This week, two “sleeping in the airport” news items caught my attention. The first was this CNN article rounding up the worst airports for sleeping, which pointed out that among the reasons people end up sleeping in airports in the first place are problems like flight delays and bad weather. The other was the reports coming out of Florida about Spirit Airlines customers bedding down in the terminals because of — you guessed it — flight delays. With these two items showing up in my newsfeed so close together, I couldn’t help but think about why in the world anybody would want to grab more than a quick nap in an airport, and how sleeping at the airport as a desperation measure can be avoided.
I get it; budget-conscious travelers, like young backpackers, sometimes actively choose to stay overnight at the airport because they’d rather spend a night on the floor than the cash for a hotel. But leaving those intrepid souls and their hardy backs and necks aside, there’s another group of budget-conscious travelers who end up sleeping in airports unnecessarily: Those who don’t want to spend the money for travel insurance. What those travelers may not realize is that travel insurance can be a very, very smart move if they’re worried about money. Here’s why:
1. No more sleeping in the airport. Under most basic comprehensive travel insurance policies (the standard, less-expensive, no-frills ones budget travelers might prefer), a travel delay of 5-6 hours or more comes with perks to ease the pain. One of those perks is reimbursement for a comfy bed in a nearby hotel if you need it. Yes, you have to shell out up front for the room, but you can submit a claim to get reimbursed; and many travel insurance companies will even help you book the lodgings as part of their 24/7 assistance program. Your back and neck will thank you later.
2. No big scary medical bills. Traveling overseas can mean that your usual health insurance policy works differently than it does at home, or in some cases, not at all. I hate to bring out the doom and gloom, but something as simple as a slip and fall on the streets of a foreign city can end up costing hundreds of dollars in unexpected medical bills. And that’s not anywhere near the amount it would cost to get medically evacuated if you had a serious accident that required critical care. There’s nothing budget-savvy about shelling out possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars for that.
3. No lost luggage panic. Of course you’d be upset to lose your luggage and your personal belongings, but you’d be much less upset if you knew you could get reimbursed for the cost of replacing your things. Basic baggage coverage is included in most comprehensive travel insurance plans, and it can cover everything from picking up a few essentials while you wait for your bags to be found and returned, to replacing all your clothing and personal effects. (Just make sure to pack smart and insure wisely; different policies have different limits as to how much they’ll reimburse you, so it’s especially important to do your research and understand how your items are valued.)
Not fully convinced yet that you can afford a travel insurance policy to cover all of this? I was skeptical, too. But a quick check by our Product Team showed me comprehensive, budget-traveler-friendly insurance plans that include all these benefits and more. Obviously rates will vary depending on your trip details and your individual needs, but the bottom line is that in most cases, getting a travel insurance policy that covers the basics won’t cost big bucks — and can definitely save you a bigger bill later on. I know most of us would be happy with that trade-off, especially if it could save us from sleeping in the airport.