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Solo travel has a lot of benefits. It’s a chance to step outside of your comfort zone, meet new people from around the world and spend time doing some inner reflection. However, solo travel also comes with risk, and in some places, this risk is heightened for female travelers. Accidents, emergencies and unavoidable hiccups in your travel itinerary happen, and these situations can be even more stressful when you’re traveling alone as a woman.
This is where travel protections and insurance come in. You can buy comprehensive travel insurance plans from a third-party provider (which is a good idea when you’re doing anything potentially dangerous like mountain climbing or taking an extended trip), but many credit cards also offer base protections that can be a lifesaver when you’re abroad. In my opinion, everyone should have some sort of travel insurance coverage when you are traveling abroad. However, female solo travelers should double down to make sure you’re protected throughout your trip.
When You’re Traveling Somewhere Unknown
Coverage Needed: Travel Assistance Hotline
Unfortunately, there are some destinations that are more risky for female solo travelers, whether due to crime rates, local laws or a mix of the two. When you’re traveling somewhere you’ve never been before (especially if your destination is off the beaten path), access to a travel assistance hotline can be invaluable.
Before you take a trip, you can request a destination guide for customs information, popular areas of town to stay and more. Beyond planning ahead, a travel assistance hotline can help if you lose your passport or luggage, need an emergency legal referral or need to find reputable medical care while abroad. Traveling alone can be stressful, especially when something goes wrong. A travel assistance hotline can help alleviate some of that stress and let you focus more on your trip.
When Your Flight Home Gets Delayed
Coverage Needed: Trip Delay Reimbursement
It’s an unfortunate fact of air travel: planes are often delayed. Sometimes, a delay is just a minor inconvenience. If you have a connecting flight with a shorter layover, a delay can be the start of a nightmare. Solo travelers could end up stranded alone at an airport overnight or longer waiting for the next available flight, which can cost hundreds of dollars in out of pocket expenses.
In some cases, extra planning can help avoid a missed flight due to a delay. If you know the route you’re flying often experiences delays, you can simply make sure you book a flight with a longer layover. However, many times delays are unavoidable and unexpected. Trip delay reimbursement will offset most if not all of the reasonable costs associated with a delay that’s out of your control.
When You Get Hospitalized Abroad
No one wants to think about the possibility of getting injured or sick while on a trip, but it happens. You could fall while hiking or skiing. A bad case of the flu could land you in the hospital. Unfortunately, your standard health insurance most likely won’t cover any doctors visits, hospitalizations, medical transportation or medications you need while traveling internationally. Emergency evacuation insurance will cover out-of-pocket expenses if you need a medivac or some other type of transportation to get you to needed medical help. Emergency medical insurance will provide coverage for unexpected medical costs such as an ER visit.
When Your Rental Car Breaks Down
Coverage Needed: Roadside Assistance
Whether you pop a tire (and don’t have the means or ability to replace it) or have an engine issue, it can be nerve-wracking to be stranded on the side of the road by yourself. This is where Roadside Assistance can be a lifesaver. If you’re in an area you’re unfamiliar with, calling a roadside assistance hotline will be easier than frantically searching for a nearby mechanic or tow truck. Depending on the specific provider and coverage plan, services like towing, winching, jump starts, fuel delivery and more could be partially or fully covered as well.
Choose a Credit Card with Travel Insurance Coverage
Comprehensive travel insurance with a third-party can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of your trip, depending on your travel plans. However, many premium travel credit cards come with travel insurance included when you use your card to pay for at least part of your flight. Note that coverage and specific benefits vary between cards, and some issuers are scaling back on travel benefits (including Citi and Bank of America).
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance, Travel Assistance, Trip Delay Reimbursement, Primary Rental Coverage, Lost Baggage, Delayed Baggage, Travel Accident Insurance, Roadside Assistance, Emergency Medical Evacuation, Emergency Medical and Dental Insurance. Terms apply.|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance, Travel Assistance, Trip Delay Reimbursement, Primary Rental Coverage, Lost Baggage, Delayed Baggage, Travel Accident Insurance, Roadside Assistance, Emergency Medical Evacuation. Terms apply.|
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance, Travel Assistance, Trip Delay Reimbursement, Primary Rental Coverage, Lost Baggage, Delayed Baggage, Travel Accident Insurance, Roadside Assistance, Emergency Medical Evacuation. Terms apply.|
|United Explorer Card||Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance, Travel Assistance, Trip Delay Reimbursement, Car Rental Coverage, Lost Baggage, Delayed Baggage, Travel Accident Insurance, Roadside Assistance, Emergency Medical Evacuation. Terms apply.|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Global Assist Hotline, Premium Roadside Assistance, Baggage Insurance Plan, Car Rental Coverage, Travel Accident Insurance. Terms Apply.|
|American Express® Gold Card||Global Assist Hotline, Premium Roadside Assistance, Baggage Insurance Plan, Car Rental Coverage, Travel Accident Insurance. Terms Apply.|
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||Travel Assistance, Travel Accident Insurance, Car Rental Coverage. Terms Apply.|
Right now, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the only credit card that offers Emergency Medical/Dental Insurance. However, other premium travel cards from Chase, Capital One and Amex offer a nice set of benefits that can help you in most cases. When you’re comparing credit cards, take a look at the travel protections and coverage details offered. Additionally, make sure that when you’re booking a solo trip, you’re using a card that offers the benefits you might need.
Travel insurance is something that every traveler should consider before taking a trip abroad, but there are specific travel insurances that solo travelers should look for when choosing a credit card to pay for your trip. Accidents and illnesses can turn into a nightmare filled with arranging emergency transportation and handling nonrefundable ticket costs. With the travel protections offered with premium cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you have peace of mind that you’re covered through your travels.
It’s also a smart idea to look into more comprehensive coverage offered by a third party, especially if you’ll be traveling for an extended period of time. Medical coverage and trip insurance that covers more than just approved emergency expenses could come in handy.
Featured photo by Thomas Griesbeck / Unsplash
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