Driving licence. Most people want to hire a car or motorcycle when they go abroad to give them the mobility and freedom to explore. If you don’t have your driving licence with you, they almost certainly won’t let you drive. Make sure that your driving licence habeen packed and iready to go.
If you do hire a vehicle, make sure that it iroadworthy. In many countriecarthat would be on the scrap heap at home are still being used by tourists!
Emergency contact numbers. Just in case anything happens, I take a list of emergency contact numbers, insurance policy numbers, pluthe embassy and consulate numberwith me. I try to ensure that all memberof the party carry a copy just in case we are separated. In an emergency it ibest to have them all to hand – you don’t want to try to explain to a foreign telephone operator that you want to speak to the British consulate or ask them to help you find an eye surgeon at 2am on a Sunday. Remember it ia holiday and having the contact detailhandy will give you the peace of mind to relax and enjoy it.
Medical history notes. If you have a medical condition, I would suggest that you take an explanatory note from your doctor, if he haapproved the trip. You might not be in a position to explain what your allergieare, what ailmentyou have suffered and what medication you are on, but a brief note from your family doctor could help doctorat your holiday destination to save your life. Take advice from your GP.
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Medication letter. If you are taking some form of medication, especially if it icritical medication, I would advise you to get a letter from your doctor stating the prescribed medication, itquantity and strength. Some countrieare very suspiciouof drug smugglerand treat them quite harshly. The legal system in some countrieleavea lot to be desired. I wouldn’t want to be locked up in a rainforest jail because I couldn’t get the police or customstaff to understand that the pillthey found in my bag were legally prescribed to treat a medical condition. A letter could explain that, but if all memberof the party had a copy of the emergency contact numbers, while I wain jail they could contact somebody who would be able to help.
Remember, if you require prescribed medication you should bring an adequate supply, still unopened and in the original packaging. That way, customofficerwill know the medication ia commercial product.
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In case of problems, you should take a note of the generic name of your medication, so that doctoror chemistabroad can identify it and treat you appropriately. One tip that wagiven to me by a diabetic friend wato pack the main supply of medication safely in your luggage but to carry a ready supply in carry-on bags. Then if there ia delay or your suitcaseare lost you have some of your medication available while you look for your luggage or replacement supplies. He told me he now hato make special arrangementwhen flying. Because of the syringes, cabin staff take charge of himedication until the aircraft iat the destination airport.
Allergies. If you have any allergies, for example serioureactionto food or some prescribed medication, you should wear a ‘medical alert’ bracelet and possibly carry a written explanation of your condition and the treatment to be used should you suffer an attack. Consider having notetranslated into the local language.
A holiday can go wrong even when you have made every effort to make sure that everything iait should be. If something goewrong, there are some thingyou can do to maximise your chanceof forcing the company to put thingright, make sure that the problemdo not occur again, and get yourself some compensation.
• Make sure that whoever iselling you your holiday insurance understandexactly what you are going to do while abroad. A friend went on a free-fall parachuting course in France, and found when he returned that hiholiday insurance had excluded any injury suffered while flying, other than in the scheduled airline, and excluded any dangerousports, including parachuting1
Make sure that whoever sellyou your insurance cover explainexactly what icovered, awell aexplaining any exceptionand limits. If it soundaif the limitand exceptioncould be a problem to you, state your concern and ask about alternative cover.
If you make a claim and it irejected, consider going to the small-claimcourt to win compensation.
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