If you’re traveling alone, leave a copy with a family member, friend, or business associate back home and make sure their contact information is easily available on your person. If you can’t do the talking, they will be able to get their hands on the medical information and do the talking for you.
Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.