The One Thing that you Should NEVER Travel Without

In just a blink of an eye, life has the ability to throw unexpected twists and take you down paths that you had never planned or imagined.

As a traveler, I am always making plans about where I am going to visit, what places I will explore and the adventures that I will take. Traveling is a very enriching experience that brings me joy and just the planning process alone is an adventure in and of itself, that gives me purpose and adds a bit of spice to my every day life.

During the planning stage, it’s my time to let my imagination and heart run free. Its my dreaming time, to where I think of all those bucket list items that I have always wanted to do, brush up on my knowledge of the destinations that I plan to visit and learn all that I possibly can about the culture, gastronomy and traditions, so that I will be better informed once I arrive to my chosen destination.

Knowledge always helps in order to better know the area and to engage in meaningful conversations with locals and other travelers.

Over my years of traveling alone to almost 100 countries around the world, I have learned many valuable and important lessons on how to plan my trips. Each and every travel experience that I have teaches me something brand new and helps me to be just a little bit more prepared and organized.

Honestly, so much of my learning has to come from making lots of mistakes and learning from each of them.

One of the key lessons that I have learned recently is, while in some cases it is good to have a free spirit, let go and not follow pre-established plans, in many countries this is not always the wisest decision. In fact, it will save you lots of stress and money in the long term whenever you take that addition time to inform and educate yourself on where you will be traveling, especially in under developed countries.

I once traveled without much of a plan, but I have now chosen to have a plan A, B, C and even a D!

Each and every year in the south of Thailand they celebrate the famous Full Moon Party, which is internationally known as one of the largest and wildest parties on the beach in the whole world. It attracts thousands of people from all over the planet every full moon and the night literally turns into a wild, chaotic, overcrowded party full of drunken tourists.

While traveling in Thailand, I decided to get involved in all of the fun and live the experience at least once in my life while I was in the south of the country. I  flew to a nearby city, Surat Thani and then took a boat to Ko Samui and then went on to Koh Phangan, where the party is celebrated.

However, sometimes no matter how long you spend planning and organizing your life and travels, life does not always the way we want it to go.

When I least expected it, life threw me an obstacle that completely changed my plans and adventure throughout Southeast Asia.

It all started with a beautiful sunny day, exploring the beaches of Ko Samui, then riding on the back of a motorcycle through the mountains and enjoying the amazing scenery of this spectacular island.

However, in just a blink of an eye, my friend lost control of the motorcycle and we suddenly were laying on the hard asphalt, with blood covering the both of us.

These are the kind of experiences that one does not usually take time to plan for, but that happen on a daily basis. I hear horror stories of other travelers, but I never expected something to happen to me. In that day I learned that no matter how careful we are, accidents can happen to all of us when we least expect it.

In that moment of disbelief, all I could do was lay there in the middle of the road and wait for someone to help us. I could feel my skin burning from the road burn and I had such intense pain in my shoulder that I knew without a doubt that something had to have been broken.

Strangers came quickly to help us and call for an ambulance.  I felt instant gratification for the fact that we were both alive, but at the same time a sense of frustration, knowing that I was only 2 weeks into my 5 month adventure through Asia.

It was just the beginning of my travels all I could do was wonder how in the world I would be able to continue my travels with a serious injury….

The ambulance arrived and put me on a stretcher and took me away in the ambulance. In the midst of all the chaos, although I was frustrated, I had a feeling of peace and security. I was grateful for my life and had a sense that no matter what the outcome was, that I was going to be okay.

The sense of peace and confidence that I felt came from the fact that I took time before starting my adventure to ensure that I had good international medical insurance, something that I did not have as a new traveler years back.

My insurance plan not only covered me in my country of residence, Spain, but in all the countries I had planned to visit.

After my accident, I had to go to four hospitals in 3 different countries and found out that I had a broken collarbone, in addition to severe burns on my legs that became infected.

In the moment of the crash my helmet went flying off and I hit my head against the asphalt, but luckily I did not suffer any damage. They performed a few different tests: X-rays, MRI and a brain scan to ensure that I had no internal injuries.

Looking back now and seeing all that I had to go through over that period of time,  I do not know what I would have done without my international health insurance. I am very grateful to MTZ Seguros, because they were by my side at all hours of the day and quickly answered any questions that I had.

I was able to talk to them directly by phone, with a very little wait time. They calmed me down, answered my questions and reassured me that they would send all of the paperwork and authorizations necessary in order to cover the costs.

In the end, my insurance kept their word on all of their promises and sent all the authorizations to the hospitals and they covered all of the costs. I ended up flying back to Spain to get collarbone surgery and my private insurance covered 100% of the operation, the hospital stay and the rehabilitation sessions after, without any problem or hassle in the process.

It’s important to keep in mind that I’m not Spanish. I am North American and when I contracted the insurance and suffered this accident I did not even have residency in Spain yet. The operation was also done in a country different than my country of residence at that time, but even so, everything was covered by my private plan.

As a foreigner living in Spain, having insurance for less than € 50 per month, with no copay, has been has been a huge blessing, especially as a world traveler.  When I was given my annual rate, I thought it was a scam. When I was living in the USA I was paying close to $ 500 a month, with a high copay every time that I went to the doctor.

I know people from my experience working as a nurse that have had serious accidents and have had to go with an ambulance, stay a couple of days in the hospital and in the end had a hospital bill of $30,000 dollars or more. Even if one has insurance, they are still required in many cases to pay a high amount to cover costs and that can quickly create a financial crisis.

I always recommend my insurance to my friends who live in Spain, because it is much more practical and affordable than the coverage that they will get in the USA.

No matter who you are, if you are traveling abroad, obtaining excellent international health insurance coverage before leaving is key, because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

I have officially traveled alone to almost half of the countries around the world, with the goal of visiting them all. I have many new countries that I will visit in the coming years and I am very certain that I will never travel to any destination without my international insurance.

Traveling can be an enriching and life changing experience, but do risk something as important as your health when you take your next trip.


My hope for you all is that you will never be in the situation where you will have to use your insurance, but don’t risk it!



MTZ Seguros
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