My friends like to say I’m getting old. I like to say I’m getting smarter. As the years pass on I’ve become far more risk adverse. Especially when it comes to travel. For those of us that travel for a living, one small mishap can not only mean immediate consequences but long term ones as well. From lost income to health problems. Since my recent partnership with Allianz Travel Insurance, I’ve been thinking about travel insurance and my audience a lot more. And I realized something. I’ve had travel insurance consistently for over 6 years now. Purchasing my first policy for a trip to Hispaniola. For me, purchasing a long term travel insurance policy always made more sense than a trip by trip policy. Cheaper and easier to manage when I decide on those last minute trips. So here are a few of the main reasons I never travel without travel insurance.
I’m An Idiot
20 something Erick would call these things living life. YOLOOOOOOOO!!!! But 30 something Erick calls them idiotic. Either way, I’ve developed a lot of self-awareness over the years. And I have the scars, negative bank balances, and broken dreams to prove it. With these things came the realization that my lifestyle is a bit random. While I might seem cautious, it’s only because I’ve basically done every stupid thing a person can do. But this doesn’t mean I haven’t made the odd bad choice here and there recently. Sometimes we need protection from ourselves. But travel has risks. Heck walking out your front door has risks. While I’m a bit more risk adverse, I’ll never stop enjoying this great world and trying new things. Luckily, travel insurance has me covered.
You Can Only Control Yourself
No matter how much we plan, how well we drive, or how careful we are, only our own actions are under our full control. You can’t plan for the mistakes or actions of others. We like to believe that we are always in control. The truth is, we rarely are. And when I’m traveling to a country for the first time, where I don’t know the language, or know a single soul, I’m vulnerable. I’m a target. I’m at a disadvantage. And the chances of a mishap rise significantly. While there are things in the moment we can do to protect ourselves, we have to prepare for the inevitable. Someone elses decision might cause us harm or delay.
Nature Always Wins
As a species, we’ve managed to solve quite a few problems. But when nature strikes, we’re at her mercy. Thunderstorms, Tsunamis, Earthquakes. All are 100% out of our control and totally unpredictable when planning travel. I personally travel most of the year during off seasons. Meaning I visit continents when other travelers have usually avoided them at all costs. So basically Europe when it’s snowing, Asia when it’s raining. and South America when it’s freezing cold.
Situation: I’ve always wanted to learn how to dive. Spending a good amount of time in Asia every year gives me access to some of the world’s best diving spots. A few years ago I decided to give diving a shot in Malaysia. The Tioman Islands have some of the world’s best diving schools and diving spots. I arranged my classes, accommodations, and transportation. Unfortunately, nature had other plans. I decided to visit shortly before monsoon season. Lower prices and crowds. My ferry to the island was canceled three days in a row because the waters were too dangerous. Ruining my plans entirely.
My Gear Is Expensive
Please don’t rob me. As a travel photographer, I travel with expensive gear regularly. My standard gear bag holds around $7000 in gear. That doesn’t include special equipment for certain projects. While I’m a pretty beefy guy, robberies happen. Locks don’t always protect your valuables and have become quite easily bypassed. But the biggest problem for me is simple human error. Camera’s are tools to me. I just don’t treat them as dainty precious things.
Situation: I was out shooting a beautiful day in Panama City. Specifically, Casco Viejo. Which has a small fish market by the water. Where you can see fisherman unloading their catch and grab a delicious Ceviche. It was a beautiful day and only supposed to be cloudy. After taking a few shots I started walking through a massive park towards the Marina. Unfortunately for me, this particular park had basically no covering. Out of nowhere, the sky opened up and it began to pour rain. I ran to the fish restaurants which took around 3 minutes. But it was already too late. My Canon 7D, which is in fact weather sealed, was dead. Resulting in me having to purchase a new $2500 camera system.
It’s Required (News Flash)
Many travelers might not be aware, but several countries require at least medical insurance. Particularly ones that provide free medical care to everyone. These include Schengen Visa countries, Cuba, and Dubai. As someone that travels as much as I do, I can say most don’t check. But if you want to stay on the right side of the law, it’s required. If something does happen, the consequences can be ugly. Private medical care in western Europe isnt exactly cheap. Also, many activities require travel insurance. While car rentals are common knowledge, some experiences like scuba diving strongly recommend insurance. Some schools won’t take you out without it.
Situation: Europe is like a second home to me now. Every year I fly into London, Berlin, Rome, Istanbul, and Barcelona at least once. While flying into Berlin in 2016 I was questioned quite extensively. And for the first time, I was asked if I had medical insurance. I happened to have a copy of my policy printed out with my travel documents but it felt like he was looking for an excuse not to let me in. But the law is the law and to get a Schengen visa you must have medical insurance.
The World Is Quickly Changing
I’m a long-term traveler. I’m truly nomadic. Airports are my living room. Cafes are my kitchen. Trains are my happy place. The road is my home. And terrorism is threatening that home. Regardless of the geopolitics behind it, terrorism has changed the face of this planet in my lifetime and has made the world far more unpredictable. A single terrorist attack can not only impact a specific destination but sends ripples globally. Canceled flights, closed borders, visa revocations. Everything changes in an instant.
Situation: It’s about 5 am in Budapest. August 2015. I had just taken a night train from Prague to Budapest. One thing about Budapest in the morning, it’s largely deserted. So, it was a complete shock when I left the train station to see hundreds of people at Keleti station. Not really doing anything, just there. My hotel was across the street from the station. I could see everything from my window. This was the beginning of the soon to be highly publicized refugee crisis. This began a ripple effect of train delays and cancellations which almost ended my trip through central and southern Europe. Luckily, I was able to get a low-cost flight to Italy where the crisis hadn’t hit as hard yet.
This sponsored post was paid for by Allianz Travel Insurance. My current travel insurance provider and partner. All content is original and created by myself.