When it comes to traveling, a lot of people think they have all the answers. Don’t fly this airline. This place is dangerous. Skip Eastern Europe in the winter. Never stay at a hostel. With all the information that’s out there today, it can be really easy to find answers, but it can be just as easy to become misinformed. Remember, everyone travels differently, and what might be a great experience for one person, can be a not-so-great experience for someone else.
But, one thing no one wants to experience while they travel is an accident. And, not just because an accident would put a huge damper on your journey, but because it could be very, very expensive, and risky.
One thing you might have heard from travelers is, “If you can’t afford health insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” I’ve heard this many times, and I wasn’t quite so sure how I felt about it. But, after doing some reflecting, I realized, they’re right. But, there are a few exceptions, so it’s important to understand what they really mean.
Different Forms of ‘Insurance’
When I was living abroad and traveling, I was still under my mother’s health insurance from back in the U.S. Of course, not everyone has this, but I did, and this meant I didn’t necessarily need to buy travel insurance abroad. Why? Because mine covered me for emergency room visits; and, realistically, if something did happen to me while traveling, it would be for an emergency room visit. I mean, even if I had a terrible cold, I could have theoretically gone to the E.R. wherever I was. Now, this isn’t the case with everyone’s insurance, and if it is the case, it’s important to clarify with the insurance company what qualifies as an emergency room visit.
Insurance Through Your Credit Card
Another way you can get travel insurance is through your credit card. Sometimes, if you book travel with a specific credit card, for instance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can get coverage during your trip. Coverage can be anything from needing to cancel your flight to do travel safety warnings, to rental car insurance, to emergency health assistance. Again, it’s important to call the company and ask what’s covered and what’s not, but this is definitely another option.
When Medical Care is Affordable
In some countries, you may not even need insurance, since healthcare is completely free or extremely affordable — so much so, that it’s even cheaper than taking out an insurance policy. Of course, you have to consider where you’re going and if the healthcare is good. For example, healthcare is very affordable in countries like Cambodia, but if you have an extremely urgent problem, you may have to be taken to another country like Thailand. That can cost a lot in itself. So, just make sure you’re prepared!
Separate Travel Insurance
There are many travel insurance companies out there that offer plans for your trip, and most of them are very affordable. Companies like AAA or World Nomads can give excellent rates for people who are going on a tour or travelers who plan on spending a lot of time abroad. If you don’t have any other options, this is where you want to start. And, if you don’t have other options, it’s highly recommended you look into it.
Insurance Through Your Tour Company
Last but not least, you may not have to even look into these other options because when you go on a tour, the company can organize your travel insurance for you. This is another great benefit of traveling on a tour, as it’s one less thing (and major thing) you have to worry about. Just make sure to ask the company what the options are before going, and never assume that insurance is included in the cost without asking.
When people say, “If you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford to travel” they are looking out for you. Do yourself a favor, and before you go on any trip, make sure you know how you can be helped and what the costs would be if you were to have an emergency — because anything can happen to anyone at any place, at any time. Check out the insurance tab on Tour Amigo, for the best travel insurance deals.
Hana LaRock is originally from New York, though has called other places around the world her home for the last two years. She currently lives in Mexico and freelance travel writer. When she’s not working, she enjoys writing, reading, spending time with her dog, and of course, traveling. You can find her at www.hanalarockwriting.com.