Get Health Insurance (you idiot)

You’re planning your next trip somewhere.

You don’t need health insurance!

You’re fit and healthy and not too clumsy. So maybe you think that, this time, you don’t need to get travel insurance.

After all, what’s the worst that could happen?

Well, remember that time you:

  • pai-hospital-thailand-farang-bandages
    All the farangs with all their bandages. (Pai Hospital, Thailand)

    got bit by a street dog so bad you had to go to the clinic every day?

  • had an insect bite on an infected toe that hurt so bad you couldn’t sleep?
  • had suspected appendicitis and had to take two ambulances and a boat to get checked out?
  • ate dodgy street food and got food poisoning and lost 15kg of healthy body mass in four weeks?

No? Well, these things all happened to me.

You remember those health scares when travelling.

Public Hospital Food Kalibo Phillippines
Public hospital food is a great incentive to stay healthy.

They weren’t just uncomfortable.

They were downright painful and legitimately scary. Because you don’t know anyone. You don’t speak the language. And if you don’t have the money on you to afford the care you need, you’re at the mercy of your circumstances.

At best, you will find people you can rely on to help you recover. At worst, you will die painfully.

That’s the reality. Without health insurance, and without having the cash on you, you are stuffed.

As an Australian, this is a weird place to be in. We have medicare here. You get hurt, you go to a public hospital, and the bills are a secondary consideration. Depending on circumstances, you can walk away without paying a dollar.

But when you’re slow travelling, that sense of certainty gets removed. You are responsible for your own damn self.

Talk about being out of your comfort zone.

But hey, I survived. Got a few extra scars and a few cool stories. And maybe you have a few stories to tell as well.

But that doesn’t make you invincible.

Besides, what about the times when:

  • your travel buddy slid arse-first down a waterfall and cracked his coccyx?
  • that girl burned her leg on a hot exhaust pipe and got a blister the size of an avocado ?
  • that guy burned off all his hair after falling into a fire at that one club which, for some reason, had a fire?
  • your friends all fell off their motorbikes on a shitty mountain road and came into the hospital leaking blood everywhere?
  • that girl had a combination of food poisoning and a bad batch of antibiotics that literally shut down her kidneys?
  • that one girl got pushed down some stairs by a douchebag who was rushing for his train, snapping the plantar muscles in the girl’s foot in the process?


No? Because they all happened to friends of mine, or people I met while travelling.

Point is, accidents happen when travelling.

Combined, those incidents cost me thousands of dollars.

Not to mention months of travel while recovering.

And if these accidents had been worse, they could have cost me a lot more – both financially and personally.


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