Volunteering overseas gives travel a purpose Although traveling to other countries for specialized care was not uncommon before the turn of the century, the early 2000s saw a definite boom in the medical tourism industry. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Medical tourism is not a new phenomena—in fact it goes back to ancient Greece, where people would flock to temples of gods dedicated to the healing arts. In U.S. history, destinations such as hot springs drew thousands, including President Franklin Roosevelt, who found relief from symptoms associated with polio.

But medical tourism in modern times has centered around two concepts: expertise and affordability. Some centers of excellence, such as Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins, draw patients from across the U.S. and other nations, due to their reputation for quality.

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