Planning your Travel
Planning and implementing medical travel for the first time might be really multifaceted; tourists must take care of many aspects, where much focus is on planning and implementing the travel and cost of the trip. To avoid all these confusions many people opt for a medical tourism facilitator – who takes care of all the necessary arrangements from the time of decision making, choosing the best destination and hospital, till the return to home.
The journey starts with many questions, the person might have doubt whether he has taken the right decision, or chosen the perfect hospital and physician, the quality of treatment provided etc. The checklist before starting the trip includes…
- Previous medical reports, X-rays etc
- Brief communication with the doctor regarding the treatment procedure and the cost of the treatment.
- Insurance policy papers
- A detailed (approximate) schedule about the trip is always useful – like number of appointments needed, number of days the patient need to stay, recovery time etc.
- Passport, Visa (if required), ATM/Credit cards
- Travel documents/tickets
- Contact address and number of the doctor and hospital
- Identification card
a.International Airline Reservations
After deciding a trip for medical tourism, a person might have a list of arrangements to be made but the main focus will be on travel arrangements. First and foremost the person has to book a ticket to the chosen destination. Identify the flight for the destination; ticket booking can be done online or through phone. Before booking the tickets the traveler must make sure to compare the pricelist of different airline services. To avoid these confusions many people opt for the option of going for a medical tourism facilitator, who takes care of every arrangements from the start of choosing hospital, taking care of travel and till the return to home. A journey to abroad may require things like:
A passport is an internationally identified document that is issued by the national government which recognizes the purpose of international travel and identifies a person’s name and nationality. If a person doesn’t have a passport, begin the process immediately as it might take 6-8 weeks. And if he already owns a passport, checking the validity of the passport before starting the journey is important.
Requirements for Passport application:
- Residential proof
- Passport size photos
- Photo identity proof
- Birth certificate/proof of age
- Passport fee
- Marriage certificate
Fully filled certificate
A visa is document stamped by the officials of the foreign country the person is about to visit. It is a form of permission given to a non-citizen, that permits him to enter, reside, travel and transit in the destination country. Depending on the purpose of visit specific visas are granted like tourist visa which is valid for 6 months.
Requirements for Visa
- Original passport with 6 months validity
- Visa fee
- Passport size photographs
- Identification and residential proof
- Completely filled application form
Visa requirements vary depending on the destination country.
Custom is an authority or agency responsible for controlling the flow of goods including animal and animal products like – sea-turtles, ivory, fur, leather, corals jewels, feathers, and any hazardous items in and out of the country. The local legislation law enforces the restriction or forbidden law for few goods. The customs allows only internationally valid credit cards. The customs is different from immigration authority which monitors the entry and exit of people.
According to the WHO requirements, travelling to few countries may require a international certification of vaccination against yellow fever. This is particularly demanded from tourists coming from infected areas. Preventive medication for malaria and other flu’s should also be taken.
Online Air Ticket Reservation
Hotel Accommodation Reservations
As medical tourism industry is blossoming every day, the hotel industries soon began to sense the growing market because of medical tourists. The hotel industry also gained edge by holding the often held conferences and meetings. A medical tourist and his family requires accommodation, therefore, depending upon the treatment and the number of days required to stay, hotel accommodation can be booked in advance. Hotel reservations can be done online or through phone. Looking and searching for hotels on the day of arrival after a long, tired jet-lagged journey in a completely unfamiliar country is confusing and time-consuming. Many hotels, in order to attract medical tourists and also to be little out of medicine, offer many facilities like – spa offerings, Ayurvedic treatments, herbal massages, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, gym etc. Many hotels also offer after care facilities. The hotel management takes additional responsibility of training their staffs for better interpersonal communication and basic do’s and don’ts after surgery. They may also arrange for a dietician, physiotherapist and a round the clock care taker.
Ground Transfer Arrangements
There are several options for ground transportation from the airport to the hospital or hotel. Available ground transportations are buses, train, rental cars, limousine, and executive car or taxi cabs. Online booking of the ground transfer is also available; if the tourist has not booked earlier he may find a ground transportation help desk in the airport. Each of the industry providing these services are color coded. This will help the medical tourist to navigate their way through once they have arrived. The name and color of most industries are displayed above their location for convenience of the medical tourists. Special and exclusive ground transportation service is also available, on request, for elderly and seriously unwell people.
Counseling Clients about Trip Interruptions and Lost Baggage
A long pre-planned trip can be cancelled or interrupted due to personal reasons or due to weather or technical problems. While arranging for a long medical trip, a person spends money in areas like ticket booking where it is non-refundable. Having a trip cancellation or interruption insurance will help the person to gain back around 50-60% of the money. Many insurance policies cover only for medical treatment procedures; therefore, it is always advisable to check with the insurer whether trip cancellation/interruption is also been covered.
Trip cancellation or interruption travel policy covers the cancellation under the following situations
- llness or sudden death of family member
- Change of mind
- Sudden emergency health condition
- Sudden business conflicts
- Terrorist attack, hijacking
- Bad weather or natural disaster
- Medical quarantine
- Staff and officials going out of service
- Unexpected delay in Visa or passport processing
- Stolen passport and Visa
These above mentioned insurance coverage may vary depending on the policy and the norms of the insurance company.
Lost / Delayed / Damaged Baggage’s
Loss of baggage doesn’t happen always but sometimes it does; many travelers might have experienced that they reach their destination but surprised to the loss of their baggages. The moment the traveler discovers that his baggages are missing or lost, he should immediately file a complaint.
In case of delayed baggage’s
- Complaint should be given before leaving the airport
- Check for the airport help desk
- A copy of the completed complaint form must be taken for future reference
- Get the details of the officials – name, phone number etc
- Follow-up should be done at regular intervals
- Air line documents like tickets, receipts should be preserved
- Find out emergency purchase allowances
- Inform the front desk in the hotel in case the missed baggages arrives.
In case of lost baggages
- Paper written complaint regarding lost baggages should be submitted
- File a separate complaint apart from the one for delayed baggages
- File the complaint immediately as deadlines apply
- Check for emergency purchase allowances
- A detailed information regarding passport number, contact information, and the content in the baggages should be given
- Provide sales-receipt for high-value items
In case of damaged baggages
Generally airlines do not take any responsibilities for the damage caused due to daily wear and tear. Damage to baggages must be reported before leaving the airport, generally within 24 hours. Damage to fragile items is covered by airlines only if it is packed in container designed for shipping. In case of any damage or loss of baggages, the airlines will not reimburse completely, therefore, it is always good to check with the insurer.