Visa for most West African Countries has to be applied for at the Consulate of the intended Country to be visited in your home country or in a neighboring Country if the Country to be visited does not have a consulate in your home Country, be it a multiple or single entry visa.
Visas issued at the border or on arrival for some nationalities are twice the amount if applied at the embassy; and the process could be time consuming.
Obtaining a Togo visa at the border is quite flexible as compared to border visa issuances of other West African Countries. Togo visa is valid for 7 days, and can also be used to re-enter the Country multiple times within that period. You could also apply for your Togo visa in advance in your home country.
For the visas you apply in advance, once you have booked your trip with us, we will send you invitation letter(s) and contact details covering the countries to be visited to assist in your visa application.
You will need to take two or three passport pictures, your yellow fever certificate and your passport which should be valid for at least 6 months after departure.
You need a page in your passport that is blank on both sides for your visa. Your passport must be valid for the whole of your stay in the Country(ies) visited.
When your visa(s) is issued, please cross check the visa stamps in your passport if it corresponds with your visa application submissions before your departure.
Togo visa at the border: 10 000 - 15 000 CFA
Togo visa in Accra: 25 000 - 30 000 CFA
Benin visa in Accra: 15 000 - 20 000 CFA
Burkina Faso visa in Accra 20 000 - 25 000 CFA
Ivory Coast visa in Accra 35 000 - 40 000 CFA
The above visa fees are subject to change as per Country regulations.
Yellow Fever vaccination is required for entry into Ghana and other West African Countries. You will be asked to show proof of immunization at the Airport of arrival or at the border.
Other vaccinations are at your discretion. If your doctor cannot obtain one for you (generally cheaper), these vaccinations are readily available at any travel clinic.
Diphtheria, Polio and Tetanus
A current DPT vaccination is a good idea. This is a common vaccination given to children, but you need a booster shot if it has been more than 10 years since your last DPT vaccination.
A current flu vaccination is also a good idea. There will undoubtedly be people on your plane carrying this virus and you never know when a major flu season will occur.
This vaccine is strongly recommended. It is given in multiple doses to protect against this illness which is spread orally in conditions of poor sanitation.
Typhus / Typhoid Fever
While typhus is not a big problem in Ghana, this disease, spread by dirty food or water, can be fatal. This vaccination is recommended when traveling in remote or unsanitary areas or if you plan to be around animals.
Characterized by blinding headaches and fever, meningitis can be fatal. The vaccination against bacterial meningitis is especially recommended if you will be staying in close quarters with many people or children. Ideally get the vaccination containing strains A, C, W and Y, but if only the A+C is available, that is better than none at all. There is no vaccination against viral meningitis.
At Your Discretion
The oral vaccine Dukoral immunizes against this nasty scourge of dirty water. More importantly though, there are reports that this vaccine also provides some protection against e.Coli, the main culprit in traveler's diarrhea.
Another recommended vaccination when traveling to remote areas. Absolutely essential if you will be working with animals. Rabies is spread by any mammal via a bite, scratch or lick of an open wound by an infected animal and is 100% fatal without treatment. The multi-dose vaccination is the same as any other injected vaccination - quick and painless.
This illness is carried in bodily fluids. This multi-dose vaccination is strongly recommended for visitors who may be volunteering or visiting clinics and may come into contact with blood or semen. Note that there is no vaccine for the other virulent strains of Hepatitis (C,D,E), which are spread in the same way as Hepatitis B.
While of concern to those staying in close quarters with many people or children, there is debate over whether this vaccine is useful for adults. Discuss with your doctor or travel clinic.
It is essential that you have travelers' insurance when on holiday in West Africa.
What to pack for your trip
The following is a typical list of what might be required while embarking on your trip. If you are not traveling in a private car, then be certain to add a lighting object to your list.
- Soft hold-all bag for excursions
- Smaller travel/overnight bag or day pack for traveling
- Lightweight backpack if traveling via public transport
White clothing is not recommended because it is impossible to keep clean.
- Smart-casual outfit - 1 set
- Outdoor summer clothing in natural fibres - 3 sets
- Light-weight cotton long pants - 2 pair: For cool evenings or to use as sun screen.
- Comfortable walking shoes / sandals - 1 pair each
- Undershirt / singlet - Not to keep you warm, but to keep the sweat from showing so much.
- Underwear - 4 to 6 sets
- Swimwear: Only wear this at beach or poolside.
- Sarong or multi-purpose cotton wrap-around: Useful also as sun screen or dust cover for cameras.
- Towel / face cloth / bandana / handkerchief
- Hat in neutral tones
- Flash light or head lamp / 2 sets of batteries
- Camera equipment / extra lithium batteries
- Dust-free camera bag (Zip-lock bag is fine)
- Extra battery, solar charger for phone
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant (not antiperspirant), shaver, brush & comb, moisturizing cream, decongestant, anti-fungal.
- Sunscreen lotion/sun block, lip-aid and floss: These are particularly difficult to obtain in Ghana.
- Prescription drugs/small private medical kit (pain killers, plasters, anti-septic spray) / contraceptives / tampons
- Contact lenses / lens fluid / spare glasses
- Malaria tablets
- Insect repellent (containing DEET is best)
- Passport / visas / travel documents
- Pen / notebook / travel diary
- Books / reference books / magazines / games to use during long siesta hours or delays
- Cash in Cedis/CFA for personal expenses, tips & gratuities. Travelers' cheque and credit cards are difficult to use.
- Pocket knife
- Duct tape - highly versatile!
- Plastic raincoat or poncho
- Items for bartering at markets or tips for good service
- Bandanas, hats, anything with a logo
- T/shirts, old clothes or stationery
- Mp3 players, cameras & flash drives have high value
Food and Drinks
The cost of eating in Ghana and West Africa differs greatly depending on whether you eat local Ghanaian or West African food; Chinese, Continental, Lebanese food, would be rather expensive, probably starting at around $10.00 per dish. Ghanaian or West African meals will be half that, unless served at a restaurant catering to tourists.
It is essential that casual visitors to West Africa take proper precautions when eating. Keep your hands clean and try to ensure your food is prepared and stored in sanitary conditions.
Foods tend to be fried, boiled or grilled. The one common ingredient is a hot pepper that is found in most dishes and makes Ghanaian and West African food spicy-hot.
Drinking water is easy to find in the main cities; basically there are two options for drinking water: bottled water and "pure" water.
Bottled water is what you are accustomed to in the West, and we them in abundance to quench your thirst. Make sure the seal is intact when the bottle is served to you.
- Other Beverages
All types of other beverages are available, from Coca-Cola products, to juices, energy drinks, and soy beverages. Getting these served very cold becomes more difficult the farther you are from a city.
Juices may be either fresh, bottled, in a can or in a carton. Pineapple juice, orange juice, mango and guava are the most prevalent fruit juices. Fresh coconut juice is sold anywhere you see a pile of coconuts. Tampico is a refreshing juice drink sold in plastic bottles, while Milo is a chocolate beverage served cold along the roadside or hot for morning breakfast.
