Use this Checklist When Planning Medical or Wellness Travel Abroad


Once you've chosen your medical tourism journey, use this checklist from our experts to make sure you don't overlook critical details.

Travel Documents

Your assigned Medical Tourism Journey Manager® will help with all your travel, visa, flight, hotel and ground transfer arrangements. But there are still some matters you will have to handle personally.

  1. Renew your passport at least 9 months prior to expiration of your current passport. Many countries require 6 months of remaining time on a passport and at least 6 blank pages.  
  2. If you plan to self-drive on sightseeing excursions, you'll need two passport size photos to apply for an international driving permit (IDP). If you don't have this in addition to your driver's license, you may be charged with driving without a license.
  3. Check your automobile insurance to ensure that you'll have full coverage for your rental car and its contents.
  4. We'll provide you with two extra copies of every part of your itinerary so that you can keep one tucked away and give one to a trusted friend of family member.  Photocopy everything else that is an official document and make two extra sets - one to hide and take with you and one for your friend or relative. 

Health Insurance

Your assigned Medical Tourism Journey Manager® will verify what your health insurance will cover, but you may need travel insurance depending on coverage limitations of your local health policy.

  1. Travel insurance will not cover elective treatments abroad.  
  2. In most cases, however, travel insurance will cover medical evacuation, expenses related to delays, road closures, cancelled or delayed flights, baggage loss or theft, and more. These policies are available from our travel agency.
  3. Check what is provided without additional cost by any Platinum credit card amenities.

Our preferred insurer at Medical Tourism Journeys is Allianz.  We use them for our own coverage and have been very pleased with their service and premium cost. A whole year policy will cost about $460 per person. You can also buy per trip coverage. 

Prescription Medications

Your assigned Medical Tourism Journey Manager® will review all your medications with you to ensure you may legally enter your destination with it.

  1. Obtain copies of your prescriptions from your doctor or pharmacy to match what you are carrying.  Many prescription narcotic and other medications that are legally prescribed for you at home are not permitted in some countries. If that's the case, your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® will devise a work around but you'll need to arrange it with your personal hometown physician.  This may involve obtaining a note on your doctor's letterhead stationary for any controlled substances or injectable medications. 
  2. Plan on arriving early for security checkpoint clearance. You'll need to present all your prescription medications, syringes and supplies to the TSA or security officer separately and then repack them into your carry on luggage. 
  3. Pack a first-aid kit with simple supplies in case you get a cut or the sniffles or a sore throat or allergic attack while on your medical tourism journey. Bandages, a topical antibacterial (polymixin B, neomycin, and bacitracin compounds) to prevent infections caused by minor cuts scrapes and burns, hydrocortisone creme, blister pads, a thermometer, safety pins, tweezers, and baby nail trimming scissors come in handy. Also consider an antifungal and antidiahrrheal and gas relief medications, and some antacid tablets round out the kit. Add a copy of your doctor's business card and your travel and health insurance ID cards.  Pack this in your checked baggage. Usually, these items will be available both at the airport and in flight if needed before you arrive at your final destination.

Credit Card Travel Plans

  1. File a travel plan with your credit card issuer. They will need to know all countries you plan to travel to, dates and when you plan to return.
  2. Program their emergency number into your phone before you depart.
  3. Leave any cards you won't need (Costco, Sam's, etc.) home locked in a safe place.  
  4. Open one special debit card account just for travel purchases, make sure the card has a chip and a 4-digit pin number. Place a limited amount of cash you expect to use in that account and leave your main debit card home locked in a safe place. You can always make a transfer if you need more cash, but your primary account will not be at risk if you lose your card or your card is stolen or otherwise compromised.  Try to find a bank card issuer that offers an account with low or no foreign transaction fees.
  5. When accessing local currency, use only official ATMs. Some ATMs are fake and are there to swindle your magnetic strip data to create fake credit cards months later when you've long returned from your trip and let your guard down.  If you plan to exchange currency at the airport in your originating city in the US just grab enough cash for taxi and incidentals such as tips, or a coffee. You'll often find better exchange rates at your destination, but smaller airports don't always accept or exchange all currency. US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, British Pounds, and Euros are always easy to exchange. Towards the end of your journey, convert as much loose change as possible into paper currency. Often airport kiosks won't accept it back for exchange on your way home. Some coins are multiple "dollars" in value.  
  6. Tuck away about $20 in U.S. one dollar bill notes for tips and for use in countries where hard currency is sought after. 
  7. Don't use your debit card at unfamiliar gast station pumps, restaurants where they take your card away from your direct line of sight, retail shops and markets where you cannot see your card at all times.
  8. Avoid using your debit card for advance deposits for incidentals at hotels.

