People often hear stories of travel incidents but they don’t think it’ll happen to them. Two of the biggest problems for travelers are stolen, damaged or lost passports, and medical emergencies.
Many travelers think their country’s healthcare will cover their medical needs while traveling. In fact, the coverage is limited and travelers could be left with a hefty bill if they don’t have traveler’s insurance.
For example, Canadian travelers think their provincial healthcare, such as the OHIP in Ontario, according to the OHIP website, Ontario travelers will be covered up to CA$50 a day for outpatient services and up to CA$400 a day for hospital services– this includes operations or intensive care.
When the Embassy can and cannot help
Depending on the situation, the traveler’s government might not be able to help. Travelers often think that if they’re ever in trouble in Costa Rica they can get them out of trouble immediately by contacting their country’s embassy, but that is unfortunately not always the case.
It’s much better to be prepared than to be surprised.
Embassy officials can help travelers with:
- Legal resources (including information for local police)
- Replace a lost, stolen or expired passport
- Lists of medical centers nearby, and hospitals in the area
- Contact family or friends on your behalf (with permission)
- Help in case of a death abroad
- Advocate on the behalf of travelers with the host government
However, in most cases, embassies cannot offer legal advice, provide lawyers, cover health expenses, perform investigations into crimes or get travelers out of jail.
It’s important for travelers to educate themselves about the local laws and customs before their trip.
For all travelers who do find themselves in trouble, they should contact their embassy’s emergency contact. Other travel tips include checking travel advisories.