What If You Take Your Dream Vacation Without Travel Cancellation Insurance?

By W K Vandiver

 First let's try to define what many people might consider a dream vacation. A 5 day visit to Machu Picchu in Peru and then on the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro for a week, approximate pre-paid cost $5,000.

You've been promising your wife for years that the two of you would take a vacation to Carnival and you want to see Machu Picchu on the same vacation. So finally you decided that this is the year to do it so you begin seriously looking at different vacation packages, prices, tours and hotels. You work with a travel expert to plan your dream vacation. When all is said and done you have your vacation planned and you pay for everything up front so you don't have to worry about purchasing a lot of extras on your trip. You write a check and pay just over $5,000 for your dream vacation. You have paid for a full month in advance of your vacation date. Now comes the next fun part, buying the clothes for your trip, shoes etc. You've already let your employer know when you are going on vacation so it looks like everything is all set. Both you and your wife are really excited and happy about the upcoming vacation and you both let all of your friends know and even ask them what they want you to bring back to them from Peru and Brazil.

During the next few weeks you and your wife continue your normal lives but you both are becoming more and more excited. Finally on the Monday before you leave for Peru and you begin to think about everything you have to do to wrap up things at work so you can be gone for 2 weeks. You come into the office and there's a message for you that your boss has scheduled a meeting with you for 9:00 AM. You go to his office at 9:00 AM and he asks you to sit down, there is an odd look on his face and you begin to wonder what's bothering him. You know him pretty well, you've worked there for over 15 years and have known him the whole time, he and his wife have been to your home a number of times for dinner and your children all attend the same private school. 

He begins to tell you about the declining sales figures,which you already know about because the preparation of those figures is your responsibility. You begin to get a knot in the pit of your stomach, somehow you know what's coming. Your mind begins to race and you don't really hear much of what he says for the next few minutes. You are wondering how you are going to tell your wife, your kids, your friends, everyone. Then you hear the words, "Sorry but we have to lay you off, today".

The next few hours are a blur, you don't really remember very much about it. You clean out your office, sign some papers and somehow find the strength not to sit down and cry. You get home early which is kind of strange, usually you get home an hour or so after your wife. You're not sure how you're going to tell her you were laid off. You just sit and contemplate the future. Finally she gets home, almost two hours late. She bursts through the door her hands clutching 3 or 4 shopping bags, she looks really excited. "Look honey, I got a few more things for our vacation." Your heart sinks and you blurt out "I was laid off today". The room grows silent, you just look at each other. Finally she asks what happened. You tell her and then both of you begin to cry.

After a few minutes, your wife who has always been the practical one, says that you have to cancel your vacation first thing tomorrow. The next morning you go to the travel agents' office to cancel your vacation then you get some more devastating news. You have already paid for your vacation and you can't cancel it. Your travel agent tells you to get in contact with your travel insurance company and tell them you were laid off and the cancellation benefit should refund the pre-paid portion of your trip.

Problem is you didn't buy any travel insurance at all, you have no trip cancellation insurance or cancellation benefits, you didn't even think about it.

Guess what? The money for your dream vacation is non-refundable, you have no trip cancellation insurance and you and your wife can't justify spending all of the additional money it will take if you go on the trip. You're stuck between a rock and a hard place. Of course, in the long run your life will be just fine but you have learned a really valuable lesson. For the price, the right kind of travel insurance is a really intelligent purchase.

W K Vandiver is the owner of a number of Travel Insurance and Global Medical Insurance websites. For help with International Travel Insurance contact him here.

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