Okay, so I may not be a travel blogger, although I do have an “active travel” tab above, but following the events of the past week, I felt this was an important post to write about the importance of travel insurance.
I’ve been fortunate enough this year to have the opportunity to do a bit of travelling, my most recent trip being to Malta. I love the island, the climate is divine and the people are so warm and welcoming. I last visited in 2005 when I bowled in the u24 Malta Open Championships, placing top 2nd or 3rd in every discipline. This time, I went for the Malta Open Tenpin Bowling Championships. Not to bowl, but to have the exciting experience of commentating on and covering the event.
I was so excited about the trip. Not just for the experience, but also having the opportunity to catch up with friends in Malta I hadn’t seen for years, and I was also hoping to fit in some activity such as stand up paddle boarding. There’s a much better climate for it there than here!
However, it didn’t quite work out that way.
When I travel, the one thing that I never neglect to do is take out travel insurance. I’d never needed to use it before and I know many people fall into the trap of thinking that they don’t really need it. Take it out anyway. You never know what may happen…
I had a fantastic start to the trip. I went on a tour of the island, I had a lovely meal out on my own. I relaxed by the pool of the gorgeous Intercontinental Hotel. I caught up with friends. I took advantage of the gym for interval training on the treadmill. I had a blast recording soundbites for Bay Radio, and of course, my commentating debut. But as the week went on, I developed a cough that got increasingly phlegmmy. The moment that last ball of the tournament was thrown and we stood down from the streaming, I went to the toilet and coughed up into the bowl. Amongst the green was swirls of blood. Oh shit.
At no point during the week had I felt ill. But now I did. I was so cold, yet I was sweating. I went and told the Tournament Director what had happened and he told me to get to hospital. Close friends from home were bowling in the tournament and had hired a car, so they immediately came and picked me up.
The receptionist, I’m sorry to say, was a witch, but once we got past her, I was seen quickly by some of the kindest and most efficient people I’ve ever met. The doctors and nurses were absolute stars. By this point, I was finding it hard to breathe and my chest was tight. I was tachycardic and feeling rotten. Drawing blood was a nightmare, getting an IV in was even worse. I was treated as suspected pneumonia, although it was later decided it was very severe bronchitis.
When I saw the doctor the following morning, he told me I was not allowed to fly and he would not allow me to leave the country until Thursday. He diagnosed further meds, including steroids for my lungs and told me that had I left it even another day, I would have been looking at pneumonia and feeling either worse. Scary stuff…
So, this is where the importance of travel insurance comes in! I was panicking about how to get home, where I was going to stay. After a few initial hiccups with my company, they came through for me, booking me a further two nights in the hotel, a flight home and a chauffeured car journey from the airport to my door. I will be able to make a claim for expenses incurred with medication.
Two nights accommodation in the same hotel and flights would have cost me over £700 without travel insurance, plus there would have been the stress of having to book it all. Instead, my £10.68 travel insurance covered it all.
I would have preferred not to have got ill. But if you’re thinking of travelling without travel insurance because you’ve never needed it before, take my advice. Don’t. You never know what might happen.
I’m back in the UK now, arriving home yesterday evening. I’m not well and I’m on orders to rest. I’m seeing the doctor again on Monday and I’m hoping to get an idea of when I can be active again. But it’s good to be back!