Getting ready to move abroad can feel a bit chaotic. You’re dealing with packing lists, organizing schooling, planning for work, looking for a new home, gathering all your visas and other documents… The list goes on and on.
Naturally, your health isn’t going to be front of mind, but this is your reminder that it should be, even when life is a little crazy. Planning for your health and healthcare options when you move abroad should form a pivotal part of your moving plan.
Here are six important things to take a look at before you move.
Healthcare Access and Insurance
You might be under the impression that anywhere will have a better healthcare system than what you’re currently dealing with – and you might be right. However, this isn’t a guarantee, and checking out the healthcare system of your destination country is essential.
Figure out whether non-residents will be covered, and if not, what your options are when it comes to private health insurance policies or similar plans. For those who might be moving around a lot, you could look into global medical insurance to cover your healthcare costs wherever you are, so you can rest at ease when it comes to medical care.
If you take consistent or chronic prescription medication, this is another factor you’ll need to consider. You’ll need to consider whether or not your destination country stocks your meds or a similar version of what you need to take, and how soon you’ll be able to get a new prescription once you’re there.
How long will your current stock last you, and will you be okay throughout the travel process until you can get more? You might even run into trouble traveling with prescription medication, as some countries have regulations about what drugs are allowed. Be sure to do your research and make plans well in advance.
Depending on where you’re moving to, you might be required to be vaccinated against certain illnesses before you travel. This will include standard, routine vaccinations like tetanus, measles, and Covid-19.
However, certain countries will have more specific requirements, like yellow fever, malaria, and even rabies. You’ll be able to find out the details by talking to your healthcare practitioner or a visa agent assisting you with the moving process. You must have your shots and the correlating documentation to ensure you don’t run into trouble at the airport.
Food and Water Safety
Keep in mind that in some countries, it’s not always safe to drink tap water. You can do some research, but if you’re ever in doubt, stick to bottled water or have a purifying system installed in your home and avoid drinking directly from the taps.
You might also want to consider food safety in a new country – do your research and even talk to some locals about food hygiene and quality. Overall simply be sure to practice personal hygiene and vigilance when eating and drinking in a foreign place to avoid getting sick.
As you can tell, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to your health and healthcare in a new country, but don’t forget that there are even health risks associated with travel itself. Travel can put a lot of stress on the body in various ways and you need to be prepared to manage the risks.
Changes in climate and altitude might put stress on your body and even your mind, and traveling to remote destinations might put you at risk in other ways too. Make sure you’re prepared, stay well-hydrated, and get plenty of rest when traveling, dealing with jetlag, and adjusting to a new climate and location.
You can also prepare for travel sickness by grabbing some medication to help prevent and treat motion sickness, to make sure your trip is as comfortable as possible.
Mental Well-Being Abroad
An aspect of health that is often neglected or even completely pushed aside is mental health. Moving abroad and leaving behind family, friends, your culture, and your home can be harsh on your emotions and a lot to deal with.
Having stress management techniques ready is a good idea for anyone leaving their home and moving far away. Make sure you have a plan to keep in touch with your loved ones and some kind of support system for the move. It’s also a good idea to seek out community soon after you arrive in your new home.
If you find that you’re struggling mentally, try using CBD to manage stress, finding a hobby or another distraction, or seeking therapy to help you cope and adjust to your new life.
This may seem like a lot to add to your already overloaded plate, but planning for your health and medical care in a new country is an essential step, and you’ll thank yourself once you arrive safe, sound, and taken care of.