Backpacking with a medical condition

May 08, 2019

Backpacking with a medical condition

 Backpacking is an amazing way to see the sights and culture of the world around us. As a parent, when your young adult says they want to go backpacking it can be a worrying time. You want to give them the freedom to see the world but also want them to be as safe as possible while they are away.

With so many young people taking gap years it’s important to make sure they carry an ID, especially if they have a medical condition that could affect them while they are away and make them vulnerable. Should anything happen, an ID bracelet will also help ensure that responders will get in touch with you.

When planning their trip, most young people will think about the things they need to take such as passport, money, guidebook, phone, rucksack and clothes. But a lot don’t think about protecting themselves in case of accident or emergency in a foreign country.

  • If they have a condition or allergy that is not obvious but could be life threatening, what would happen if they were alone and were unresponsive?
  • If they had an epileptic seizure, allergic reaction or their blood sugar dropped dangerously low in a country where English is not the first language … how would local responders know that they have a medical condition?
  • In many countries with poor transportation and communication networks, if there is a flood, mudslide or other inclement weather … are they wearing an ID in case they become separated from their backpack.


Travelling world medical condition


The best ID or medical alert jewellery for backpacking

What do you need to think about when space is limited but you want to protect yourself or your loved one? Ideally your medical alert or ID needs to be lightweight and small, easy to wear (or carry at all times) and easy to read in case of emergency.

You should carry something on your person as well as in your bags, as you are not always with your backpack and both need identification.

You need to think about how hard wearing your medical alert product will be – for instance silicone wristbands are very lightweight and comfortable but they can wear out quickly especially when swimming, doing water sports or activities such as hiking and climbing. If you decide to use a silicone wristband then maybe consider buying a couple of spares to take with you so that if one breaks you have a back-up that you can wear.

A good option could be a friendship cord style bracelet. It’s adjustable and washable (which is important for those occasional dips in the water, and for chucking the whole contents of the rucksack in the wash). examples of these would be our Soul or Fusion bracelets which can be made in a number of colours to suit your taste.

If you have a lot of information to include (or want to include several languages), many of our chain bracelets can be fitted with additional charms to make sure that you have the space you need. Perhaps engrave one language per charm?

If you prefer not to wear a bracelet our Covert dog tag necklace tucks neatly under your shirt and is perfect for those that need space for more information due to multiple conditions or allergies.

For your rucksack or wallet, consider a metal tag or wallet card. They are super hard wearing and will survive rain showers (and any other adventures)! We also sell write on wallet cards which can be handy for keeping in a plastic bag with your passport or wallet.


Which language to use

Do you want to use the local language only? If you are visiting a number of different countries where varying languages are spoken consider whether it’s better to just use English on your medical alert rather than use local languages. Or use a combination of both. But if your travel focuses on one country, it’s always good to carry information in a local language.


What information to include

We always recommend that you include the name and telephone number of a family member back at home in case of an emergency.

Obviously, you will want to include as much information about any medical conditions and allergies. It’s particularly important to include food allergies as it can be difficult to know what ingredients are included in local cuisine from sight alone or menus written in the local language.

Hidden medical conditions are especially important to highlight as they are not instantly noticeable to first responders. If taking regular medication that may be carried in a rucksack it’s recommended you include this as it can help reinforce the reasons for possessing them when crossing border controls and security checks at airports.


Need some advice?

If you or a loved one are about to go traveling and are considering a medical alert product but aren’t sure which one would suit you best, we are more than happy to advise on which item would fit your needs. Just a pop us a message to let us know about your adventure and we will ensure that you are well protected while you are away.

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