Unless at an upscale restaurant, you should avoid ice cubes. You do not know what water has been used to produce them. < br />
Compiled by: Steven Wilson - Easytrack Ghana
Getting around Regional capitals and major towns in Ghana
There are several bus lines in Ghana. The most popular national bus line is the Intercity STC Coaches. This bus line services most of the larger cities in Ghana. It is pretty reliable, gets you there relatively fast, and is probably the safest method of travel due to F=ma (if you know what I mean ;-). An example of STC prices: from Accra to Cape Coast (about 175 miles) is 18 Cedis (about $2 US). There are also different sized minibuses and taxis that will take you anywhere you are willing to pay to go. The traditional tro-tros of Ghana were once the main mode of transportation between cities, but now there are not many left that transport people.
Taxis are abundant in the cities and towns. Their prices are reasonable, however, if you are spending a lot of time in Ghana, sharing taxis with others is much more economical. Simply tell the driver that he can 'pick others' along the way and your price should be reduced substantially. A shared taxi from Accra to Cape Coast is around Gh¢80
- Gh¢100 . So you can have a taxi by yourself for around Gh¢300.
If you are really planning to spend a lot of time 6 months or more in one spot (i.e. Accra, Cape Coast, Takoradi, Kumasi, etc.), you may even want to buy a used bike to 1) keep travel costs down and 2) beat the traffic. You can buy a 4 - 5 motorbike for around Gh¢2000 - Gh¢4000 (about $450 to $900 US). The resale value on used motorbikes is very good.
The road system in Ghana is a bit under developed in spots. It makes for interesting drives though. Within the cities the roads aren't too bad.
Traveling in Ghana (Women & Men)
Ghana is a very safe country. There are many single women and men visitors that travel alone within cities and in between. However, like anywhere in the world you have to take precautions to stay safe and aware of your surroundings.
Some tips for staying safe while traveling:
• Try to travel in groups
• Try to avoid city centres and hotspots after hours
• Keep in well-lit and populated areas
• Be aware of where your things are at all times (bags, pockets, etc.)
• Mix your daily routines up so as to not be predictable
Ashanti Region is well connected by road, rail and air. Vanef STC and Neoplans Buses shuttle hourly between Kumasi and Accra daily. Similarly, other regional capitals and major towns can be reached by buses (or trotros) from Kumasi. Situated on the apex of the railway network, the Ghana Railway Corporation operates comfortable passenger's trains from Kumasi to Accra and Kumasi to Takoradi. Also, flights are available to Kumasi from the nation's capital, Accra and Tamale.
Popular Ghanaian food
As with any culture, food is central to Ghanaian life regardless of where you are in the world. Chop bars can be found on every corner of Ghana's towns and in some major cities abroad too, like London and New York. From fufu to banku and gari fotor, everyone has a favourite dish and every region has its own specialties. Here is our list of Ghanaian food, tasty recipes to try and a guide to food by region:
Kenkey & Fish - Accra's Favourite
The main traditional dishes eaten in this Region include kenkey with hot pepper and fried fish, banku, with fried fish and pepper or with okro or groundnut soup, "red red" or yo-ko-gari- beans stew, fried plantain or tatale, Omo Tuo (rice balls) served with palm or groundnut soup. A Sunday afternoon special. Fried yam with turkey tail (chofi) with hot spicy ground pepper, Khebabs. Meat or liver dipped in spicy powder and grilled, they are succulent. Beverages include "asana" or maize beer, palm wine, coconut juice and "Akpeteshie" liquor.
Dishes of the Central Region
The main dishes of the Central Region include "fante dorkunu" or kenkey with fish and gravy, fufu and palmnut soup, jollof rice, "fante fante" (palm oil stew with small fresh fish) and tatale, ampesi and oto (mashed yam). Beverages include tea/coffee or cocoa drinks and bread, Cheese and butter, palmwine, coconut juice "Akpeteshie"
Dishes of the Ashanti Region
The main dishes of Ashanti Region include fufu with light soup and meat, "akrantee" - bush meat, or "green green" snails or palm nut soup, ampesi (plantain, yam or cassava, cocoyam). Beverages: palm wine, “Akpeteshie”
Dishes of the Brong Ahafo Region
The main dishes of the Brong Ahafo Region include fufu with "Nkotomire" soup, plantain and cocoyam "Ampesi". Beverages include "Akpeteshie" and Palm wine.
Dishes of the Volta Region
The regional dishes include akple with okro soup, fufe with palmnut soup, abolo with shrimps and one man thousand, banku with okro stew or pepper, red red and fried plantain. Volta tilapia is a speciality and can be found both by the roadside and in the riverside hotels along the Volta.
Dishes of the Western Region
The main dishes are akyeke (cassava-based, similar to couscous) served with avocado, fufu and light soup with mushroom or snails. Popular drinks are coconut juice, palm wine and akpeteshie.
Dishes of the Northern Region
Tuo zaafi, known as TZ, omo tuo or rice ball with groundnut or green leaves soup, beans or cowpea with sheanut oil and pepper called tubaani, koko or millet/corn porridge eaten with koose (fried bean cakes). Beverages include pito, a locally brewed beer made from millet, zom kroom or toasted millet flour in water and fula mashed in water, milk, ginger and sugar.
Dishes of the Eastern Region
The Eastern Region is a diverse region and this is reflected in its cuisine - everything is eaten here from fufu to omo tuo to tsintsinga.
Dishes of the Upper West and East Regions
Tuo Zafi, omo tuo or rice balls with groundnut soup or green leaves soup, beans, and cowpea or tubaani koko with koose. Beverages include pito and zom kroom.
FAMILY TRAVEL MADE SIMPLE
Longing for easy, fun and unforgettable family vacations and adventures?
Travel with kids create DEEPER AND STRONGER FAMILY BONDS, and grant us parents opportunity to raise WORLD-CLASS CITIZENS.
You may be wondering what are the best tips to survive a long flight with a baby, or how your precious little one will react to jet lag.
- Maybe you think traveling with a toddler is too stressful or tiring.
- Your kid's allergies are daunting, or his "terrible two" attitude is too much to bear abroad, you fear.
- The thought of your precious child getting sick or lost, far from home, may be keeping you awake at night.
- Family vacations are nothing but relaxing, as you might think.
Well, you are right! Yes, all these fears can become problems for your family travels if you don't address them, plan to overcome them and organize satisfying alternatives for all family members.
We won't tell you to sell everything, buy a van and go travel the world. We haven't done that yet, so we are not in a position to advise you on this matter.
Possibilities to consider:
You are dreaming of long, sunny days, on a white sand beach, relaxing and enjoying each other's company and creating deeper and stronger family bonds? You can make it happen.
Are you aspiring at raising your kids to be world-class citizens, respected and open-minded? You can make it happen.
Or maybe going on a safari in the African savannah is what makes your heart pound fast. You can make it happen.
Is your goal to visit as many countries this beautiful world has to offer? You can make it happen.
One step at a time. With the right tools. Planning it right. Doing it right.
We are here, for you, to coach you and help you with every little detail that will make a big difference, and make your family travel a success. We are here to provide you with a foolproof and simple method to make you the travel expert.
And your precious kid will grow and thank you one day that you didn't give up on your fears and introduced him or her to the best learning experience there is.
The 44 best tips to make traveling with a baby and toddler easy and safe
Traveling with a baby or toddler is a lot different than traveling as a couple: the pace is different, the amount of luggage we pack is different but it's even more rewarding since we can discover once again things that we were used to, through her eyes.
