BusinessDay

Traveling this summer? You need to do it like my friend Amaka

You know how they say opposites attract? Well, that’s the perfect description of myself and Amaka, my forever ‘Besto’ as I call her. Amaka and I are poles apart. Though our friendship spans nearly two decades, our different personalities have not changed over the years.

While I am typically a happy-go-lucky, carefree person, Amaka is very calm, meticulous, and collected. She has always been organised, with a keen eye for detail and careful planning. Her scrupulosity earned her many nicknames over time, and I mainly referred to her as ‘Madam Prim and Proper’.

But one thing Amaka and I share is a deep love for travel. We have gone on numerous trips to different parts of the world, from the United States to various European nations. Since we had never been to Asia, we planned to visit a part of the continent sometime two years ago, but the pandemic came and thwarted our plans.

Fast forward to the beginning of this year, we reactivated our Asian travel plans and decided to visit South Korea. As usual, you can trust Amaka to see to every little detail regarding the travel planning. We both looked forward to this trip, particularly because it was the first time, we were both travelling with our children.

Now, let me tell you something interesting. I have already mentioned Amaka’s excellent attention to detail, but I will let you know another very peculiar aspect of her character. Naturally, despite her meticulous planning skills, over time, during our trips, some glitches or hiccups would occur, and she would be utterly unfazed about them.

Her confidence in the face of travel eventualities was always incredible, and I sincerely believed that she was being her usual unperturbed self.
However, nothing prepared me for Amaka’s reaction when an unfamiliar travel hiccup occurred during our trip to South Korea.

As we know already, the Covid-19 pandemic completely altered the world as we know it, and this is especially the travel industry. During the pandemic, all countries locked down their borders and imposed travel restrictions for visitors that are now largely eased. These stringent measures were put in place to prevent further outbreaks.

South Korea, our target destination, has these safety measures and protocols in place, including a bizarre quarantine process. Their law mandates travelers visiting for more than one week to undergo an in-country Covid-19 test every six days of their stay.

Amaka and I were fully vaccinated and even boosted, but still did not count as we had to undergo these tests. But that is not scary because we were not that worried about testing positive. I mean, it’s 2022, and no one contracts COVID and goes berserk anymore. The worrying part, however, was that according to their laws, if we indeed tested positive, we would be required to self-isolate in their military facility, and most importantly, you would be forced to pay $5,000 (N3,250,000) for the quarantine cost.

The thought of this likely unplanned cost did my head a 360-spin, and suddenly, I remembered our interactions with other tourists during the numerous tours we went on in their capital city, Seoul, may not have carried some risks. What if we test positive with our children? That means coughing out $30,000.

Now here’s the hilarious part. While I stood drizzled in the queue with my head throbbing and rioting at this potentially damning situation, Amaka was completely unbothered. She was calm and still like bottled water.

To say I was unnerved is an understatement because I knew she didn’t have any money stashed up anywhere. After we underwent the tests, we were required to wait a few hours to get our results, and while I was panicking from the anxiety of what our results portended, my friend, Amaka, was whiling away time watching a movie and generally having fun. At this point, I was at my tipping point, so I asked her tensely, “what if we and the kids test positive? What would do because these people would be asking for a lot of money!” Amaka looked up at me and said in the calmest and sassiest tone, “I got us travel insurance, even if anything happens, we are covered.”

Our conversation continued with me questioning her confidence in a travel insurance procured from Nigeria when we are in a part of the world eight hours ahead of Nigeria in time-zone, and whether she was confident that this so-called travel insurance had COVID-19-specific coverage. She answered in her usual self-composed manner, “Yes, I have a policy with Nigeria’s leading insurer with more than 50 years of experience in operations.”

I could finally relax my nerves because if Amaka said everything was fine, it meant it was indeed. Our vacation was a smooth experience because our results came out negative, and we also had the most delicious Korean cuisine that day in a celebratory mood. But that’s not the story, I had been friends with Amaka for nearly two decades, and I dare say, I learnt one of the greatest lessons from her that day, and it was about the importance of using the tools at one’s disposal always to ensure safety and peace of mind from unplanned eventualities.

Amaka’s incorporation of travel insurance for this trip was a much-needed eye-opener for someone like me who only thought travelling was about getting the best of exotic destinations and luxurious hotels. After this experience, I researched travel insurance interventions and was shocked to discover that in 2018, Finder.com reported that over £399 million was paid in travel insurance claims in the United Kingdom, with most of these claims in the form of medical bills.

I have since decided never to go on any vacation without travel insurance henceforth, a resolution which I have fulfilled by getting insurance for this summer vacation with my husband.

Let me let you in on a secret. Amaka revealed that it was Leadway Assurance Company Limited’s travel insurance package she had on our Korean trip, and I have seen first-hand from her unshaken confidence that it is a brand she trusted wholeheartedly.

So, I implore you to be like Amaka and never go on any trip without Leadway Assurance travel insurance coverage because it is a viable risk mitigation tool for your trips, and you can take my words for it because I have become its convert and now a preacher.

Don’t just take my words for it. For more information on the Leadway travel insurance offering, please visit https://www.leadway.com/travel-insurance/ or scan the QR Code at the top right or call us on 012700700 or email insure@leadway.com for professional advice.

Learn more about How To Get Good Travel Insurance Deals On Your Next Trip

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