I loved Sri Lanka. The food, the people, the beach, the mountains – even the big city was good. It’s a real gem in what some consider a tough neighborhood for independent travel (South Asia).
On my last morning in Colombo I sat in a strange (but friendly) guesthouse having breakfast on a backyard patio. As I scrolled through my photos from the past two weeks I remember being impressed that my time in Sri Lanka went off so smoothly. Aside from a couple of uncomfortable bus rides, the trip was fantastic. Nothing could possibly go wrong now…right?
It’s always a good idea to check the status of your flight before heading off to the airport. Sitting on that same backyard patio, in the strange guesthouse, I Googled the status of my first of two flights. From Colombo, Sri Lanka to Chennai, India (less than 2 hours north): Kingfisher IT62.
The flight info from Google showed a delay of almost 10 hours! Instead of leaving at 3:15 pm, the flight wouldn’t depart until 1 am. This also means missing the connecting flight to Fort Cochin in Kerala, India by a long shot. And to make things more complicated, this connecting flight that I would now miss was on a totally different budget airline (SpiceJet).
Oh, and spending the night in Chennai didn’t sound like any fun.
This type of scenario is a common substrate for travel nightmares. That last day of a vacation that turns into such a disaster, it drowns out much better memories of beautiful days on the beach. But this time was different. This time I was prepared and had purchased travel insurance through SquareMouth.com before I left home. (Something I now do for every international trip I take).
Using Skype, I called the toll free insurance help line and described the dilemma of my delayed flight and my desire to get to Fort Cochin as soon as possible. The friendly American voice on the other end of the line reviewed my travel insurance coverage and confirmed that I would get reimbursed up to $150 per day that I’m delay for this ‘missed connection’. She also helped me re-book my flights, but unfortunately I wouldn’t get to Fort Cochin that night. I would stay overnight in Bangalore – India’s IT hub.
Travel Insurance Saves The Day
Without my travel insurance things would have played out very differently that morning. Instead of slowly finishing my coffee on the backyard patio in Colombo, I would have been frantically scrambling to come up with new travel plans, and exploring every conceivable option to avoid spending the night in Chennai. It would have been stressful to say the least. But being prepared with travel insurance was like having a personal assistant fixing all my travel headaches. Feeling like I was taken care of lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I could now carry on enjoying myself and discover how to make the best of the night in Bangalore.
My luxury hotel in Bangalore
Considering that I could spend up to $300 of insurance reimbursements ($150 per day x 2 days), I decided to try to find a room at one of Bangalore’s best hotels. On such short notice, most places were fully booked. But with luck, I got a room at Purple Lotus– a small but ultra-modern hotel, tucked down an alleyway in a nice area of the city. The place was outstanding – huge rooms, great shower, big desk and good wi-fi! Too bad my delay was just for one night – the place was just that good. It only cost about $80 per night (and trip insurance covered it all).
Even a budget travel insurance plan from SquareMouth will save you a huge headache when your flights get delayed or cancelled. Plus spending $60 on travel insurance today might mean saving $300 on unexpected hotel bills and plane tickets if you hit a snag during your trip.