A growing number travelers find they enjoy the no-compromises style that solo travel provides. According to the U.S. Travel Association, solo travelers take 4.3 trips per year and comprise 11% of all adult leisure travelers in the U.S.
The freedom to go precisely where you want on your own time schedule is appealing to many. Not to mention eating what you want when you want too – low and behold the power of the solo traveler!
With so many travelers traveling solo, we decided to look into how solo travelers can benefit from travel insurance.
When a traveler gets hurt or becomes ill, they have only themselves and their own skills to rely upon. No one else is going to take their temperature and call for a doctor, for example. If you’re running a high fever in a Bangkok hotel and need medical assistance, you’ll be happy you have someone to call for help.
A solo traveler with travel insurance has a toll-free hotline they can call any time of the day or night and a representative will help locate a nearby medical facility. Often, the travel insurance provider will arrange direct payment to the medical facility. In addition, the representatives will let those back home know of the traveler’s situation and keep them apprised when things change. In essence, they act as your traveling companion in times of need.
If the traveler is severely ill or injured, many travel insurance plans include coverage to bring a friend or family member to the hospitalized solo traveler’s side.
See also: our recommendations for a carrying a simple travel medical portfolio that can speak for you when you can’t.
Many solo travelers have concerns back home that could cause them to cancel or interrupt their trip: an elderly parent, a growing business, a child, etc. If you have any concerns about having to cancel your trip for an unexpected reason, total up how much you will be spending on non-refundable trip costs for this trip.
If you can afford to lose that money, then don’t worry about cancellation or interruption coverage. Otherwise, consider spending the small amount it takes to protect that trip investment. In most cases, it’s less than 8% of your total trip costs.
See also: our Rules for Saving Money on your Travel Insurance Plan to be sure you’re not overspending on travel insurance.
When you’re traveling solo, you don’t have a friend or sibling by your side from whom you can borrow some clothes to get you through. If your bags are stolen or sent on the wrong plane, you could be out hundreds of dollars for new clothes and personal items until your bag arrives (if it ever does). That single mishap can eat into your solo travel time and may even cause significant delays to your travel plans.
A solo traveler with travel insurance coverage for lost or stolen bags and delayed baggage will be reimbursed for their expenses (up to the plan limit) so you can get on with your trip.
Perhaps more important when you are traveling solo, if your credit card and/or traveling cash is stolen you can’t rely on your traveling companion’s access to cash while yours gets replaced. A solo traveler with a travel insurance plan, however, can get help contacting banks to freeze their cards and more. A useful coverage in many travel insurance plans includes reimbursement for unauthorized credit card charges not covered by the insured’s credit card agreement.
In addition, the travel insurance provider can help with an emergency cash advance for stranded solo travelers. While the cash will have to be reimbursed, it’s a good thing to know you can get access to cash when you desperately need it to cover the basics: food, shelter, etc. after being robbed.
If you had plans to travel with someone – a friend, a romantic partner, a family member – and your travel companion bails on the trip, the solo traveler with trip cancellation coverage can be reimbursed for additional (and unexpected!) single supplement fees that are tacked on if the insured traveler decides to take the trip anyway. It’s important to note that the travel insurance plan may require both travelers to be insured.
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