For the savvy globetrotter, travel insurance is a non-negotiable expense. This policy protects you from the devastating financial fallout of getting sick or injured while abroad. 

Depending on your package, however, your insurance company won’t pay for everything. From unexpected out-of-pocket expenses to foreseeable deductibles, these costs can put your budget through the wringer. 

Whether you’re struggling to deal with these expenses today, or you just want to be better prepared in the future, keep scrolling. Here’s a guide on how you can handle a medical emergency abroad. 

What to Do if You’re Dealing with a Bill, Right Now

Let’s not delay any further. If you’re dealing with an out-of-pocket expense today as your traveling, you’re looking for a way to pay for them today

Without fail, an emergency fund is the best way to handle an unexpected trip to a foreign hospital or pharmacy. These savings are explicitly designed for when your trip goes sideways.

Unfortunately, international healthcare costs can easily eat through this fund. And after paying for flights and hotel accommodations, you may not have room on your trusty credit card. 

So, what can you do if your savings fall short and you need to pay for something upfront? You can look into online installment loans or lines of credit. These online loans bridge the gap between your savings and out-of-pocket expenses, so you can get the care you need, fast. 

How Does an Installment Loan Work?

An installment loan is a fixed term loan that gives you funds upfront that you pay off over multiple, fixed payments. It’s a one-time financial product that closes when you pay off the last cent. It’s a type of cash advance that has longer repayment terms than the typical payday loan, which is due back in one lump sum.

How Does a Line of Credit Work?

A line of credit, on the other hand, is a revolving loan, which means it works a lot like a credit card. You’ll get a credit limit and pay according to how much of this limit you use. Once you pay off what you owe, you’ll have access to your full line of credit limit for another emergency. 

Is One Better Than the Other?

Both an installment loan and line of credit help you handle an unexpected emergency abroad, albeit in different ways. 

Take the time to compare these options to determine which one suits your out-of-pocket medical needs. 

Plan for a Future Trip with These Expenses in Mind

If you haven’t left for your trip yet, you’re in the perfect position to prepare for these unexpected expenses. 

While it may be tough to think of the worst-case scenario when all you want to do is explore the top sites of Peru or sip on a Mai Tai on the beach, this emergency planning will save you a lot of money. 

Because the unexpected can and might happen while you’re traveling abroad; it’s important you prepare yourself before an emergency happens, so you aren’t scrambling in the heat of the moment. 

Research How COVID-19 Affects Your Travel Plans 

Although travel restrictions are easing, some limits may still exist. You should find out how these restrictions may affect how and where you can travel. 

Many countries expect you to schedule and pay for tests before you leave home, after you arrive at your destination, and again before you return home. You may even have to organize a quarantine upon arrival, depending on your destination. 

Keep this in mind as you build out your budget for an upcoming trip and plan for these extra costs.

The spread and severity of COVID-19 can be unpredictable, so it’s important you plan for unexpected spikes at your destination. Keep on top of the current travel advisories, and check with airlines to see their policies for these eventualities.  

Shop for the Right Travel Insurance

Due to the nature of the pandemic, your travel plans can change at a moment’s notice. You can handle these changes easier when you have a robust insurance policy. 

You’ll want to make sure your insurance company offers full coverage for where you’re traveling. You’ll also want to check it covers both COVID and non-COVID emergencies, including medical expenses, quarantine costs, trip cancellations, or trip interruptions. 

Build an Emergency Fund into Your Travel Budget

Budgeting out a big trip is an essential step to your next adventure, and it’s not complete without an emergency fund. After you figure out the costs of flights, accommodations, rental cars, and food, you need to consider adding a cushion on top of these expenses. 

A cushion is there to soften any out-of-pocket expenses or deductibles you might face, so you don’t have to apply for installment loans or lines of credit mid-emergency. 

The typical emergency fund should contain three to six months’ worth of living expenses, but you can get away with less for your trip. Aim to have at least $1,000 for your cushion. You’ll want even more if your insurance takes weeks to pay out or comes with a high deductible before it kicks in.

The Takeaway

Despite how fun and enriching a trip around the world may be, it comes with some risks. But any successful traveler understands how to offset them. 

With the right planning, you can be prepared for the unexpected. 

And if something catches you off guard despite your best efforts, there’s always an installment loan or line of credit that can help. Keep this in mind the next time you jet-set — whether that’s today, next month, or in 2023.