5 Ways to Avoid the Montezuma in Montezuma’s Revenge While Traveling Abroad

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Today I enthusiastically introduce you to Greg Rollett.  I came to know Greg when I joined his RockStar Business Series (link on right sidebar) in order to increase traffic to this blog.  We had great results that you can read about in “How Our  Site Has Improved Through the Under 30 Rockstar Business Series” .  Since then I have been extremely impressed by and grateful to Greg for his enthusiastic support of our projects and willingness to help.

Recently, Greg has joined a new project, On Call Nurse.  Imagine knowing that wherever you are in the world you could always pick up a phone and speak to a nurse about any health question in your own language.  As a seasoned traveler I have often wished I could have accessed a service like this.  I hope you’ll appreciate this article as much as I do and will check out his new service.

It’s not something you, me or really anyone actively thinks about. You know, what if I get sick while traveling abroad? What if my kids or spouse or whomever gets sick when we are in an unfamiliar country and possibly where English is not the dominant language?

That’s a big headache right?

And while you are planning your travel it’s the last thing you want to think about. I mean come on, plan for beaches, trails, mountains, boats, restaurants, castles, sporting events or plopping down for a few months to work on yourself and your business. That’s what we want to plan for.

And while this might not top your exciting things to do while planning list, there are a few quick things that you can do to ensure you are ready for Montezuma’s Revenge or whatever else comes your way.

Let your home country know that you are leaving

Now, no one likes to give the Government too much information, but in this case, they are collecting information about your trip in order to let you know of any family emergencies and also give you ways to contact them in the case of an emergency on your end. This may not be the most popular option, but it is a good way to be able to get in touch with loved ones back home by using a government intermediary. The US version of this can be found at https://travelregistration.state.gov.

Talk to your health insurance company

This may or may not make you happy after you talk to them, as many providers do not extend coverage outside the US. For those lucky few that have extended coverage, hats off to you my friend. For those that do not, the next best thing is to see if there is a US Consulate located close to where you are traveling. They can provide assistance in locating health care providers and facilities, contact family members in the U.S., and assist with the wire transfer of funds from the U.S.

Check for health watches and health scares

Before you head into foreign soil, do some quick Google News searches to see if there are any health scares in that region. Look for outbreaks and other things that strike you as odd and out of the ordinary. Doing a few quick searches and investigating can save you some trips to a local hospital or doctor. You can also check with the hotel, hostel or host family you may be staying with when you arrive. They generally have some good info for tourists, and your health is in their best interest as you can spend more money at their hotel and restaurants if you are healthy!

Talk with your doc about prescriptions

This is an overlooked travel item for many people that we encounter at On Call Nurse. Travelers who head out into a trip and forget to stock up on prescriptions. The best thing to do here is to get a letter from your doctor describing the medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic names of prescribed drugs. This will help in getting you the meds you need, when you need them.

Have an emergency number to call

For those left without insurance when traveling abroad, or for those that may have overseas insurance, having a number to call that will get your questions answered in your home language is extremely important. A service like On Call Nurse is there for you 24 hours a day in over 150 languages. All you need to do is dial the number from any phone and get the answers you need about pressing health issues. This can be anything from injuring yourself on an excursion to eating bad local food to allergic reactions. Having someone to talk to to get real answers can be extremely helpful in getting you back on your feet and exploring the world that you set out to see.

What about you?

Have you run into issues while traveling? How did you handle them? Do you have any tips to keeping yourself healthy as can be? Share them in the comments below.

13 responses to “5 Ways to Avoid the Montezuma in Montezuma’s Revenge While Traveling Abroad”

  1. Thanks for doing this post, Greg. You share a lot of good information some of which I hadn’t really considered before, like registering my travel with the government. I wonder if there would be any repercussions for those of us who do extended travel and sometimes get hassled about our length of time away?

    So often the health issues that arise while traveling are the unforeseen ones. For instance, while in Provence I got a minor cut to my thumb with a peach pit of all things. I didn’t think twice about it until a few days later when it was obviously infected, swollen and throbbing. “No problem”, I thought, “I’ll just get some antibiotic cream at the local pharmacy”. I had no idea that antibiotic cream was by prescription only. Suddenly it was a question of making a doctor appointment. I was close to departure and chose to wait until I left France. Stopping in Heathrow airport I looked in the airport stores. Same story, only by prescription. What was a minor injury turned out to be an uncomfortable situation until I could get back to the U.S. Wish I had taken some cream with me, or perhaps a call to your nurse service might have helped me find an alternative.

