Time spent abroad is usually an enriching opportunity, which can offer new experiences and expand your horizons. Proper planning ensures that you can relax during your travels. Be sure to take out the insurance necessary to cover illnesses and accidents. By making these arrangements while still in Switzerland, you can avoid unpleasant surprises.
If you are planning a lengthy stay abroad, you'll make all the necessary preparations. You've certainly already familiarised yourself with your new temporary home. The more you know about customs, rituals and the cultural background, the easier it will be for you to settle in.
Find out about the entry requirements applicable in the countries of destination and transit, if necessary. You can find a list of foreign embassies and consulates in Switzerland as well as further useful information on the website of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (EDA). Depending on your nationality or the country you are entering, you require a valid passport and possibly a visa including confirmation of insurance. If you live in Switzerland as a foreigner, it's best to clarify the entry formalities for other countries with the consular post of your home country.
Don't forget to also take your blood group card with you if you have one. Make a note of your passport, credit card and ticket numbers and keep copies of these documents at home.
Remember to look after yourself. Find out about medical care in your country of destination. Look up the addresses of hospital and doctors' practices near to where you are staying. Make a note of local emergency numbers for an ambulance or the police. In some countries the fire brigade is responsible for the ambulance service.
Ask your travel agent about the current safety situation in your country of destination. You can also find information on the website of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (EDA).
Vaccination and medications
Vaccinations may be an issue when preparing to travel to some destinations. Don't forget to pack any medication you may require and a well equipped travel first-aid kit (PDF, 57KB) as outdated or fake medications are in circulation in some countries. But be careful: special provisions apply in some countries for importing medications containing narcotics such as methadone, antidepressants, etc.
If you are pregnant, suffer from allergies or a chronic illness, we recommend you consult your doctor before you travel. He or she will inform you about any risks and preventive measures.
Take your insurance card with you when you travel and always have it on you. The uniformly designed back of the card is valid as a European health insurance card and is recognised by all EU and EFTA states.
Accident insurance through your employer
If you are employed by the same employer for at least eight hours a week, you are insured against both occupational and non-occupational accidents through them. Should you plan to take an extended unpaid break, you can maintain your insurance cover by taking out extended insurance cover through your employer's accident insurance before you start your break. Inform your employer as quickly as possible if you have an accident abroad so that they can immediately report it to the accident insurance. If you work for fewer than eight hours a week, you need insurance against accidents from your health insurance. It takes just a phone call for accidents to be covered by Helsana.
Please pay any unpaid premiums before you travel. You can then be sure that you can rely on your insurance protection if the worst comes to the worst without any administrative bother.