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Travel Talk: I Threw Away $350 to save $30

Travel Talk: I Threw Away $350 to save $30

I like traveling but more than I like traveling, I like money in my pocket. This means I’ve found the easiest way for me to travel without breaking the bank. I scour the internet for random deals and glitches, utilize flight trackers like Hopper,  never plan to check a bag, and sometimes I'll be hungry before buying expensive airport food if I can avoid it. Another way I’ve managed to save money is not purchasing insurance for my trip. Mind you, insurance for trips can vary but can sometimes run you as low as $30. I don’t think twice before I opt out on handing them extra coins which could be spent on a tropical drink or an excursion while out playing. I didn't think much about this until recently.

My most recent purchase was a flight to Cape Town on Ethiopian Airlines for Thanksgiving which had a beautiful price tag of a little over $400 including insurance. I opted on insurance for one reason which was the ticket was acquired through a bit of manipulation  which is referenced as a fueldump. Needless to say, everyone and their cousin jumped on this deal and It was publicized across the internet and group chats alike with people  ready to tackle new locations for a fraction of the price. It would only take days for Ethiopian Airlines to begin canceling tickets and offering up refunds but I continued to put good vibes into the universe hopeful my ticket wouldn’t receive the ax. Two weeks later and my flight was canceled ending my short lived dreams of going to SA for next to nothing. Prior to my ticket being canceled, I had grown antsy over using this ticket based on the stories which were unfolding. People were being kicked off of flights, tickets were being canceled without much notice, and people found themselves in other countries being forced to pay full price. My insurance was never utilized but it would have saved my nerves(and pockets) had I decided to not move forward with my expedition.

Rewind to the first international ticket I purchased in October of 2015. This ticket cost me a pretty penny at $1,105 for a visit to Ghana with a layover in Turkey via Turkish Airlines. You would think that after already spending so much on a ticket that I would purchase insurance…nope.  My firm belief up until recently was that people who buy insurance are more likely to chicken out and ditch the trip altogether even when unwarranted. Never mind the fact that life happens and your upcoming vacation suddenly becomes a hassle; insurance was a way for the airlines to get a few extra dollars from you.

My aforementioned trip that was canceled before I had time to buy cute outfits is the ONLY trip I’ve purchased insurance for. That flight to Madrid? Nope. My flight from Madrid to London on an European carrier? No way! My flight to Antigua? I’m not wasting my money! My girl’s weekend to Martinique on Norwegian? You already know the answer! My Memorial Day Weekend Bash to Morocco and Portugal ? Nope, because I know I’m going!

Or so I thought. In January I purchased a $350 ticket through Priceline on Royal Air Maroc to spend a week partying it up and exploring these two different areas with my friends. Like most sites(and most airlines), you’re given 24 hours to cancel your ticket which is why I promote the famous proverb: Book Now, Questions Later. I remember the evening like it was yesterday as I got a message from my best friend with the deal of a flight too good to pass up. While at dinner with my boyfriend, I scrambled to get my ticket and didn’t flinch when it came to purchasing insurance. As the night progressed, we convinced several of our friends to buy the same ticket and I literally admonished anyone who asked about needing insurance. Like really, if you don’t want to go then say that but who needs insurance?

Fast-forward to my life being the most and I am told that I have an obligation which ultimately would require me to miss my trip. A situation completely out of my control and the only thing the airlines have to say is sorry? I’m a talker so I knew a quick customer service call wouldsolve my issue and I would find a message from my bank with a reminder of my pending refund. My conversation was brief and boiled down to one simple question: Did you purchase insurance? I’m having flashbacks to the night I purchased my ticket and I’m immediately kicking myself. In an effort to save $30, I unknowingly lost over $300 more due to no error of my own outside of not checking a simple box when purchasing months earlier.

Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I am the cheapest of the cheap. Since that unearthly $1,000 ticket to Ghana , I’ve managed to keep most of my flights under $400 and I’ve enjoyed many treasures on a small budget. I love to save money but there are some places that you should not and honestly just can’t afford to cut corners. You can’t cut corners on needed vaccines because your health is at risk and some countries will deny entry if not properly documented. You can’t corners on visas because once again the country can deny entry and/or you will be required to pay a hefty fee. Sure, don’t check a bag,  bring your own food for the flight,  and exchange your coins before you go.But the golden rule is to never save money in the moment if it could cost you later.

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