Thinking about going somewhere fun with your family? Sure, why wouldn’t you?
We travel with our kids all the time and it’s one of the most rewarding ways to travel. Not only do you get to share lifelong memories with those you love, but you also get a chance to bond over the not-so-perfect moments as well.
What, you don’t think that your once-in-a-lifetime getaway is going to get by without a hitch, do you?
I’m going to be 100% real with you here. There is a solid chance that something will break, something will be lost, a reservation will be bungled, a flight missed or one of a thousand other problems that come up whenever a group of people go on a trip together.
You know what, it’s not a big deal, but the earlier you plan for contingencies, the quicker you can get past them and enjoy your holidays.
You see, no matter where you are, whether it’s at home or on the road, life happens. Throw in a few kids, small suitcases that can only hold so many essentials and a bit of unknown and – bam, the possibilities for trouble are already racking up.
As much as you read up on other cultures, people and places there’s no telling who or what you’ll run into once you leave home and the truth is, there’s a reason people call travel an adventure. It’s the unknown that truly makes travel worthwhile and frankly, the oddities and one offs make the best stories when you get back and are what you remember most about your trip years later.
Like the time back in 2003 when Micki had a kidney infection and we were staying on a remote beach in Thailand. We had to charter both a private boat and a taxi to get to the local hospital. Luckily, our insurance company helped with the language barrier and she was quickly checked in for a few days and I was allowed to sleep on the couch beside her while she got better. Room service was lacking (for me anyway) but it was by far the cleanest place we stayed that year and Micki was treated like royalty.
Don’t fight the inevitable, embrace it.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should just throw caution to the wind and just let whatever happen, happen. There is a time for that to be sure however, when you have kids with you and a set timeline, a little planning does go a long way.
One of the ways we plan ahead is ensuring we have good travel insurance. You can even say that over the years travel insurance has become a passion for us. Don’t believe me? You can check out our post on Canadian Travel Insurance here, which we update every year.
Considering we first talked about travel insurance back in 2010, you can bet things have changed since then. We’ve learned a lot about different plans and what makes one plan better than another. That said, the fact remains, if you plan to travel as a family, these are some of the things that matter the most and why all families need travel insurance.
Medical Travel Insurance
This one is simple. Whether you’re traveling alone, or with a family, no one should be without medical insurance. Sure, no one plans to get E. coli or have their foot stepped on by an elephant, but it happens regardless.
We’re speaking from experience here; we’ve had a few hospital visits on our travels (one for badly cut ear, one for a kidney infection, and another for a bout of E. coli). They’re never fun, but it definitely eased our stress to know that we had reliable medical travel insurance.
When you factor in that you’re all likely to do more activities, some of them probably in the adventurous category than you generally would at home, you’re not just putting yourself more out there, you’re putting your whole family as well.
Though it’s not likely something bad will happen, it does raise the odds that something unplanned might occur.
I understand this isn’t something any parent wants to think about, regardless of whether they’re traveling or at home, however, the truth is that sometimes you have to plan for unexpected illnesses or accidents.
When something goes wrong, you want the best care you can get. The easiest way to ensure that is to have good medical travel insurance. Most companies have people you can call any time, day or night, that can guide you on where to go and how to get medical help. Don’t know the local number to call the doctor? Chances are your provider does.
Once you’ve been taken care of, you then have the peace of mind knowing that the rest of your trip won’t be in jeopardy because you’re worried about your bank account being empty or if that bone got set correctly.
The numbers don’t lie. The more people who travel together, the bigger chance that something will go wrong. This is true even before you leave home.
Accidents, work, family emergencies and unforeseen incidents can happen any time and none of us own a crystal ball that can predict the future. As Micki always reminds me, the future is unknown. The only thing you can do is plan your best using the information already in front of you.
Now, it’s no surprise that family vacations cost more than when you travel solo or as a couple. When you realize you have to book flights and accommodations for four or five people rather than just one or two of you, the majority of your costs are due before you even get on the plane.
It might be easy to swallow the cost of just a single flight if you have to cancel, but times that by all of your family members and it gets harder to digest. Spending a few extra dollars for cancellation insurance gives you the peace of mind if something comes up that forces you to cancel or postpone your family trip.
Sure, if you’re traveling as a couple, you could always have one of you stay at home with the sick kid or to deal with whatever crisis comes up but then you have to decide which person stays back while the other gets to enjoy margaritas by the pool and swimming with sea turtles. Have fun with that.
Getting cancellation insurance can ensure that you all can go on your dream trip together later.
Did you ever get stuck somewhere you weren’t planning to be for long? We have, on numerous occasions, and having to figure out last minute details like where your family will sleep for the night isn’t enjoyable after hours of flying or sitting around in an airport.
The reality is that unexpected delays happen all the time when you travel.
Short delays can often create larger ones. Sometimes it only takes one plane being late on the East Coast to completely sabotage your flight on the West Coast.
How could that ever happen, you ask? Well, imagine that the flight crew assigned to your plane were stuck either in the air, or on land, for a couple hours longer at their previous location than expected due to a delayed flight. Even if your plane is fine and ready to go, you might not have a crew to pilot it, since they worked longer than allowed on their shifts.
We’re speaking from experience here: We were stuck in Chicago O’Hare airport overnight this summer with our two kids and their grandma when a summer storm delayed our flight crew.
Or, let’s just get wild and imagine that a volcano two countries over decided to erupt and blanket all the nearby airports with ash clouds for a few days. Heck, it already happened.
Much more likely, a storm could sweep in and close down the airport. Now, not only are you struggling to find a place that night but the thousands of people sitting in the airport are as well.
Yes, a flight delay usually isn’t life threatening in any way, however, when you travel with a family, sometimes it’s better to be on the cautious side and make sure your family travel insurance covers flight delays as well. The bonus is this one is usually included in many plans for free.
Know what? The more of you there are means more bags for you to be responsible for. Sure, your son might seem like he’s big enough to take his own bag, but he’s going to be so busy checking out every new thing that his bags will be the last thing on his mind. And your daughter? After the second hour of standing in line at the airport, chances are you’ll be carrying her and her bags by the time you get going. At least that’s how it goes for our family.
Imagine this scenario: You’re a little frazzled by the time you land, and you forget a carry-on on the plane. Remembering it at the last minute, you leave your other bags and run back to get it. By the time you’re back, one bag has mysteriously disappeared and the language barrier isn’t making finding it any easier. Not a big deal in itself, but the bag you just lost contained your new underwater camera that you were hoping to use while snorkeling with your kids for the first time or perhaps the sea sickness pills your wife needs whenever she gets on a bigger boat.
Here’s where baggage insurance comes in. It generally protects you from anything lost or stolen and can help getting those lifelong memories you’re about to make replaced as quickly as possible. You might never get the pictures you already took on the plane back, but it can help you create new ones.
Tip! Never treat insurance like a potential lottery ticket. Buy only as much as you’ll need to replace what you’re taking with you and the savings you make from keeping your premiums lower can help pay your next trip.
There’s nothing more important to us than the health and well-being of our family. Sure, we’ve gotten a little adventurous now and then, however we always take our safety and that of our children seriously.
When you step a foot out of your comfort zone, you shouldn’t feel intimidated by the possibilities. Just make sure that you have a solid cushion to fall back on if things don’t work out the way you hoped. Family travel insurance isn’t just a safety net, it’s a necessity these days.