Why Use a Health Travel Planner?

Convenience. Some health travelers like to take it all on themselves, searching the web and other sources to check destination opportunities, hospitals’ accreditation, physicians’ credentials, and patients’ references; and to research and arrange air travel, hotel accommodations, airport pickups and drop-offs, sightseeing, and more. But if you’re like many working people today, you’re too busy to make such arrangements solo, particularly if you’re not accustomed to sorting through the complexities of international travel. Planners help with all that and more, leaving you additional time to make the important decisions and to care for yourself pre-treatment.

Experience. While health travel agents are not generally licensed physicians, most have long-standing affiliations with in-country treatment centers and practitioners. They cannot and should nor provide you advice on your particular treatment, and many will not recommend one particular physician or surgeon over another. However, all of the agents mentioned in the Health Travel Planner section of this website maintain a dossier of their preferred hospitals, clinics, physicians, and surgeons, and should be able to readily provide you with a list of healthcare providers to match your requirements.

Savings. Most health travel planners have worked hard to negotiate better-than-retail rates with hospitals, clinics, physicians, hotels, and sometimes airlines. They can save you additional money on local transportation by providing airport pickup and drop-off, as well as transport to and from your clinic. Some agents are also hooked into tour companies, so they can provide discounts on in-country vacations and sightseeing as well.

Collaboration. Whether in the planning stages or in-country, the health traveler is more often than not a "stranger in a strange land." Unless you’re unusually adventurous or have a MD degree yourself, it’s good to have a planner to help you work through the complexities of your treatment options and to act as an intermediary between you and your local doctor, your in-country practitioner(s), and all the third parties involved in your trip. Sometimes it’s just good to have a shoulder to cry on, or a caring but dispassionate third party who has “been there and done that” and can reassure you that all will turn out well.

A good health travel agent works in collaboration with you, your companion, and your family, incorporating your treatment needs, budget, and lifestyle preferences into one package designed to result in the most healthy, comfortable experience possible.

Note: Medical travel facilitators are largely unregulated, with no meaningful certification or government oversight. Patients should carefully vet any third-party health travel planner before engaging services.

—Excerpted from Patients Beyond Borders World Edition

Last updated on 16 December 2013