It can be easy to get carried away in when it comes to an upcoming trip to the Caribbean. But before you embark on your dream vacation, take a few minutes to consider the possibility of medical emergency situations that could arise during your trip to the Caribbean.

No one wants to think negatively when planning a trip to the beautiful Caribbean, but the truth is, anything can happen at any time. Consider what you would do in case a health emergency occurs while you're on vacation. You could save yourself a lot of heartache and frustration in the long run.

Although you cannot predict medical emergencies, there are things you can do to be prepared just in case. Before departing for your Caribbean destination, be sure to carry with you emergency contact information, medication, and health insurance information. Then, make sure to locate medical facilities on the island.

Emergency Contacts

If you or someone you're traveling with does have a medical emergency during your vacation, you will have to find help on the island. Whether you're in need of a police officer, ambulance, or physician, you must be able to provide necessary information in order to communicate effectively with the proper officials. Many people panic during emergencies, which can make it difficult to think clearly enough to find the right phone number. This can lead to frustration, which can prolong your search for emergency information.

You don't have to wait until an emergency happens to look for the phone numbers of emergency services. Before your trip, take a few minutes to find the information and phone numbers for ambulances, police stations, hospitals, fire departments, and the local U.S. consulate or embassy located on the specific island where you'll be staying. Write these emergency numbers down on a piece of paper or a flash card that will be easy for you to read. Put your emergency numbers in a place you can quickly remember like a wallet, purse, or suitcase pocket, so if needed, you can quickly access these vital numbers. This simple step can save you the trouble of fumbling through a phone book or other listings that may even be printed in a foreign language.


Travelers who are currently taking prescription medications, or who are following a regiment of over-the-counter drugs, may want to keep in mind some general advice. First of all, remember to pack enough medication for your entire trip. Keep your medications stored in their original packaging, with clearly marked labels. Also, bring a letter from your doctor describing all of your medical conditions, the names of the medicines you've been prescribed, as well as their generic names. If you need to carry syringes in order to take your medications, be sure to carry a letter from your physician describing their necessity.

Keep your medicines in your hand luggage so you can access them quickly should you need to. And keep an extra supply of your medication in your checked baggage, just in case something happens to your other doses. Travelers who are prone to major allergic reactions or who have serious chronic medical conditions may want to consider wearing a medical alert bracelet should a trip to the hospital become necessary.

Travelers should also find out before hand if immunizations are required to visit a particular country. Keep in mind that you are going to be in a foreign country, which may have different health risks than your own country. Vacationers should be up-to-date on all routine immunizations, such as tetanus, measles, and mumps. This medical precaution can help you avoid contracting preventable infections and illnesses and can decrease the risk of some medical emergencies.


Many travelers are unsure whether their health insurance will cover claims or office visits while on vacation. Before leaving for your trip, contact your medical insurance provider and ask whether you will be covered while visiting the Caribbean. Many travelers are not aware that some health insurance companies will not reimburse for medical treatment overseas.

If you do have a medical emergency while vacationing in the Caribbean, the cost of your treatment can be considerably high, especially without health insurance, and you could be faced with medical bills reaching thousands of dollars. So if your insurance company won't compensate your medical expenses while you're outside of your home country, you may want to consider purchasing supplemental, temporary insurance, designed for travelers going abroad. This kind of insurance is perfect in case of a medical emergency while on vacation, and can cover the costs of emergency procedures and medical evacuation.

You can't always prevent a medical emergency from happening while on vacation, but there are a few things you can do in advance to make sure you're prepared in case a situation does come up. If you want to find out more about health and medical topics in the Caribbean, many helpful resources on traveler safety in the Caribbean are available, such as the comprehensive online guide found at

Danielle Mitchell writes for , , and other Segisys travel Web sites. © 2005, Interactive Internet Websites, Inc.
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