I’m sure many of you reading my travel posts are thinking “Wow, her trips look so amazing and problem free!” For the most part they have been, but I would be lying if I said I have never had any problems while traveling. I have traveled and booked enough trips over the past 12 years to have mastered the art of protecting myself with good coverage.
When planning a vacation, the last thing on your mind is someone getting sick or hurt, or a mechanical issue with the plane. All of these things have happened to me either right before leaving for a vacation or during. My biggest advice to all is to ALWAYS be a forward thinker, not a pessimist, be prepared to deal with the worst. I have had so many things go wrong to know that ANYTHING can happen in life. This might sound philosophical but when travelling, you must learn to deal with the worst case situation when you’re least expecting it!
Do I need to purchase travel insurance?
Yes and no. For the most part I book all my travel by credit card, but lately we have been on some exotic trips which can only be booked by money transfer. Yes, it makes me nervous and I research these tour companies to death on Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet, Facebook and through friends before sending them anything, but I am still taking a risk. So for this reason alone, I purchase annual travel and medical insurance for just under $500 per year.
If you are not needing to pay for your trip by money transfer and can book by credit card, you don’t really need to purchase separate insurance. I have been using Aerogold VISA Infinite for years now. The travel and medical insurance provided through this card have been such a hassle free experience.
We’ve had to cancel trips a few times. Either there have been mechanical issues with the airlines or someone in my family had fallen ill before or during our trip. As long as I contact the credit card company as soon as the emergency arises, I have had no problems in getting medical assistance and financial reimbursement.
How to ensure you get your money back?
Keep a record of EVERYTHING!!! Keep all documents you have collected while booking or travelling, such as boarding passes, credit card statements, receipts and itineraries issued by the airlines. I usually scan and save all my paper work and I email myself all the documents to ensure I don’t loose anything I might need to document my trip.
Last year we had planned to make a trip to Exuma and India. Both countries do not have the best healthcare. My husband had fallen seriously ill a week before our trip. Thinking about an exotic holiday was the last thing on my mind at that point, but I still had to take care of getting my money back. With a family of five, if I hadn’t kept a record of everything, I would have lost close to $40,000 CDN. I had to cancel flights, tours, transfers, car rentals, and hotel reservations. Having kept a record of everything and investing in a scanner, I got back every penny through the insurance provided by my credit card company (Aerogold Visa Infinite).
This past Canada Day weekend, we were flying back home from Saskatoon and our flight was delayed by SIX HOURS! So I called the credit card company I had used to book my flights, in this case it was CIBC VISA Aerogold again, and they took such good care of us. We were eligible for up to $700 in financial compensation to go towards a hotel booking, meals, transportation, hygiene products and entertainment. This was so helpful and we made a potentially bad situation into a fun experience!