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The One Thing I Never Travel Without


What would you guess is the one thing I have never traveled without …

  • My cell phone? Well, no. I was a backpacking gal long before people carried cellphones. I have an addiction problem now, but it hasn’t always been this way.
  • My passport? Not always. It’s only recently that Canadians need to carry a passport to enter into the United States.
  • A companion? Nope. I travel alone all the time.

The answer is medical travel insurance. This post is sponsored by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), but it is a topic I hope you will give some serious consideration because even as a carefree university student, I quickly learned how critical having medical travel insurance can be when a group of us all had to pool our meager funds together so that a friend could see a doctor and get some much needed medication when we were on spring break.

We Canucks love to drive into the USA for our spring break vacations to catch some sun. But unlike in Canada, where a medical need is covered by our public health care system, a minor sickness in the States can run you a few hundred dollars (which seemed like a fortune when I was a broke student), while a serious car accident resulting in surgery or life-saving interventions could put your family in debt for years.

To date, I’ve been fortunate not to have had to use travel medical insurance for anything too serious. I had a fall on a hike that resulted in a cracked rib or two in Australia, and another time I needed to go to a hospital in Portugal for a shot because I was having a major allergic reaction.

But if I was outside of Canada and had a serious accident? I know that my husband and my extended family would do everything possible to ensure I had the best medical care. However, just the thought of putting my family’s finances at risk like that is enough to make me shudder.

So that’s the one thing I never travel without: travel medical insurance. Same goes for Hubby and the kids. Anytime we travel outside of Canada– and that includes our frequent weekend trips across the US border for skiing, hiking, or just some great shopping – we make sure we have insurance. For us, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

If you don’t have medical travel insurance with your job or you want to “top up” to ensure you have premium coverage, you can get an online quote from CAA by clicking here.


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  1. We are covered with work benefits – worldwide, so I’m glad that’s always covered.

    • Yes, it is definitely a valuable work benefit to have! And it is good to know that most plans will continue to cover your children as long as they are full-time students … but important to keep in mind for those new graduates travelling off into the wild blue yonder with their backpacks. My parents insisted I have travel medical insurance before I left to go backpacking in Australia and Asia in the 1990s. I’m glad they did!

  2. Sarah McCormack says:

    especially when travelling to the U.S… i’ve heard storie of having to pay $600 for a visit toa clinic and an antibiotic. we,too , have coverage through DH’s work. thank goodness!

  3. Elizabeth L says:

    I often cross the border for a shopping day but I never thought about travel insurance. I will have to look over my options before I go again!

    • Yes, please do! Just to keep you and your family safe from unexpected expenses. It’s really not expensive at all for quick trip and you can buy very quickly by phone or online.

  4. gingermommy says:

    I live in a boarder town and am always crossing over to go shopping. I need to get his. I think about it when we fly and go on vacation, but I never think of it for day trips

  5. Great post. I purchase yearly insurance so I don’t have to worry each trip.

  6. LifeInPleasantville says:

    I wouldn’t dream of leaving the country without travel medical insurance. My mother once got very sick in Mexico and the final tally was $25,000. Imagine if they didn’t have insurance?

  7. Great reminder! We have CAA but I should probably take the time to figure out what sort of coverage we actually have – particularly when travelling!

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