The first time I visited Mexico City was for an 8-hour layover about 5 years ago. At the time, I didn’t believe in love at first sight, but the second I stepped out of my Uber outside Hotel Condesa, that changed…

Mexico’s vibrant culture had always excited me, but the cosmopolitan feel of Mexico City had me head over heels in less than 2 seconds. As I sipped a glass of wine at the hotel’s rooftop bar, I thought to myself, “I could live here for sure.”

Several vacations and a few similar layovers in CDMX later, I still felt the same.

IMG_4796x

Now, anyone who knows anything about me knows that I detest winter. Hailing (or raining, if you will) from Vancouver, BC, I can’t stand the constant rain, endless un-sunny days, and the grim look on everyone’s face as they walk to work in wet jeans.

In less than a second on a rainy winter day in Vancouver, I decided that I was done with winter.

I’d love to describe how the whole process happened, but it happened so fast that I literally found a sublet for my apartment… and left. I left to spend winter in Mexico City.

I arrived on a Friday, and the first thing I did (after finding my apartment of course) was head to my favourite restobar, El Traspatio. Typical of a night out alone in Mexico City, I met a few people at the bar, and we ended up having a great time together.

I woke up the next morning with what I thought was the 26-ounce flu. “My own fault,” I said to myself as I piled back ibuprofen and water.

The ibuprofen worked… for a bit. But once it wore off, I could tell something was up. I had a fever, body chills, a headache, and nausea. This wasn’t a hangover. I brushed it off as the flu and spent the next day in bed.

I woke up a solid 24 hours later and knew that whatever was happening to me was not just the flu, and it was serious.

There’s no way to sugar coat this: I was terrified.

I was in a country where I could hardly speak the language, in a neighbourhood that I didn’t know well, and I was alone. I was sick enough to know that I had to go to the hospital; something I’d never had to do in my life.

20-year-old me never would have done this, but luckily, I purchased travel insurance from TuGo before I departed.

bellas-artes

I’m sure someone reading this has heard nightmares about travel insurance companies. For a relatively low-priced policy, I was a bit worried myself. I had no idea what to do, so I called TuGo.

I told the person on the line that I thought I needed medical attention and asked them what I should do. They didn’t even hesitate to offer advice, telling me to get to an emergency room as soon as I could. They told me not to worry about how much it would cost, just to go to the hospital.

So from my bed at 5AM, I called an Uber to take me to the nearest hospital.

When I arrived, I thought I’d just need to get a quick checkup in the emergency room, maybe get a prescription, and head out. So I decided to pay for the quick visit and submit the claim when I returned to Canada.

But once I got into the emergency room, the fear I had originally immediately doubled. Maybe tripled, I don’t know. I’m not a “mathemagician”. The point of the matter is, there were doctors poking me with needles, taking blood, giving me medication, asking me questions and telling me things about what was happening in Spanish.

I hardly knew what was going on, but the doctors said I was bleeding from my stomach, and if I didn’t get the proper care I needed, I could lose a lot of blood.

This was when I realized things were super serious and that I probably wouldn’t be leaving the emergency room anytime soon.

In my broken Spanish, I explained that I had insurance that would take care of the bill, and that I needed to contact my provider. I was wheeled in a chair to the closest phone to call TuGo again and tell them what was going on.

I think the nicest thing about this whole encounter up until this point was that I got to speak to the same person on the phone at TuGo every time I called. I called again and explained the situation, and what happened next was nothing short of what I’d consider an insurance miracle…

TuGo contacted the hospital I was staying at and arranged for all paperwork to be filled out. They negotiated with the hospital for payment, and they consistently kept in contact with me about everything.

I was admitted to a hospital room from the emergency department, and while I had a ton of other things to worry about (like not dying), one thing I didn’t have to worry about was how I was going to pay for everything.

TuGo took care of it all.

Their team members communicated directly with the hospital to make sure I didn’t have to worry about anything. They dealt with the doctors and hospital bills, making sure I didn’t have to pay out of pocket for everything. And most importantly, they kept me updated on the status of my claims, making sure I knew that the hospital would be paid.

cdmx

Travelling to Mexico City for the winter this year was a dream come true, but it could have all gone completely awry. As a healthy 30-year-old, I never thought I’d end up in the hospital, but it happened.

An incredibly terrifying experience ended up being a surprising delight from an insurance company. I can’t stress the importance of travel insurance enough. If I didn’t have TuGo on my side, I can say with certainty that my trip would have ended there, and I’d have flown back home.

If you’re travelling anywhere for any length of time, buy the insurance. Don’t think twice. You never know when things can go south.

Bryan

bryan-loewen

Bryan Loewen is a freelance copywriter, travel junkie, and self-described comedian from Vancouver BC. When they’re not boarding flights or passing customs in a new country, you’ll find them running, trying a new restaurant, or clacking away at their keyboard writing posts like this.

A Traveller’s Winter Escape, Gone South

Jan 13 2020