After a couple of trips with our baby girl, we listed the best tips we could find to help everyone have an easy and safe trip. And trust us, you can have a pleasant trip as well.
1. When buying flight tickets, choose a minimum of 60-90 minute layover. You don't want to end up running through the airport to catch your next flight with a tired child. With an hour or more, you will have plenty of time for diaper change, getting some snacks and just breathe for one minute!
2. Call the airline as much in advance as possible if you want a sky-cot. It would be good for you even if you don't think your child is going to nap since there's more leg room for your child to play.
3. Book a hotel suite with a door between the living area and bedroom. That way, you can still enjoy your grown-up evenings with a child sleeping in the next room.
4. Choose a hotel with free breakfast. In my opinion, there's nothing worse than the morning rush on an empty stomach. Breakfast in pyjamas is so much more fun
5. Bring some new toys and books that your child hasn't played with before. That will keep her occupied for a while.
6. Don't forget your child's favourite low-mess snacks, especially for the traveling when food options are almost non-existent. You don't want a grumpy kid on a 10-hour flight.
7. Bring your phone or tablet and some movies and games that will entertain your child, even when she's tired.
8. I never travel without a stroller, since my baby girl only nap in it. But every child is different: maybe you won't bring yours. So if you don't bring a stroller, pack a baby carrier like the Infantino Flip Front 2 Back. Or bring both! I always do! A child can get tired of the stroller and enjoy the view more from higher.
9. Forget hotel cribs: some look very dangerous, and your child is not used to them. You should instead bring a traveling cot like the Babymoov Playtent, and get your child used to it at home before leaving. That kind of cot is safe, it's very light and don't take much space in your luggage. This is what my baby girl slept in for a month in Belize, and she liked it. It was familiar surroundings for her, which can be comforting especially when you change hotel room a lot.
10. A travel high chair (like My Little Seat Infant Travel High Chair) is a good thing to bring, especially if you doubt the restaurants where you're going to eat will have any. Eating dinner with a baby on your lap is not that relaxing.
11. You don't have to pack everything for the whole trip. They have children too at your destinations. So they will have the necessities.
12. Dress your baby for easy and quick diaper changes. You never know when and where you'll have a messy diaper to change!
13. Be sure you have a boarding pass in your child's name for every leg of the trip. Even if your child is under two years old and will be seated on you, the airline need to know she's going to be there since only certain rows have an extra oxygen mask for your child. And you don't want to get at the gate and be refused to board without her missing boarding pass.
14. Gate check your car seat if at all possible. Some luggage gets lost you don't want your car seat getting lost when you arrive at your destination and need it.
15. If there are two adults traveling with a child, ask the cabin crew to delay one of your meals so that one of you can look after the baby while the other eats.
16. Change the diaper at the airport if possible, since some airplanes don't have changing tables.
17. Bring your own rubbish bag on the plane, since you will probably be creating rubbish at a faster rate than the cabin crew can take away.
18. If your child is potty trained, bring extra pairs of pants in case of an accident.
19. Be careful who you are seated near on the plane: it's nice to be surrounded by families who are going to be forgiving if your child has a tantrum, but it's even better to stay away from the little ones who are going to cry the whole trip when yours only wants to nap. Reassess your seat position when everyone has boarded, and if you wish, ask the flight attendant to switch with another passenger since nobody wants children to have a contest of who cries the loudest.
20. Feed or nurse when taking-off and landing, this will help a lot with ear pain caused by the cabin air-pressure changes.
21. Wash the tray table and arm rests with antibacterial, since these are the most-dirty places on the plane (they are often forgotten by the cleaning crew). But let go of the rest: yes, your child will touch a lot of things, and no, you won't be able to control everything.
During your trip
22. Try to stick to your child's routine as much as possible. This will help your child with the new surroundings at least one thing won't have changed for her!
23. In your hotel room, designate a changing station, a play space and a 'kitchen' space (for baby bottles, food, formula, etc.), so you don't look everywhere for a diaper/bottle/toy when you need it fast!
24. Plan some free time for your child to just relax and play. You never know when you might come across a nice park or a playground for her to enjoy her own activities.
25. Find the nearest playground. It will be good for your child to play with other kids, and it's a good argument for you when you want to convince her to be nice so she can next go play!
26. Pubs are a good restaurant options: there's usually a lot of noise, so your child won't bother anyone, and they generally have a kids menu.
27. Remember that she meltdown at home too. So you can expect your child to meltdown just as much.
28. Be realistic in your expectations: you won't do as much, as fast, as clean or as relaxing. But it will be a lot more exciting!
29. To avoid losing your child's favourite toy or Sippy cup while she's in the stroller, use an elastic strap like the Baby Buddy Secure-a-Toy to attach it to the stroller. My baby girl likes to throw things, but her favourite blanket should never be lost!!
30. If you want your child to sleep in the stroller but she’s too curious, bring a large blanket and some hanging clips to secure it to the stroller and to avoid being kicked away.
31. Bring some duct tape to baby proof your hotel room and cover the electrical outlets.
32. When you arrive in your new hotel room, do a quick risk assessment. Check the floor for anything unsafe. And make sure you know what you need to do in the event of a fire.
33. Take a picture everyday of your child and save it on the locked screen of your cell phone, so in the event that you lose your child (a parent's biggest fear), you can show people the picture to help you find her again.
34. If you're traveling with another adult, always know whose responsibility it is to look after your child. If you don’t, you might both take your eyes off her at the same time to deal with something else (ordering food, buying tickets, etc.)
35. Dress your child in bright clothes, so you can spot her from a short distance.
36. Be extra careful where there are lots of children around, like playgrounds and theme parks.
37. Make sure your child wears an identity bracelet or band like the ID-Inside Velcro Child ID Bracelet.
38. If you want to go a step further, get a child locator, like the Mommy I'm Here CL-103 Child Locator, and get notified if your child is up to 150ft from you.
39. You can also attach a small, loud whistle to your child's jacket. If he gets lost or even for a quick moment get separated from you, she get give a good piercing blast.
In the event you lose your child
40. Call out her name and shout to everyone who can hear that you've lost your child
41. Show quickly people the picture of your child on your cell phone (see tip #33)
42. If you don't find your child right away, head to the most dangerous place first (the road, the duck pond, the open gate, etc.) to ensure that she's not there
43. In the worst case scenario, you must seek help and see the consular section of your embassy
I don't want you to get worried though, traveling with a kid is not more dangerous than it is to bring her to your hometown shopping mall. In fact, it's even safer, because you are more aware of danger when you're in an unfamiliar place. The last advice I would give you, and trust me, this is the best one: #44. Trust your instincts. A parent's instinct is the strongest of all!
How to Get an Extra Seat on Your Next Flight
Here are some tips to get an empty seat for you and your family when you have a long flight.
So when you're booking for 2 persons, book in a 3 seat row, and you book the window and the aisle seats. So the middle seat will not be booked by you.
If somebody book that middle seat, then you just ask the person to switch.
But if nobody books that middle seat, you'll have the full row to yourselves!
And this works for the 4 seat rows, and the 5 seat rows.
