• Travel Insurance Blog

  • Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Although there will be a more than few people who would want to make their own lists, Forbes Magazine has boldly come out with their 4 fab cities in the world and reasons why they are a “must-see” destination for travelers who wish to go solo.

Traveling alone is a crosscut experience between excitement and loneliness. For one, there are new sights, sounds, food, and people but at the same time, there’s no one you know to take your photo, no one to share meals and friendly conversations with, and no one to watch over you.

According to American Express, 16% of Americans travel light which means no travel companion. Last 2011, this was at only 12% which could mean that it’s expensive to pay double or it’s hard to find a paying travel mate.  Travel insurance companies always recommend more strongly that solo travelers secure their travel insurance plans because it is this policy that could save them a lot of grief alone.  They also recommend being very picky about where to go, where to stay, and what to eat. It would also be great if the people are fluent in English.

Berlin – This city is not exactling teeming with English-speakers but it is easy to get by because many understand many basic English words. This city is popular because it steeped in history, drama, tradition, glamour, and modern technology. It’s quite possible not to notice you’re on your own because of the many things you can here like visit the Berlin Wall, memorials to the Jews, churches, malls, restaurants, and shops using the affordable public transport system called the U-Bahn.

Sydney is growing more popular every month because it has become very aggressive with trying to lure more visitors to the country. Currently, Australia is enjoying a boom in its economy because its exchange rate is high and many are traveling around the world. They are doing a lot of good in promoting the country with their friendly Aussie ways.

Singapore – If you enjoy being in a disciplined city, Singapore is considered as the most strict country in the world where you can get caught if you buy chewing gum or drop anything on the streets. It’s an intense experience but extremely rewarding because of the low crime rate and the wonderful people.

Costa Rica has a coastal city called Guanacaste where the view is fantastic and you enjoy the rugged adventure of a modern-day paradise. It’s the perfect place to go when you need to rejuvenate, lick your wounds, or hide from family and friends for a while.

When HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS was discovered in 1969, there was not much hoopla about it. It was only when “gay cancer” began to show in the late 1970s and early 1980s that a major panic began to brew.  By 1993 a travel ban was imposed on anyone entering the United States with the HIV virus medication. Many countries followed suit. In 2006, President Bush signed an executive order allowing travelers with HIV to enter the country, and this was reinforced by President George W. Bush in 2008. However, the Department of Health and Human Services refused to follow and held the ban. President Obama requested the department to come up with a regulation that would lift the ban by 2010 and that’s the only time HIV status was no longer a factor in visa applications to the US.

A few days ago the United Nations announced that many business leaders from other countries have been requested a complete lifting of any travel ban on HIV-infected persons. This brings several issues to the table such as equal rights but protection for others. Currently, there are 45 countries that still follow a travel ban on persons with HIV. If anyone is found to have the virus at the border or even while in one of the 45 countries, the person will be immediately deported and his passport stamped as “Person with HIV.”

Understandably, travelers should take extra precaution should the UN decide to require all countries to lift the ban. While travel insurance is not going to stop the virus from spreading, it can be seen as an extra precaution for one’s safety. For instance, one can opt to take another flight instead and apply for the trip cancellation claim.

On December 1, the world will celebrate World AIDS Day. If global leaders have anything to say about it, they will do as much as they can to end unreasonable restrictions. However, keep in mind that business persons generally do things because it will help them earn so there may be a hidden agenda somewhere.

For days, warnings have been made about the potential travel woes this Thanksgiving weekend but no one imagined that anything tragic would ever happen to them. Unfortunately, the heavy fog on I-10 in Beaumont, Texas caused a tremendous pile-up of over 100 cars and trucks and the death of 2. Over 80 were injured, 8 of whom are in critical condition. What happened was something that could have been avoided.

According to Deputy Rod Caroll, the fog in the early hours of the morning was not unusual but some cars must have been speeding down the highway, and this he thinks is what caused the pile-up. Sadly many of the families will not be spending Thanksgiving at home.

In other related Thanksgiving travel woes, millions of other Americans, international visitors and tourists were all over the train stations, bus stations, airports, and roads trying to get to their destination as soon as possible. For many, there was a concerted effort to find the funds through financing, use of credit cards, and support from family just to be able to enjoy a weekend with loved ones.

