Tomorrow I start my 24-hour 3-flight journey to Trelew, Argentina. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. It’s a great relief that this time my travelling pal, Mélissa, will be on the same flights as me. I am counting on her to be entertaining enough to compensate for the absence of captioned movies on these flights. I’ve had to endure many entertainment-deprived flights including the 15 and a half-hour haul from Vancouver to Sydney, Australia. Don’t be surprised if, by the time we land in Trelew, Mélissa will have a head full of micro-braids because I’ll need something to do while she watches Super Troopers 2 back to back to back to back…. to back.
White girls on vacay!
Anyway, uncaptioned movies are small potatoes compared to the other issues I face as a deaf traveller. The lack of accessibility in my home country has me well-prepared for foreign travel which is something I’ve written about in detail in this post.
Ironically, the biggest hurdle to making a solo trip starts at home, in front of a computer. You can, and probably have purchased travel insurance online, but did you know that insurance companies require you to contact their 1-800 number as soon as possible should you need to make a claim, otherwise a penalty might incur? What am I supposed to do? Rely on the goodwill of a stranger in a foreign country to make a call on my behalf?
I emailed one of the insurance companies, Allianz, at the end of November to ask them just that. It took Allianz six weeks to get back to me. They suggested what I had already told them wasn’t reasonable: “Get someone to call for you.” Mmm! So inventive!
Because of how frequently I receive non-solutions to my inquiries, I always start my emails with a list of solutions that have already been considered in hopes that the representative can offer something new. Instead, I get my problems explained back to me.
Abled people get to coast through life without needing to figure out workarounds, so it’s no wonder they’re often incapable of thinking outside the box. I imagine this is why international travel scares them more than it does deaf people.
I’ve had travel medical insurance coverage for all my past trips as it’s one of the benefits I get from my employer. However, this is the first trip where I’ll also have trip interruption/cancellation coverage. With all the connecting flights I’ll need to make, and how pricey airfare was, I felt that this was necessary. Besides, Mélissa has flawlessly working ears and can vocalize my frustrations with a Québécois accent if need be.
When I return from the trip, I plan on emailing all Canadian travel insurance providers asking them to consider making their services accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing. I’ll even tickle their greedy bone by suggesting that they’d gain more customers should they be able to provide an alternative to making claims via phone. Why the devil isn’t there already an app for that?!
On another note, I have post-dated two entries for the Thursdays I’ll be in Argentina. In the spirit of Throwback Thursday aka #TBT, these upcoming posts will have been written 10 or more years ago. I can’t promise they will be any good just, as abled people would say in regards to half-assed attempts at accessibility, better than nothing!