Jet-Setting in the Third World: Is Travel Insurance a Must?


Travelling in Third World countries is not really as dangerous as it sounded decades ago. So many things have happened in the world today, from the fall of communism to globalization that so many countries that although there are countries that are still considered “Third World”, these places are not necessarily destitute or lacking in even the most basic necessities.

There are underdeveloped Third World countries like Haiti and Chad that can be really risky places to travel in because of their poor infrastructure, inadequate medical facilities and unstable political climate. Meanwhile, there are countries like India, Thailand and Costa Rica that are still considered as countries belonging to the Third World, but are in the process of developing. These countries may have areas that can be considered dangerous, but they also have urban centers and facilities that rival even destinations in the First World.

What makes these Third World destinations an adventure to go to are their eclectic mix of places of interest for tourists and visitors. They have well-preserved beaches, ancient ruins and rural communities that have not been spoiled by too much commercialization, and yet they also have night spots, museums, shopping centers and parks that suit cosmopolitan travelers.

But whether a traveler is planning to go to an underdeveloped or developing Third World country, it is still imperative to take advantage of travel insurance to be on the safe side. For travelers going to places with volatile current events and frequent weather disturbances, it is always recommended to have comprehensive travel insurance for them to be protected from something drastic like natural calamities, terrorist acts to even small flight delays. Meanwhile, those who are on a shoestring budget and would like to rough it up and explore areas off the beaten track should be wise enough to get backpackers travel insurance for any untoward incident that may happen.

What exactly are the risks of travelers going to these Third World destinations? Aside from the factors mentioned earlier, such as natural disasters, events brought about by the unstable sociopolitical atmosphere and terrorist activities, there are also risks involving the traveler’s health because of poor medical infrastructure, contaminated water and food supplies and disease-carrying organisms like insects.

Disease and illness can be transmitted to the traveler via food. This is possible through incorrect methods of preparing and presenting food, spoiled or contaminated ingredients or presence of bacteria and disease-carrying insects like flies that gather in food handled outdoors or sold on the streets. The traveler should always prefer food prepared very hot and peeled fruits and veggies.

Water should be boiled before being drunk. Better beverage options are those that are sealed and unopened like beer, soft drinks, juice and bottled water. Diseases that may come from food and water include dysentery, diarrhea and amoebas, among others. As for insects and other animals, incidences of rabies, tetanus and malaria are still rampant in the Third World. Thus, visitors going there should have a complete set of vaccinations done before their departure.