It’s the new year, and you’re all ready to take on the road and visit some amazing new places in your RV. You’ve got your Passport America membership paid up and ready to help you save money, and you’ve gotten the updated version of the Rand McNally Road Atlas. You even have a few destinations in mind, whether your road trip is scheduled for spring, summer, the cool fall, or the cold winter… or all of the above.
You’re about as prepared as can be, right? But what happens if something goes awry on the road and you need to find a doctor, hospital, or even a veterinarian?
One of the best things about the RVing lifestyle is how much freedom and flexibility it gives you, allowing you to explore places you’ve never been before. But if you’ve never been somewhere, figuring out where to go in case of an emergency is a little bit trickier. You’re in unfamiliar territory, so you don’t know your way to the hospital by heart — and your general practitioner is miles away at home, unavailable to treat minor aches, pains, and ailments.
But never fear! With today’s location finder technology and an abundance of health care options available for travelers, you’re never far from the help you need. Here’s what you need to know about finding important services while you’re on the road.
GPS Location Finder
You don’t need to buy a fancy RV GPS to know where you are in the world — although they can be helpful in a myriad of other ways, like routing you on rig-friendly roads and telling you which filling stations carry propane and diesel. Psst: if you’re in the market for an RV GPS, check out our post comparing some of the most popular models!
Obviously, you can set your route with the help of old-fashioned maps and atlases, but they can be a little less helpful when it comes to getting the lay of the land as far as local businesses and services.
Fortunately, most of us already have a high-tech location finder right in our back pocket, thanks to smartphone technology and location finder apps like Google Maps.
If you don’t routinely use your cell phone to navigate when you’re traveling, you might consider opening up the app and giving it a whirl. The interface is very intuitive and user friendly, making it really easy to not only find and track your location, but also to navigate between two destinations. The system displays distance as well as estimated travel time and can be customized to avoid highways, tolls, and much more. You can even set certain important locations, such as your house and workplace, so the geo location finder will know exactly what you mean when you say, “Take me to my home.”
Apps like Google Maps can also operate using coordinates or zip codes, so it’s really simple to navigate no matter what your preference might be. And even more importantly, they’re integrated with online search systems, which means they have business and service listings built right into the map — including emergency services like doctors and hospitals.
Current Location Finder
When unwanted surprises strike, it’s a comfort to have the information you need to find an eye doctor, dentist, or 24 hour emergency veterinarian at a moment’s notice. All you have to do is open up your map app and search for the type of service you need, and it will automatically populate the map with options near you.
Of course, you also want to ensure you’re getting the best treatment possible, and if you’re new to the area, you likely don’t have a whole lot of local recommendations to make a decision off of. If you’re a full-timer or a long-term camper and you’re going to be somewhere for a significant period of time, it can be worthwhile to research ahead of time and find out which hospitals and emergency care providers are best rated. There can be a big difference in comfort (and cost!) depending on which hospital you go to.
Many map apps, like Google maps, have a review and rating system built in, and you can see others’ customer ratings right on the listing. However, you can also run a Google search from your desktop or laptop computer for “[service] near me,” and view the reviews ahead of time that way.
How to Find a Doctor While Traveling
Of course, health care can be very expensive, and if at all possible you want to ensure you can find a provider whose services won’t leave you bankrupt. Many insurance plans don’t necessarily cover travelers across state lines or under the care of an out-of-network doctor, so it’s always critical to review your plan’s terms before you take to the road. The same goes for pet insurance, by the way — if you’re traveling with your furbabies, take a look at their plan’s terms as well. Emergency veterinary services can be incredibly expensive!
Whether you’re going to be on the road for a weekend or several months, travel insurance can be a great option to secure the coverage you need while you’re away from home. There are many travel insurance plans that are affordable and inclusive, and which will allow you to find covered doctors no matter where you are by using the zip code. Most of these plans also have a doctor finder website and mobile apps to help you find a doctor on the fly, which can be the best way to get the service you need as quickly as possible.
Locate a Hospital
Of course, staying cautious and alert on the road can help head off any serious calamities before they necessitate seeking out medical help in the first place — but you can’t predict everything, and sometimes, accidents do happen. However, you should never leave home without some basic emergency gear on board, like a first aid kit, a basic toolkit, and a set of road flares.
Happy camping, and stay safe out there!
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