The Ugly Truth: Why you should always buy travel insurance
The past few weeks I've received heaps of curious messages asking for the story behind what the hell happened that day I broke my leg in Cambodia.
So, here we are...
A little recap into why I didn't buy travel insurance...
I’ve been to 30 countries in the past 4 years and during my time aboard I bought travel insurance once…
The one time being when I went overseas to Australia for over a year. Since it was my first big trip (and because it was such a long one) I felt I should buy insurance.
I don’t regret paying the $700 CAD for the year, however I never used it. So, after that I decided "Waste of money, I’m not buying it anymore."
I’ve gone on countless trips and yes, bad things have come my way. I’ve been ill with food poisoning, I’ve gotten strep throat, lost my luggage, and I’ve fallen off a scooter in Bali!
Somehow (luckily) every time it's just worked itself out. I've been fortunate enough to be able to fix myself with medication from the local pharmacies, and it's no big deal!
Until now... I’m now a firm believer in travel insurance!
Yes, some Visa credit cards do have travel insurance included but only for the first 15 days of travel. My accident happened on travel day 17… What are the odds!?
This is my story about why you should invest in travel insurance and learn from my mistake, because truthfully what happened to me could’ve been 100 times worse! I don’t even want to think about what could have happened...
Cambodia wasn’t even in travel plans. My friend and I spontaneously decided to go there because it was so close to Vietnam. We saw some dope pics of Angkor Wat Temples and we we’re sold!
An injury when you’re traveling anywhere in the world sucks. But of ALL places... I’m sure we can agree that one of the poorest countries in the world is a tad bit worse!
The morning of my accident…
At 4:30 AM we were headed to Angkor Watt temple for sunrise, we spent the morning site seeing and by 9:45 AM I was back at my hotel unable to walk on two feet.
What the heck happened?!
Well! I fell out of a tuk tuk (a carriage on the back of a motorbike... LOL, google it!) trying to save my newly purchased professional camera that I just bought for this trip (can you blame a girl!?).
We went over a bump and POOF! There it went!
Frantic for the driver to put the break on. I made an irrational decision to jump out seconds before the vehicle came to a complete stop... I fell badly and bashed my ankle in the process.
Now, looking at the facts: I was wearing a long skirt down to my ankles (because we were seeing temples) paired with flip fops. SO... Probably not the best attire to be attempting long jumps, I know!
It’s over now. I regret it, obviously... But it happened. Time to move on.
AND YES, I saved the damn camera!
Truthfully I’m very lucky I didn’t hit my head or the break didn’t puncture through my skin!
After my fall, the tuk tuk driver took us straight to the hospital. The hospital in Siem Reap is 100 percent designed for Westerners because there is no way a local in Cambodia could afford the prices they were charging! It was $100 USD just for the doctor consultation. Plus any x-rays fee’s and the price of getting a cast on top of that... I could see the dollar signs adding up quickly.
Knowing I didn’t have travel insurance, I wanted to minimize all the costs that would be associated with this injury.
I decided to wait a hot minute, think, and go back to the hotel first.
I have an extremely high tolerance to pain so when it happened at first I thought "okay, maybe I just badly bruised my leg? Rolled my ankle? It will be fine! I’m going to wait it out, have some drinks at the pool and if I still can’t bear weight on my foot by tomorrow I’ll seek medical attention."
Next day comes around and my ankle/foot is extremely swollen... I knew something wasn’t right.
We went to a local clinic to get an x-ray, because if it's a severe injury we were going to have to fly home.
There it was staring back at me... A complete break in my fibula bone right above my ankle. F**K!
Parties over. Time to go home.
We headed back to the hotel, laid out by the pool and spent the entire afternoon canceling everything we had planned for the next 9 days.
We were positive that because this was a medical emergency we could rearrange our flights back home early, without any financial dramas.
Well! Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and therefore why you should always buy travel insurance!
Contemplating all options, the reality was…
a.) We had 9 days left till our flight back home anyways, maybe we should wait it out?
b.) Is flying home early worth $1200 each? (that’s the price the stupid agency we booked through was quoting us. (Tip: Always book directly through the airline website, avoid third- parties like Explore Trip on Sky Scanner, they’re freakin' useless!)
c.) My leg is broken, if I don’t need immediate surgery. Maybe I can wait till I get home?
d.) I’m traveling with a friend and it would suck to make her pay over a thousand dollars because I broke my leg and have to call the trip short.
So, I went back to the same clinic and paid $100 USD, for a dodgy cast to immobilize my break till I could get back home to Canada.
The doctor that put on my cast told me I should get surgery... My thoughts about having surgery in Cambodia; OUT OF THE QUESTION!
Overall I didn’t spend an insane amount of money on medical bills, approximately 205$ USD.
But of course it was stressful! I mean I have a broken leg in BLOODY CAMBODIA!
Combined with all the DM’s I was receiving on Instagram commenting that my break was bad, and that my cast was 'too loose to be supporting my injury properly' it was a nightmare.
But the worst of it all was getting through the airport on crutches and traveling on a plane with a leg that needed to stay elevated.
Our travel time to get back to Canada was 32 hours!
Countless stares like “what the hell happened to her” occurred as I’m being pushed on the wheelchair through security.
Those are 32 hours I never want to look back on, ever again.
Do I wish I came home earlier? Live life with no regrets!
But I will say that, if I had travel insurance this situation would’ve panned out a whole lot easier.
If it was only me, I would’ve HAD to come home early. There would've been no way I could have made my way in Cambodia alone on crutches.
A single white girl hobbling the streets of Cambodia with a cast on her leg? Yeah, no!
If that’s not a massive target for theft and crime, I don’t know what is.
Every day after my accident I was living on edge.
Because the truth is; it’s heart-breaking what’s happened in Cambodia in as little as the past 30 years. The history the country has suffered through is horrible... It makes me sick when I think about it.
I don’t agree with crime amongst tourist that happens daily in Cambodia. However, when someone is that unfortunate, they’re willing to do whatever to get ahead.
Crazy shit can happen anywhere, but crime amongst tourists is significantly higher in Cambodia.
If you’re traveling to Cambodia, always have your wits about you. Watch your surroundings and belongings very closely, at all times. I hated feeling vulnerable with my broken leg.
Read this post here about crime amongst tourists in Cambodia if you want to learn more.
Will I ever go back? I'll never say never, but, certainly not anytime soon.
My friend and I bought beautiful hand painted canvases of Angkor Wat to hang in our apartments the night before my accident. She asked me on our flight home “Do you think you’re still going to love your painting after all this?”
I smile and said “You bet, because when people ask me where I got this painting of Angkor Wat from, I’ll be telling them exactly what happened to me on the day I saw Angkor Wat in Cambodia.”
This is by far the most challenging experience I've dealt with over seas, if you have a crazy travel story. Please share it with me by commenting below!