Medical tourism: tips for planning a vacation for health-related reasons
By Aimee Heckel
You might not expect the words “medical” and “vacation” to fit in the same sentence together.
But the idea of “medical travel” is growing in popularity. You’ve heard of traveling to see different sites and do different things — so why not travel to get access to different health care offerings?
The Medical Tourism Association is a nonprofit designed to raise the awareness of international health care options. It offers health and wellness destination guides, such as a specific Las Vegas health and wellness guide.
Here, you can find a list of medical procedures you can get done in Vegas and “recovery centers,” such as the Coronado Surgical Recovery Suites — which look much different than a regular hospital room. “Recover like a rock star,” the website says.
Not exactly the side of Vegas the city’s best known for.
When traveling for medical reasons, the Medical Tourism Association provides some specific tips that are a bit different from traveling for leisure reasons.
Among the tips:
- Don’t travel alone. A companion can provide physical and emotional support.
- Consider buying first class or business class tickets to keep comfortable after surgery.
- Travel light. You don’t want to lug around a heavy suitcase after having a medical treatment.
- Plan in extra time for resting, so you can recover.
- Keep medical records in your carry-on or purse.
- When booking a hotel after a medical procedure, make sure it has the amenities that you need. Look for hotels with comfortable beds, handicap accessible bathrooms and lodging near the hospital. Make sure you tell the front desk about your treatment and needs. If you have had a knee replacement, for example, you want easy elevator access and minimal walking.
- Also consider any specific post-surgery dietary needs. Does the hotel offer that, or is there a restaurant nearby?
Traveling for medical reasons may also leave you on a tighter budget than a leisure vacation, depending on your insurance deductible. If you want to save money on your flights and hotel rates, and also avoid the crowds, consider traveling in the off-season (for Vegas, that would be mid-June to mid-September).
Another way to save big on your medical travel experience is to take advantage of travel coupons online. Find air travel coupons here, and make sure you match them with Cash Back from ShopAtHome.com for the biggest savings.
Some great deals to consider right now:
- Priceline.com is offering 50 percent off last-minute deals, plus 8 percent Cash Back, up from 6 percent.
- Expedia has up to 50 percent off some deals, plus up to 7.5 percent Cash Back.
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