Travel Tales That Will Make You Squirm

When you’re preparing for a holiday you usually prepare a list of essentials that you would hate to forget. Sun glasses, flip flops, sunscreen, hat, camera, phone charger, travel pillow but not enough people have travel insurance on their list. Now I don’t want to preach about the boring side of being practical, you’ve probably heard it before, so today I’m going to entertain you/scare you with a few tales from typical holiday makers that we’ve spoken to and stories we’ve read online to see if we can’t scare some sense into you.

Anton – Sydney and BBQs

Anton is a kiwi who I used to work with in Auckland. He loved to travel and lived for his twice annual vacations that he usually spent in beach side locations to create maximum friend envy on Facebook. This year he and a bunch of friends had hired a yacht for a week in the Whitsundays in Australia to explore the islands. One of those fully catered epic trips with a skipper, food and alcohol. They would pull into beaches and coves to explore untouched locations and party alongside other boats. Now this part of the trip went off without a hitch. Next he went down to Sydney to visit some friends in Bondi, where a lot of Kiwis live. They were having a BBQ in the backyard of his friends place and playing some cricket, a typical day, when Anton’s friend let the bat slip playing a shot. The bat flew into his face, cut his lip really badly and cracked a tooth. No travel insurance and an emergency dental procedure in Sydney cost Anton $2400 along with a sore mouth for the rest of his holiday. This wasn’t a trip to Guatemala, the Congo or Iceland, just a few beers with friends in Sydney.

Maria – Thailand + Motorbikes

Maria is a Melbourne based mother of two that went on a two week holiday with her husband to Phuket in Thailand in 2015. She ditched the kids with her sister and jetted off to full catered resort deal in Phuket for two weeks of well-deserved rest and recreation. Massages, pedicures and tasty food were all she had planned. After a week of sunning and eating, Maria and her husband grew a little restless and decided it would be fun to rent some motorbikes to explore the coastline, pop into some beaches and have some fun. It wasn’t in their plans, but everyone was doing it. The beaches were fantastic, the scenery cool and it was a fun afternoon. On the way home it started to rain a little, but instead of stopping they wanted to get back to the hotel. Coming around a corner at what seemed a respectable speed, Maria’s back tire slipped out and she and her scooter slid into a ditch. The bike was banged up but worst of all, Maria’s leg was stuck under the bike, she had fractured her ankle. Off to hospital. No travel insurance. $1100 in hospital fees and $400 in bike damages, just from a little spill.

Georgia – Mexico and Cuba

Georgia is a friend of a friend who wanted to get to Cuba before the US lifted the trade embargo and the island nation changed for ever. Like many others do, she booked to go through Mexico where she planned to holiday for a week first in the Caribbean sun before flying off to Havana. This story has no unsightly injuries or scary tales, it’s actually something that happens to people every hour of the day all over the world. Missed flights and lost luggage. One part Georgia’s fault and one part the airlines. The nett result was chaos though. Flying from LAX to Cancoon her luggage got lost, after waiting and checking for several days, it just never turned up. Georgia likes to dress nicely, her suitcase had a lot of designer clothes, new sun glasses and shoes. She went shopping in Mexico for replacements, but with no travel insurance nor optional air ticket insurance with the airline, she estimate her loss to be north of $4000 in clothes and shoes. The icing on the cake came when she missed her flight from Cuba to Mexico due to a string of errors, the last of which was a broken bedside alarm clock. Cost of a new flight last minute $450.

Quentin – Mexico and Muggings

Quentin was a 23 year old young Australian that had just graduated from university. He was chomping at the bit to get started on his big South and Central American trip that he had been planning for months. From LA he landing in Mexico city where he would work his way south all the way to Argentina, an epic 6 month journey was about to begin. Day two, walking home from some local site seeing around beautiful Mexico city, Quentin finds himself in a quiet street, he’s turned off the wrong way, but nothing untoward, it’s all part of the fun. A minute later he gets a tap on the shoulder, two young guys, one with a knife are mugging him for his stuff. He does the right thing and doesn’t put up a fight. They take his Cannon slr camera, iPhone4 (new at the time) and wallet with $200 USD in it. Total cost of items $2100. This story is all the more familiar as it’s mine. I was the numb nut who took all that valuable stuff on me around a ‘safe’ part of town. Some basic travel insurance, which I ironically booked online the next day, would’ve covered the losses. I chalk it all up to a learning experience and don’t hold a thing against Mexico. That place is sensational. I also got my wallet stolen when I was traveling around Brazil, but I love that country even more.

It’s more about minimizing your dumb mistakes and travel insurance and little bit of common sense go a long way to helping in these situations.

Why Your Excuses About Travel Insurance are All Wrong

The cost of having a travel insurance policy is often disregarded for other expenses, let’s say, a new backpack or a new pair of flip flops. If you do the same thing, it is because you have reasons that may seem legitimate at first but can leave you in a rut in the end.

Alibi #1 I’m Invincible

You are optimistic and you don’t really buy into the whole Murphy’s Law concept. In your years of travelling you have not encountered any problem, so why bother, right? But can you really predict the future? Predicting next week’s weather is difficult enough. Similarly, it is difficult to anticipate a lost luggage or flight delay, or staying invincible against accidents and diseases when you travel. Travel insurance gives you coverage when unforeseen circumstances happen.

Alibi # 2 My Insurance at Home Will Have My Back

Before you go to the next it-destination thinking your domestic insurance would give you coverage, read the fine print first. In many cases, domestic health insurance and credit card policies do not offer full coverage when you are in another country. A delayed flight could result to wasting your hotel booking and land transport privileges, and there is no chance that you will get reimbursed by your domestic health insurance.

Alibi # 3 I Heard Horror Stories from People Trying to Collect from a Travel Insurance Company

It is true that travel insurance policies are not perfect, and there are some that are downright horrible. However you can easily avoid them by doing a little research and asking fellow travellers, so in case you lose your luggage in a layover flight, you do not spend your entire holiday arguing with your insurance provider for reimbursement.

Alibi #4 I Don’t Need a Travel Insurance Because I’m Not into Extreme Sports

You scoff at those adrenaline junkies you see on television while thinking that they should double up on their insurance. Given that your next trip destination is within the confines of an event hall and not in some exotic jungle, you may still need an insurance policy. Maybe life-and-death situations are out of the question but who can say you will not get mugged on your way back to the hotel after spending a nice evening at a seminar about home security?

Alibi #5 I Can Afford Hospital Bills Abroad

While it is true that there are hospitals in developing countries that have lower costs for providing medical attention, it is still not safe to rely on your own funds—unless you are a pro who knows the costs for every medical condition in all the hospitals in your travel destination, and you can include hospital stays, doctor’s consultation fees, and laboratory processes. Hospital bills can be relatively cheaper in another land besides your own, but it is not as cheap as having a witch doctor heal you with jungle leaves mixed with saliva.

Alibi #6 But I Have to Pay for the Plane Ticket and Hotel

Of course you need to pay for your flight and hotel accommodation first. But it is not advisable to hold off paying for the travel insurance until the last minute. One benefit of having a travel insurance policy is you are covered even before your flight date. With a decent travel insurance, you can cancel your trip for a good reason and get a reimbursement for all your bookings.

Having the good old travel insurance as part of your travel cost provides you with a peace of mind that you get coverage in case of unforeseen circumstances. You may not find a use for your insurance all the time, but there will come a time that you’ll need it.