What do I do if I need to go to a hospital on vacation?

05.02.24 by Travelex Insurance
Image credit: Getty Images
You never know when you may need the nearest emergency room while traveling. As a Travelex policyholder, here’s your checklist for what to do if you need to go to a hospital during your trip — and how we can help.

When we picture our dream vacation (think: exploring the ancient ruins in Greece or skiing down the slopes in Switzerland), we may not spare a thought for a trip to the hospital while abroad.

But whether you get extremely sick during your time in Greece or break a leg while skiing in the Alps, unexpected emergencies can come up — even amidst the excitement of exploring new destinations.

If you have an urgent medical concern that needs immediate treatment and is too severe to be treated at a doctor’s office or clinic, you’ll find yourself looking for the nearest emergency room so you can go to a hospital at your vacation destination — and fast.

Here’s the plus side of being a Travelex policyholder: Your travel insurance policy doesn’t just offer you coverage from unexpected expenses — it also comes with 24/7 travel assistance. This means we can help you figure out how to go to a hospital overseas and how to handle your tourist emergency hospital bill so you don’t have to.

“It can be stressful dealing with a health issue that requires you to go to a hospital — let alone navigating care at an international hospital — when you should be enjoying your vacation.

“Our expert team is here to support you around the clock, ensuring you get necessary medical attention without delay. Yes, with just a tap in our Travel On app, you can instantly connect with our emergency assistance team.

“Plus, our combination of award-winning customer service and innovative technology means you're never alone, allowing you to concentrate on your recovery and lean on us for help."

Dr. Joel Lockwood MD, FRCPC, Regional Chief Medical Officer at World Travel Protection, our 24/7 assistance provider.

In this guide, we explore the steps to take before, during, and after you're treated at an international hospital during your travels. With support from our Travelex team, you'll be better equipped to handle hospital visits with confidence. This means you can start the road to recovery sooner and continue enjoying your trip if it’s safe and healthy to do so.

Need our help right now?

You can reach our travel assistance team anytime, anywhere. Here’s how:

  • Open our Travel On app and tap the assistance button.
  • Call us at 1-844-215-1672 if you’re inside of the U.S. or Canada.
  • Call us at 1-647-775-8042 if you’re outside of the U.S. or Canada.
  • Email us at [email protected].

Contact emergency assistance →

5 steps to take if you need to go to a hospital overseas:

1. Get in touch with our 24/7 emergency assistance team.

2. Find the nearest emergency room with help from our travel assistance team.

3. Let our emergency assistance team help you during your care.

4. Save all medical records, reports, and receipts.

5. File a travel insurance claim for your hospital visit.

Here’s what to do if you need to visit an international hospital during your vacation

Step 1: Get in touch with our 24/7 emergency assistance team.

When you have a medical emergency, you’ll want to get to a hospital quickly. Instead of fumbling with your maps app trying to find the nearest hospital, you can reach out to our emergency assistance team, World Travel Protection.

We have a range of trained nurses, paramedics, and medical case workers ready to take your call and go over your symptoms and/or situation, which can help them find the nearest hospital that can provide you with the treatment you need.

Here’s how you can reach our 24/7 travel assistance team:

  • Open our Travel On app and tap the assistance button.
  • Call us at 1-844-215-1672 if you’re inside of the U.S. or Canada.
  • Call us at 1-647-775-8042 if you’re outside of the U.S. or Canada.
  • Email us at [email protected].

Step 2: Go to the nearest emergency room suggested by our travel assistance team.

After you’ve called our 24/7 emergency assistance team and they’ve helped you find the nearest — and most reliable — international hospital nearby, they may also be able to help you find the best way to get there.

If you’re not well enough to make your own way there, we can arrange for an ambulance to pick you up.

Why can you trust our team’s hospital recommendations? As an assistance specialist, our team has its own network of quality providers. This means we can easily locate the best and nearest emergency rooms in your destination, so you can feel relieved knowing you’re going to a trusted hospital.

Step 3: Let our emergency assistance team help you during your care.

Our support doesn’t stop once we help you find and get to your international hospital; we’re here for you during your entire treatment journey.

Our emergency assistance team can help coordinate your medical care with the hospital doctors, arrange translation if you don’t speak the staff’s native language, transfer your medical records, and more. Whether you need help with prescription medications or the logistics of a hospital transfer, we’re ready to step in, so just give us a call whenever you need to.

Step 4: Save all medical records, reports, and receipts.

Here’s a crucial thing to know before you go on a trip in case you end up going to a hospital on vacation: keep all documentation you receive. This goes for all types of unexpected events, actually!

Why? When you're ready to make a claim, we need you to show us what happened and what it cost you. The more documentation you can share with us — like medical records, discharge paperwork, and your tourist emergency hospital bill — the easier it is for us to try to reimburse your unforeseen expenses.

Step 5: File a travel insurance claim for your hospital visit.

Ready to take some pressure off your out-of-pocket costs? If necessary — and once you’re able — you can submit a Travelex claim for your trip to the hospital. Just remember to file your claim within one year of returning home!

Because you’re a Travelex customer, there’s less reason to worry if you need to go to a hospital on vacation for a serious illness or injury that suddenly comes up. Generally, we can help cover the cost of your visit (up to the benefit limit on your policy).

Plus, if the doctor gives you a prescription or recommends you buy medicine, make sure you file a claim with the receipts. That way, we might be able to help reimburse you for those extra costs, too.

Once you’ve put together all your medical paperwork, it’s easy to file a claim online at any time or call our claims team at 1-855-205-6054.


Important: You may think your U.S. health insurance will have your back for any medical bills abroad, but that’s often not the case. As a Travelex customer, you can worry less knowing that our Travel Basic and Travel Select plans come with emergency medical and dental coverage. This benefit can take some “ouch” out of your unexpected international hospital costs and may help reimburse unforeseen expenses from your emergency treatment. We're here to help cover those unwelcomed surprises so you can focus on feeling better — rather than on your medical bills.

Want to learn more from our travel assistance team?

You’ll be better prepared for the unexpected when you discover how we can help you in different emergency and non-emergency situations.

Explore these topics to help you feel more confident before traveling:

Add your trip to our Travel On app now!

The quickest way to get our help 24/7 is through our Travel On app. Plus, you can receive real-time safety alerts, see destination risk ratings, and more. Don’t forget to download it before your next vacation.

Your travel insurance policy offers more than medical coverage

We want to protect as much of your trip as possible — which means our benefits go above and beyond helping with unanticipated hospital bills.

Ready to feel protected while you travel?

Pack one of our travel insurance plans before you depart. Get a quote now.


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