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War Stories From the Road: The Worst and Most Embarrassing Travel Injuries Abroad

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He broke his back on a pleasure cruise through the Amazon; she was fire twirling in Thailand when she set herself alight. One traveler lost his vision on a river cruise of the Rhine, and another found herself receiving stitches after an Asian air-conditioning unit decided to attack.

It’s important to remember that we’re not invincible while traveling abroad, and the stupidest thing you can ever do is to think it will never happen to you. One traveler who shares her story had a shower door collapse and was wheeled to the hospital in a computer chair, wet, shivering, and covered in glass! Another ate a bad falafel and nearly vomited over an Egyptian soldier at the border crossing of Egypt and Sudan! Awkward.

Though the following war stories from the road are not to dissuade you from traveling abroad, as life can catch you anywhere, including from the comfort of home. On the contrary, the hope is that after reading you’ll understand the importance of never traveling without insurance, and if the need for such while traveling doesn’t hit home after this we don’t know what will!

The following are war stories from the road – the best, the worst and the most embarrassing injuries travelers have sustained abroad.

 Cloudy Vision on the Rhine

Mine wasn’t an injury sustained from an extreme adventure, so my bragging rights were none, and I experienced zero pain, so I couldn’t complain. But clearly, something was wrong.

It was the first day of a Rhine River cruise, and my travel partner and I were visiting the UNESCO World Heritage windmills at Kinderdijk. Suddenly, something resembling ink blots splattered the field of vision in my right eye. Later that afternoon a grey veil began rising to eventually cover the lower half of my already polka-dotted visual canvas.

The following day, eye specialists in Cologne diagnosed a detached and torn retina and confirmed that our summer travel would be abruptly aborted. How could this happen? We had spent months planning our European summer to the most minute detail. Yet as the poet Robert Burns put it so succinctly, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

Fortunately, part of our detailed pre-planning included the purchase of travel insurance. We took comfort in knowing that our travel policy would buffer our wallets. A two-week policy to cover us both had cost us less than $200, yet our travel insurance provider spent over $10,000 on emergency evacuation alone when they booked our business class tickets home for emergency surgery.

This summer we are attempting a river cruise again, and you can bet we WILL purchase a travel policy!

Howard Blount: Backroad Planet

An Almost Deadly Shower Door

I had just arrived in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam after spending 6 months backpacking around Europe and the USA. I was staying at my friend’s flat and after a full day of shopping and wandering around the city, all I wanted to do was take a long shower and chill out. Little did I know that this would be the most eventful shower of my life!

As I was finishing up, the glass door of the shower suddenly collapsed on me. I was wet, covered in glass shards, and bleeding profusely as I stood there completely shocked and confused.

I had to be wheeled out to the lobby of the building in a computer chair (true story) as my feet were covered with pieces of glass. I was rushed to the emergency room in an ambulance and suffered 5 major lacerations and 22 stitches all over my arms and hands.

To top things off, my travel insurance had just expired and I was planning to renew it as soon as I got to Asia. I was lucky that the hospital didn’t charge me an arm and a leg!

The worst part was that I had to fly back home to the Philippines because I couldn’t even lift my backpack. Though things worked out for the best because I met my lovely man in the sand dunes in Mui Ne, Vietnam when I flew back again after having healed. We have stayed together since then and continue traveling around in search of our next (mis)adventure!

Anna Faustino: Adventure in you.

Gymnastics While Buzzed on a Bike

I was heading home after a quiz night in Khon Kaen, Thailand. I had had a couple beers and while a little buzzed, I was definitely not drunk. It was a road I had cycled down a hundred times before, though all of a sudden I flipped…straight over my handlebars and landed on the road.

To this day I have no idea what I hit (our best guess involves a black dog in a very dark part of the road). I continued to make my way home completely fine…until I realized my right arm was hanging in a very awkward way. A rush to the hospital revealed both arms in my right forearm were broken.

No travel insurance, yes to surgery with local anesthesia, and yes to an extremely expensive lesson abroad.

