Singaporeans love travelling. When it was announced that the 7th of August this year was a public holiday, it wasn’t surprising how quickly air tickets sold out for that 4-day long weekend. So if we are such frequent flyers, why do we still make dumb mistakes overseas? Here are the 7 dumbest ways Singaporeans get in trouble while on holiday.
1. Being EXTREEEEMEEEEEE.
“Sir, your insurance policy covers MMA and scuba diving, but not at the same time.”
Some travel insurance policies cover a variety of extreme activities, like scuba diving and jet skiing. However, even the most comprehensive of policies still have a number of exclusions and limits to their coverage. Always keep a note of which activities are covered by your travel insurance policy and which are not. Here are 5 other points to note about travel insurance for you adventurous types.
2. Thinking you need to eat street food to “live like the locals”.
“And this yoga pose is called ‘I Wish I Didn’t Eat That’”
When travelling, especially in Asia, it’s hard to escape the street food culture. From Bangkok to Hanoi to Jakarta, you’ll definitely see several hawkers selling their wares along busy city streets. The more adventurous may feel like gambling their health and subsequent comfort for the “authentic” taste of a city, but really, all you’re setting up yourself for is spending the rest of your holiday curled up in your hotel bed.
In general, the more popular a food stall is, the safer it usually is. This is because food gets consumed soon after preparation, so there’s less chance for contamination. Of course, this rule doesn’t apply to hawkers whose idea of cleaning utensils is dunking for a few seconds in a pail of (hopefully) water.
3. Conveniently not mentioning pre-existing medical conditions
“Roger drove around the country with a pre-existing condition called ‘camera-face’”
Though there is no obligation to, it is best to declare all pre-existing medical conditions when applying for travel insurance. Yes, in most cases, this means having to pay a higher premium, but at least you’ll still be covered should something happen to you.
For example, you fall sick just before your trip and as a result, had to cancel it. If this illness is the result of a pre-existing condition that you did not mention when applying for travel insurance, you run the risk of not being able to claim anything from your insurers. That means you’ll not only be still liable for the travel insurance premium, but the entire cost of your wasted trip too.
4. Aiyah… wait till tomorrow then buy insurance lah.
If you don’t travel often, you might think it’s more cost effective to only buy insurance on the very day you’ll be leaving the country. After all, if the insurance company is going to charge you daily, why give them more money than they deserve, right?
Here’s why. There are many things that could happen in the days leading up to your travel that might cause a delay or cancellation of your flight.
For example, a freak event of nature, like a blizzard in the US, or the ash clouds in Iceland and Chile in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Or it could be manmade “disasters” like a prolonged strike by airport staff. If you don’t already have travel insurance when such events happen, you’ll be liable for any expenses incurred as a result.
Here are 4 other mistakes people often make when buying travel insurance.
5. One tequila, two tequila, three tequila… floor.
“Dude, I don’t think you can claim insurance for “permanent marker assault”.
It seems like common sense when you say it out loud, but travel insurance normally will not cover you for any unfortunate situations that are a result of your drinking too much or getting high on non-prescription drugs or medication.
So if you’re planning to drink while on holiday, just make sure you don’t do anything stupid afterwards.
6. Not buying travel insurance at all!
“I’ll just leave my car here and go buy travel insurance before anyone notices.”
We understand that sometimes, you think you’re only going to be driving up to Johor for a couple of hours before coming back, so why bother buying travel insurance just for that short period of time?
Because the truth is, anything could happen. Although it’s unlikely, you could get robbed in Malaysia.
7. Trusting people who are a little TOO friendly.
It’s been a year since our intrepid writer Ryan found himself getting robbed in Tokyo. Long story short, someone offered to show him the sights and then led him into an ambush where ended up a victim of robbery and credit card fraud. He’s not the first of such victims, and won’t be the last.
While I was in Rome several years ago, my group was approached by two men who started tying “friendship bands” around our wrists. They seemed friendly enough, so we allowed them. After that, their appearance changed and pretty much said that these “friendship bands” would now cost us 20 Euro each. We tried to take them off, but another two men began approaching us. Intimidated, we paid 50 Euro and walked quickly away as fast as possible.
It’s sad that these criminals ruin the otherwise wonderful experience of travel, but the key is always to be alert and not put yourself in a position where the safety of the group is compromised.
Do you know any other dumb ways Singaporeans get in trouble on holiday? Share them with us.