Travel Thoughts – On Your Terms0
Its time to think about all the wonderful places to travel to that may be on your bucket list. But you may be hesitating to make a choice to travel based on news headlines. Don’t fall victim to what we call, ‘Ghostbusters Syndrome’. Remember that great quote (altered just a little)? “Disaster(s) of biblical proportions. Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
The dead rising from the grave!… Dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!” Although ‘Walking Dead’ is very popular on TV and the weather has been more than a little annoying, in reality, these are not really new types of events (except maybe the walking dead part). However, they are the headlines of today that you may not have paid any attention to in days past.
We find that taking charge of issues you can control may help minimize the stress of worrying over events that you can’t. So get yourself organized so that you can get out there and enjoy the world.
Make a short list of your desired travel destinations then hit the Internet to fully investigate those areas. Consider looking into government travel advisories (a good place to start is www.travel.state/gov) and general travel websites. Basing your travel decisions on good information rather than emotions and your journey is well started.
Now that you’ve made your destination decision, it is the time to think about reducing your other risks. Consider trip insurance. The purpose of trip or travel insurance is to reduce your financial exposure and protect your travel investment if something would occur. Entry-level and generally low cost coverage with usually only reimburse you if you can’t travel due to bad weather, such as tornadoes, tropical storms, hurricanes, typhoons, snow storms and the like. If you are looking for a broader form of coverage that is more comprehensive, they are available but your premium may be as much as 20% of the value of your trip. Always read the fine print (sorry) to make sure that you are purchasing the coverage you need and do so before you put your deposit down on your trip. Then pay for your coverage at the same time your deposit is submitted so that your coverage is as complete as possible. Many pre-existing medical conditions may be covered if the insurance purchased in conjunction with your deposit. Also, named storms, such as hurricanes, will only be covered if the travel insurance is purchased prior to storm being named by the weather service. In other words, you can’t insure your house after it catches on fire.
Now consider reducing your health risk. Arrange with your health care provider to have all needed immunizations and your vaccinations updated. Your trip of a lifetime should not be ruined by a case of the measles. And don’t forget the basics, flu shots may not be on the list, but you should make sure that is current as well. Also put together a first-aid kit that meets your personal needs. Our kit always contains anti-emetics and anti-diarrheal medicines to protect our digestive tracts when we are trying local cuisine when traveling. When you visit your caregiver for your immunizations, take a list of the items that are in your first-aid kit for them to review. They are professionals and may have some ideas for additions. Also, if you have prescription medications that you will need to travel with, leave them in their original containers with the pharmacy and physician clearly showing so that customs agents will not confiscate them as contraband.
One of the simplest things you can do to prevent illness while traveling or at your destination (or any place for that matter) is wash your hands often and thoroughly. Also carry hand sanitizer to use when soap and water are not available, as well as, sanitizing wipes for the surfaces you may come in contact while traveling. Public and commercial transportation rarely gets a thorough cleaning. On a trip not long ago we saw a person change a child’s diaper on the tray table in a plane and shove the dirty deed into the seat pocket. It has totally changed our perspective. We now wipe down the armrests and tray tables and never store anything in the seat pocket.
Finally, review your health insurance. Be sure that it will cover you when you are traveling away from your home country. And if it does cover you, make sure you know the type of coverage it offers, as it may be different from that it offers when you are at home and in-network. Find out if there are rules about informing your provider of any injuries before treatment is provided or are you given a time limit to notify and start the claims process. Also, determine if your coverage includes emergency medical evacuation and what that evacuation includes. That is, some coverages will only take you to the nearest medical facility that can handle your medical problem while others might take you to medical treatment and then transport you home.
Medical evacuations can be very expensive because you are paying for transport and crew to come pick you up, take you to treatment and then return to their home base. That can easily push into the upper 5 digits. Remember to check all the memberships you have, such as Divers Alert Network or credit cards, as they may have insurance or assistance that you may not be familiar with and always read the fine print so that you understand all the benefits, exclusions and restrictions. A little preparation can make a confusing experience a little clearer.
It’s a big world with wonders to see and share both above and below the water. Don’t let your fears hold you back and prepare yourself to meet those challenges head-on. And remember to take lots of pictures to show off when you get back home.
After all, to misquote Ghostbusters once again your mantra should be, “I ain’t afraid of no trips!”
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