Chris Backe: One Weird Globe

The Bus That Exploded in India’s Northwest

One evening about 2 months ago, while I was in the middle of a backpacking trip around India, I took an overnight sleeper bus from Udaipur to Jodhpur in Northwest India. About 1 hour into the ride, in the middle of nowhere, the bus driver slammed on his breaks and the bus flipped over the side of the highway. Glass shattered everywhere and parts of the bus exploded.

There were about 10 seconds where I seriously thought I was dead. It’s giving me anxiety just to think about it as I type.

I was the only foreinger on the bus, and didn’t have a clue as to what I should do. Everyone was screaming and panicking in Hindi.  Everyone managed to escape except for 2 who were trapped inside the bus, and I’m still not sure if they made it out alive or not.

It was lucky to not have been injured badly too. I only had pieces of glass stuck in my right foot and it was while it was bloody, I was lucky to have healed quickly. I saw others with major cuts over their body, and they were taken away in an ambulance.

Another bus came and picked me up to take my to my destination, and I almost had a panic attack along the way.

From that moment on, I boycotted buses and only took trains. If you plan on traveling India, I will advise you to do the same.

Drew Binsky: The Hungry Partier.

Nearly Vomiting Over a Soldier at the Border of Egypt and Sudan

I was heading to Abu Simbel, one of the most incredible buildings left from Ancient Egypt today. A hidden historic gem well off the regular tourist trail, Abu Simbel is closer to Sudan than it is to any other densely populated area in Egypt. Needless to say, I was isolated from the endless string of touristic vans and found myself in a very large desert.

It was the perfect kind of day to veg out on fresh fruits and snacks, though instead I chose to eat a deep fried falafel at the entrance of the park. Until this very day, this is one of my greatest of life’s regrets.

Needless to say, the falafel did not go down well, and left me with the worst case of food poisoning I’ve ever experienced in my life. During the whole trip back to Aswan I felt as miserable as a human being can feel.

I recall asking our driver to stop at least 5 times during a three hour drive, not considering those times when a plastic bag was my best friend and the fastest solution I could find.

As stupid as I could be back then, I had forgotten my health insurance telephone number, though fortunately a friend had some medicine back in Aswan, and I everything ended up turning out fine.

However, what really makes that day memorable was the driver’s first stop. Instead of stopping anywhere around the thousands of kilometers of sand, he chose to stop at the last Egyptian border control before reaching Sudan.

I still remember the soldiers’ face when I started running towards their “bathroom”, which consisted of a single hole on the ground. No words were needed, they simply opened the door and pointed. By the bathroom cleaning standards, I didn’t need any motivation.

On my way out, one of the soldiers handed me a mint gum.

Gui Varro: Traveltics.

The Ski Trip Which Tore an ACL

Two years ago, I took a five-hour drive over to North Carolina, went down the bunny slope twice and then decided to go down the black slope immediately.  I only made it about halfway down before my legs were going in different directions and I heard that infamous popping noise, followed by excruciating pain.

Being the stubborn person I am, I decided I was going to walk down the mountain until I made it about 20 feet and felt and heard another pop.  That time I let ski patrol come get me.

I parked myself at the bar the rest of the day with ice and elevation and then headed home the next day.  I waited a few days before I headed to the doctor, but once I got there, he knew immediately that I had torn my ACL.  He did an MRI as a formality and sure enough, I didn’t just tear it – I shredded the thing in half.  I also strained my MCL and PCL and bruised my bone.

Surgery was almost immediate followed by months of even more excruciating physical therapy.  For the first 6 months, I had no idea how I was ever going to bend my knee completely again.  For the next year, I had no idea how I would ever walk without my knee randomly giving out.

Two years later, and I definitely feel more like myself but it’s still a journey.  I was lucky enough to do this while in country and therefore have insurance through work at the time.  I couldn’t advise any more to have insurance when doing adventurous activities and traveling.

Ashley Hubbard: Wild-Hearted.

The Ski Trip Which Broke Her Leg

I broke my leg on the 1st day on our annual ski trip to Perisher, Australia; an accident while overtaking a woman on a bend when my leg went into a sink hole and snapped. Before I knew it my husband had called the medics and I was rushed into an ambulance to Perisher Medical Centre.

