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Now that members of the Millennial Generation are coming of age and settling firmly into their lives, travel agents are seeing renewed interest in traveling abroad.

Compared to other nationalities, Americans are not known to travel overseas as much; however, there are two historical exceptions. In the 1990s, members of Generation X enjoyed a period of prosperity that spurred international travel. During this time, backpacking through Europe became fashionable. The other historical is happening now; Millennials tend to be worldly, adventurous and curious about exploring the global village.

Unfortunately, Generation X and Millennials share something in common: they venture abroad without international medical insurance. Visiting another country without travel insurance or trip protection is mostly an American trend; European and Latin American travelers are more likely to purchase travel insurance policies for the purpose of international travel.

There are various reasons why Americans go around the world without travel insurance, and each reason has a corresponding misconception. Here are some of them:

“The American Embassy Will Take Care of Me”

This alarming misconception emanates from an erroneous interpretation of the services offered by U.S. embassies and consulates to U.S. citizens in case of an emergency. If a college student goes to Costa Rica for spring break and fractures her ankle while hiking the rain forest, the consulate may contact the student’s family back in the U.S., but they will not pay her medical bills.

“I Have Medical Insurance in the U.S.”

Some Millennials growing up with the provisions of the Affordable Care Act may believe that their mandatory health insurance policies at home will cover them in the U.S. For the most part, this is not true. Some American students who enroll in study abroad programs may be able to buy a PPO policy that includes some level of coverage abroad, but only in the country where the foreign campus is located; this does not offer the same benefits as an international medical insurance policy.

“I Rarely Get Sick”

This is another terrible misconception that Americans often mention as a reason why they don’t consider getting trip protection plans. While it is true that Millennials tend to be more mindful of their health and fitness than prior generations, this wonderful trait does not preclude medical emergencies abroad. Health issues tend to become manifest at the most inopportune moments while traveling abroad; being healthy will certainly help patients to recover faster, but this will not guarantee admission to a hospital.

Traveling with travel insurance can provide peace of mind in the event of unexpected emergency medical (and other) situations.

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