Bungy-jumping over Victoria Falls seemed like a "great idea at the time" to Erin Langworthy when she headed to Zambia with mates last summer.
But what should have been a quick thrill left the young Australian seriously hurt after her bungy cord snapped, and she racked up $50,000 in medical bills.
Langworthy has lent her story to a $2.6 million government campaign urging Australians to buy travel insurance before heading overseas.
"Before my turn, 104 others had jumped safely and everyone from my tour group had been and come back," Langworthy said of the day she plunged into the Victoria Falls rapids.
But the bungy cord did not last the 105th jump - it snapped, sending Ms Langworthy plummeting 110 metres into the rapids. Just as she was making her way to the surface, she realised the cord was caught under a rock.
"That's when I said (to myself), 'I don't want to die today'," she told reporters in Sydney.
The young woman managed to swim to a river bank and was taken by stretcher out of the gorge before eventually being airlifted to a high-quality hospital in South Africa.
"If I hadn't had travel insurance I would have been hit with a bill for over $50,000," Langworthy said.
"It would have ruined my holiday a little bit.
"If you can afford to travel, then I think you can afford travel insurance."
Foreign Minister Bob Carr said Australians without travel insurance risked poor local hospital care and high medical bills.
"About 14,000 Australians get into some difficulty overseas each year, and that difficulty is going to be a whole lot less if they've got travel insurance and if they're registered with Smartraveller," Senator Carr said.
"It's cheap, it's easy to obtain, and it can save your life when overseas."
The campaign launches on Sunday night and includes a new Smartraveller iPhone app, which allows Australians to register their travel plans without an internet connection.