During high school in the early 1980s, I was a foreign exchange student to Turkey. Before my flights to Istanbul, my parents made sure that I had reliable traveler’s checks to convert into local currency when I arrived at the far side of the world. It was a choice between American Express or Thomas Cook. We chose Thomas Cook. The company had been in business since the 1840s, and its London headquarters is a lot closer to Turkey than is the US. It all went very well, and that experience moved me down a path in life that defined who I am today.
Of course, nothing crafted from the human hand lasts forever. So it should not have been a particular shock to me to learn today that Thomas Cook has closed down. Well, it was. This is a travel company that formed a regular part of conversations with neighbors and work colleagues during the decade (all of my 30s) that I lived in England. So I was a little rattled when news reports highlighted that more than 150,000 travelers have been stranded overseas by this sudden, unexpected corporate collapse. The British government estimates that it will spend more than the equivalent of $120 million getting its citizens home; and many more will not be so lucky.
Why share this gloomy news? Is it likely that your airline or hotel group will shut down during the coming months? No. Is it likely that you will be hospitalized or jobless right before your upcoming trip? Very likely not. Will there be a natural disaster that prevents you from traveling? Same answer: probably not. But are these things possible? Well, yes, they are. And this reality is why True Hope Travel recommends that you buy travel insurance when you commit to a trip. Similar to having a fire extinguisher in your house or a spare tire in your car, you don’t want to use it—but you really should have it.
To purchase trip insurance (particularly trip cancellation or interruption policies), consider policies from Faith Ventures: https://www.truehopetravel.com/trip-travel-insurance.html
Gary Werner is a journalist, media project manager, and cross-cultural consultant focused on wine, food, and travel for national and international book, magazine, and website publishers. His range of professional experience includes work for the DK Eyewitness Travel guide series, pre-placement training sessions for transnational corporate relocations, and guidance on global brand localization. The scope of this enlightening work has taken him to 16 countries, including a full decade in the United Kingdom.