I have never EVER broken a screen. I have had “smart-ish” phones for a long time. My first ever smart phone was a Samsung i300.
OK, so calling it a “smart phone” is pushing it just a little bit. A palm pilot with a phone is a better description I guess, but I had one of these forever. I did use a screen protector on it most of the time, not due to risk of breakage but because it actually improved the ability to touch the screen with a protector on it. However, I always disliked having it on the phone.
My next smart phone (yes, it was officially a smart phone) was a Palm Centro. I was rather mean to this phone. I did drop it a few times and did crack the plastic on the case. Had it been a modern smart phone I think the glass would have looked like the opening image in this post.
After the Centro I went to a Samsung NOTE2 and now have a Samsung NOTE4 and just love it. I mean completely love love love the phone. I love the size, the speed, the quality of photos and on and on. I love the phone. But I have not put a screen protector on it. Is this a dumb idea? Maybe but it is a risk I am willing to take.
Having said that, I still carry a screen protector with me. Why? Well it is beyond amazing to me that a shattered phone still often works and works reasonably well. But, there are often issues like really sharp edges and moving your finger over shattered glass is really not a good idea. So I have either a “real” protector or, in worst case need, some clear packing tape that I can affix on my phone so no little “bits” of the cracked screen fall out or hurt me.
Bottom line is you should be prepared. There are so many little things like this you can do so if the nightmare whatever happens to you mid-trip you can at least “get by” until you get home and can fix whatever it is that is broken with much less stress and likely at a much better price as well! – René
PS – Even if you are at fault, do check what travel card you paid for your phone with. You may have some insurance you did not know you had to back you up!