Tips for Handling Health Care on the Road

If you are to plan to be an RV fulltimer, a snowbird, or frequent traveler, you need to figure out a way to handle health care on the road

Many people wonder how to handle medical needs while traveling via RV. The truth of the matter is the answer to this depends on how often you travel as well as your current health situation. 

For instance, if you travel full-time in your RV you will need to do a lot more to prepare for medical care on the road than you would if you were only planning to travel for a week or two. Meanwhile, those traveling for several months will need to make more preparations than the casual vacationer but may make some different decisions than the full-time RVer. 

No matter what your situation is I have some advice for you. Below are seven tips for being medically prepared on an RV trip.

Sedona, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 1: Use a centralized provider that has all your health records

The advantage of using a national hospital system like Mayo or affiliation of local hospitals is having your records centralized making your health care more accessible and accurate. Mayo is routinely rated one of the world’s best diagnostic and research centers.

There are three Mayo Clinics—Rochester, Minnesota, Phoenix, Arizona, and Jacksonville, Florida.

All medical tests, prescriptions, physical exams, and treatment plans can be coordinated through their system.

Daytona Beach, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 2: Embrace electronic medical records

Pretty much every hospital and the vast majority of doctors now use electronic medical records. Get familiar with the online patient portals so you can schedule appointments, do telemedicine consultations, and quickly access your health care records which you can then share with health professionals as you travel.

Having all those records instantly available saves time. It allows other health care professionals who you may be seeing to quickly determine baselines for your health and be much more confident in how they treat you.

Your records mean you are not a stranger. 

You can access them via computer, smartphone, or tablet from anywhere. 

Twin Falls, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 3: Just in case, carry a hard copy

Patient portals are wonderful. But sometimes, it’s just easier to look at a sheet of paper. So print out and carry with you your latest medical tests.

In case you need to quickly answer a question about previous tests or diagnoses while you’re making an appointment or talking to a health professional on the phone, it’s simply easier and more efficient to look at a print out then boot up a computer or fumble around to open an app on the smartphone.

Avery Island, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 4: Use a national pharmacy chain for prescriptions

Get your prescriptions with national pharmacy chain like CVS, Walgreens, or Walmart. That way you can pick up refills from outlets of those chain pharmacies in pretty much whatever state or city you visit.

This doesn’t go for controlled substance prescriptions from one state being refilled in another. 

And there are way too many complications and red tape issues involved in having Canadians getting a prescription written by a Canadian doctor refilled in the U.S. (and vice versa).

But in general, having your regular, non-controlled substance prescriptions filled at a national chain will usually get you a refill on the road.

Midway, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 5: Buy your meds in bulk

Get your prescriptions in 90-day quantities. That way you won’t run out of an important medicine while traveling. 

Getting your drugs in 90-day refills means you’re buying your meds in bulk—just like when you buy stapes at Costco or Sams Club instead of at your local grocery store. It saves you money.

We’re talking regular medications you are pretty much on all the time, taken consistently at the same dose that typically treat chronic conditions.

The big reason to get them written for 90-day refills is that instead of having to get refills 12 times a year with the standard 30-day supply, you only have to deal with getting a refill four times a year.

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 6: Drink lots of water

Drink water all day long. You know this. But you need to be reminded. 

Long hours driving and sitting in an RV can really dehydrate you. But there are many other reasons.

Water flushes toxins out of your system. It helps prevent the buildup of minerals that can cause kidney stones. Water increases energy and relieves fatigue. It maintains regularity. It promotes weight loss. Since your brain is mostly water, drinking it helps you think, focus, and concentrate better and be more alert. It improves your skin complexion.

If you tend to get leg cramps, you may not be drinking enough water.

I could go on. But I won’t, sip water all day long.

Francis Beider Forest, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 7: Take more time to relax

Practice downtime, and chill out regularly, every day for as long as you can. You will feel your soul drench this up. Find a quiet place, a favorite place like the mountains or a beach, or a forest. And just sit and look. Listen to nature. Clear your mind. Appreciate God’s creation. Breathe deeply. 

A good way to do this is to practice the 330 Rule: Don’t drive more than 330 miles a day or stop by 3:30 p.m. local time. That way you’ll get off the road, set up camp, and have time to explore the lay of the land. Or relax and soak up the the scenery.

You are RVing because you want to decompress, right? So do it. Don’t overdrive and chill out.

Peace. That’s just one of the things I’ve learned along the way. Here are some other things that I’ll pass along for you to remember:

  • Emergencies can and will happen but they can be handled
  • Take things a step at a time, count setbacks as part of the serendipitous nature of life
  • Stuff happens; you deal with it
  • Help is never that far away
  • Life is an adventure
  • There’s something to be learned and appreciated from every experience
  • Worrying about what might happen is a useless waste of time

Worth Pondering…

As long as you live, keep learning how to live.

—Seneca, Roman Stoic philosopher (4 BC-AD 65)