Charlie Funk
Charlie Funk

As I was growing up I sometimes heard the adage, "the cobbler's children are the worst shod" or "the shoemaker's son always goes barefoot." It succinctly pointed out that one often does an excellent job of serving others but often does little for those closest to them.

We are sometimes our own worst travel advisors. At one time we flew to a departure port on the same day our cruise began, paid for the least expensive stateroom on the ship, never bought excursions and didn't purchase trip cancellation/interruption insurance. I am so happy we don't do any of those things now (and that we never had anything go wrong!).

A recent tour to Sedona I took with 20 or so people pointed to the wisdom of planning for ourselves as we plan for our clients.

The early flights to Phoenix were without incident, the hotel transfer went off without a hitch and the pickup and transport to Sedona went smoothly. 

The next day, during our first tour, the wheels began coming off the wagon. I began having sharp, gut-wrenching pain in the center of my chest, just below the sternum, and I told my wife, Sherrie, I needed to go back to the hotel to rest. The pain only worsened.

A query to the front desk about the physician on call led to the manager calling me to inquire if I needed an ambulance to be transported to an emergency room. At first, I said "no," but during the call another attack convinced me otherwise.

I was transported by ambulance to a facility some 30 miles away. A battery of tests and imaging revealed my gall bladder needed removal, but it could wait until I returned to Nashville on April 16.

During the farewell dinner on the 15th, I began shaking uncontrollably. Another ambulance was dispatched. I was transported to a closer ER this time, and over the next two hours or so, it was determined that I was in septic shock. The seriousness of the matter was brought home when the attending physician came out to tell Sherrie "Mrs. Funk, your husband is seriously, seriously ill. He needs intensive care that we cannot provide. We have made arrangements to life-flight him to Banner Del Webb hospital in Sun City (Ariz.)."

The short version of the story is that I spent three days in the ICU, two of them in an induced coma. I had two surgeries on the 16th but had to wait for gall bladder removal until I was more stable. The gall bladder was removed April 22, and I was discharged on the 23rd.

So what does all this have to do with the services good travel professionals offer?

Even though we were traveling in the U.S. and my primary healthcare insurance took care of life-flight, surgery and recovery, we had also purchased trip insurance.

Our six-day trip turned into a 21-day marathon. Sherrie had to find accommodations in the area, rent a vehicle and attend to getting the group off to Nashville.

Our daughter Angela came out to assist, as did dear friends David and Linda Bohan. Sherrie openly says that without their support, it would have been a far more daunting situation.

Right now, total expenses for this adventure are pushing $150,000, which medical insurance will cover. 

Medical insurance won't cover the $3,000 lodging, $1,500 rental car and all the other attendant expenses associated with the unplanned stay. All told, we'd be about $6,000 out of pocket.

The trip insurance we purchased likely will not cover 100% of these expenses, but it will cover most. Without trip interruption insurance, we would have wound up bearing the full cost.

It's like this: Take care of yourself as well as you do your clients. And don't let your clients travel without making sure you have done all you can to have them buy this important coverage. It's the right and professional thing to do. 

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