He lightly patted a cold, damp cloth on the left side of my face, just above my eye. I felt cloudy and a slow dull pain began to creep across my face.
“Let me see it,” I demanded.
After some resistance, he let me up to survey the damage. A nice open gash with pieces of bloody flesh stared back at me.
“Put on your shoes and grab your passport. We’re going to the hospital.”
I complied, grabbed a fresh cloth soaked in peroxide to cover the wound and headed to the car.
Ever been to a hospital while abroad?
If not, great and I hope it stays that way. It’s not something I wish on anybody, anywhere. Not because you can’t find quality health care abroad, you can, but being sick or injured is the last thing you want when you’re on your vacation and away from the comforts of home.
But sometimes, no matter how careful you are, accidents happen.
Luckily for me, my injury was minor. Moderate dehydration resulted in my head getting acquainted with the metal door knob. It wasn’t a good meeting. But a few liters of fluids delivered intravenously and a couple of stitches later, I was almost as good as new. The only thing that remains is a tiny scar and the memory of that night. No biggie. As the saying goes, scars are free tattoos with a better story.
Over the following weeks, I experienced several other random illnesses from flu to a crazy stomach bug, allergic reactions to food (still not sure what food) and even a malaria scare. Nothing life threatening, but they could have easily turned from bad to worse.
Three Reasons to Consider Travel Insurance During Your Next Trip
After a few nasty falls hiking in Jamaica and numerous Kickstarter campaigns and news articles of travelers stranded in life threatening situations abroad, I started making travel insurance a regular part of my travel budget. Here’s why…
- Medical emergencies: Many medical insurance providers don’t offer coverage when you’re abroad. And for those that do, there’s usually limitations on the hospitals you can visit and doctors you can see. There may also be caps on the amount of expenses you can accrue; after that it has to come out of pocket. I didn’t need to be medivaced or have emergency surgery, but the over $500 in medical bills I accrued this trip are reimbursable through my travel insurance.
- Lost or stolen baggage/personal items: Between my camera, laptop, and other electronics and personal items, I have a hefty investment on the road with me. Most of the items have warranties and protection plans, but in the event anything is lost or stolen I’m covered.
- Trip interruption or Cancellation: Hurricanes and other inclement weather, political unrest and host of other life disruptions can easily delay or cancel your travel plans. At the moment, I’m closely watching news on the recent ebola outbreak in west Africa to determine if my departure will be sooner than later. If I make a change, my travel insurance helps make less of a dent in my wallet.
I’m definitely not one who anticipates the worst, but having my insurance policy offers a little extra peace of mind, especially on my longer sojourns.
So, which travel insurance is the best?
For my last several trips, I’ve used World Nomads. I like their plans because it covers everything I need:
- Trip Insurance
- Medical Coverage
- Coverage for lost or stolen items
- Car/Driving Coverage
- Extreme Sports – OK I don’t really do super extreme sports, but in the event the urge hits me, I’m covered.
There are tons of options for insuring your travel. I encourage you to do your research, ask questions, be proactive and be honest about your travel plans. Check offers with your current domestic insurance providers, options with your credit card company and take recommendations from friends and family members.
Travel insurance is never really worth the cost until something happens and you need it. Regardless if you opt to buy or not or which provider you choose, be safe and be prepared!
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