So you can often get an extra seat by booking you and your spouse not together.
The Dos and Don'ts of Travelling With a Medical Condition
Travelling abroad with a medical condition doesn't have to be stressful. While some additional care and attention needs to be put into this type of journey, you'll find you can without question still have the time of your life.
To make the process a little simpler, let's run through some dos and don'ts when it comes to travelling abroad with a medical condition.
Do: Arrange Vaccinations
Whether you have a condition or not, it's absolutely crucial you do your background reading and book up your vaccinations. These are critical to ensuring you aren't going to contract a deadly disease on your travels.
There is a plethora of viruses out there which still wreak havoc on a daily basis, with just some of the primary culprits including:
• Dengue Fever
As alarming as they sound, most of these conditions are easily treated with a simple vaccine. Book yours well ahead of time to ensure you'll be ready when you head overseas.
Don't: Hide Your Condition from Insurers
When you travel with a medical condition, you'll need to be completely transparent about what it is you have and how it might impact you throughout the course of your adventure.
If you fail to do so, a lot of insurance companies are likely to deny you your compensation if the worst does happen overseas. This is because of the principle of uberimae fidei (ultimate faith) they work with. If you're found to have lied, you're in breach of this sacred trust.
Do: Check What Medication You Can Take Through Customs
Everyone hates this part of travelling. What you can and can't bring through the customs desk with you is always a hard one to wrap your head around - but when you factor medication into the mix, it becomes even more of a conundrum.
Some top tips for getting through customs without much fuss include:
• Leaving all medication in its original packaging
• Preparing yourself to answer questions at customs
• Calling the airline ahead of time to ask any questions you have
• Read up on the laws of the country you're travelling to
If you plan ahead in this regard, you should be able to get through customs without much of a fuss at all.
Don't: Overexert Yourself
If you've got a condition, the last thing you'll want to be doing is going crazy and straining yourself. Prevent this by only electing to head off on an adventure which is relaxing. Whether it's basking in the summer sun, or taking a leisurely stroll along the beach, you'll be able to enjoy your vacation without too much stress.
Do: Be Outgoing
At the same time, it's important to remember not to hide yourself away from the world. Just because you're not feeling your best doesn't mean you have to isolate yourself from the fun.
Go out and forge memories which will last forever. You'll regret it massively if you let your condition get the better of you.
Thinking about heading abroad with a medical condition this summer? Keep these top tips in mind and you’ll find your trip will be significantly better.
8 Tricks to avoid bedbugs, and 8 other in case of an encounter!
What are bedbugs?
These wingless bugs range in size from 1 to 7 millimeters, are reddish brown, and are flat and oval in shape. Fecal droppings (brown and black stains that look like pepper flakes), shed skins, and the tinier translucent eggs and nymphs (juveniles) are evidence of their presence. Bedbugs don't fly or jump, but they can hide in very small or tight spaces such as under wallpaper, behind picture frames, in electrical outlets, in box springs, along the seams of mattresses, in headboards and night tables. Their presence doesn't indicate lack of cleanliness; bedbugs may be found in five-star hotels, resorts, cruise ships, buses and trains!
Risk to travelers
Bedbugs are not known to spread disease to humans and are therefore not considered to be a major health risk to travelers. The problem that may occur, beside the psychological trauma of being bitten in your sleep (hello!!), is an allergic reaction to several bites and then you may require medical attention. To avoid possible infection, try not to scratch the bites and keep the bite sites clean. The use of antiseptic creams or lotions and antihistamines may help.
The appearance of bedbug bites may take as long as 14 days to appear. Some people don't even react to the bites. In rare cases, some people may have severe allergic reactions. Bites can occur anywhere on the skin, but they are often found on the face, neck, arms, legs and chest area.
What to do before you travel
• Pack all of your belongings in clear plastic bags and properly seal them to protect from possible infestation. Open your plastic bags only when accessing the items.
• A permethrin-treated bed net may be useful, unless if the mattress is infested with bedbugs.
• Do not bring your pillow from home.
• A hard-shelled suitcase has fewer folds and seams where bedbugs can hide.
• Look at BedBugRegistry.com or Bedbugger.com if your accommodation has had complaints.
What to do on your trip
• Don't leave your suitcase or backpack on the floor or on the bed. Instead, place it on a luggage rack away from the walls, or in the bathtub or shower stall as these areas are not likely to be infested.
• Inspect your hotel room. When you arrive, pull back the bed's covers and inspect under the linens and pillows. Use a flashlight and gloves if necessary. If a credit card can fit in a crack, so does a bedbug. So look into every cracks, seams and sides of the mattress, frames, headboard, etc. Look for signs of infestation such as black/brown spots (dried blood or feces), white spots (eggs - very difficult to see) or actual live or dead bedbugs.
• Unfortunately, sleep sacks can't protect you from getting bitten; bedbugs can feed through the fabric or crawl through the opening of the sack as you sleep.
What to do if you find signs of bedbugs in your room
• Tell the hotel or hostel that you suspect bedbugs in your room and ask for another one that is not close to the first one, neither above nor below, since bedbugs can travel from one room to another nearby. Note that one infested room doesn't mean all rooms in the hotel have them.
• Place all worn and potentially affected clothes in a tightly sealed plastic bag until they can be washed and dried appropriately.
• It's unlikely that bedbugs would travel on you or the clothes you are wearing. You move too much to be a good hiding place.
What to do when you get home
• Unpack on a floor that will allow you to see bedbugs, away from furniture and sleeping areas, or on your balcony, bathtub or shower (bedbugs have a harder time crawling up smooth surfaces and are easier to spot against light colors). Unpack directly into plastic bags for taking clothes to the laundry.
• Suitcases should be carefully inspected and vacuumed or steam clean before stowing it away. Pay special attention to pockets, linings and seams. Be sure to seal and discard the vacuum cleaner bag in the outside garbage.
• It may not be necessary to treat items that cannot be laundered unless bedbugs are found. For those who wish to be extra cautious, some items can be placed in plastic bags or in plastic wrap and placed outdoors on hot sunny days or in sub-zero temperatures in the winter. Freezing temperatures must be maintained for at least four days; however this may not always be 100% effective.
• Wash all your clothes, even if you didn't wear them, and dry on 'hot' for at least 30 minutes.
• If you have found bed bugs or have noticed bites in the days/weeks after your return, contact a pest management professional, who will be able to monitor and provide advice on possible treatments
Before you head back home, shake heavily all my belongings (suitcase, clothes, etc.), to avoid taking them with you, since they cannot hold on strong enough on moving stuff. Because you don't want to bring back home "that" kind of souvenir!
53 Ultimate Travel Packing Hacks That Will Change Your Life
Do you want to pack like a savvy traveler? Or do you want to ruin all your clothes, and electronics, because you didn't pack carefully?
Never pack wrong again, or too much, too loose or just plain bad! Follow these 53 ultimate packing hacks for the best packed suitcase or backpack!
1. Make a packing list, and cross off half of it. We always bring too much stuff.
2. Always pack the heaviest items closest to the wheels of a suitcase, or at the bottom of your backpack, so that the weight is distributed to the bottom and makes it easier to roll or carry.
3. Organize items by packing them in shoes and handbag dusters that you can use as a laundry bag once enough of your clothes have been worn.
