The choice of medical tourism destinations is extremely wide – so where do you start and how do you make your final choice?
With so many different countries now taking part in the medical tourism market, it can be difficult to decide on the best medical tourism destination for you. In many ways, it is just like choosing a holiday, with some people preferring a quiet, laid back beach resort, while others prefer the excitement and culture of a city break. On the other hand, a medical tourism trip is much more than just a holiday, and this will inevitably change the way that you assess a potential destination. Here are some things to think about when choosing your medical tourism destination. You need to find a balance between all of these elements when making your choice.
How far is it?
Travelling distance is a major consideration when it comes to medical tourism. You need to think about how long the flight will be, either suffering from your condition before your treatment, or while still recovering post op. For example, India offers some of the lowest treatment prices in the world, but it is eight hours flying time from Heathrow.
How expensive is it to get to?
As a rule, the further you have to travel, the more it will cost. However, the availability of budget flights can significantly alter the costs, making parts of Eastern Europe cheaper to get to than some Central European destinations. Unfortunately, some of the biggest savings on treatments involve some of the longest and most expensive flights.
How expensive is it to stay?
The local cost of living will also affect the overall cost of your trip. Chances are you will need a few nights in a hotel either side of your treatment, and your partner or companion will need to stay for even longer, so you need to check local hotel costs and restaurant prices carefully.
What is the standard of the healthcare facilities?
Some countries are able to offer much lower prices because their healthcare facilities are not quite up to the same standard as you would expect to get at home (although they are still perfectly safe and functional). Others can charge much more because their facilities are truly world-class.
What are the tourist facilities like?
One of the biggest advantages of medical tourism is having the opportunity to take in a foreign city or country as part of your trip. So it makes sense to choose a destination that offers attractions and facilities that are of interest to you, as well as a pace of life that you will feel comfortable with.
How unfamiliar will it feel?
Some people do not enjoy destinations that are radically different from life at home, while others relish experiencing a new country and a new way of life. If you prefer the familiar, then you may be better choosing a European destination, whereas if you are more adventurous, then there is a whole world of options to be explored.
That said, if you feel that language may be a problem, you may find many more English speaking clinics in countries like India and the Philippines than you can in some European destinations.
Putting your medical treatment first
While all of the above points, and many more, should be carefully considered when choosing a healthcare destination abroad, none of them is more important than finding the right treatment. You should never compromise on your care just to see a certain country, or commit to travelling further than is safe or comfortable. You can always visit that country another time, after having your treatment in a more appropriate place.