Yesterday, as I was chatting with another IMT-er, he abruptly asked me the following question:
“Did you know it snows in Turkey?”
I’ll admit, it gave me a moment of pause. Did I know that it snows in Turkey? Well, yes, I supposed I did; after all, I knew that Turkey was not a wholly tropical climate, and I knew that it was perfectly possible for temperatures there to dip into the 30s and 40s, if not often, then at least every once in a while. Logically, snow might follow. While Turkey might not top the list in my mind of picturesquely frosted, wintry destinations, I had to answer that certainly, I could see how it might snow there.
“But I mean,” my colleague pressed, “a LOT of snow. They don’t know what to do with it. Look.”
He showed me the article he was perusing at the time, which confirmed that Turkey was in the midst of its worst snowfall in 10 years, and that as a result of the unaccustomed weather, air and road travel in and around Istanbul was nearly at a standstill. Yes, I conceded, it was a lot more snow than I would have pictured if you asked me how much snow might fall on Turkey, especially at this time of year. But with all the odd weather patterns the world has endured in recent weeks and months, how surprised could I really be?
It’s a fact of traveling that the unexpected will happen; in fact, I’d go so far as to say that from my personal perspective, if you’re traveling because you crave predictability, you may want to re-think your plans. Fortunately, as I so often remind people, there’s travel insurance for many of those unexpected occurrences. However, it seems to me that among people who tend to buy insurance for their trips, there are two camps: those who always buy some sort of insurance, because “you never know,” and those who only insure trips when they’re relatively convinced that something may happen — like buying coverage for a cruise during hurricane season, or making sure they have coverage for a flight to the Midwest in December. For the latter group of travelers, I’d venture to guess that buying travel insurance for a trip to Istanbul in March wouldn’t have been a top priority.
Was the major snowstorm in Turkey a fluke occurrence? Probably. But then again, so was the now-legendary volcanic eruption in Iceland last year. In some ways, having travel insurance seems to me to be a bit like traveling with your overly cautious grandmother. You might scoff at her for packing all those extra umbrellas, fleece jackets, and mittens when you take off for a Floridian vacation; but when the temperatures dip to record lows and it rains the whole time you’re trying to enjoy the attractions, you’ll be awfully glad that Grandma came prepared.
Yes, it snows in Turkey — sometimes, apparently, quite a bit — even in March. While the snowstorm there isn’t exactly splashing all over the headlines, it’s fairly likely that if you were a traveler whose plans got derailed yesterday by the wintry mess, it would have felt like big news to you. None of us has a crystal ball to alert us to possible pitfalls; but we do have the opportunity to at least pack a little extra security. And the really good news is that a travel insurance policy, unlike Grandma’s overstuffed carry-on bag, won’t take up too much space in the overhead bins.