Bogota Colombia The Patagonia Travel Travel Insurance

The Last Flight Out

I was in Bogota Columbia and had just ordered my lunch at the Albahaca Restaurante, it was 1 PM Thursday, March 19th. While I was waiting for my food I took out my cell and opened the NY Times app which headlined the US government advised that all US Citizens should return home immediately or be prepared to stay where they were overseas indefinitely. Wow! Next, I called my friend Marc who works in the American consulate in Juarez Mexico and asked him what was happening and his only answer was for me to leave immediately for home.

My original return flight back to New York was on April 7 with American Airlines. When I called AA to re-book the flight I went right into a hold and when I tried their website it was not functioning. Chase Travel who booked a flight for me put me on indefinite hold also and was not much help either.

What am I supposed to do, wait?

Bogota International Airport

It was smart to move that fast and I was very lucky to make it home before everything shut down. From my understanding, the Bogota airport closed Thursday, March 19th at midnight which was three hours after I departed. JFK closed March 20th.

My travel insurance company will not pay for anything, not the new return flight home, not for the Bogota rent that I paid in advance, nor the food I left in the refrigerator in Bogota, nada nothing. American Airlines told me yesterday April 18, 2020, that they will refund me 15 dollars for the canceled return flight from Bogota to Miami to JFK which originally cost over eight hundred dollars.

The point is that for 2 days I had to completely rely on myself with no support or assistance from any of the airlines, travel agents, backup or insurance systems I had in place. I paid through the nose for everything and when push comes to shove the people I engaged and who were supposed to look out or assist me did not answer the phone.

Note, eventually my return ticket on American Airlines was refunded to me.

Chile Tourism Fishing Fly Fishing The Patagonia Travel Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance Again

Where is our trout?

I strongly suggest that voyagers use travel insurance. The policies I purchased have paid for themselves a couple of times on past trips. Travel Insurance makes life much less stressful. If you happen to get sick or hurt, they could save your life or even a small fortune. If your flight is delayed or canceled, you will be covered for additional charges, delays, meals, and hotel rooms. Remember to keep every single receipt; copy them on your cell phone scanner app.

Chile Tourism The Patagonia Travel Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

The travel insurance company I have been using is When I have submitted claims, they paid promptly. TI has different levels of coverage at several price points. The site is easy to access, read, and understand. You decide what you need and purchase it when you buy your flight ticket.

For example, last September 2017, I purchased a round-trip ticket from New York’s JFK to Santiago, Chile, on Avianca Airlines, leaving the USA in mid-October 2017 and returning on March 29th, 2018. The Avianca ticket was 500 dollars cheaper than American Airlines. Five days before my flight to Chile, I tried to check my trip online, and there was nothing! I called and emailed the airline, but no answer. I looked at the news about Avianca and found out that its pilots were on strike and all flights were canceled. Since I had brought my tickets with my Chase Sapphire credit card through Chase Travel, they were able to cancel the trip for me, refund my money, and then book my seats on American Airlines for the same travel days. Lucky me! made up the difference in the cost of the flights. I recouped one-third of the value of the insurance.

Another example of working for me was in 2014. I made a month’s vacation to Argentina and Chile. When I was to fly back from Buenos Aires in January 2015, a tremendous snowstorm happened on the USA’s East Coast, and JFK was closed. I holed up at the Airport Hotel in BA for five days while waiting for a flight home. paid for the full stay, room, and board, read Argentinian Filet Mignon.

Remember that not all travel insurance companies are the same; has worked well for me twice in the past 3 trips. I trust them.

I have also heard that American Airlines Credit Cards are worthwhile, but I have no experience with them.

My homeowners and renters insurance will cover me for theft and loss of personal property while traveling internationally but remember, watch your stuff! Keep everything tight and organized and look under the bed when you move to the next spot, and be sure not to leave your fly rods in the trunk of the cab! I photograph all my gear before I go, so there is a record of what I traveled with if I need to prove it.

Auto insurance for a rental car is the policy listed on the credit card you use to rent the vehicle and the car rental agency’s paperwork when you rent it. The auto insurance policy you have for your car at home will not cover you outside of the USA! Premium Credit Cards have adequate rental car insurance, but it is a complicated policy, make sure you understand it.

I cannot impress upon you enough the importance of health and travel insurance, even if your journey is only a couple of weeks long. Flight delays and cancellations, illness, and lost luggage or papers can be stressful and expensive. Travel insurance will cover your ass. It is worth it, buy it and relax.

Keep backup photocopies of passport, health and travel insurance, credit cards, & license, store the copies securely.