4. Use zip lock bags to store:
5. your small electronics: phone charger, camera charger, adaptors, headphones
6. your house keys, parking tickets and car keys
7. your medication
8. All other loose accessories.
9. Another good packing solution idea is packing cubes - these help separate your different items and access things more quickly in your bag.
10. Fill dead space in your bag by rolling tops, underwear, socks and other small items and stuff them into your shoes to make sure every possible space is filled.
11. Instead of bringing heavy books, get yourself an e-book reader and download the books you want to read instead.
12. And rather than bringing heavy guide books, photocopy the essential pages that you will need.
13. Baggage allowance can vary between airlines. Make sure you are aware of your limits before you reach the airport. Some carriers will allow you to check in two bags, but not all, and the weight allowance can also vary. Make sure you understand the hand luggage allowance to avoid costly charges at the gate.
14. Weigh your luggage before you leave for the airport, to avoid paying extra baggage fees. If you're close to the limit, consider:
15. wearing some of the heavier items or
16. Cutting down on what you pack in the first place.
17. Don't assume that buying the most expensive designer suitcase will get you an upgrade - instead, it's more likely to attract thieves at the airport and on your travels.
18. Get a lightweight suitcase. A hard shell suitcase can add up to four kilos of weight before you've even started packing.
19. To protect wine bottles in your luggage, wrap them in pool floaties.
20. To avoid losing your luggage, label your suitcase carefully with luggage tags and decorate it with ribbons, stickers or even colourful shoelaces to make sure you can spot it in the crowd.
21. Mark your baggage as fragile to ensure that your baggage is handled correctly. Your luggage will be kept at the top because of this, which will make it one of the first bags to be released.
22. Add an outfit of your own to your travel partner's bag in the event your luggage is lost or delayed.
23. Always keep all your valuables in your hand luggage and always pack a spare change of clothes in your hand luggage too, just in case the worst happens and your checked bag is lost/delayed.
24. To avoid the worst case scenario of being robbed, it's best to avoid flashing your cash. Instead, hide your money in:
25. An empty sun tan lotion container, if you are on the beach.
26. An empty lip balm container to hide rolled up notes.
27. An empty dental floss container. No one will bother to steal that!
28. Also store your credit cards in RFID blocking card sleeves to make sure you won't get your information stolen.
Clothes and Shoes
29. Pack at least two tops for every bottom, since you're more likely to re-wear a pair of bottoms.
30. Pack light coloured clothes inside out, to avoid getting them stained.
31. Use a hotel disposable shower cap to cover the base of your shoes, to keep the dirty soles away from your clothes.
32. To save space and stop creasing, roll your clothes instead of folding them.
33. When packing clothes that wrinkle easily, lay the clothing flat inside a dry-cleaning bag, and then roll. The plastic will prevent creases from setting in.
34. Roll delicate dresses between two sheets of white tissue paper to prevent wrinkles.
35. Place your rolled clothes in vacuum compression bags. To use these bags, put your clothes in, seal the bag, then squeeze the air out.
36. Use a belt to line shirt collars to keep them crispy.
37. Help your bras maintain their shape while also saving space by stacking your bras on top of each other, folding them in half, and tucking your underwear inside. Stuffing your underwear inside your bras will prevent the cups from folding inward and help extend the life of your bras beyond your trip.
38. To make sure your clothes always smell fresh, put fabric conditioner sheets or scented drawer liners in your suitcase.
39. Put your jewellery between two sheets of plastic wrap to prevent it from moving around and tangling inside your bag.
40. String the ends of a dainty necklace through straws to prevent the chain from knotting and tangling.
41. Use pill case compartments or an old lip balm container to organize your smaller jewellery, like rings and earrings.
42. Keep track of stud earrings by fastening the set through buttonholes before slipping them into your jewellery bag.
43. Protect your delicates from the rest of the items in your bag by tucking them inside the cloth bag that comes with a new pair of shoes, or a wine cloth bag.
44. Fold a shirt and put it inside of a hat to keep it from getting squished.
Toiletries and Jewellery
45. Refill your travel sized toothpaste bottle again, or any other travel sized liquid, instead of buying new ones every time.
46. To prevent your pressed powder or eye shadow from cracking during your travels, place a flat cotton wool pad in between the pressed powder and the lid.
47. Instead of packing bulky makeup bottles for a short trip, pour a little bit of the product into a clean contact case for easy travel.
48. Coat the ends of a few cotton swabs in your favourite eye shadow shades, and then put them in a plastic sandwich bag when traveling to save packing space.
49. Toss your makeup brushes or other small beauty products in a slim sunglasses case when traveling so you'll find them easily.
50. Use a large binder clip to cover the sharp blades of your razor so you don't accidentally cut your finger when digging around your makeup bag.
51. Use an old medicine bottle to store cotton swabs, sponges, or other disposable makeup applicators.
52. Protect breakables such as glass fragrance bottles by slipping them into socks before packing them, and then stuff them in your shoes for extra-protection.
53. Stick your hairpins inside an old Tic Tac or dental floss container to easily keep track of them.
54. To avoid liquid leaks in your luggage, take the lids off liquid bottles and add a layer of cling-film to the neck of the container before replacing the lid. Then use clear tape to seal the gap where the lid joins the container.
55. Put your hair ties on a carabineer to keep them all in one place and easy to grab.
Electronics and Accessories
56. Wrap headphones around a binder clip or with a bag fastener to prevent them from tangling.
57. If you're heading to a theme park or the beach, put your phone in a plastic bag to prevent it from getting wet.
58. Old sunglass cases can be reused to store chargers or headphones.
59. If you forgot your chargers, use the TV's USB plugin in your hotel room.
60. A pot holder makes a heat-safe case for your hair straightener.
61. Also protect your smartphone or tablet by slipping it in a padded envelope.
62. If the back of your plane seat doesn't have TVs, put your phone in a plastic bag and hook it to the back of the tray table.
Do you have any hacks you discovered on your own?
What's the best travel hacks you usually use? Share it with us.
4 Tips to Keep Your Child from Getting Carsick On a Long Trip
Who doesn't like road trips?
Usually the ones that are carsick! It is even worse when it's your precious young child that suffers from it.
One thing is for sure, the best thing to do is to schedule car trips during your child's nap (if he takes one) or regular sleep times, and if he's prone to motion sickness that strategy might be especially helpful.
Here are other useful tips on how to keep your child from getting carsick on a long trip:
1. Don't seat him too far back in the car. He's more likely to feel nauseated if he sits in the back of a van, behind the axle, than if he sits in the middle seat.
2. You can bring some toys or books for your child, but keep in mind that playing or looking at a book can sometimes make matters worse. If this is the case for your child, try other distractions, like singing, listening to the radio or chatting with him.
3. Looking out the window may help prevent motion sickness, so talk about what's going on outside. Did you know that gazing into the distance helps our brain register that our body is moving? Invent some games to engage him - see how many different trees he can spot, or help him find animals (a bird perched on a fence, a kitty on a doorstep, a dog being walked).
4. Before the trip, provide your toddler with a small snack so that he has something in his stomach, and take frequent breaks during the trip to give him a chance to calm his tummy. Offer him plenty of fluids to keep him hydrated, otherwise he may get headaches, dizzy or weak, which would only make him more miserable.