  2. Rob says:

    Nice, I never thought about having an external emergency number and On Call Nurse is a great idea. The 1-2 people you think of calling when out of the country could very well not be available, or not awake because of time zones. Good deal!

    • I agree. Plus, who wants to be stuck on hold with your doctor’s office in
      the U.S. or sit around waiting for a Skype call back from a nurse who’ll
      probably tell you you have to come in to be seen when you’re not in the


  3. Ricardo says:

    Timely article, Carmen. I’m on day 7 of the flu here in Thailand, myself. Luckily I’m in Bangkok where there’s all sorts of great hospitals to choose from. I caught the flu on Ko Phayam island where the closest thing to a doctor is a shelf (next to the beer stack) with a box of aspirin on it at the local store.

    But wherever I’m at I at least have my little first aid bag with assorted antibiotics, re hydration powder, ibuprofen and whatnot. And, in my computer’s Bookmarks are websites to medical advice services such as Medicine Plus (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/) and Net Doctor (http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/).

    Aside from that I give myself the appropriate amount of time in the best environment available to me before getting on that bus, plane or train.

  4. Theodora says:

    I’m a great believer in building up your immune system by eating, basically, as the locals do, drinking unboiled tap water if they do, etc — starting slowly with street food, then upping to salads, raw seafood, etc. But good travel insurance with a nurse that you can call is certainly key..

  5. Kimberly says:

    Wonderful share! Sometimes you simply need a medical assistance and can’t find one during travel, this could be very helpful for simple problems.

  6. Rich says:

    We keep a copy of the books Where There Is No Doctor and Where There Is No Dentist on our hard drive. They are free downloads from the Hesperian Foundation and are some of the only resources that will tell you what medicines to take for what condition.

    Link: http://www.hesperian.org/publications_download.php

  7. I had no idea that I get allergies until I went to Europe and felt terrible. I wish I had known to bring some Claritin, as it was then only available by prescription. After a month I went to a hospital in Rome and got it all sorted out.

    I also got salmonella in Vietnam and had to go to the hospital in China (after my tongue turned green… that was fun), but once again everything worked out. I guess I’ve had fairly good luck with international hospitals.

  8. Great tips, will take advantage of them. A well-traveled wellness expert recommended pro-biotics AND a glass of wine with or after a doubtful dish, as the alcohol can kill those nasty microbes. So last time I I felt compelled to accept a glass of soda in a very suspect glass at someone’s very humble home, because I could not bear refusing their hospitality, I rushed home and gulped a glass of malbec last time…. no problems afterward and enjoyed the wine!

    I used to carry a prescription for Ciprofloxacin for emergencies (not that I’d take antibiotics casually) when traveling in South America. Even in Argentina, where I have lived for the last 8 years (and the water IS safe to drink), I’ve only gotten “stomach flu” twice: The first was from empanadas my husband brought home (and which I later found had been made earlier and had been sitting on a counter for hours), so we only buy ones that are cooked on the spot.

    The other was last month, from a pre-made salad from a top supermarket in an exclusive Buenos Aires barrio. Later folks told me I should have soaked it a water and vinegar solution rather than just rinsing with plain tap water, which has worked on fresh lettuce for 8 years. I’ll just go back to buying the whole head of lettuce, throwing away the outer leaves, and washing as I have.

    So what do others have in their travel first aid kit? I don’t get too far from civilization, and even so, I always carry a triple antibiotic ointment, cortisone cream, ibuprofen, naproxen, bandaids, and stuff for diarrhea and stomach upset. Now I’m going to add Cipro and a number to call!

    • Cipro is a good thing to have in everyone’s bag. Along with a more milder antibiotic, like Amoxicillin (which is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, such as pneumonia; bronchitis; gonorrhea; and infections of the ears, nose, throat, urinary tract, and skin.) I also keep some Doxycycline (which is used to treat bacterial infections, including pneumonia and other respiratory tract infections; Lyme disease; acne; infections of skin, genital, and urinary systems. It is also used to prevent malaria. However, Amoxicillin doesn’t always work for me (I may have built up a resistance) and am taking Norfloxacin instead (per my doctors recommendation). But I don’t take these drugs until I get the right advice. I’m lucky to have a doctor who will email me advice from anywhere in the world. If he’s not available, I go to one of the medical websites, such as: netdoctor.co.uk or MedlinePlus (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/).

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