Looking After Your Health as a Digital Nomad
In the excitement of planning to work and live abroad, it is easy to forget about your health and wellbeing. This is particularly true if you are young and don’t get sick often. However, popular destinations for digital nomads with lower costs of living may also have less developed health care systems. I’ve teamed up with Allianz Care to bring you some practical steps you can take to protect yourself from illness abroad.
Preparing to travel
Schedule a thorough medical check-up six months before you leave your home country to ensure there are no underlying issues you are not aware of. Your doctor may check your:
- Blood pressure
- Blood profile
- Respiratory system
This is also a good time to discuss vaccinations and any medication you may be taking. Your doctor should be able to advise you on both.
If you take regular medication, speak to your doctor about its availability in your destination country. If you will not be able to get the medication you take at home; consider bringing a supply or ask your doctor about an alternative that may work for you.
What vaccinations do I need as a digital nomad?
If you are travelling to one of the more popular digital nomad destinations, you may need a booster or additional vaccinations to stay healthy and well. The vaccinations you need will depend on the country you are travelling to.
Travel vaccinations protect you from tropical diseases that may be present in your destination. The most important thing to remember is vaccinations need time to take effect. It is important to know what vaccinations you need well in advance. Some require 90 days or more to work so do your research early.
Popular diseases to vaccinate against include:
- Yellow fever
You may also need to take anti-malaria medication while you are abroad.
Don’t forget to look after your teeth. The last thing you need is a nasty toothache in your first few months living as a digital nomad. Have any dental work you need completed before you go. It is also worth researching dentists in your destination country.
International Health Insurance plans
It is important to know standard travel insurance may not be adequate to cover living and working abroad. In order to have health cover while you work remotely you need to take out expat health insurance. Research medical insurance plans carefully as cover can vary.
When you get there
When you arrive in your destination here are some steps you can take to protect your health.
Tap water in many tropical countries is not safe to drink. Buy bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth. When you are eating out avoid ice in drinks and foods that may have been prepared or washed in tap water like salads or uncooked vegetables.
Eating safe food when travelling
One of the best things about living and working abroad are the culinary delights that await you. There is a lot of great food to be enjoyed but be careful. If hygiene standards are not what you are used to, you run the risk of becoming ill. Take the following precautions to stay well:
- Ensure food is freshly cooked
- Avoid unpasteurised dairy products
- Peel or wash fruit before you eat it
- Avoid undercooked or raw meat and seafood
Find a doctor
As a digital nomad, finding a doctor before you need one is worthwhile. That way if you do become ill, you know where you can get help straight away. Check the fine print to see if your medical insurance covers some or all of the cost of visiting a doctor while abroad.
It is also important to familiarise yourself with your local hospital and emergency department. Have an emergency plan, know the phone number to avail of local emergency services and research options for getting to an emergency room in the event that ambulance or other emergency services are not available in your destination.
The importance of international health insurance as a digital nomad
Many popular digital nomad destinations do not have the healthcare infrastructure you may be used to at home. That’s why its important to plan for the unexpected and ensure you have an international health insurance policy, so you can access the best healthcare available, no matter where you are in the world.
Allianz Care offers modular international health insurance plans so you can choose the combination of cover that best suits you and your needs. The flexible nature of these plans allow you tailor them to your specific needs, making the right combination of cover financially accessible.
As a digital nomad, it can be tempting to try to keep costs down by opting to rely on local healthcare when you are abroad. However, should you fall ill, you may find that the local healthcare options do not meet your needs.
Before venturing to another country, it is important to weigh your options and ensure that you have a health insurance plan you can rely on. Having the correct cover in place, will provide peace of mind as you settle into your new home.