Previous month:
January 2011
Next month:
March 2011

Recent political unrest and a natural disaster have led to U.S. and foreign governments advising travelers postpone trips to the three countries below:

Libya

The State Department has warned against non-essential travel to Libya due to the potential for ongoing unrest. Violent clashes between protesters and security forces continue to threaten the safety of visitors. Several other countries have issued similar warnings, and British Airways and Air France have cancelled all flights to Libya.

New Zealand

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake shook Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand. Considerable damage has been reported in the Christchurch Central Business District and in Lyttelton. Locals have reported experiencing strong aftershocks that are expected to continue.

Bahrain

Continuing violent protests in Bahrain have led the U.S. State department to issue a travel alert urging all U.S. citizens to postpone non-essential travel to the country. The U.K., Australia and South Korea have issued similar travel advisories.

If you need to cancel a trip, check with your travel insurance agent to see what your policy covers in the event of a natural disaster or political unrest. USI Affinity travel policy holders with Trip Cancellation and Interruption Travel Insurance can be reimbursed up to 100% of their Trip Cost if they cancel for a covered reason.


Airport

Not many people travel without a smartphone these days, and many frequent travelers are using phone apps to keep them on schedule and less stressed. Going on a trip soon? Try these three popular smartphone apps to keep it on track:

  • FlightTrack. With frequent travel updates and a user-friendly layout, FlightTrack gives detailed information on flights from over 4,000 airports and 1,400 airlines. FlightTrack, also available on iTunes, offers alternative routes, real-time updates on departure and arrival times, and flight route maps. Travelers can also sync the app with their calendar.
  • Boingo. This app, available at boingo.com, enables unlimited Wi-Fi at selected airports, hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and other venues in more than 200,000 hotspots worldwide.The app is great for frequent business travelers, allowing them to stay connected to the Web without roaming fees.

  • AllSubway HD. In a strange city and need to find the fastest way to your next meeting? This app has 115 subway maps from city hubs all over the world. AllSubway HD, available on iTunes, gives travelers access to a detailed map of the subway system with user friendly zooming abilities.

And don't forget the number one way to lower your stress while traveling: Travel Insurance from USI Affinity.


Medevac

Many travelers underestimate just how many vacations are cut short by medical emergencies - some almost before they start.

A passenger on board a recent cruise to the Bahamas only made it as far as the Chesapeake Bay before getting ill. He was medevaced from the ship to awaiting EMS just hours after departure.

This was an unfortunate (and costly) end to a vacation, especially if the ill passenger did not have medical evacuation coverage. Many travel and health care policies provide little or no coverage for an emergency medevac, which can cost $100,000 or more.

That's why it's so important to consider medical evacuation insurance before you travel. Check out MedEvacU, a low cost annual plan for travelers and their families, to make sure your next vacation doesn't end up costing $100,000 more than you planned.


U.S. Embassy Cairo
January 31, 2011 

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo informs U.S. citizens in Egypt who wish to depart that the Department of State is making arrangements to provide transportation to safehaven locations in Europe. This assistance will be provided on a reimbursable basis, as required by U.S. law. U.S. citizens who travel on US government – arranged transport will be expected to make their own onward travel plans from the safehaven location. Flights to evacuation points will begin departing Egypt on Monday, January 31. There will be a limited number of seats available on evacuation flights. Priority will be given to persons with medical emergencies or severe medical conditions. Persons interested in departing Egypt via USG-chartered transportation should contact the US Department of State and Embassy Cairo by sending an email to EgyptEmergencyUSC@state.gov or by calling 1-202-501-4444. Please provide the following information:
Name, age, place of birth, U.S. passport number and any special medical needs.

Immediate family members (spouses and children) who are not U.S. citizens must be documented for entry into the safehaven country and/or U.S., if that is your final destination. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

I’m ready to go. What do I do?
Documented U.S. citizens may proceed to Terminal 1 Hall 4 (Hajj or VIP Hall) of the Cairo airport as of Monday, January 31, 11:00 am. U.S. citizens are not advised to travel to the Cairo airport during curfew hours. 

NOTE: U.S. citizens located near Luxor, Alexandria or Aswan airports should secure a private commercial flight to depart Egypt. The U.S. government is not arranging transport from these locations at this time.  The airports are all OPEN and there are commercial flights available to U.S. citizens. If traveling to Luxor, Alexandria or Aswan airport please be sure to have a confirmed ticket and know the terminal you need to go to before heading to the airport. 

My child is a U.S. citizen. Can my whole family be evacuated? 
A U.S. citizen child may be escorted by one adult, preferably a parent, who has appropriate travel documents. If a family has more than one U.S. citizen child, the one-adult rule still applies.

Do I need a U.S. passport?
All U.S. citizen travelers and their spouses and children, are required to have valid travel documents. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo will assist U.S. citizens with travel documents. U.S. citizens who do not hold a valid U.S. passport or visa and are interested in departing Egypt via USG-chartered transportation should contact the US Department of State and Embassy Cairo by sending an email to EgyptEmergencyUSC@state.gov or by calling 1-202-501-4444.

What do I do if my passport is expired? If you are the holder of a U.S. passport that has expired within the last ten years please proceed directly to the Cairo airport. You will be able to board the U.S. chartered flight with your expired passport en route to the safe haven. It is important to note you will probably need to get an emergency passport upon arriving at your safe haven so that you can continue your travels en route to the United States. If you are the holder of a passport that has been expired for over ten years then you will need to get an emergency passport at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. 

What do I do if my child is a U.S. citizen, but hasn’t yet been documented?
Contact the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.  U.S. citizens who do not hold a valid U.S. passport or visa interested in departing Egypt via USG-chartered transportation should contact the U.S. Department of State and Embassy Cairo by sending an email to EgyptEmergencyUSC@state.gov or by calling 1-202-501-4444. 

My family members aren’t U.S. citizens. Can they travel with me?
The scheduled evacuation flights will transport U.S. citizens and their immediate family members. Immediate family members – defined as spouses and children – who are not U.S. citizens will be required to have travel documentation that will permit their entry into the safe haven destinations. At this time, flights are expected to travel to Istanbul, Turkey, Athens, Greece, and Nicosia, Cyprus. Safe haven destinations may change. U.S. citizens requesting evacuation will not be able to select their safe haven destinations.

Will you fly me to the United States? 
Our goal is to get people to a safe place, where they can make their own onward travel arrangements. Travelers will be responsible for their own onward travel arrangements and accommodations in the safe haven city. Consular officers will provide travelers with information on airlines and hotels.

What should I bring?
Travelers should bring valid travel documents and any necessary medications.
Each traveler may bring one suitcase and a small personal carry-on item.
U.S. citizens seeking evacuation should be prepared for a substantial wait at the airport. Travelers are advised to bring food, water, diapers and other necessary toiletries with them to the airport.

What about my pets?
Evacuation flights will not be able to accommodate pets. 

Do I have to pay for the flight?
U.S. citizens requesting evacuation will be asked to sign paperwork promising to reimburse the U.S. Government for flight costs at a later date. Exact flight costs are not yet available, but should be comparable to a one-way commercial flight from Egypt to the safe haven location.

How do I get to the airport?
At this time, public transport to include taxis is still operating in Egypt.