Buy airfare and hotel accommodations well in advance

Your assigned Medical Tourism Journey Manager® will review all your travel plans and make these arrangements for you for your entire trip.

  1. The best deals on international airfares tend to be sold at least 57 days in advance. Buy early and avoid costly increases in fares as a penalty for last minute purchases.
  2. Hotel accommodations are priced lowest about 2-4 weeks prior to arrival.
  3. For wellness travel and minor procedures, purchase tour and entertainment tickets in advance to ensure availability for your chosen activities. If you are having major surgery, hold off on spending on tour and entertainment activities until you know you feel up to the activity. Your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® can check on wheelchair rentals and other mobility challenged accommodation at museums and attractions, cruises, and tours before you arrive so you'll know what to expect.

Your Cell Phone

  1. Bring your cellphone, but check into the possibility to have it unlocked by your cell phone service provider. That will enable you to purchase a local sim card.
  2. Download apps such as Google hangouts, WhatsApp, WeChat or Viber so you can use your phone for text messages or make calls via Wi-Fi whenever possible at no cost.
  3. Remember to bring raptors and recharge cables and voltage converters. If you forget a converter or adapter, your hotel will usually loan one with a small deposit.
  4. Bring a small tablet or pad if you plan to be in the hospital for an extended stay and want to contact family and friends back home. You won't be able to access your U.S. TV replay and Netflix accounts while outside the USA. We verify access to the Internet, and all television channels, services, and television amenities at every hospital in our network before you arrive. Public hospitals abroad rarely have cable TV or free Wi-Fi for patients. On the other hand, private hospitals often use these amenities as competitive advantage for patients planning long stays. In some VIP suites there are two televisions so that your companion can watch something else in another room or turn on a TV without disturbing you while you sleep. 


  1. Bring earplugs to ensure peace and quiet in hotels with noisy streets below, unfamiliar noises from air conditioners and plumbing. 
  2. Plan to bring your earplugs to the hospital where myriad noises can disturb your rest.

How we can help you

Medical Tourism Journeys planners customize the all-inclusive experience for individuals, couples, families and groups by selecting different levels of luxury and service to meet our clients' requirements. Those with a modest budget opt for basic packages at a lower cost, while luxury-seekers can book bigger suites and pay for added services and amenities.  We tour each one before adding them as Approved Providers in our Network. They must pass our rigorous standards and criteria. our Approved Spas and Resorts include both upscale adults-only properties and family properties where travelers with children are staying.

Our clients tell us that they don't want to or don't have time to deal with the logistics of organizing a mass-scale trip or figuring out what to do if something goes wrong. Our specially-trained travel planners share their personal experiences and their resort knowledge. They leverage resort destination contacts and stay three steps ahead using experience to sidestep avoidable problems. It takes an experienced travel planner to coordinate travel logistics for health and wellness journeys, especially when the group is traveling from different locations and airports on different airlines, using frequent flyer reward miles, and need special planning for wheelchairs, strollers, and other necessities. They trust our Approved Provider choices rather than take a chance with their own research on the Internet. Our clients know that someone is on duty around the clock if there's a problem, and if they need anything, they call us. We also make arrangements with the hotel so that risks of reservations not being honored because a previous guest didn't check out don't happen. That's not something an individual traveler can do on their own. But the main thing we do at Medical Tourism Journeys is listen to what our clients want and do everything in our power to make it happen.  That pays off in repeat business and excellent referrals to friends and families. Over the past 35 years, that's how we've grown our business to what it is now. 

