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A bit of an advice post, and a bit of a story-time post today.
Travelling long-term means budget travel is a big priority for us. I’m all for finding the best deals on accommodation, chowing down on delicious street food for 50p, and wearing the soles of your shoes down into non-existence by walking instead of using taxis, but when it comes to the question “do you need travel insurance?”, my answer is always yes. Never scrimp on your budget when it comes to your health.
We had an accident last week that only reinforced to me how important it is to protect yourself from unseen accidents when travelling.
Last week Pete and I were staying in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in a wonderful home-stay, and our hosts invited us to an annual festival that takes place in the city.
We headed to the festival with Pete and I riding as passengers on the back of their bikes – having never ridden motorbikes before, we’ve been extremely reluctant to rent them while in Asia, despite how convenient they make getting around cities!
Our reluctance was obviously for a reason; on the way to the festival the bike Pete was on was in an accident. Another scooter driver cut across the road and Pete’s driver couldn’t swerve in time – resulting in Pete’s leg taking the full impact of the collision.
The accident was seriously unlucky – it was the fault of another driver, and dumb unluckiness that the only passenger without any control was the one who got hurt! We had to rush him to the nearby hospital to have two stitches in a deep gash in his knee, and he’s now practically bed-ridden with a locked-up knee while it heals.
Getting injured anywhere is scary, but when it happens at night in the middle of a foreign city, it’s really scary.
The accident thankfully wasn’t as serious as it could have been – there are so many motor accidents over here every day, and this experience has put me off even riding on them as a passenger.
Do You Need Travel Insurance?
As horrible as these accidents are, they are a part of the risk when travelling. Especially when you’re travelling on a budget and experiencing an arguably more ‘real’ part of life in a new country. If we were spending more money, we probably wouldn’t have been staying in such a friendly, laid-back accommodation where our hosts want to take us out and about on their bikes!
Pete’s medical bills thankfully only came to about £50, but had the accident been worse, they could have cost a lot more and left us in a seriously bad situation. It’s for situations like this that we always have travel insurance.
Before leaving, we paid about £900 for a backpacker insurance policy with the lowest excess and to cover us for a range of adventure sports (including rock climbing, of course!).
We also paid about £300 each in total for all the vaccinations we needed for travelling around Asia for a year.
When it comes to your health, there should be no expense spared.
As much as we’d like to avoid getting hurt, the fact is that travel has it’s risks, and the least you can do is protect yourself and your finances should something happen.
Travel insurance protects us should one of us get ill and need emergency treatment or even to be flown home, and it also protects us should a bag or valuable item be lost.
Final line: budget for travel wherever you can, but always, always spend the money required to look after yourself.
Your life is more important than any sum of money.