Travel Insurance – A Must Have Or A No Go

34Are you planning a vacation and are undecided about the usefulness of travel insurance? If so, this is the correct site to be. You have most likely heard horror stories from fellow travelers and perhaps your own travel agent about the necessity of travel insurance, but is it really true? Since you plan to spend a goodly sum of money on airfare, accommodations, car rentals and other arrangements, it is probably a good idea to insure your trip with travel insurance.

There are a vast number of unforeseen circumstances that could arise before your trip that would make travel insurance vitally important for you to get a refund of your money. Travel insurance was created to act as a safety net for people whose travel plans were drastically changed through no fault of their own. Whether the airline personnel go on strike, there is violent weather in the region where you plan on visiting, there is a death in the family, or perhaps an unexpected illness forces you to cancel your reservations, travel insurance ensures that your money will be refunded if your travel plans are not carried out. Also, there a number of specific areas where travel insurance can be of help to you while you are actually traveling.

Much of the travel insurance is bought by travelers to cover unforeseen health or medical problems beyond the scope of their personal health coverage. Such medical travel insurance policies are specifically designed to provide medical coverage while you are on your trip. Since many group and individual health insurance plans do not cover you outside of your specific area, or restrict coverage to emergencies only, you might want to look into your regular insurance plan to determine if you would be covered in a foreign country. By purchasing travel insurance, you are guaranteed to be covered in any medical situation that may occur.

Since September 11, 2001, outbreaks of terrorism have plagued many regions of the globe. If a terrorist act suddenly occurs in an area in which you have chosen to travel, the airline is not required to provide you a refund if you choose not to travel because of the terrorist threats–unless you have travel insurance. Given the unpredictability of events in today’s world, you never know where or when a troubling situation could arise, and therefore, travel insurance becomes a must.

Airline flights can be cancelled at any time, for a vast variety of reasons–bankruptcy of an airline, a pilot’s strike, inclement weather conditions, mechanical failures, and any number of factors that can not be predicted. In some circumstances, flights are not rescheduled and refunds are not given, which means that you lost not only your flight, but also the money you spent to purchase your ticket. Travel insurance insures your ticket and guarantees that if the flight does not depart, no matter what the reason, you will get a refund of the ticket price.

Have you ever lost your bags or know someone who has? In most cases the airlines find and return the missing baggage, but in some cases it is never found. In other cases, it is discovered that items have disappeared from your luggage. In these cases, travel insurance would act to insure whatever items are lost or stolen so that you can replace your belongings.

If you decide to buy travel insurance, it is important that you research a number of travel insurance companies and plans before choosing one. Travel insurance can be purchased for each individual trip or, for people who are frequent travelers, there are long-term (usually one year) travel insurance plans available.

Be sure your travel insurance purchase covers all the bases, ask lots of questions, and confirm that your policy will cover all unforeseen circumstances of your trip, not just a few specific situations.

Best wishes for safe and healthy travel!

Tips on How to Travel Alone Without Having to Go It Alone

33Internet searches for “solo travel packages” were up 60% in the last year as more men and women are setting out alone for business or leisure. Solo travel provides daily flexibility to chart your own course at each new destination. I have made friends with fellow travelers from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to the streets of Lisbon. I have flown over game preserves in Botswana in a plane the size of a Volkswagen with wings and marveled at the Nabatean ruins in Jerash, Jordan.

With conflicting work and family schedules, it is not always easy to find a friend or relative who can travel at the same time. It can seem challenging to strike out alone, especially to remote locations. However, there are many ways to circle the globe and make connections en route while keeping an eye on your personal safety.

1. Escorted Tours:

This has many advantages:

• All the planning is done for you.
• Guides can navigate a region unfamiliar to you.
• Prices tend to be all-inclusive, except for airfare.
• There is safety in numbers in regions with high crime and/or political unrest.
• A solo traveler has the opportunity to join others for sightseeing and meals.
• Long term friendships can result.

2. Independent Tours:

This has different advantages:

• Much of the planning is done for you but you have flexibility.
• This can cover the entire trip or be an add-on to a business or leisure trip.
• Guides can be provided as needed.
• Prices may cover some but not all aspects of the trip, except for airfare.
• Your tour operator will likely combine your day tours with others.

I found one shortcoming on such a tour to Egypt: I was left finding my own dinner every night. I came up with several solutions which might work elsewhere:

• Joining those whom I met on day tours.
• Paying a cab driver recommended by the hotel to wait for me at a restaurant.
• Taking a night tour which included dinner.
• Connecting with Internet dinner clubs while observing reasonable precautions.

3. River Cruises:

This combines certain advantages of both independent and escorted tours.

• Planning is taken care of by the tour operator.
• Pricing is all-inclusive, except for airfare.
• This can be an add-on to another business/leisure trip, providing flexibility.
• This gives have the opportunity for ready-made travel companions/dinner partners and new friends.
• Safety issues are addressed by being part of a group. In addition, in areas of high crime and political unrest, being on a cruise removes security issues created by going back and forth to a hotel in the evening and lacking dinner transportation.

4. Before leaving home, carefully select a hotel and book an airport pick-up at the same time and:

• Plan day trips with local guides recommended by the hotel.
• Identify professional groups in your field that host events, dinners and receptions.
• Sign up for a 1-2 week course with an art gallery, a language school, cooking class or other personal interest.
• See if your health club has branches or agreements with a gym at your destination.
• Contact your professional or social clubs as to international reciprocity.

