There is so much energy, money, and planning that goes into a vacation, especially if it's a family vacation, that it's worth taking some time to think about the 'what ifs.'  No doubt we all want our vacation memories to be positive.  So think about adding these seven tips (below) to improve your chances of having a hassle-free experience.   

1.  Never Leave Home Without It.  No….not THAT card.  Make sure you have your insurance ID card and emergency contact information with you.  Then again, it couldn't hurt to have the other card with you, too!

2.  Read the Fine Print. Review your current benefit plan to see what your options are if you need medical care when you're away from home. Your destination, whether here in the States or international (Olympics anyone?) and how long you're staying may impact your coverage.  Call your insurace company (as frustrating as that may be) to discuss your options.  Make sure you understand what is expected of you before you hang up. 

 3. Follow Your Routine.  Schedule a routine visit before, rather than after, your trip and get any recommended vaccinations. If you need regular blood tests to monitor drug levels, or get allergy shots, or receive ongoing therapy, find out how to access these services when you're away. 

4.  Get Set for Emergencies. Your insurance plan may not fully reimburse you for services you receive from out-of-network providers, even if it's an emergency.  Be extra prepared and know the name and location of in-network hospitals and emergency care facilities at your destination. 

5.  Consider Short Term Insurance.  A supplemental health benefits plan as well as medical evacuation insurance can be a real benefit. If you're planning exotic activities in exotic locations—like scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef–look into coverage specific to your needs.   

6.  Make Sure You Take Your Medications.  Pack your prescriptions in your carry-on bag in the original packaging. Don't risk not having them if your luggage is lost.  (Sadly I have personal experience with this one.)  And find out what your options are if you should need a refill while you're away.  (But better to just make sure you have enough.)  

7.  Take care of the kids. Your children are more likely to get sick than you.  Their immune system is still developing and they may not wash their hands as often as you. Make sure that their coverage under policy is up-to-date, and take their health information (immunizations, allergies, and current medications) along with you….that way, you can guarantee you won't need them!