It’s time to talk about getting sick. All the links that have been flying around the internet this week — at least, in the travel insurance world — have basically been about germs and travel. Travel and germs. How germs affect travel.
So for this week’s roundup, we take a broad view of the way illness can affect your experience if you’re planning to take a trip, or are already on one. It’s the sort of thing that really does happen to everyone at one point in time or another. Here’s how it played out in the travel sphere this week.
You may have heard of a certain cruise ship…
…That was plagued — and we do mean plagued — by norovirus. A norovirus outbreak on a cruise ship isn’t so unusual, really; it’s the fact that more than 600 people came down with it on one vessel that probably made everyone sit up and take notice. We talked a little bit about how travel insurance can help if you’re sick on a cruise in our Monday post.
Oh, and did we mention there’s another ship affected that’s making news right now?
But actually, it’s worth noting that you probably have a greater chance of catching norovirus on land than at sea. Cue the big sigh of relief.
But just how likely is it that you’d ever get sick on vacation?
It turns out, there’s been a recent study on that — and the answer is, the odds are about 1 in 6. You can check out the actual breakdown of the data released by the USTiA (United States Travel Insurance Association) and make your own determinations about what it means, but ultimately, cases of people having their travel plans disrupted by illness probably aren’t outliers.
Okay, so if you do get sick on vacation, what should you do?
There’s a handy reference guide to answer that question, provided by the Centers for Disease Control. Their recommendations are good practices across the board in relation to travel safety, knowing when to access medical care abroad, and staying connected to information about health and safety while you’re away from home.
InsureMyTrip also has some good information on accessing medical care while abroad.
So, what if you get sick before you leave?
Getting sick before you leave for your trip — or even just starting to feel that “uh-oh” sensation that tells you something may be coming your way — is as likely as falling ill while actually on your vacation. After all, it’s just a difference in timing. If it’s just a bit of a cold, then you can probably still travel, but what if it’s something worse? Ombudsman Christopher Elliott has a good rundown on his website of when you should cancel your plans due to sickness.
Of course, you may also be worried about losing the money you’ve paid for your trip if you cancel; travel insurance can be very helpful in alleviating that concern. Just remember that in order to cancel due to illness, you’d have to get a doctor’s note first stating that you’re unable to travel. You can read more on the InsureMyTrip site about trip cancellation insurance, as well as travel insurance policies that cover pre-existing conditions.