It's interesting to know that there are medications that you can give your child, but you'll want to know how that will affect him before you leave home. Dramamine, for example, is simply a form of Benadryl, a common sedating antihistamine. Although antihistamines aren't usually recommended for regular use by kids, an occasional children's dose of Benadryl or Dramamine for a long car trip may be in order. Talk to your doctor about this first.
Keep in mind that these medicines may cause your child to have a dry mouth and nose, so keep a lot of fluids handy. They also often cause drowsiness, but sometimes they have the opposite effect and cause - heaven forbid - irritability and hyperactivity. If you want to give medication a try, again ask your child’s doctor about the correct dose for your child's age and weight.
Motion sickness patches aren't an option, as they're not for use on children under age 12. Don't cut one in half to deliver a smaller dose to your preschooler. That would be a very bad idea.
Do you have any tips on your own to help a child suffering from carsickness? Share it with us.
3 Things to Do If You Ever Lose Your Passport
Do you have this nightmare where you are on an amazing trip but you lose your passport?
If it's not your nightmare yet, it would become if it ever really happens to you or to one of your family members!
But does it have to be a nightmare situation? No!
Whether you lose your passport at home or at your destination, here are the 3 things to do if it ever happens to you.
1. If your passport has been stolen or lost at home, report it immediately to protect yourself from identity theft. You can replace it immediately or later. Once you report a lost or stolen passport, it becomes invalid and cannot be used for international travel. Click here to report your lost passport if you live in the USA, or here if you live in Canada.
2. If your passport has been stolen or lost abroad, report it immediately to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to replace your passport or to the Government of Canada office abroad. They will issue you an emergency travel document or a temporary passport if you demonstrate that you have an urgent need and are stuck in that foreign country.
3. If you ever find your passport again, after having reported its loss, immediately notify the offices linked above and return it. If your passport is damaged, re-apply for a passport to avoid delays at border crossings in certain countries.
Now be careful! It is not enough, to travel, that your passport is valid. For certain destinations, it must be valid for up to 6 months after the date of your return to the USA or Canada.
Each country, indeed has its own entry requirements. See the Travel Warnings for each country's entry / exit requirements. Since these requirements may change, I suggest that you check out the current information on government travel advice, and refer to the U.S. Passports & International travel or the Canadian Travel Advice and Advisories.
• An American citizen that travels to Belgium must have a valid passport 6 months after his return date.
• A Canadian citizen that travels to Costa Rica must have a valid passport 3 months after his return date.
Also, if you are a permanent resident, immigrant admitted to the USA or Canada, or another nationality, you must verify the entry conditions that concern you.
A Good Advice?
Before you leave your home country, make a photocopy of your passport's identification page and travel documents and write down your credit and debit card number. Keep this information separate from the originals, and leave a copy at home and/or to a close friend or relative.
Be careful and always store your passport in a safe place. A passport is of great value on the black market and is a preferred target for thieves in some countries.
Did you ever lose your passport? What did you do then? Share it with us.
14 Sure Ways to Stay Healthy When Travelling
Who wants to stay healthy? Everyone! And on a trip? Even more, since we don't always know how well is the health care abroad. I have been lucky (or is it luck?): I've never been sick in all of the 19 countries I've visited. Here is what the experts are recommending.
Before you leave home, visit your doctor and dentist for checkups, and inform them you're going away. You don't want a toothache in a country where you don't understand the language! On your trip, you should carry your doctor's number with you, if you want a diagnostic or a second opinion over the phone. In some cases, your insurance company will insist you talk to someone in your home country. And head to a local travel clinic to be sure you have received all the vaccines that are required by the country you want to travel to.
Subscribe to a travel insurance, and keep all the details on you, including contact help lines. In the unlikely event you need a treatment, this will speed up the process and make sure your insurer is informed. You should also email yourself a scan of your policy certificate, in case you lose the paper documents.
I also carry with me a list of where to access quality medical care in the country I'm visiting. You can get that information when you subscribe to the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (www.iamat.org).
If you want to know how to easily deal with jetlag, please read my article about it.
If you travel with a phone, set yourself a daily or weekly reminder to take whatever medicine and/or preventatives you need for your journey. If not, coincide taking it with the same meal each day so it becomes a routine. That's what I do to take my birth control pill; even if it would make a great story to get pregnant in the Philippines, I take all the means necessary to take it at the same time, considering time difference!
One of the best things you can do to avoid getting sick is to use hand sanitizer thoroughly. Keep a small bottle in your pocket, and use it before and after meals, and after going to the restroom if there's nowhere to wash your hands.
If you are worried about street food, as long as it is fully cooked, there's no worry about it. It's sometimes even better than in restaurants since you can see how it's cooked. Just be careful about the hands that touch it (the cook and yours). You can also bring your own throwaway ecofriendly chopsticks or utensils, or a camping spoon, which you can clean yourself if you don't want to take any chances with the ones that are provided.
Boiling water for 5 minutes is the best way to ensure it is safe to drink, at any altitude. If you are using a water purifier, try to choose the cleanest source possible. Always stay away from river, lake or well's water without purifying it first.
Another way to stay healthy is to avoid bites. Use insect repellent with a high percentage of DEET (the higher is the most effective). You could also apply an insect killer, such as permethrin, to clothing to kill ticks on contact; use a plug-in insect killer in your hotel room at night and/or a mosquito net over your bed. I was happy I had my mosquito net the night I slept in a room with an ant colony on the ceiling!
Finally, pack with you a medical kit that deals with common ailments like the cold, the flu and headaches as much as what you need for a tropical disease.
And remember: don't stress about it! Stress makes us sick!!
12 Tricks to Beat Jet Lag
Oh jet lag In my opinion, it's the only boring thing about travelling. And it is so boring because, for me, jet lag is worse when I get back home; I usually feel great when I get to my destination. Since it's already boring to get back home, it is excruciating with jet lag.
Jet lag can occur any time you travel quickly across two or more time zones. The more time zones you cross, the more likely you are to be sleepy and sluggish - and the longer and more intense the symptoms are likely to be. Jet lag is caused by our internal clock (it's called circadian rhythms) that is desynchronized with the external time. You can recognize the symptoms: disturbed sleep, daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating and functioning, and even stomach problems. Jet lag is generally worse when you "lose time" traveling west to east. And if you're an older adult, jet lag may hit you harder and recovery may take longer. While even infants experience jet lag, they recover very quickly, because kids in general tend to have a more flexible internal clock.
The fact that long flights are tiring and stressful can aggravate the problem. They involve inevitable worry, discomfort, dehydration and bad sleep. Tackle each of those separate issues, one by one, and you can minimize them. (Read my article 14 Tips to have the best flight of your life to learn how.)
Here's how to prevent or ease jet lag:
1. Simulate your new schedule before you leave: Move your bedtime and meal time half-hour earlier or later (depending if you are traveling east or west) for several days before you leave.
2. Adapt to your new schedule while in flight: Change your watch when you get on the plane; rest or try to sleep if it's night time where you're going.
3. Arrive early: If you need to be in top shape at your destination for an event, like a wedding, try to arrive a few days early, so you can adjust.
