Sandwich Generation Travel Tips: Illness

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Traveling is fun, but it’s also hard work. It can involve lots of heav-ing and ho-ing of luggage, eyestrain trying to figure out maps in strange places, and a constant sense of disorientation as you try to remember which room you are in.

Traveling as a member of the Sandwich Generation, with an aging parent or young grandchild, can add an extra level of difficulty to the trip. Throw in an unexpected illness and yet another challenge rears its little head. What DO you do if someone gets sick while traveling?

Here’s a few tips I learned the hard way that might be a help to you:

  • Call your medical insurance carrier, if you have one, to see what their requirements are, if any, BEFORE you ever leave home. It’s a lot easier having a plan in place then to have to try to figure things out in a strange area when someone doesn’t feel good.
  • When you check in to each hotel / motel, map out the location of the nearest facility that your insurance allows. When I had Kaiser, they required you to go to Kaiser, if there was one close enough. Otherwise you could go anywhere and just save the receipt. With the Blue Cross I had, I was allowed to go anywhere for a basic checkup, though I did have to get approval for certain procedures. Currently, I just look for the nearest Urgent Care Center. I’ve been very pleased with the ones I’ve been to and there always seems to be at least one within five minutes of any of my locations.
  • Barring an HMO like Kaiser, most people can select from a broad choice of pharmacies. I use Target which has stores almost everywhere I go. That way, I can have my medications transferred to whatever location I am in without much problem. I assumed I would be fine anywhere I went, until a few months ago when I spent a week in a city two hours away from the nearest Target. They did, however, have a Walmart. I’m not going to change now, but if I ever have to change pharmacies, I will definitely be keeping that in mind. With a guestimated 4000+ Walmarts in 2008 (including Sam’s Clubs) and only 1500+ Targets, Walmart is in a lot more locations. Then again, Walgreens has almost 7000 stores! The area I visited had both Walmart and Walgreens giving me two excellent choices. 🙂

Hopefully all your travels will be easy and healthy, but implementing these tips in advance should help make things easier if you do have to deal with illness on the road.

The Wright Stuff
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    • Kaye
    • July 27, 2009

    Hi Matt, Thanks for the info. I haven’t tried that myself so it’s good to hear about it 🙂

    • Matt Johnson
    • July 27, 2009

    Great tips Kaye. We also use Google health so we can quickly access and print our med lists, doctor contact lists, etc.

    • Karen Griffith Gryga
    • July 28, 2009


    This is a great idea for planning ahead for a trip! I have a list of things I take with me when going on a trip (I am one of those anal travelers that needs to bring a fairly robust first aid kits plus all the comfort items for my kids) — adding this to a travel list is a great idea and saves a great deal of time and stress should something happen.

    Great advice!


    • Kaye
    • July 29, 2009

    I’m right there with you on packing BIG TIME and on lists! Really does save stress, for SURE! 🙂 (Until I forget to look at my list, like two trips back. Now I’m doing MUCH better again 🙂 🙂 🙂 )

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