When Dan McAllen, 21 from Northern Ireland, and his mates bought motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam at the beginning of their planned 1,000 mile journey around the country, he wasn't bargaining on getting a free travel buddy in the form of a negotiation from the motorbike dealer.
Oh - the travel buddy was a duck.
"œI came across this guy in Ho Chi Minh selling his bike and while we were negotiating, he said I could have a free duck. Obviously, I said yes. So I got Rab and a couple of small bowls to feed him with. He was with us the whole trip and I've got some great memories of him." said Dan, upon his return to the UK.
The group of friends travelled more than 1,000 miles with the duck winging it on the front of some of the bikes. Visiting more than nine major Vietnamese cities, Rab joined the group in restaurants and bars, with the boys pulling up a seat at the table so that he could sit patiently next to them.
"œMy fondest memory is when we took a boat trip through the Phong Nha caves. He was sat at the front of the boat just looking out over the water. Every so often he'd let out a little quack but that was it." Dan added.
Rab travelled for two weeks on the back of a motorbike - probably seeing a lot more than other ducks in the Vietnam region. After the boys' trip came to an end, and they had to return to the UK, customs laws dictated that they couldn't bring a live animal back home with them, so they desperately tried to find him another owner. Unfortunately, despite the group's obvious love for the duck, they couldn't rehome him and released him back into a Hanoi lake.
Dan said: "œIt was absolutely heartbreaking - he was like a member of the family. He had become so attached to us that he tried to follow us away from the lake. We had to jump onto the bikes and speed off to the airport. It's a poor area of the world but hopefully no one has eaten him yet!"
Travel insurance with Alpha doesn't extend to ducks that you may pick up on your travels, but when it comes to your own travel insurance, we're bound to have a policy to fit the bill. You might have trouble Peking one, but we provide both backpacker and longstay varieties for those on gap years. You could always wing it, and see where the wind takes you but you could end up with a medical bill bigger than you could handle.
(P.S. How did we do with the duck puns?)
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