A Peruvian Parasite Taught Me You Should ALWAYS Buy Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is not exactly the highlight of any adventure conversation. But trust me when I say that it can be necessary for a safe and successful experience, and may be directly to blame for saving your sanity. So unfortunately, because of the story that follows, I always get it.

In 2015, my then-boyfriend (now-husband), Tucker, and I planned a two-week service-focused trip to Peru with an organization called Crooked Trails. Our goal was to assist the small village of Vicos, located in the Central Peruvian Andes, by building smokeless ovens in the homes of the community members.

We had big plans to help improve family health, save money, and conserve the scarce natural resources that were available to the village. In preparation of this trip, Crooked Trails insisted that we acquire travel insurance prior to departure. Between you and me, my first thought was, “Not another added expense! We probably won’t even need it.”

Boy, was I wrong.

Day 1 in Lima, Peru

By the second day of our trip, and conveniently as we were traveling between Lima and Juarez, my husband started getting sick. Not just the traveler’s kind of sickness, but the kind where even a whisper makes your skin crawl.

He pushed through for a few more days, but when he passed out ten minutes into a hike, we knew this was something much more serious. Multiple cups of coca leaf tea from a village shaman could not seem to help overcome his very quick and extreme weight-loss.

We made the decision to go home early.

Andes Mountains from the village of Vicos

A Peruvian hospital visit, two bus tickets from Juarez to Lima, and two plane tickets home, and we had unexpectedly spent well over $1,500 within a 24-hour period.

At the end of it all, we found out that a parasite was to blame. But to this day, we are not exactly sure what caused it, but the ceviche he ate on our first day in Lima seems like a good culprit.

Made it home and immediately into a hospital room

Once we made it back to the States, Tucker immediately received multiple bags of IV fluid and antibiotics. He survived, but now we were worried about our bank account.

Luckily, that added expense Crooked Trails insisted upon, but that we hesitated to get, taught us a valuable lesson about traveling.

Because we purchased travel insurance before we left, we were able to get every expense covered; even the money we paid in advance for our trip.

Talk about being humbled.

Now, we do not plan a single trip (especially international) without travel insurance being one of the first things we cross off the to-do list.

It was a hard lesson for the stubborn-minded (me). I am happy to have learned from it though.

Now, I find it necessary to share the importance of preparing for the unexpected with others. That being said, here are a few of the companies we tend to lean towards and have used in the past for travel insurance.

No one needs added stress. Get yourself covered before you go.

Oh, and turns out, he was planning to propose at Machu Picchu. Unfortunately, we did not make it that far. But two weeks after coming home, we started on our next adventure.

Boom. Marriage!

I’m not sure IMG sells insurance for this adventure…

Bethany Green
Bethany Green

Co-founder of High Tide Adventure, a nonprofit crafting unique opportunities for today’s youth to develop leadership and social skills through adventure and service experiences.

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