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The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers maintains an online database of licensed, English-speaking doctors in 90 countries: http://www.iamat.org/doctors_clinics.cfm .
If you don't have access to the Internet or a phone, most major hotel concierges keep a list of English-speaking doctors in the area. In some cases, they'll have a doctor on call who can see you in your room.
Doctors recommend that travelers with chronic conditions, allergies or rare blood types bring a form with their medical history. The American College of Emergency Physicians offers a medical history form on the website www.er101.org, and your doctor can help you figure out what to include.
This is something you will want to keep in your wallet or purse, not in the luggage that stays in your hotel room.
INSURANCE: Most government and employer-based health plans do not cover medical care overseas. For this reason, many travel agencies recommend customers purchase some sort of travel health insurance.
Along with covering the cost of cancelled trips or travel delays, companies like Travel Guard, http://www.travelguard.com , provide a range of health coverage options, from basic medical expenses to medical evacuation.
Depending on the country and the condition of the patient, an international medical flight can cost $50,000 or more, making an insurance policy a smart financial decision. Adventure travelers who face a serious risk of harm can even be covered for the repatriation of dismembered limbs and other remains, according to Laurene Taylor of Liberty Travel, a New York-based travel agency.
Travel insurance prices vary depending on the cost of the trip and the age of the travelers. For example, a 30-year-old traveler purchasing coverage for a trip that costs $1,500 might pay $80. But a 70-year-old traveler on the same trip would pay $160.
Dr. Pardo recommends such policies for both older patients with established health issues and younger patients.
"Most of the time the people who get into trouble are those that don't think about it: the young, healthy group that travels abroad for three months and can't anticipate anything ever going wrong," Pardo said. "Suddenly they're in a situation where they really need these services."