5. Use good judgment to avoid running into or creating crises abroad:

• Research your destination before your departure as to any alerts, including health issues.
• Plan a time of day to text, phone or email a friend or relative to check-in with while traveling.
• Have travel insurance and safeguard your belongings.
• Carry just enough cash for that day and credit cards with low credit limits. Divide them and put them into 3 pockets/places.
• Have 2 copies of the first page of your passport and if possible, an extra passport photo.
• Watch out for pickpockets especially in crowded tourist spots and train stations.
• If you carry prescriptions, check drug laws at your destination.

Although it may take some planning, the exhilarating moments will always exceed the challenges in solo travel. Follow our 5 tips when you travel alone and chart your own path around the world.

Where to Go on Kerala Tour and Travel in India

32Kerala, a beautiful Indian state, is among most sought after tourist destinations of India. Also known as the God’s Own Country, it is one of the greenest places on the earth. It has unique geographical features with abundant natural beauty. According to National Geographic Traveler magazine, the state is declared as one of the 50 must visit tourist destinations of lifetime and one of the top ten paradises on the earth. Despite abundant natural beauty and unique geographical features, the state is also known for its unique rich cultural features with many cultural sites, religious shrines and joyous fairs & festivals. Though Kerala is an international famous tourist destination of India, it has numerous travel circuits, tourist places and innumerable tourist attractions.

Often people get confused about where to go, what to see and what to do on Kerala tour and travels in India. Hence here is some ideas and brief description about some of the most fascinating places of Kerala which can help you plan your trip to this charming and captivating Indian state of Kerala, God’s Own Country.

Go Beaches
There are many internationally famous beaches, beach towns and beach resorts in this state which can be attraction of your tip. My recommendation is Kovalam which is considered as one of the finest beach resorts in the world with excellent tourist facilities and lots of beach holiday activities such as sunbathing, swimming, beach parties, beach volleyball, sightseeing and water sports. Varakala, Alappuzha, Poovar, Mararikulam, Beypore, Cherai, Bekal Fort, Fort Kochi, etc are some other popular destination for beach tours in Kerala, God’s Own Country.

Cruise Backwaters
Kerala is getting huge popularity and reputation with backwater tourism. It is the sole destination of India where travelers can enjoy incredible eco tourism exploring serene and scenic waterways of Kerala’s backwaters. The best way to explore emerald backwaters is a houseboat cruise. While cruising over the breathtakingly beautiful canals and lakes you will enjoy amazing serenity and see bountiful fantastic nature wonder. Hence do not forget to cruise backwaters on your Kerala tour in India. Alleppey, Kumarakom, Kollam, Thiruvallam, Thotapally, etc are some of the most popular destinations for backwater cruises in the state.

Relax at Serene Hill Stations
There are some picturesque hill stations with relaxed atmosphere and serene ambiance in Kerala. Munnar, Ponmudi and Wayanad are very popular hill station to visit on Kerala tour and travel in India. These hill towns are blessed with fantastic natural beauty, lush greenery, scenic landscape, rich flora & fauna and just right holiday ambiance.

What To Know Before You Go

31In the United States, approximately 550,000 medical patients are flown in either rotor or fixed winged air ambulance aircraft each year. This Traveler’s Guide will help answer common questions such as what to bring in terms of identification, how much to pack, traveling during religious holidays, and much more.

Understanding checkpoints and knowing what identification to bring

Routine air travelers can be in for a bit of a shock when it comes to understanding security checkpoints and what types of identification to bring. Normally, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) works together with the Federal Flight Administration (FAA) to make sure public air transportation is secure. However, medical flights are not treated the same way as commercial airlines. For example, there are no security checkpoints to pass through and no specific federal requirements on what types of identification to bring. Instead, each provider sets their own guidelines.

How to board your flight faster

Whereas flight delays on a commercial airline can be an annoyance, they can be life threatening to those on medical flights. The best way to avoid delays is to request a transfer in advance. A brief explanation of the patient’s condition and other important information (time sensitive concerns, originating and destination location, along with an approximate travel date) will help the flight director coordinate a customized travel itinerary.

How to pack for your flight

The TSA puts a litany of restrictions on carry-on items that do not apply to air ambulance travelers. Portable medical oxygen concentrators, gel-type candies, and non-service pets are just a few. However, certain medical travel recommendations are the same. For example, select patients will want to be sure to bring along the following:

  • prescription medications (i.e., nitroglycerin tablets)
  • a list of current medications including specific dose intervals and pill sizes
  • copies of your last ECG results
  • pacemaker card (if applicable)
  • a list of dietary restrictions
  • an electric cart or wheelchair (if not restricted to a stretcher)
  • a pacifier for children and toddlers

Traveling during religious holidays

Traveling during Ramadan (July 9-August 8, 2013) can be especially stressful for practicing members of the Muslim faith. These travelers might feel more comfortable contacting a provider that takes a holistic approach to patient care. Providers specializing in holistic care are highly skilled in creating an environment that is more relaxing and comfortable than traditional emergency medical transport systems.

Traveling with children

Medical flight professionals know that ill or injured children pose a unique challenge when traveling by air. Oftentimes, these patients present with little or no symptoms before their health deteriorates. As a result, flight coordinators frequently put together teams of highly trained doctors and specialists with pediatric and neonatal intensive care unit (ICU) experience in advance. When flying outside the US, parents will want to ensure their child’s vaccines are current.