The x-ray revealed a fractured lateral tibia, which apparently is not a good break. They wanted an immediate transfer to a Canberra specialist though we returned to our hometown of Wollongong instead; a nightmare 5-hour drive at dusk with kangaroos jumping back and forth in front of the car.

After being hospitalised, it was then found out that I had fractured bones in my foot also, which hurt a lot more than my leg.  Traveling domestically, luckily our medical insurance came into play.

Paula McInerney: Contended Traveller.

The Two Week Trip to Italy Which Turned Into a Month

When I was fairly young, I took a 2 week trip to Italy with my mother. We spent our time discovering the north, taking in destinations like Venice, Lake Como and Trieste. The day before our departure I started feeling poorly. By the end of the day my situation worsened and my mum had to rush me to hospital.

I was diagnosed with acute appendicitis and had to undergo an emergency surgery.  After the surgery I had to stay hospitalized for 5 days and wasn’t able to leave the country for another 7.

Our 2 week journey lasted a month, though luckily we had relatives to stay with. The most fortunate part however was having taken out insurance beforehand which covered all hospital costs from my surgery.

This was my first trip abroad, though despite my adventure, I wasn’t deterred to continue traveling.

Chrysoula Manika: Travel Passionate.


Two Cheeky Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

It’s the nightmare everyone parent dreams of. You can hurt yourself that’s fine, but when your little baby boy gets hurt then the world comes to an end.

We were enjoying a pleasant holiday in Eilat when my son was climbing off a bunk bed when he fell and fractured his wrist. We ended up taking him to the Emergency Room, though no one could speak English to let us know what was happening. It was not a very happy affair. Thankfully my parents-in-law lived further north and we were able to visit a doctor in Haifa who explained what had happened and how long he would be in a cast.

Israel is not cheap. It’s one of the more expensive countries we have been too. Luckily our travel insurance policy with Travel Insurance Direct covered all the expenses. We never travel without it. We’ve used it for stolen phones, missed flights and broken baggage too.

Erin Bender: Explore With Erin.

The Tick Which Crawled Into Her Back in Bogota

I was in Bogotà, as part of my backpacking trip through Latin America. I didn’t particularly like it, though I was stuck there with traveller’s dissenteria. I spent most of my time at a crappy hotel feeling sorry for myself.

We thought the worst was over until one night I felt an itch and started to scratch my back. It was then that a friend caught a tick trying to crawl its way into my skin! I was terrified. Ticks in Europe and in the US can be deadly.

We knew the tick had to be suffocated with oil or alcohol and then removed. My friend put some drops of tea tree oil on the tick, though as it appeared it would not let go without a fight, we ended up having to retreat to the emergency room. We rushed to the hospital through a ghostly Bogotà.

The doctor who removed the tick didn’t seem worried, as he explained that ticks in South America are not nearly as dangerous as in the US and Europe. I did not even have to pay for his assistance, but needless to say I was thankful I had a good health insurance which covered any medical costs.

Claudia Tavani: My Adventures Across the World

Attacked by the AC Unit in Vietnam

We were in Hoi An, Vietnam, and had been out enjoying the day. Upon arriving home, we prepared for bed, though Vietnam can be unbearably hot. Jack turned the AC unit on, though it turned to be so powerful it blew off the plastic covering and nailed me right between the eyes. It luckily missed my eyes, though it hit me hard.

I was bleeding everywhere. Sheets, clothing, pillows, they were all stained. The hotel took me to the hospital the next morning, and when I say hospital, I mean an old woman’s house who just happened to own equipment to stitch me up. She put me on a counter, started to yell in Vietnamese, and then just stitched me up – no anesthesia, just stitched me up on the counter as I watched everything happen between my eyes.

The hotel paid for the stitching, which turned out to be $10, and I then had to get them removed in Da Nang, this time at a proper hospital. Though still no-one understood me, so I left unsure about the care, of what I needed to do, and protection there after. I continued to buy bandages, scar cream, and disinfectant throughout the trip, all of which was covered by my travel insurance. Except that is for the extra night in Vietnam so they could “watch my progress” at the hotel.

I didn’t sustain a scar, though a permanent memory that’s for sure!

