image via thealertmind.blogspot.com
Every year, over 650 million vacations are taken between Memorial Day and Labor Day. And most of those vacations are probably taken with one goal in mind: to have fun. But unfortunately, sometimes things don't always go as you plan, and as we like to say around the office, "failing to plan is planning to fail," so whether you're just going a few towns over for a small get away or planning a cross country road trip, here are a few simple tips to help you get by if things don't go as planned.
1. Bring your health care documents with you when your travel. When planning a vacation, we often don't include a trip to the ER or hospital stay in those plans, but it is important to always be prepared for the unexpected. If you have an estate plan, you most likely have documents such as a Living Will and Health Care proxy, which are important documents to have in case you end up in the hospital and are unable to make medical decisions for yourself. These are just as important to have when you are traveling as when you are living your day to day life at home. It is also important to travel with your health insurance card, medicare/medicaid card, and medical information card to avoid mistreatment or headaches in the future.
2. Check up on your Power of Attorney. Another important aspect of an estate plan is a Durable Power of Attorney, which gives someone the power to act for you in a legal or financial matter. If you become severely ill while traveling and have to stay in the hospital where you were vacationing, your attorney-in-fact can ensure that your bills are paid and other things at home don't fall apart. It's always a good idea to let your attorney-in-fact know that you are traveling, just in case.
3. Understand where you are traveling to. When traveling across state lines, in nearly all cases, your legal documents will be valid, but if you are traveling abroad, it is best to do some research before you leave the tarmac. Ask questions like: does this country recognize health care proxies? Living wills? Does my insurance cover treatment in this country? If I have medicare (which does not cover health care costs outside of the US), what is my back up plan for paying for health care bills should I encounter them abroad? Even if the answers to some of these questions aren't the answers you want to hear, it's important to understand the implications that they might have if you become ill.
Checking up on these three things can make your vacation run a little more smoothly should you encounter an unexpected illness. Thousands of people travel every year without incident, but it is always a good idea to have a plan in place. So get out there and explore, relax, read, swim, hike, and sight see, but do it with a plan in place!