• Travel Insurance Blog

  • Monday, August 21, 2017

A friend or relative traveling overseas on business or vacation may on occasion face an emergency or an unexpected situation. While the majority of travel passes off without incident, there are times when travelers need a little extra help. Sometimes you will need to help a friend or relative in trouble by sending extra cash to the person abroad. If you need to send money to a US citizen the US government can help you.

The US government cannot pay the money for you – you need to have the funds available to send to your friend or family member. But they can arrange a secure account through which to send the money safely. The person overseas then contacts the US Embassy in their country and makes an appointment to safely collect the money. This can be useful if the person is in a place where there is no other way to collect money or they have lost their passport and other documents.

There is a fee for the service, payable by the person sending the money. Money can be sent by mail or by Western Union. Western Union is usually the quickest way to send cash. You can also use a credit card to send money using this service.

Sending money by mail is not recommended in the case of an emergency as the cash can take many weeks to reach the government’s account. Sending cash by visiting a Western Union office is the cheapest way to get funds abroad. Western Union may impose its own charges. Remember than travel insurance is the best way to protect yourself when you are overseas. Remind your friend or family member to take out international travel insurance before they go so they can claim back any unexpected expenses due to an emergency.

Did you know that May is Older Americans Month? And the theme of this year’s celebration of older Americans is “Never Too Old To Play!” Playing increasingly means traveling for older Americans, who find themselves with a little spare money and a lot of spare time. Increasing numbers of older Americans travel abroad, and many don’t stick to the “safe” places like Italy, London, or France. Many more older Americans are taking trips to the Andes, to Africa, and to Asia – you are never too old to discover a new place in the world and bring your experiences back home to enrich the lives of your family.

Older Americans who travel abroad, as well as travelers of any age, should make sure they are adequately prepared to travel. This includes learning about your destination, making sure you are physically fit and healthy, and taking out good quality travel insurance. Travel insurance is essential for any age range, but it may be even more of an essential for older Americans who are more at risk of injury and illness than twenty-year-olds.

Older travelers should never put off travel for fear that it will be out of their physical means. But make sure you are choosing a trip you will enjoy and are prepared for. A hiking trip in the Himalayas when you are unhappy taking a walk to the bus stop will not be a successful trip. Similarly, if you are a highly active older American you may be bored with a sedate coach tour of Austrian tourist towns. Choose your trip to suit your needs and your interests, as you would at any age.

Don’t be put off by the unknown. If you are unsure about a destination, book yourself on a tour with a reputable agency. They will deal with the logistics of visiting the country and you can enjoy the trip. If you are heading out on your own, make sure you know where you are going to be staying, and how to travel between locations. A bit of forward planning can make all the difference to a happy vacation.

Deciding what to pack for your vacation or business trip can be a tough process. Should you bring three pairs of jeans, should you include your heels, do you need your hair dryer or your straighteners, and do you pack your tennis shoes or your sandals? Deciding what to put in your carry-on luggage is also difficult. Your carry-on luggage is important because it will be the only thing you can access on what may be a long flight. What should you pack in your carry-on bag? What essentials should be on your hand luggage list?

One thing you should include in your carry-on bag is a change of clothing. Pack something light which doesn’t crease easily, for example a pair of lightweight pants and a t-shirt, plus a change of underwear. This way, if your main bag is lost or delayed, you have a spare set of clothes to change into when you reach your hotel.

Pack your prescription medication in your carry-on, along with a letter from your doctor if you are traveling somewhere your medication may be deemed illegal. Keep a back-up supply in your main luggage. Include a simple first aid kit in your carry-on luggage with pain killers, band aids, antiseptic spray and other essentials. Look at the restrictions on liquids before you decide which cosmetics you pack in your carry-on.

Take some water with you to drink before you go through security and healthy snack foods so you can prevent hunger while getting some vitamins. And don’t forget the all-important entertainment and reading matter – make sure your MP5 is fully charged and you have a new book to read. Make sure you have your travel insurance details in your carry-on bag. You never know when you may need to contact your international travel insurance company so have your policy details and the hotline number on hand at all times just in case there are problems.