Jenn Malka: Who Needs Maps

Drove the Motorbike Off the Road in Thailand

It was our 4th day in Thailand, and together with my boyfriend we decided to hire a motorbike to visit Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai. On our way to this sacred temple we were laughing and joking when we should have been paying attention to the winding road…we weren’t laughing once we encountered the crash barrier.

Our left legs were seriously injured, and my boyfriend was bleeding significantly until we reached the nearest hospital by cab. Our wounds were so deep that we needed to continual hospital visits everyday, in Thailand first and later on our trip in Cambodia.

While the medical staff in Asia were extremely caring, traveling while injured is quite a painful experience, so we cut our trip short and returned home early. Luckily, our travel insurance met the costs of medical assistance and the return flight as well. We will always be grateful for that.

Diana Millos: Diana Millos.

Fire Twirling in Thailand Where She Set Herself Alight

While on an evening stroll while vacationing in Thailand, we stopped at one of the resorts which backed onto the beach. A fire-twirling presentation caught our eye, so we sat down for the show when they called for volunteers to give it a go.

Thinking I was top s*&% having completed similar stunts through circus in the past, I hopped up, pregnant, and attempted to twirl. I am blaming the fact that a head massage earlier in the day had left oil all through my hair, and it was only a matter of seconds before my hair caught on fire, and then my pants too.

If you can picture a heavily pregnant, early-twenty something, running towards the water with her hair and pants on fire, that pretty much sums up my Thailand vacation.

Anonymous: Too Embarrassed Abroad. 

Why You Need International Health Insurance

Some of the above travelers were fortunate to have traveled with health insurance, though some were not and learnt the hard way. Some were lucky enough to have been traveling domestically and covered by their regular insurance at home, though domestic health plans don’t cover international travel, so it’s essential to take out a policy which specifically covers you for your time abroad.

Travel is not a dangerous pursuit, I’m not saying that at all, though the thing is, things happen when you least expect it, and you don’t need to be taking a crazy adventurous trip to find yourself in an emergency situation. When all is said and done, the cost of insurance is nothing compared to the out of pocket hospital expenses you could be faced with, or the cost of an emergency evacuation. You’re looking at flights, healthcare, medications – it all adds up hard and fast, and you may even find yourself paying for that trip for the rest of your life.

Convinced? Good! Organizing the right travel insurance for you will depend upon the nature and length of your trip, though there are a few basic types of coverage you should look for in any policy as a bare minimum to keep you covered. Read: What you should look for when buying international health insurance.

We recommend GeoBlue insurance through Individual Health – they offer the most complete set of benefits and services in the industry and essentially provide a worldwide, all-access pass to an exclusive level of care.

They have an elite network of doctors from most every specialty ready to see you in over 180 countries throughout the world, all of their doctors bill them directly so you never have to lay out any cash, and insurance is easy when you’re with GeoBlue – they have a neat mobile app to quickly and conveniently connect to quality care across the globe for anything from emergency needs, to filling a simple prescription, to translating your symptoms, to finding the right doctor at home or abroad.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo Credits: Windmill, Kinderdijk by Digikerwin. Shower door by Nick Nguyen. Beer by Quinn Dombrowski. Bike by bareknuckleyellow. Falafel by Jacob Enos. Abu Simbel by Dennis Jarvis. Fire Twirling by Takver. Arm cast by Birdies100.


  1. WOW, these are some horror stories. I thought I had my share of bad luck while travelling but i see here that it is a common thing!

    • Absolutely – and I think that people don’t realize how common injuries abroad really can be – hopefully the point hits home to never travel without insurance again!

    • It is interesting how people who travel abroad spend so many man hours preparing for what may be the trip of a life time yet they simply miss the importance – no the necessity of a solid International Travel Medical Plan. Bad things happen and when abroad the financial aspect is only one part of the picture. Megan does a real good job of bringing an important point home. ..

