Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Just Do This For Me

Maybe you've been reading a while. Maybe you've occasionally dropped me a line, or never said anything at all.

Maybe you read my Dik-Dik book. Maybe you know that I think travel is almost entirely safe.

EXCEPT for one thing. The number one cause of traveler's woes in unindustrialized countries is automobile accidents.

I was just reading an account of a lovely performer who is stuck in a hospital in India, gravely ill, and unable to pay for medical evacuation to the States. And I remember how early on in Alison Wright's book, how she was in a Thailand hospital and it was insanely expensive to airlift her back home.

Remember when the truck I was riding on in Ethiopia tipped over and I walked out of it? If I hadn't, a great big helicopter would have eventually taken me to the airport, and a big plane would have taken me to the US or Europe because I have always had medical evacuation insurance.

Forget trip cancellation insurance. That's almost entirely useless. I don't care if you take a phone, lose your passport, wear hot-pants to the Pyramids, or go sleeveless during Ramadan. But I care about this.

And you should too. Don't get on a damn airplane or ship without it. You can even buy an annual policy that only covers med-evac. If you can afford a ticket, you can afford a little bit of caution. This isn't like health or auto insurance in the US, which is a frustrating compulsory racket which forces us to pay repeatedly through the nose. This is actually cheap and useful.

Buy. Medical. Evacuation. Insurance. When you travel outside of the US and Europe. I buy mine here. I don't care where you buy yours so long as you buy it.

You'll never need it.

But if you do, boy, will you need it.

2 comments:

Don said...

This will probably anger you, but here is the bald truth.
People who can travel are very priviledged, even if they choose to go to "shitholes".
Those of us stuck in cubicles or humping for "the man" for decades enjoy the virtual ride, but we (some of us at least) have very little sensitivity for situations where something has gone awry and a traveller's family has asked the public for amounts such as $100,000or more for help because the person didn't plan.
This has happened in Canada at least twice last year. In one case, it was due to a vehicle accident; the second case was due to an attack. At least one of these occured in Thailand. Neither individual had taken out insurance and at least one died because they couldn't get transport.
So, I fully agree with your recommendation. If one gets into trouble "out there", don't expect others who are less fortunate to bail you out.
And as far as asking an emabby for assistance .... Phu!
If you can't pay, don't play!

Kevie said...

Thanks for the hot tip! Will do.