Medical Insurance: You may want to buy travel medical insurance, particularly if you're traveling to a remote or high-risk area where emergency evacuation might be necessary. If you require additional medical insurance, try Travel Assistance International.
Travel Insurance -- The cost of travel insurance varies widely, depending on the destination, the cost and length of your trip, your age and health, and the type of trip you're taking. You can get estimates from various providers through InsureMyTrip. Enter your trip cost and dates, your age, and other information, for prices from more than a dozen companies.
Spain should not pose any major health hazards. The rich cuisine -- garlic, olive oil, and wine -- may give some travelers mild diarrhea, so take along antidiarrhea medicine, moderate your eating habits, and even though the water is generally safe, drink bottled or mineral water. (Do not drink the water in mountain streams, regardless of how clear and pure it looks.) Fish and shellfish from the horrendously polluted Mediterranean should only be eaten if cooked.
If you are traveling around Spain (particularly southern Spain) over the summer, limit your exposure to the sun, especially during the first few days of your trip and, thereafter, from 11am to 2pm. Use a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF) and apply it liberally. Remember that children need more protection than adults do.
General Availability of Health Care -- Spanish medical facilities are among the best in the world. If a medical emergency arises, your hotel staff can usually put you in touch with a reliable doctor. If not, contact the American embassy or a consulate; each one maintains a list of English-speaking doctors. Medical and hospital services aren't free, so be sure that you have appropriate insurance coverage before you travel.
Contact the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) for tips on travel and health concerns in the countries you're visiting, and for lists of local, English-speaking doctors. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides up-to-date information on health hazards by region or country and offers tips on food safety. You can find listings of reliable medical clinics overseas at the International Society of Travel Medicine.
What to Do If You Get Sick Away from Home -- For travel abroad, you may have to pay all medical costs upfront and be reimbursed later. Medicare and Medicaid do not provide coverage for medical costs outside the U.S. Before leaving home, find out what medical services your health insurance covers. To protect yourself, consider buying medical travel insurance.
Very few health insurance plans pay for medical evacuation back to the U.S. A number of companies offer medical evacuation services anywhere in the world. If you're ever hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, MedjetAssist will pick you up and fly you to the hospital of your choice virtually anywhere in the world in a medically equipped and staffed aircraft 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can purchase an annual or short-term membership.
If you suffer from a chronic illness, consult your doctor before your departure. Pack prescription medications in your carry-on luggage, and carry them in their original containers, with pharmacy labels -- otherwise they won't make it through airport security. Carry the generic name of prescription medicines, in case a local pharmacist is unfamiliar with the brand name.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.