  2. Luckily, I’ve never had a travel injury but these are certainly making me second guess travel insurance!

    • I’m glad to hear that Lesley! Though absolutely – travel insurance is an absolute must, just because you truly don’t know what could happen, and you don’t have to be on an adventurous trip for something to go south. The small cost of insurance is 100% worth it to know you’re going to be able to afford the healthcare should something go wrong :)

  3. Wow, horror stories indeed! I am glad we haven’t encountered any of these. But definitely makes me think about a more comprehensive travel insurance!

    • Carol I’m so glad, that was my whole aim with this article, to highlight the importance of insurance abroad. Shoot Tim an email over at Individual Health and tell him we sent you – the GeoBlue policies are some of the most comprehensive you’ll find :)

  4. Wow, those are some insane stories! The closest I have is nearly getting hypothermia in Iceland when my dry suit leaked on a snorkeling expedition. Luckily no medical help was needed, since I didn’t have health insurance. It was the coldest I’ve ever been, though!

    Definitely getting the insurance next time. :)

    • Oh no, ouch, that sucks Jessi! So glad to hear that no medical help was needed though. We went through Iceland recenlty during the summer, and even though we didn’t do snorkeling, I did head out on a white water rafting trip, and I can only imagine how cold that water would have been with a leak in your suit. Glad you’re ok :)

      Shoot Tim at Individual Health an email to hook up some insurance for your next trip :)

  5. Well, I feel awful for everyone who shared a story, but it was a really entertaining read! Definitely a good thing to have travel insurance, huh? Nothing like this has ever happened to me while traveling (knock on wood).

    • Lol wasn’t it! I felt bad having a chuckle at some as I was putting this post together, though it’s always a fun story to tell after the fact once the pain has transformed into a distant memory!

      Glad to hear nothing has happened to you on your travels so far – definitely hook up some insurance though, because the thing is you just never know. In this case it could save your life…and your budget! Let us know if you have any follow up Q’s about the insurance side of things – and Tim Jennings is incredibly knowledgeable if you hit him up too :)

  6. Aweful people might happen when you are on holiday that is why you must be prepared, just in case!

    • Absolutely – you truly never know, and the more you travel, the more likely it is that you’ll need to rely on your insurance at some stage.

  7. wow what a roundup! we have been very lucky so far in our travels! nothing more than a headlock!

    • I’m glad to hear Lindsay! Lol though intrigued to hear more about this headlock!!

  8. Travel long enough and something is going to happen. These are some of the worst stories I have heard of. This is why I don’t travel without travel insurance.It is a life save. Great advice on how to pick travel insurance.

    • Absolutely Jennifer – the more you travel the more likely you’ll have to rely on that insurance at some stage. So glad to hear you never travel without it – it really can be a life saver. Let us know if you have any questions about the insurance side of things – always happy to help :)

    • As a broker from more than 30 years I have to say that it is rare that you personally hear of big tragedies but they do happen. More likely when things go bad abroad they are survivable – but whom to you contact to guide you to the proper care when abroad? Not your domestic insurers that is for sure. The financial aspect is really just one side of the equation. Companies like GeoBlue are the exception with their concierge level of guidance during a medical situation. There really are people who care about you and your travels… Of coarse making it through without a scratch is a great thing. My daughter is in Australia right now and as a father with a child abroad all this weighs heavy on my mind.

  9. This article was certainly an effective reminder that you can do EVERYTHING right and fate can lay a disaster in your lap. A great reminder of how important it is to purchase travel insurance.

    • Absolutely – it really could just come down to a simple trip and fall as you’re navigating a cobbled street. Glad you enjoyed the post Karina – let us know if you have any Q’s in the future regarding the insurance side :)

  10. Ouch! Some of these look pretty painful but at least they make for a good story after.

    • Absolutely – luckily each of them worked out in the end and everyone made a full recovery back to health :) Always makes for a good story after that fact :D

  11. Looking back at my shower story now…I can laugh back at it! But at that time, I remember being so gutted that I had to fly back home. I do have all the scars from that injury still. I just try to come up with cooler stories when people ask me what happened. Shark bite is one of my favorites! :) thanks for including my story Megan! X

    • Shark bite is a great one and always sure to impress :D I’m glad you can laugh about it now looking back – it’s always the way though even if it was a terrible, terrible situation at the time. The greatest gift in life is being able to look back and laugh having come through ok in the end :)

  12. It really is important to have a travel insurance or a provider that covers you around the world. Unfortunate events but a good travel memory that will teach us readers some lessons. Lol!

