Guest Posts

Urgent Care Vs. E.R. When Traveling

Hello! Today I’m happy to announce a guest post by Troy Diffenderfer with some great medical advice for travelers. Enjoy!

zhen-hu-340739While it’s always important to get the most out of your travels, it’s also important to think about any issues that might arise while you’re enjoying what the world has to offer. Although I don’t want to be a Debbie downer, someone has to remind travelers about the importance of safety while traveling. Did you know that according to a recent survey, one out of every five people get sick or injured while traveling? Dealing with an injury in a new area can be pretty scary, and more importantly, expensive. With insurance costs, medications, ambulance rides, and a variety of other charges, a trip to the hospital can turn your travel dream into a nightmare. However, many travelers are forgetting about the option of urgent care. This oftentimes cheaper and faster option is available almost anywhere, so it’s important to take this into consideration as well. Below are just a few of the main differences between a trip to the E.R. and a trip to urgent care.

Urgent Care Vs. E.R.

Wait Time

We’ve all heard horror stories of people waiting in the ER with a room full of other sick and injured patients, and if you find yourself in unfamiliar territory, this can become even more overwhelming. Emergency rooms operate by treating patients with the most serious and demanding conditions first, leaving those with less severe problems to wait. 12.5% of emergency room patients are typically served within one hour or less, while urgent care clinics usually treat 88.6% of their patients within an hour. If this is the case, you’ll want to assess your injuries to determine whether or not your injury or ailment can be taken care of at an urgent care clinic. However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so if you don’t feel like an urgent care will suffice, make sure to get to a hospital as soon as you can.


Another reason that you might choose and urgent care clinic over the traditional E.R. is because of the financial burden that an E.R. trip can create. Urgent care centers are typically around seven times cheaper (averaging a cost of $200) than a visit to the emergency room (averaging a cost of $1,400). At an ER, you may also have multiple charges, higher co-pays, and you may be left to pay the medical bills yourself if your insurance company determines that the event that brought you to the emergency room was a non-medical emergency. However, many urgent care clinics will ask for payment up front, especially if you do not have insurance coverage. If this is the case, you’ll want to make sure that you have the proper financial equity to ensure that you’re getting the proper care at an urgent care clinic. At an E.R. you will be billed after, and hopefully your insurance will cover a good portion of your care.


One of the biggest mistakes that those of you traveling abroad will make will be choosing the wrong course of action based on your treatment. In one case, you might have rolled your ankle, and instead of being in and out of an urgent care clinic in under an hour, you chose to spend the whole day in the waiting room of an E.R. One the other hand, you might have seriously hurt yourself, but to save time, you decided to head to an urgent care. However, since urgent care only takes care of minor injuries, they forwarded you along to an E.R. anyways. While it can be tough to determine the extent of injuries, try to use your best judgment when it comes to your health.

Troy Diffenderfer has been writing about the healthcare field for many years now. He’s previously published content for sites like and In his free time, he enjoys reading true-crime novels and all things scary and spooky!


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