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The practicalities of going abroad for treatment

If you are travelling abroad for treatment you will have put a great deal of time into organising and checking the medical aspects of your trip. Don’t forget to also plan in time to think about practical organisational details as failing to do so may mean you don’t get off the ground—literally.

  • Passports and visas — check your passport is valid and whether you need a visa to enter the country. Take photocopies of your passport, visa and other documentation and keep them separate from your hand luggage.
  • Contact details — take the contact details of someone in the UK who can be contacted in case of emergency, especially if you are travelling abroad for treatment alone. Tell that person where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  • Vaccinations — ask your GP if there are any vaccinations required for UK travellers going to your chosen country. The more exotic your destination, the more likely it is that you will need some jabs.
  • Local customs and practices — learn your chosen country’s culture and customs. For example, sunbathing topless is often banned in Muslin countries, while haggling in the local markets is the done thing in others.
  • Local currency — get a small amount of local currency, but keep most of your spend as on a credit or debit card.
  • Local standards — find out whether it is safe to drink the local water or to eat food from street vendors.
  • Using your cards — warn your card issuer if you are likely to make large credit or debit payments overseas, such as the final balance for your treatment, or they may block this as a suspicious payment.
  • Personal safety — while this is a given in many places around the world, there are some countries where recent unrest has left an unstable situation. If you are unsure about the local situation, check with the foreign office before you travel.
  • Tourist attractions — research the places you want to visit while you are there and plan these trips and excursions around your treatment. Remember to avoid strenuous or dangerous activities after your surgery.

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