    • Absolutely – so many people think that their health insurance back home will cover them while abroad, but that’s just not the case, and you never want to find yourself stranded overseas. And yes, hopefully these stories make that lesson hit home!

  13. Very insightful and even entertaining post. With so many writing about how glorious travel is its so important to know there are risks and be prepared for what you can. Thanks for organizing this.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Elaine – travel is absolutely one of the most amazing experiences you’ll have in your life, though I don’t believe there’s any benefit to glossing over the fact that it is important to be prepared, and you shouldn’t just jump on a plane without having set yourself up to be safe :)

  14. Ours was nothing compared to some of these. But really when your child get’s hurt it’s like your heart is torn out. This is a great reminder that I am so thankful to always remember my travel insurance.

    • Oh absolutely – I don’t have children but I can only imagine how horrifying and scary this would be! So glad you always travel with insurance also – especially when it’s not just you anymore :)

  15. So much pain! Ouch..nice read Meg! Thankfully i have never needed to use travel or health insurance. There has been a few close calls! Cheers – Will

    • Glad to hear you’ve had a good run Will :) Stay safe out there!

  16. That instant when you wish you could turn back time for just sixty seconds….I’d just heard a story from a friend who got food poisoning in Budapest, and fell in the bathroom hitting his head on the marble tile while simultaneously projectile vomiting. Now he has some sort of residual vertigo from the head injury. :( These things can happen to anyone at any time. You’re so right to suggest comprehensive insurance. Believers are made!

    • Oh no, Betsy that’s horrible! Mike had an ear infection a month or so back and got severe vertigo and I can tell you it was NOT fun!! I so hope that your friend recovers and it doesnt end up being a reoccurring thing.

      Comprehensive insurance is the smartest purchase you can possibly ever make. There’s no end to the number of possibilities for a potential injury abroad, and you need to be sure you can receive the best care to stay safe.

  17. Great reminder that accidents can happen to any of us at any time. Foolish not to be insured because you really never know…

    • Absolutely – and absolutely foolish to not be insured when you hit it on the head – you really don’t ever know.

  18. Oh god! Horrible stories, I’m so happy nothing of this has ever happened to me!

    • So glad to hear that as well Olga! Make sure you’re all set up with comprehensive insurance though just in case ;)

  19. I used to be nicknamed calamity and for good reason. I too snapped my ACL and media ligaments skiing. Because it didn’t hurt so much at the time I figured it couldnt be serious (I was comparing the pain to a collar bone breakage I suffers on another trip) and skied down the mountain. The pain came later with a lot of rehab, sleepless nights and frustration at being unable to exercise. I have gone back to skiing but it took a few years before I was ready.

    The collar bone breakage occurred many years ago when I was young and foolish and thought I was invincible. My friend and I jumped in a jeep with someone who had had a drink and he managed to roll the jeep. I was th only person physically injured with a broken collar bone. Talk about excruciating!!

    Less major I got bitten by over 8o mosquitoes at a dinner on an estuary in Maine and got cellulosic. Thankfully not life threatening but very unpleasant!

    Needless to say I ALWAYS buy travel insurance and recommend you read the small print. I still travel though. These could have happens in the UK Just as easily.

    • Ouch, Anne, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve experienced so many injuries abroad! These sound excruciating!!

      80 mosquitos in one dinner!! I found two bites this morning from our hike yesterday through British Columbia and was complaining lol!! We’re heading through Alaska next week so you’d better believe it, I found a full body fly net and I’ll be wearing that like it’s a new trend :D!

      Very glad to hear that you always travel with insurance – and absolutely re the same injuries happening at home. I always stand by the notion that it’s not traveling which is dangerous – it’s life!!

  20. Wow, some really gruesome horror stories there. I’ve been very lucky to not have had many hospital/doctors visits overseas. They can be really expensive without travel insurance so I don’t travel without getting cover. Great advice

    • So glad to hear you’ve managed to avoid the hospital and doctor while overseas Kate :) They really can be so expensive without cover and in some cases you could easily be paying that debt off for the rest of your life. No trip is worth that kind of expense!!

