For Steve Landau, it was the perfect vacation. "We went up to the east coast of Africa for an 18-day cruise," he said.
But, a few days into his trip the dream vacation turned into a nightmare. "Because along the way we found out our son developed cancer," Landau recalled.
His main concern quickly turned into getting his family back home. He says his trip insurance helped him do that without losing thousands of dollars.
"When you spend a lot of money on a vacation then, God forbid, something happens you want to be able to recoup all that money you laid out," he said.
Mary Hurley Lane, who's worked as a travel agent for more than 40 years, says stories like Landau's aren't all that uncommon, but she says many people don't buy trip insurance. "You get so wrapped up in planning a happy event, a vacation that you have to take a minute and cover yourself," Lane said.
She says personal health insurance will not work while traveling out of the country. So she suggests taking out trip insurance which can cover medical costs while traveling abroad.
"So if you're not insured then you risk losing the money that you've put into the vacation," she said. "It's usually well worth the investment."
Lane says travel insurance typically costs between 5 to 7 percent of the trip.