The weather throughout the day was not very cooperative with flight delays, cold weather, and traffic. In Chicago, over 1,600 flights were either delayed or cancelled. Those without travel cancellation insurance found themselves in a fix with nowhere to go. In New York, the Penn Station experienced a power outage for over an hour delaying trips by an hour and a half for many people during the rush hour. Missed appointments and connecting flights made the travel expenses shoot up unexpectedly. After the Storm Sandy and the panic buying prior to the storm, many people in the East Coast were trying to be very frugal with what funds they had left so it was a double whammy for those who had to spend more.

Although romance has always been a treason o travel, it’s unusual for a government tourist agency to start offering matchmaking services but that’s appears to be exactly what Taiwan is doing to bring in the tourists.

Their soon-to-launched tourism campaign, Destination for Romance” is the latest of a series of ad campaigns to boost revenue from tourists. They will be offering tour packages for singles aged 20 or older starting November 24. It will include a “Love Ride” and temple tours. Surprisingly, there have been confirmed bookings from heterosexuals, gays, and even a mother-daughter tandem.

According to Cheng Yi-ping who works with the country’s International Travel Division, their plan is to reinvent Taiwan as a romantic location where one can find true love; to be “able to feel the various joys of life.”
What tourists to Taiwan should be wary of is its unique crime problem. This Asian country is fast becoming notorious for elderly crime. The seniors are not the victims but the perpetrators and it’s been working thus far because not many people would suspect a 70 year old elderly woman to be selling drugs or a 69 year old man found guilty of arson and the death of 2 because he felt depressed and lonely.

The National Police Agency began documenting these cases in 2002 starting with more than 4,000 criminal cases involving the elderly. Two years ago, the number rose to almost 9,000 cases and dropped to 6,103 from January to October this year. The police warn the public and tourists that the most common crimes were related to public safety, theft, and gambling.

Foreign visitors are encouraged to visit but booking travel insurance as an extra security measure.  They should also stick with their tour groups and be wary when approached by an elderly or the second highest group of petty crimes, the students or young adults.

Many travel businesses have already begun to report an increase in bookings for local travel as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches. Compared to 2011, there is a slight increase with about a third of Americans planning to go on road trips, take the plane or train to visit family and friends or experience special holiday events like the Macy’s Parade in New York. AAA predicts about 42.5 million Americans will be traveling on Thanksgiving weekend.

Almost 60% plan to take road trips, stopping along the way whole 38% are booking plane tickets even with the increase in airfare. Of the 60% taking a road trip to get to their destination, over 40% have said that this was their only option because of the increase in airfare. A small 3% are still waiting in case prices go down and if they don’t, they will continue with their second option for a road trip. Over half of the 60% road travelers will be on the road on Thanksgiving Day and about 40% will be traveling more than 500 miles to get to their destination.

What this all means is the potential for getting into a road accident increase on Thanksgiving Day. In a study done on road accidents for 2012, the astonishing results show a remarkable increase in highway deaths and accidents. The prevalent cause for most road accidents was DWI which shot up by 13.5% from last year up to September of this year. The second most common reason for injuries caused by road accidents was because of failure to use seatbelts. Other causes for road incidents are car problems and fatigue while for air travel, the potential problems will be trip cancellations, lost luggage, or stolen personal belongings.
After the holiday weekend, the same exodus on the roads and airports will be experienced as many rush back to get to work or school.

Novelty aside, there was a real danger for travelers on the road, sea, or air in the last few days which is why more than 500 flights were cancelled on day before Sandy was expected to hit land – and these were just from the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. By the following day, the number of cancelled flights rose to 7,000 and then climbed to over 16,000. Those passengers stranded had to find safe shelter somewhere or sleep at the airport. By 1:40 a.m. on the same day, almost 8 million people were in the dark in the District of Columbia and 15 other places. According to authorities, this kind of clamp down on a massive scale of air transportation last happened in 9/11. One traveler even described it as “apocalyptic.”

As for Amtrak passengers, they had to also wait as the tracks had to be checked and re-checked before resumption of operations. The cost for both air and rail companies as well as for passengers could run into the millions before the end of the week.

Canada was also under siege from a freezing fog that prompted air authorities to cancel flights in Toronto, Montreal, Alberta, Ottawa, St. John, and Halifax. The same happened with road travel which was on high alert because of the sleet and rain.

Authorities in both the US and Canada have said that in spite of the constant news alerts, many people were still outdoors as the storm approached. Drivers were unaware of bad road conditions and did not prepare the winter rains. Many air travelers had no insurance to cover their expenses because of the flight cancellations and had to rough it up wherever they could. And there were the people on the street that just wanted to witness the strong winds topple structures and the flooding that many said was sure to happen.

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