Freelancer workers are on the rise. In the U.S., they comprised 34% of the workforce in 2014, and one study estimated the freelance community will make up 40% of the workforce by 2020. The freedom to work from any location means that more freelancers are choosing to live abroad than ever. Traveling to a new country, adjusting to the customs, and figuring out basic life etiquettes are difficult enough, but navigating health and safety in a foreign company can be even more difficult.
Following a few tips can help you avoid disease or injury or be better prepared for it.
1. Have emergency info on hand.
You should include information of your emergency contact, allergies, country of residence, language spoken, and insurance member information. If you carry the information on a notecard in your wallet, it will be easier to access in case of an emergency.
2. Make copies of all documents—including your insurance information.
Carrying your actual passport, visa, and other identifying documents with you can be dangerous. If you lose them, the process to get them back is a headache. Not having your insurance card when an emergency pops up can be devastating. Keep copies with you and your actual cards in a safe place.
3. Research medical concerns—diseases, common injuries, etc—for your location and ways to avoid them.
Every country is unique in this field. Make sure you’re caught up on recommended vaccines, and do your research! Is it flu season when you’re moving there? Is chikungunya a concern? Do most injuries come from skiers falling down slopes? Know what you’re up against and how to avoid it.
4. Know what to do if you become sick or injured.
Do you know how to say hospital in the native tongue? Does the country primarily rely on walk-in clinics for minor illnesses? Will you have to wait in long lines each morning for medicines? Here’s another area to put your research skills to test. Before you move or travel, have a fairly detailed, written plan on how to handle your health concerns.
5. Pay attention to your health.
Early detection on health issues can result in easy, quick assistance from a clinic or physician whereas ignoring health issues can lead to emergencies. Pay attention to your health so that you can take proactive measures to avoid illness and diseases.
6. Use a traveler’s insurance program like SafetyWing.
SafetyWing is the world's first International Travel Medical Insurance developed to meet the needs of entrepreneurs and remote workers traveling or living abroad worldwide. You will be covered for unexpected illness or injury, including eligible expenses for hospital, doctor or prescription drugs while you are in a country other than your home country.
Travelers around the world benefit from 24/7 support through a policy administered by Tokio Marine, one of the largest insurance companies in the world. It is available in 180 countries around the world, has a low US$250 deductible, and a high maximum limit of US$250,000.
In addition, SafetyWing provides emergency travel-related benefits for emergency medical evacuation, bedside visits, travel delays and lost checked luggage.
The benefits of guarding your health and safety while living or traveling abroad are vast. Being able to enjoy the culture and environment you’re travelling to is paramount, so making sure you’re covered in case of emergency should be a priority.
P.S.: This post is in collaboration with SafetyWing. Get yours here: http://www.safetywing.com/