You have your bag packed, your tickets booked, your hotels have been confirmed, and you are so pumped for that trek to Chichen Itza you have planned on day 3. By all outside appearances, you are totally prepared and ready for the trip of your life. One thing is missing though...traveler’s insurance. Yeah, yeah, you should totally have it, but you’re healthy, and NEVER get sick, like ever. I’m about to lay down some real talk about a seriously unsexy travel topic…traveler’s insurance. And yes, I can hear your groans through my screen guys, but try to keep it down and hear me out.
I was like you once, completely turned off by the thought of traveler’s insurance, and was convinced it was a complete waste of money. I’m a (relatively) healthy person, and didn’t plan on doing anything too crazy on my trip to Thailand. However, I opted for a $40 plan through Seven Corners, grabbed my passport, and hailed a taxi to the airport.
I followed all of the rules any well-travelled woman would follow on this sort of trip. I made sure to avoid the delicious looking street cart mango on ice that tantalized me in the midday humidity. I avoided undercooked meat, opting for noodle and rice dishes my entire way through Bangkok. I even made sure to drink plenty of water, knowing just how much I was sweating and how much water my body was losing. I made it through my first week in Bangkok, and 3 days in Koh Lanta without a hitch, and suspected everything was great, other than that my trip was coming to a close.
On my third night on the island of Koh Lanta, I noticed my lower back was sore. Nothing remarkable, just a little sore. I laid on my back uncomfortably on the beach I told myself, and that was certainly the issue. When I made it back to my beach hut after dinner, I knew something was wrong. My pain level spiked, making me unable to stand. That’s when it happened, I passed out. Unable to stand on my own, and floating in and out of consciousness, I was hauled to the island doctor, who after seeing my condition worsen before him, sent me by ambulance to the nearest westernized hospital…3 hours away.
I was treated in Trang, a larger city in southern Thailand, and was released from the hospital 3 days later. I received wonderful care, and am still in contact with one of the nurses who treated me. However, I learned how important traveler’s insurance is in this instance.
If I did not have insurance, I would have had to pay for all of my care out of pocket, before I would be allowed to leave the hospital. This was only about a $2,000 hospital bill, from ambulance ride to last meal, but what if I didn’t have that money? What would I have done? Would I still be there, mopping floors to pay off my debt? Who knows!
This is why traveler’s insurance is so crucial. Sure, it’s a gamble to buy it, but only a $50 gamble, which I am willing to make. But that’s how insurance works, right? You never need it until you do.
Yes, I am drinking more water these days, and have been stone free since.