4. Stay hydrated: Drink before, during and after your flight to counteract dehydration. Avoid alcohol and caffeine a few hours before you plan to sleep.
5. Eat like you're already there: Avoid eating airplane food, since it's generally served on a schedule that's consistent with the time zone you're leaving, not the one you're going to. If you're hungry, snack lightly until you arrive at your destination, and eat during what would be mealtimes there.
6. Move around: Try to move as much as you can on your flight, and when you get to your destination. Avoid heavy exercise near bedtime, as it can delay sleep.
7. Expose yourself to sunlight: Exposure to sunlight helps regulate our internal clock.
8. Eat sensibly: Don't eat too much on the day you travel, since digesting a big meal can disrupt sleep. But have a protein-rich breakfast the morning after you arrive. It'll help with alertness.
9. Daytime naps are OK to take after you arrive, but keep them to 30 minutes or less so they don't interfere with your night time sleep.
10. Take a hot bath before bedtime: A bath can ease sore muscles from travel and help you relax and wind down. The drop in your body temperature when you get out of a bath may also make you sleepy.
11. Minimize sleep distractions: An eye mask and earplugs can help you sleep better on the plane and at your destination.
12. Consider medication: It's usually not necessary to get treatment for jet lag, but if these strategies don't work for you, your doctor may prescribe or suggest medications to take temporarily to help you sleep or stay alert when necessary. Or consider melatonin: Melatonin naturally secreted in our bodies helps regulate our internal clock so we can sleep at night. A supplement could help you find sleep easier. Be careful not to go overboard and take too much melatonin, or you may suffer a hangover and feel confused the following day. But taken in small quantities, clinical tests have shown melatonin to be non-addictive, nontoxic, and safe, and it causes very few side effects. If you want to try melatonin, check with your doctor first.
Those advices will help you cope with jet lag easily. As for myself, when I arrive at my destination, I go to my hotel room, leave my luggage there, and then go for a walk. I go to bed early the first night, and sleep for 10 or more hours. By the next day, I already feel better. When I come back home, I sleep as much as I can on the flight, so I'm not sleep deprived, and I adjust much better to my routine.
How to Find the Best Spot to Sleep in any Airports
Check on this great website that I found, it's called Sleeping in airports.
You know when you have a long flight, with stopovers, or layovers, and it's during the night, or you get tired.
When you go on this website, you can learn where's the best spot in the airport where you'll going to have your layover, to sleep, to rest like where's the quietest gates, or is there seats without armrests.
So that can be very useful, especially if you have a family and you want to rest between flights. This is very useful.
14 Tips to have the Best Flight of Your Life
I like to fly. I like it a lot. I like the fact that we do nothing for a couple of hours. In real life, I'm busy all the time, that's why I like it so much. There are still some annoyances, but most of them can be avoided. Here are some tips to help you have your best flight ever!
• If you can choose your seats, here are the most comfortable ones on a plane:
• Away from the engines, to sleep better
• Over or near the wings, the smoothest place for turbulence
• As near to the front as possible, so you get off quicker, meaning less stale-smelling air and often less time in immigration queues
• Away from the lavatory, to avoid the smell!
• You have heard it before: drink tons of water, and bring your own bottle, since flight attendants can easily refill it. You will probably have to go to the lavatory a couple of times, so it will help you with the next tip.
• Move as much as you can: walk to the lavatory, stretch and flex your toes and calves at your seat, stand at the back of the plane, so you don't develop blood clot.
• You can also wear compression socks to avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
• If your health, values and wallet can afford it, drink a little bit of red wine, since it increases blood circulation. But avoid excessive amounts of alcohol, tea and coffee.
• Chew gum, yawn or wear special ear plugs when the plane is taking off or landing to regulate ear pressure. Generally, taking a decongestant with pseudoephedrine at least half an hour before your flight helps keep ears unblocked. If your baby is traveling with you, nurse or give him or her something to drink.
• Use sanitizer to wipe off your tray table, the armrests and the push-back button of your seat, since the cleaning crew don't clean them systematically.
• Bring a travel pillow or use the head restraint to avoid neck discomfort during the flight.
• If the air dryness is getting the best of you, drink lots of water, use eye drops, nasal spray, moisturizer, mineral-water aerosol spray and lip balm to ease the discomfort. And wear your glasses instead of your contact lenses.
• You can always use your toothbrush/toothpaste, a moist wipe and deodorant to refresh after a long flight.
• Your seatmate wants to chat and you don't, or is snoring loudly? Always bring with you ear plugs, an eye mask and headphones so you don't have to comply.
• Worst of all, if your seatmate stinks, share with him or her a mint or chewing gum. You can also dab under your nose some vapor rub!
• Wear comfy and loose clothes, and layers. This doesn't mean you have to wear sweat pants: a scarf, boyfriend jeans, cool boots, a cami under an easy shirt you get the picture.
• If you want to recline your seat, please check first that the passenger behind you isn't using his laptop on the tray table and you don't break it. You don't want to get him angry and revengeful so that he pushes your seat for the rest of the flight.
Have a nice flight!
Does it always Pay Off to Buy a Travel Insurance?
The truth is that very rarely can you predict what awaits you in life. Unexpected things happen all the time. Sometimes they are pleasant, and sometimes not. What you can do is to be prepared as much as you can.
The same thing applies to travels.
In the moments when you are excitedly planning a long-awaited trip to a desired destination, you seldom think of ugly things such as illness, a loss of passport or baggage.
Travel insurance is an excellent way to prepare in advance for any inconvenience you might encounter during the trip.
Very often people wonder whether travel insurance is worth paying for, and, if so, which one is the best.
Travel Insurance is a Wise Investment in These Cases
Travel insurance is just as important as any other form of insurance, if not even more important. Hardly anybody would dare to drive a car that is not covered by insurance.
Again, the same thing applies to travels.
When traveling to a country you are not familiar with, there are many inconveniences you might encounter along the way or even before the departure. Therefore, an important part of planning a route should be devoted to finding a travel insurance that meets your wishes and needs.
One of the very common situations, where the purchase of travel insurance policies proved to be a very smart decision, is a canceled departure. Never mind if you personally are cheerful and enthusiastic, if you do not have any health problems nor are you thinking about them while enthusiastically packing suitcases, illness of a family member can totally disrupt your plans for the trip.
If someone in your family suddenly gets seriously ill or dies, travel insurance will cover your trip cancellation costs and provide you with a refund. Travel insurance Polis is a real life-saver if you suddenly need to go back from the road due to sudden illness or death in the family. It will reimburse unused arrangements and additional transportation costs.
People very often cope with sudden accidents or illness while traveling, and medical services abroad are generally very expensive. Food poisoning, allergies, worsening of chronic conditions, or sprains these are the most frequent cases. And if you need hospitalization, complicated intervention or evacuation home under medical supervision figures can rise to unimagined heights.
Travel insurance covers all the costs in these situations. Even if you are traveling alone and you happen to need to stay in hospital for a longer period, some of the policies cover the travel expenses for a family member who would be with you.
Anyone who has ever lost luggage, personal documents or money in a foreign country, will certainly confirm that buying travel insurance is one of the smartest decisions he has ever made.
