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Travel Insurance - Yes, you need it

We woke up Monday morning excited to pack our bags and head to the boat for our river cruise. On the way to breakfast, I saw a text from my mother in law... 'Please call me". Yikes, that sounded ominous as her texts are usually filled with flowery language and emojis....

There had been a sudden death in our family.

My husband and I headed straight to the Bucharest airport and explained the situation to the woman at the Air France ticket counter. We needed to get back to Montana as soon as possible via any route. "What do you want me to do? Your ticket leave out of Budapest" the unhelpful airline employee told us. Yikes!

After checking the other airlines, looking up options online and several calls, we finally found a flight headed toward home that evening via Paris. It was EXPENSIVE, but thank goodness we had travel insurance. In the midst of all our other stress trying to get from one very small airport in Europe to an even smaller airport in our hometown in the  US, at least we didn't have to worry about costs too much. We handed over our credit card, confident that the travel insurance would cover the return flight home once we got back.

We had a 10 hour layover in Paris between flights so we chose a hotel by the Eiffel Tower (again, crazily expensive as Paris hotels were 90% full on this random Monday night). We  took a transfer to our hotel and managed a VERY quick trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower a few minutes before it closed. It was my husband's first visit to Paris and a bright spot in an otherwise exhausting journey home. 

While on the Eiffel Tower, I dug into my carry on bag for my camera to take photos of the Paris night scene. At that moment, I realized that I didn't have the camera. Thinking back, I remembered frantically repacking my carry on bag in front of the Air France ticket counter. I had packed that morning for a bus ride, not a flight, and had to rearrange my liquids before hurrying through security. 

The camera was gone. Sadly, no amount of phone calls or emails to the Bucharest airport has since managed to turn up the camera. We lost all the photos of our brief adventures, sans the  images in this blog that I had taken on my cell phone (next up- why you should bring two cameras and take photos on both!). The good news, though... travel insurance also covers lost and stolen baggage. Again, one less stress!

Nothing can bring back our loved one or make memories of this trip anything less than exhausting, but I'm very thankful that I always buy travel insurance. I started buying it initially so that I wouldn't be hypocritical when recommending it to my travelers. Over the years, however, I've had to file several claims- to cancel a last minute trip for an appendectomy, for a broken camera in the Arctic (I'm not good with cameras apparently), an emergency X ray in Buenos Aires to see if I had pneumonia, food poisoning in Belize while pregnant, delayed bags, and probably more. Travel insurance isn't perfect. There are lots of exclusions and WAY more paperwork than any of us would like, but I'm thankful it exists. Having it allows me to travel with less worry and know that, when something comes up (as it's bound to do eventually when you trot around the globe) I will be able to handle it. 

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