When you’re heading off on vacation you can’t go without a packed suitcase, backpack or bag. Packing for a trip can be one of the most stressful or the most fun parts of trip preparation, depending on your attitude and how well you pack. What do you need to bring? Should you take your smart shoes or leave them at home? Will you need glasses or contact lenses? Whatever your packing list includes, make sure you add travel insurance. Traveling with insurance is the best way to protect yourself from unexpected incidents, illness and injury.

Before you get carried away thinking about all the great things you’re going to do on vacation, get your bags out and start planning your packing list. Firstly, decide on the things you should leave behind. Don’t take anything with high sentimental or financial value that you would be heartbroken if you lost. For example, the watch your father gave you on your 21st birthday, or your favorite designer sweater.

Leave behind heavy and inessential bottles of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, moisturizer, body scrub…  you can pick up cosmetics in Duty Free at the airport, or at your destination. If you are traveling for a short time the hotel will provide your bathroom amenities. If you are traveling for a long time, you won’t want to carry around heavy bottles that are at risk of breaking and spilling over your clothes. Speaking of clothes, pack for your destination not for your home country!

Bring a converter or transformer for the electrical system in the country you are visiting, otherwise you won’t be able to operate your gadgets. Carry a copy of your medical prescription if you need it, and keep essential medications in your hand luggage. Have some essentials in your hand luggage like pain killers, sunscreen, and a small first aid kit.

We often bring a number of valuable things with us when we go on vacation or take a trip to visit friends. We take a notebook computer to keep up with the internet or to work; we use a cell phone to keep in touch or browse our trusted apps; and we take a camera because we want to record all the great things that we see and experience on our vacation. Cameras are commonly carried by visitors to countries all over the world, which is one reason why they are often stolen. The value of a digital camera and the ease with which it can be resold are other reasons why tourists often lose their prized traveling possession. To avoid losing the money you invest in your camera, always buy travel insurance. Traveling with a camera without international travel insurance is a big risk.

To avoid losing the precious memories you have stored on your camera’s memory card, always back up. Back up your files daily. Keep your images on your laptop, and in another place such as an external hard drive, a CD, or an online image storage site. The online option may be the best because you will always have your images, even if all your technological gadgets go missing.

Take precautions as you travel – keep alert to your surroundings, don’t carry your camera conspicuously and make sure you have a sturdy camera bag to store it in when you’re not taking pictures. Be careful if you’re taking photos at night.

If you have your camera stolen, report the crime. If you don’t it just lets the criminals get away even easier. Know the make and model of your camera and write down the serial number in a safe place. You will need to give these details to the police, and also to document the theft with your insurance company. Sure, you may never get your camera back but you will have highlighted the theft.

Your passport is the most important document you have when it comes to traveling abroad. You need your passport to cross borders, and to prove your identity. Your passport is valuable and unique to you. If you lose your passport, you must go through a lengthy procedure in order to replace it. If you can, buy international travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. Hopefully by following these tips you won’t have to worry about using your international travel insurance to replace a lost or damaged passport while you are traveling.

Consider getting a cover for your passport. Remember that most passports last 10 years, which is a long time to keep an item clean and away from danger especially if the passport is unprotected in your bag or pocket. A cover for your passport also gives you extra space to hold onto other travel documents, and you can keep from revealing your nationality to other people around you. Make sure you remove your passport from its cover before you show it to officials.

Don’t let your passport out of your sight. When you are handing your passport over to officials at the border, stay with it and don’t lose sight of your passport. If you are signing into a hotel, make sure the hotel doesn’t take the document away where you can’t see it. When you are traveling to your destination, put the passport in the same place every time so you don’t end up misplacing it.

Keep a photocopy of your passport in a separate place to your actual passport. Your photocopy is beneficial when you need to show your passport in a shop or at a hotel – many places accept a photocopy which means you won’t need to risk losing your passport by taking it out of the hotel safe.

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