If you have ever traveled abroad and needed some type of emergency assistance, you’ll know it’s a pretty nerve-racking situation.

Hopefully, you’ll never have to use this information, but like they say, it’s best to have and not need, then to need and not have, so read up and know what to do if you find yourself in an emergency situation in a foreign country.

If You’re in a Car Accident…

Just like in the United States, if you’re in a car accident the first thing you should do is make sure everyone involved is okay. Next, call the authorities so you can have an official report and know that your bases are covered. You’ll always want to document everything for insurance purposes, so even if your phone is on airplane mode when traveling, use it to take pictures and video.

Christopher Coble, a lawyer and writer explains on Find Law, “You should check with your policy to see if you are covered if you’re driving your own car in another country like Mexico or Canada. If you rented a car in another country and purchased insurance for the rental, you should contact the rental company and/or the insurance carrier immediately after any accident.”

If it was a fairly serious accident or anything is unclear, like perhaps the other driver doesn’t have insurance, then you should contact a lawyer in the residing country. It’s always a good idea to purchase insurance when traveling abroad and renting a vehicle.

If You Need A Doctor…

The best thing to do is plan ahead. Look up physicians in the areas you’ll be traveling to and have your medical records saved in your phone in case of an emergency. Of course, things happen and plans change. If you are in an emergency situation it’s best to call the local authorities and also the U.S. Embassy—for reference, you can look up the local number here or just dial 00 1 202-501-4444.

If you have travel insurance, you can contact them as well and they’ll be able to assist you with what to do next. Depending on where you are, some health care options are free.

For example, when I was in Italy, there was an earthquake. A window shattered and a piece of glass broke off and went into my friend’s arm. We called for an ambulance, which arrived promptly and took us to the hospital; the doctors stitched his arm up, gave him some meds, and said goodbye. All was said and done in about an hour and we never had to pay a dime. Thank you to the health care in Europe.

If You Become Ill…

Let your family know back home so they can begin looking into what is happening and try to help. Alert the staff of your hotel, hostel, or group. If you are by isolated and by yourself, try to call the local authorities if you have cell service. Do your research beforehand as well.

If Into the Wild teaches anyone anything, it should be to know your surroundings. Christopher McCandless died in a school bus in the Alaskan wilderness from food poisoning and starvation, but he didn’t know that there were three cabins and a ranger station all within a couple miles.

To be safe you can always buy a membership to Medjet, whose statement reads: “MedjetAssist offers the most comprehensive travel protection and medical transport memberships available for your health, safety and security.” They offer memberships for as low as $99 and it’s certainly something to consider.

Be Respectful

Of course, why would you not be? Well, not everything is going to be how you’d imagine. People and places operate a lot differently than the United States so just be cautious and have patience. You don’t want to have a bad attitude with the people who are trying to help you.

Furthermore, things can get tricky and complicated if there is any type of issue. Keep your patience and wits about you in these situations. For instance, if you think you’re ready to leave, but the doctors want you to stay, maybe you’re not as healthy as you think, or maybe they know your insurance will happily pay—whatever the case, don’t jeopardize your health on it and try to handle the matter respectfully. You’re the guest.

Lastly, know things might get tricky. John Gobbels is the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Medjet, and talked to Thrillist in an interview about the problems that emergency services sometimes have: “If you need dedicated medical aircraft to get you home, sometimes the government won’t allow overnight visas for the medical personnel to come in and get you. This happens in China a lot. We’ve had some transfers where they will not allow air ambulance to stay overnight. So we have to get air ambulances to stage outside the country overnight, then fly in and fly back out.” Most of the time, most people will do their best to help you.