We traveled for a year and now we’re home. Our project is completed. Now I feel comfortable to write about logistics and comment on what worked (or didn’t) as a reference for anyone else out there planning to do an around the world trip with or without children.
Insurance. It’s such a boring word, totally at odds with the ideal of adventuring to exotic locales as a carefree traveler. For our usual travels (to visit with family), we rarely take out travel insurance but this time at least medical insurance seemed necessary.
I did my initial research on available policies and vendors using SquareMouth.com but we ended up buying our policy through WorldNomads.com. The WorldNomads.com interface is simple and straightforward to use. With two clicks you can get a quote for family coverage for travel worldwide for up to six months – and you can renew or extend the policy online. Although I was initially dubious about the coverage provided by a policy that was so easy to find, the coverage provisions and amounts were comprehensive.
Two things worth noting:
Firstly, all our pre-trip medical preparations were covered by the health insurance we had through our respective employers.
Secondly, in preparing for our trip, we took the approach that while we needed travel insurance in case of a medical emergency, we were less concerned about baggage or equipment coverage. Instead, we opted to pack light and pack only things that were easily (and cheaply) replacable. The netbook we carried with us being the only exception and it was guarded carefully throughout the whole trip.
We had two bags stolen during the trip, both in Chile. I have just submitted a claim against one of those thefts. Look out for my review of WorldNomads.com insurance from that perspective in the future.
International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers
This organization provides members with a listing of english-speaking doctors worldwide. Given that we are shamefully unilingual (even if we have excellent pidgin French, Spanish and German), the $100 membership fee for IAMAT seemed like a no-brainer.
Additional Medical Insurance
This is only relevant for U.S. residents. A month before our trip we were deep in pre-trip preparations. We had a master to-do list on which we added items or checked off items daily – sometimes hourly. It was in one of these frenzied “work the list” sessions that Murph had a light-bulb moment: we needed U.S. medical coverage too. Our travel insurance policy (like most such policies) stipulates repatriation to primary residence in the case of a medical emergency. Following that thought, in a disaster situation, we could end up back in the U.S. with a broken bone or worse but without any health insurance. We deemed that the potential to be out-of-pocket for thousands of dollars for post-event care in the U.S. was huge.
We considered COBRA – the optional extension of an employer-sponsored plan. Unfortunately, the cost of the very excellent medical insurance provided by Murph’s employer way out of our budget.
We did our research and found an independent health insurance broker who helped us choose an insurance plan with Lifewise. The plan is not cheap but now that we’re home, we happy we have it since it also gives us coverage while we’re looking for work.
Family World Trip Logistics Part I: What We Left At Home
Family World Trip Logistics Part II: Insurance and Medical
Family World Trip Logistics Part III: Schoolwork
Family World Trip Logistics Part IV: Travel Planning and Booking