  21. As much as we like to think we’re invincible something is bound to happen on the road sooner or later.

    • Absolutely – and with so many people now living full time on the road, the reality is that the longer you travel, the more likely it is that something may happen…just like it would if you were to be at home. You have insurance at home, so insurance while traveling should be the same kind of no brainer.

  22. I think you have certainly made your case for travel insurance. After reading this post I defy anyone to think they don’t need it.

    • Glad to hear you think so Lyn! That was the sole aim :)

  23. This scares the crap out of me, but it’s a great reminder to always get insurance!

    • I figure if it puts a little scare into people to never travel without insurance then it’s a job well done :D Which is why though I did want to stress that it’s not travel which is dangerous, it’s life, and staying at home doesn’t mean you’re going to avoid injuries, it’s just a part of life :)

  24. I read some of these stories, and consider myself lucky that after cycling around the world for over 30,000 miles, I have never gotten badly sick or been injured at all!

    • Woohoo that’s awesome Dave! Glad to hear you didn’t fall off the bike! And 30,000 miles…what an accomplishment – massive congrats on that achievement! Hope you always cycle with insurance :D

  25. oh dear me….never have I ”ooooh’d” and ‘aaaahd’ so much while reading something! Yes, travelling without travel insurance is not advisable. I saved so much money already – i’ve been ill practically in every country I visited. My last visit was to a Podiatrist in Melbourne (who on earth has ever been to a podiatrist???) – if it wasn’t for my travel insurance those very unforeseen circumstances would have set me back hugely! Thanks for sharing this!

    • Oh no I’m so sorry to hear you’ve experienced so many health issues abroad Tess. So glad to hear you’re always with insurance though, it’s just such a life saver to never have to find yourself out of pocket. Awesome that your insurance covered the podiatrist in Melbourne as well.

      Always have to read the small print because some policies only ever cover the bare minimum and often you can find yourself high and dry when you need a specialist outside the scope of your insurance. Which is why we always recommend comprehensive policies, so really glad to hear you’re set :)

      Happy travels – stay safe out there! X

  26. Oh. MY. Goodness. I’m almost afraid to say that we have not had such experiences as I’m worried I will jinx us!!! We always check out health insurance to see what is an isn’t covered before a trip. Heaven forbid we need it.

    Hope things turned out GREAT for all of those who had these awful experiences!
    Natalie, The Educational Tourist

    • Knock on wood and I promise you won’t be jinxed :D! Glad to hear you’ve had a smooth run on your travels to date – and very glad to hear you’re all over the fine print on your health policies. As you said, heaven forbid you need it!

      I believe everyone who contributed to this post all ended up with full recoveries … some a bit of a healing process, though recovery none the less :)

      Thanks Natalie!

  27. Holy crap! Those were some injuries. I didn’t think they’d be that bad. Thankfully the worst for me was banging into things and falling down a few times.

    • I was surprised actually by the crazy range when I put out a call for submissions! Glad to hear that the worst for you has been a lot less of an emergency situation than some of the above!

      Happy travels – may they continue to be awesome…and safe! :)

  28. It’s good to see these travelers didn’t let obstacles get them down. Taking proper care of your health while abroad is so imperative – you make a good case for international coverage :)

    • Absolutely Mary – each and every one of them recovered and got back on that plane! I really hope that that’s the overall message which did come through – wanted a very strong message for pushing that health insurance really is imperative, though without discouraging travel at the same time :D!

  29. Some really great stories in here. I’ve been fortunate enough never to have any serious inguries along my tavels *knock on wood*.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Dave – and glad to hear you’ve been fortunate enough to have not sustained any injuries along the road! Definitely recommend obviously hooking yourself up with insurance if you haven’t already :)

      Travel safe!! Here’s to many more adventures to come :)

    • Ouch!!! So sorry to hear that Chris – really sucks!! I was learning how to surf in Costa Rica last year and terrified of the same thing :S!

