OK, so what’s a plate of Tom Yum got to do with travel insurance? Well if you happen to have no tolerance for spicy food, you may get sick and need to change your travel plans, of course, so it’s good to have travel insurance in Asia – in fact the Thailand Government is trying hard to force foreign visitors to prove they have travel health insurance as a condition of entry to the country because they’re sick of poor foreigners clogging up their hospital system.
And why on earth would you need travel insurance in a safe and predictable country like Thailand? I mean it’s not really likely that you’re going to want to:
- Ride a motor scooter
- Eat at street stalls
- Travel in crowded planes and trains
- Drink in strange bars
- Swim in the sea
- Ride an elephant through the jungle
- Travel around in a tuk-tuk
Of course not. These aren’t the things you come to Thailand to do … are they? I can’t say we’ve ever got sick, been injured or felt unsafe anywhere in Thailand, but we do tend to stay away from areas known to be troublesome I guess. There are a few things to think about before you take your Thailand holiday, not the least of which is how to avoid being scammed in Thailand.
We always have good travel insurance, because I’d hate either of us to end up in a Thai hospital for any length of time because we couldn’t afford to be sent home. Accidents do happen, and they happen to tourists and travellers no matter how safe they intend to stay.
You might not know that many Gold and Platinum credit cards come with their own free travel insurance! We use this all the time. As long as you book your airline tickets on your credit card, you’re covered for most things that might happen to you on a Thailand holiday including cancelled flights, illness, theft and even repatriation if you are seriously injured. And it’s free. But be careful, as many credit card insurers are now putting conditions on their free international travel insurance – like having to spend at least $1000 per person using the credit card, having to pay for at least 80% of transport and accommodation costs using the credit card, etc. And in some cases they may only provide free cover for the card holder, not for any family members.
People talk about Bangkok Belly (a type of gastroenteritis), but unless you are silly enough to drink the tap water it’s probably unlikely you’ll be bothered by it. The spicy food can take some getting used to, and may give you stomach problems if you’re not used to it. But you can avoid spicy food, even in Thailand. If you do happen to get a bit of a stomach upset, try eating unbuttered toast … it really helps!
We do not get any special vaccinations for Thailand, although if you are a cautious person you might invest in shots for Japanese Encephalitis. You should always make sure you’re up to date with your Hepatitis (A and B), Tuberculosis, Triple Antigen (Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis) and Polio vaccinations before you travel anywhere overseas, and Thailand is no different.
Truth be told, you don’t really want to end up in a hospital in Thailand, nice as they may be. It’s far better to have quality travel insurance that includes medical evacuation cover so you can be shipped off home for treatment in the unlikely event that anything does happen to you while enjoying your Thailand holiday.
If you want to know more about the detail of vaccinations and health risks in Thailand, try http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/practical-information/health.
Just in case you aren’t convinced yet, here’s a nice infographic from AVI international telling you 10 reasons why you should get travel insurance.