It is Important to Pay Attention to These Things When Buying a Travel Insurance
In order to be really secure and completely covered during the trip, it is important to pay attention to some details when choosing an insurance policy. This way you will avoid the embarrassment and negative surprises about which we often read in the press and online portals.
When choosing insurance companies and types of packages, it is very important not to run for the lowest price exclusively. It has been shown in practice many times so far what a great difference can be made by paying a few euros more or less, when you get into a situation that you need to charge travel insurance policy.
Make sure that the insurance policy in case of cancellation is signed by the insurance company as well. It often turns out that instead of getting back the cash, you just get a voucher for another trip, which would replace the canceled one.
It is important that on the policy you have written the phone number that you can call 24/7, whenever you require help or advice. For example, if you need urgent medical attention, you first have to call this number to check with which medical institution nearby the insurance company has signed a contract. If you go to the random one, it is possible that the cost of treatment will not be reimbursed.
After all, the answer to the question whether travel insurance is worth paying for is clear - yes, definitely. Always.
What Everybody Ought To Know About Travel Insurance
We all know that anything can happen on a trip, even if we only wish the best. A wise man once said: Expect the best, prepare for the worst. That's what travel insurance is for.
Do you really want to have to pay millions of dollars after getting sick abroad? What about if your trip is cancelled and you already paid thousands of dollars for a cruise or accommodation? I don't think I have to plead my case that travel insurance is as essential as your passport. But what should be covered? How to choose the best policy for your personal needs? Here's what everybody ought to know about travel insurance!
Which Countries Are Covered?
Not all policies cover all countries visited. Sometimes the policy will only cover for the countries that your government hasn't issued a 'avoid all travel advisory'. So always read the fine prints before handing over your hard-earned cash for any policy.
Look at the list of activities you're covered for. You might not be covered if you want to try paragliding or bungee jumping. Also, study the list of the sports you're allowed to play. Ultimate fighting isn't probably covered!
And you might not be covered if you are teaching an activity. For example, in my policy, I am covered if I am diving, but not if I am teaching diving.
Good policies will cover you against flight and train cancellations, which can be useful if you have already paid for your accommodation.
The Length of Your Trip
Some policies cover your trip for up to 21 days. That's usually the case with travel insurance that your credit card provides. Since I will be leaving for almost 2 months this winter, I have to make sure my policy will cover my whole trip, not just the beginning of it.
If you decide to stay longer, make sure your policy can easily be extended while you're away, and that you will only pay for the difference in cost between the two periods rather than having to take out a new policy for your additional time.
Most policies won't help you out if you get up to anything illegal. No policy covers for nuclear, chemical or biological warfare, but some policies do insure against terrorist acts.
Luggage and Valuables
If you are taking with you a laptop, a mobile phone or other valuables, check that they'll be covered as some policies require you to declare these upfront by providing equipment serial numbers. Cheap policies may only cover a limited amount of valuables unless you pay more for the initial policy.
If you've got asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure or any other illnesses, make sure they're covered. Usually you are OK if your condition is diagnosed and stable, but all policies vary.
Receipts & Serial Numbers
Keep receipts and serial numbers at home for anything you might lose during your trip.
Buy a policy that will cover repatriation to your home country, and not only to the nearest regional medical facility. You don't want to get stuck abroad when you are in such a bad condition that needs to be assessed immediately.
And look up how much you will have to pay before your insurance company pick up the tab. You might be covered for 5 million dollars of medical expenses, but still have to pay $5000 from your own pocket.
Who Pays What?
Check if your policy will make you pay on the spot and you will have to redeem the money later, or if the company will pay the providers directly. If you have to claim later, you will need to keep all the documentation and receipts.
If you already have a medical condition, some policies will ask you to call a center back home where an immediate assessment of your condition will be made.
Always carry with you your company's emergency hotline numbers. Since we never know when something can happen; its better never take a chance.
You can also take pictures of your policy and send it to yourself by email, so you can always have access abroad. And you can also give a copy to a relative or a friend back home; that could help you.
Traveling should only be about fun and easy experiences and adventures. But just like at home, anything can happen. We're better be prepared, than sorry!
9 Ways to Deal with a Cancelled Flight (Plus 1 Secret Tip!)>
It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere: a cancelled flight can wreck a part of a vacation.
So prepare yourself first, and then know what to do when it happens.
What to Do Before Your Trip
• Program phone numbers of your airlines into your phone before you go. If you're going to buy a SIM card abroad, make sure you save the numbers to your phone's memory, not your local SIM card.
• If you know you will be traveling on a busy holiday weekend to a very busy airport, and especially if there is the possibility of severe weather, book a room in an airport hotel; you will be ready if your flight is cancelled. Check the hotel's cancellation policy, so you are not charged for an unused room, and be sure to cancel the room if you don't need it.
• Check each airline's website for their cancellation/delay policies. You may be entitled to hotel and meal compensations.
• List all the airlines that fly to your destination.
• Carry on your bags whenever possible. If your luggage has been checked through to your final destination but you encounter delays, you may not be able to switch your luggage's flights and airlines as easily as your own.
What to do if, your Flight Is Cancelled
Go to the Ticket Counter AND Call the Airline
Go to the ticket counter for rebooking AND call the airline while waiting in line. That way, you can work with whomever you reach first. Ask the airline (or your travel agent) for a seat on the next flight going to your destination. You will probably get into the airline's computer system quickly over the phone, before people who stand in line. Your airline may be able to transfer your ticket to another flight on that airline, in which case you can proceed directly to the gate.
If you have your mobile, but have no phone or web services, find a wall adjoining an airport lounge - you can often pick up wi-fi signals intended for elite flyers inside, and use skype to call your airline.
Book a New Flight
Carry a list of all airlines that fly to your destination. The airline on which you are ticketed may not be able to rebook you on a later flight, or might not be the airline with the next available flight. Call other airlines and book a seat on a convenient flight. Depending on the fare you originally purchased and its restrictions, it might be simpler and faster to purchase a new ticket on a different airline, over the phone, and not use your original ticket. If you purchase a new ticket, proceed directly to the new airline's gate.
Have Your Ticket Endorsed
If you have made a reservation on a different airline but have not purchased a new ticket, you will need to get your existing ticket endorsed over to the new carrier. You will have to stand in line at the counter of the airline that cancelled the flight, but you, unlike others in line, will already have another flight arranged.
Save Unused Tickets
Unused tickets, one-way or round-trip, are almost as good as cash: they can be credited toward another flight on the same airline or, in some cases, refunded. You may not be able to get a refund on a budget airline flight, but you can reclaim the tax on any portion of a journey you haven't taken. In many cases this can amount to over half the cost of the fare.
Now, there's another way to get a ticket on another flight. It's a bold move. I don't even recommend it, because if everybody would do that all the time, it wouldn't work anymore. Let me explain: My husband and I had our flight cancelled from Manila, Philippines, to Canada, last year. My husband had the brilliant idea to get into the first-class lounge. When they asked him to leave, because we were flying coach, he refused and asked to talk with an agent who could help him book another flight. They let him wait in the lounge! They helped first-class passengers get another flight first, but then they find a flight for us too. Now, please keep this strategy for when you ABSOLUTLY need to get to your destination as soon as possible. Otherwise, it won't work anymore.