Medical Tourism Journeys offers care coordination and complete travel planning to medical, wellness, dental and pharmacy tourism destinations all over the world.

We leverage our long established history and high volumes of travel arrangements to get your discounts that aren't available at other medical tourism websites. Approved healthcare and wellness providers are coupled with Approved Hotels in our network at various destinations around the world. When you call, you can inquire about our upcoming group and private tour packages for surgery, consultations, dialysis, spa and wellness programs to appealing destinations. Then let your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® advise all your options. We never just tell you to "get your own tickets" online or through a local travel agency. We have this policy for your safety, comfort and convenience. We don't make money on air travel reservations. What you pay goes directly to the airline. But we do it because it's the right thing to do.

Medical tourism travel planning and patient movement takes specialized training.

We choose the appropriate seating, meals and make arrangements throughout your entire flight itinerary for wheelchairs, oxygen access, storage of crutches or walkers inside the cabin, avoiding stairs, and connecting from flight to flight at huge international airport hubs that may require more than a mile walk to the next gate.

Your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® briefs you on what to expect, if you should have tip money ready for assistants, and if so, how much. They also make sure you have enough time to connect to your next flight if the wheelchair assistant is late arriving to collect you when the flight arrives without expecting you do sprint to the next flight if you are temporarily incapable of that kind of activity during your post-operative period.

Contact us any time, 24 hours per day to learn more about the tours we offer throughout the world several times each year for health and wellness and pharmacy tourism.

We arrange medical tourism journeys for your convenience wither you choose to travel with a group or alone, as a couple or as a family.  Your companion travelers are always welcome to join the group whether plan to visit with the doctor or just to participate on the tourist activities. Your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® will organize everything for you in advance - appointments, tours, hotels, transfers, and medical visits to the doctor and the pharmacy and an interpreter, if needed.  Ask about the kinds of tour packages we offer - from sedentary to active. Many of the activities on our tours are outdoors and may include hiking, biking, riding and climbing. At seasonal destinations, skiing is also available. Please advise your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® of your preferences when you call.

Your Medical Tourism Destination Coordinator will always be nearby and accessible from the time you land until the time you are ready to board your return flight home. While in flight, our travel coordinators keep an eye on your journey itinerary to take action if you miss a flight, are delayed or something else happens that may require rebooking or re-accommodation on a different flight and a hotel booking for a long layover.

Every Approved Hotel stay includes free Wi-Fi and strong internet connections. For smaller groups and family tours, we organize luxurious, private chauffeur-driven black sedans to carry you from place to place at your destination.  We also choose properties and tourism suppliers who will make you feel comfortable when you want to fall back on authentic comfort foods, native language TV and culturally aware staff to give you a break from the spectacular sights and sounds of the selected destination of your visit.

Payment for your Procedure and Medical Travel

Your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® also helps with payment arrangements. We would be pleased to verify with your insurance plan to determine in advance if your consultation with the doctor and your prescription costs (and possibly your related travel costs) will be covered by your insurance or employer. If the response is positive, your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® will obtain pre-authorization and pre-certification as may be required by your insurer.  If your insurer will not cover the procedure, Approved Providers and the Approved Pharmacies accept cash, check or credit card at the time of service or purchase.  Some of our US providers also participate in various financing programs - so please ask us what is available if special medical travel financing for your trip and medical procedure expenses would be helpful.

Learn more about how we can help you arrange your next medical tourism journey package.  Just complete the simple form below and one of our Medical Tourism Journey Managers® will follow up with you or your loved ones to get everything arranged in short order.

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