      You did a pretty good job of that eye from looking at your snaps!! Glad to have read that you were covered pretty solidly with your policy.

      Travel safe & happy surfing going forward! Here’s so safe surfing from now on!! :) X

  30. Well, Sometime we are very lucky but not every time I would like to read about safety measures we should use while travelling.

  31. My mom actually came back from Honduras with a tick, and had a similar experience. We live in part of the US that has terribly dangerous ticks so we were instinctively worried, but the doctor said that Honduran ticks weren’t anything to worry about!
    The worst thing that ever happened to me was comparatively minor, considering that I didn’t have to go to the doctor, but I did manage to slam a thorn more than half way through my thumb one time in Guatemala. I didn’t even realize it was a thorn until it had been slowly getting worse for 16 hours!

    • OUCH!!!! Re the thorn – that’s crazy that you didn’t realize it was a thorn for half a day!! Glad to hear you didn’t have to go to the doctor though, but man I can imagine that would have hurt!

      And glad to hear that your mom came back ok without having caught anything from the tick. *Shudder* I hate ticks lol!

  32. Truly some scary stories to read through. Makes you relaise how compliance we get when travelling. You are right that these things can happen while at home aswell but it must be very scary with the language barrier and not knowing what is going on. The tick in the back makes me feel sick. Ugh.

    • Absolutely – we make ourselves very vulnerable when we get “too comfortable” and think that nothing’s ever going to happen. As you said, getting injured at home is one thing, when you know the emergency organizations and how everything works, but trying to navigate that in a foreign land can be brutal, especially under stress.

      Wishing you a very merry Christmas, and here’s to safe travels in 2017! X

  33. An injury while traveling can be especially scary when you’re in a third world country with limited access to hospitals. I always carry my own first aid kit so I can take care of at least basic emergencies by myself.

    • That’s fantastic Peter :) Never underestimate the importance of traveling with a solid first aid kit! It’s usually one of the very first things we pack too :)

      Safe travels! X

  34. You never think that things like this are going to happen to you when you are travelling. Thanks for sharing these stories and reminding us we are still human away from home.

    • Absolutely – it’s so easy to fall into the trap of “it’ll never happen to me” – we like to think we’re invincible at all times. But we’re not, we’re only human! And injuries are always worse when we’re away from home :(

  35. Ohhh….this is really a worst traveling ever I think…..

    • Definitely not the funnest stories! Hope your travels are happy and safe :)

  36. Hi Meg,

    Being a mountain guide, I’ve never been fond of guided tours in my “adventure” travels, but I must confess that it can create its share of cold sweat when you discover an unknown country that can have some hostile aspects in an out-of-the-path trip.

    And reading your article, I realized how lucky I have been in all my trips.

    Good reading and makes you humble.


    • Hi Lara, so glad to hear you’ve not run into any issues on your adventures to date. We’re fiercely independent travelers too, though I’ve found I enjoy guided tours now and then, and they’re definitely great for that aspect of not being alone if you’re exploring a country with hostile parts.

      Happy travels & safe trips ahead!

  37. OMG after reading makes me realized that i feel anxious before my travels. the what if… a lot of things going on my mind but once I get to the area everything’s change. plus having a peace of mind and being careful. thank you for the amazing stories. I have learned a lot base on your experience

    • Glad you enjoyed the post :) I hope we didn’t make you too anxious though! It’s just as safe traveling as it is moving around / exploring at home, but travel insurance is so important because if you do find yourself in an accident overseas everything is foreign and it could end up costing a lot more.

      Safe travels Jarven :)

  38. This one is indeed fantastic!!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Carol, I hope it convinces you re the need for travel insurance!

  39. Great reading, but also scary! I believe that we all have our “when things go wrong while traveling” stories, but some of them here are really bad…I am glad everyone is fine. Thanks for sharing the stories.

    • Thanks Paula, glad you enjoyed the post – enjoyed is the wrong word given the topic, but you know what I mean!

      Yes, it’s absolutely scary, as you said, we all encounter travel mishaps on the road, but some people have to endure decidedly worse moments than others!!

      Shows the absolute importance of travel insurance, because these things happen to the best of us!

      Safe travels :)

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