Travel Insurance

I just wanted to share a story about how I learned the hard way to always check you have insurance…

The Story:

I had been around South East Asia and had been living in Sydney for eight months. I was finishing up my first job in the city and was preparing to go down the East Coast with my two best friends from the UK. After the trip with them I was going to a farm to complete my three months of farm work to extend my Holiday Working Visa for another year. My friends arrived we had a fun action packed three days in Sydney before boarding our Jet Star flight to Cairns. Room was packed up. new renter sorted, backpack was back out and we were all off to the airport.

It was such a exciting time getting back out there and traveling and even more so I got to take my two best mates on there first backpacking trip. We were all very excited on the flight to Cairns looking forward to the next day where we would exploring the Great Barrier Reef. Four hours later we touched down in Cairns just before midnight.  Chatting away about our two week trip we stood waiting for our bags…that is when it got awkward. People were collecting there bags and my friends got theirs then there was just me. I was stood looking at the empty carousel going round and round not wanting to except the fact my bag was not coming out.  A staff member of the airport asked me if she could help, I explained I was waiting for my bag…with only 20 mins until the airport shut it was safe to say no one was really that interested in my missing bag situation.  I gave them my hostel address and they gave me the Jet Star hotline number and we left the airport with me in tears. My friends where amazing they sorted me a swim suit for the next day and reassured me my bag would be with me by tomorrow dinner time.

Trying not to let the bag situation ruin the trip I jumped into the next day with both feet. We were on the Great Barrier Reef it was amazing. I got the call when in the the middle of the sea I did not want. It was from Jet Star telling me they could not find my bag it was not at Sydney airport and they would continue to look for it.

This went on through the entire East Coast trip. I would have to call the customer service line every time I changed address (going down the east coast this happened every 2-3 days). It was a life saver to have my friends from home with me. They lent me clothes and kept my spirits up and we had a great time. I did eventually buy a few bits and bobs on the way down and had a Aldi freezer bag as my new backpack. It was very frustrating having to call the Jet Star hotline all the time and at one point after lots of phone calls and emails they called and said they found my bag…they hadn’t it was nothing like my backpack it was actually a suitcase. What had happened was,I checked in at the self service then went to the check in desk I gave the lady at the desk my labels to put on my bag, which she did. What she did not do was scan the labels which meant my bag went off with no tracker on it….basically no one had a clue where it was.

We arrived in Brisbane and had a few days before I got on a bus to go to my farm work. I still had no bag and Jet Star were apparently still looking. It took another month and a half for Jet Star to admit that they had lost it and had no idea where it was. I got sent a contract to sign saying I would except that my bag was lost. The next step was to fill in a list of my belongings in my bag and the value. It took them another three weeks to send me my compensation which was a $1000.

I had lost everything I had bought whilst traveling around Asia, all my cosmetics, all my jewelry and clothes. Anything valuable the airline gets out of paying for because it says on your tickets not to pack valuables in your check in bag…(I didn’t know this until they told me this).  Now I could see I was not getting a penny more out of this budget airline I looked into my travel insurance which I had through my bank account in the UK. I got told that I was not covered. If I had been in a country longer then 3 months the travel insurance did not cover me.

I was on a farm in the middle of nowhere, everything I brought from home was gone and I had a very small amount of money to replace anything. It was really hard getting through my farm work without any home comforts. I earned very little money as I was doing WOOFING ( the farmer pays you a small wage and supplies accommodation and food for you).  I had to go to the charity shop to get some clothes for the farm and that was all I purchased before I got back to Sydney. It took probably another 6 months of working back in Sydney to start building up everything I lost. I also lost all the small things you pick up along the way when you travel which cant be replaced. It was super tough but I learnt my lesson to make sure me and my possessions are always fully covered. Safe to say for the Nepal trip I will be doing a lot of research to make sure MK and I are fully covered.

The Lessons:

  • Always make sure you have travel insurance when you fly and go away
  • Check your travel insurance to make sure what ever you plan to do is covered under it
  • Read all the small print, thats what caught me out
  • Shop around and have a look at different companies to get a good price
  • Make sure the people at the desk in the airports scan your label on your bag so it is traceable
  • Never pack valuables in your check-in luggage
  • Jet Star have terrible customer service
  • Material objects from home mean a lot when your away from home

Below is a pic of us having a blast on our East Coast trip with our Frasier Island family minus the chaos of my bag just to show you it was a good trip still …

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