From a bout of the bends to a ghastly spell of gastro, there's no telling where or when you may require medical aid on your travels.

Unfortunately, there's one thing you can be certain of - it's likely to cost you a bundle, particularly if you don't have travel insurance.

While you might choose to go without, thinking "it won't happen to me", it's clear that this isn't always the case - according to figures from travelinsurance.co.nz, Kiwis lodge 200,000 travel insurance claims each year, with approximately half of them for medical expenses.

"The cost of seeking medical treatment overseas can land you in a world of pain," says Natalie Ball, director of travelinsurance.co.nz.

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"From a $25,000 hospital bill for a broken arm in Japan, to a staggering $800,000 fee for pneumonia treatment in the USA, medical expenses abroad can easily send you into financial ruin."

Figures provided by AAI Global Medical Assistance show how a dream holiday can quickly blow the budget if you end up injured or unwell overseas.

Some of our best loved destinations pose their fair share of costly health hazards - South-East Asia is prone to a high incidence of food-poisoning and road collisions, while medical care in the US is notoriously expensive.

Get bitten by a monkey in Bali and you could be facing a $2000 bill for treatment and rabies vaccination, while a skiing accident in the German Alps could result in a $120,000 helicopter bill.

Overseas medical costs revealed
Infographic by: Travelinsurance.co.nz

Even destinations like Australia, with reciprocal health care benefits can catch you out.

Costs not covered under the scheme such as repatriation, ambulance call outs, medical prescriptions and optical and dental services can all add up, leaving you substantially out of pocket.

Secondary expenses can also add up - such as flight changes and extended stays in accommodation, or the cost of flying a loved-one over for support.

"The stakes are always high when it comes to your health, and never more so when you're in a vulnerable position, thousands of miles from home," Ball says. "The saying; 'If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel' may be tired but it's true."

- nzherald.co.nz