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What to Do When Illness Strikes on Vacation

by Eugenia Lazaris

Jul 14, 2022

© Chernetskaya | Dreamstime.com

Travel Tips

You’ve spent months planning the big family trip and, finally, you’re off to enjoy a much-needed vacation. When everything has been so carefully planned, the one thing that can derail things is illness. A family member getting sick during a trip happens all too often, so read on to have a plan in place in case illness strikes at the most inopportune time.


Like every aspect of your trip, you can do some planning for illness. Pack some basic treatments for common travelers’ ailments like the cold, flu or diarrhea. If symptoms arise, make sure the individual gets plenty of rest and stays hydrated. If symptoms get severe, visit a local medical clinic to get assistance.


If you or a member of your family contracts COVID-19 during your stay, contact the local health authorities for guidance regarding local regulations for quarantine. Notify your hotel or vacation rental immediately so they can help you make accommodations, as you may not be able to remain in place for the duration of your quarantine. Be sure to seek treatment for symptoms from a health care professional and adjust your travel arrangements as necessary as you should not board public transportation, including an airplane, with an active COVID-19 infection.


If you are headed overseas, check with your insurance company to see if you have any health care coverage at your destination. Be sure to check with the International Association for Medical Assistance for Travelers for tips and recommendations for your destination or to purchase traveler’s health insurance in case you need medical care during your trip.


If illness strikes, improvise. The family can still have a great time together even when one member can’t fully participate. When my mother got sick on a family trip to Paris and couldn’t leave the hotel room, we kept our plans but added a twist. Dad took us to see the Eiffel Tower and, on the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a local market for a beautiful baguette, some salami and cheeses and had an impromptu meal in the hotel room. That lunch was the most memorable of the trip! Traveling is always about adventure and sometimes the fun of the adventure is making it up as you go and rolling with adversity.


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