Travel pic 15 Safety Tips for the Adventurous Traveler

by Kyla Stelling 

When you’re on a travel adventure, you don’t want unforeseen safety mishaps to interrupt or stifle your fun. From planning your trip to purchasing supplies, there are a number of ways you can ensure your safety while traveling to remote destinations. Here is a list of safety tips for those who are traveling to off-the-grid, exotic locations. 

Planning and Preparation

Before you book a flight, research the region you want to visit. It is important that you know as much as you can about your location so you can plan accordingly. For example, if you are traveling to a rainforest, you should know the weather conditions that you’ll encounter while there since they have frequent flooding during their rainy seasons. Plan around the anticipated or seasonal weather conditions, so you can enjoy the best parts of your beautiful, rugged location without unexpectedly finding yourself in the midst of a natural, weather-based disaster. Also, research the necessary vaccinations you may need whenever you plan to visit an exotic and off-the-beaten-path location. Use the State Department’s website to see if your exotic and remote location has been given any travel warnings related to natural disasters, political situations or health conditions.

Securing Things at Home

Once you’ve planned your trip, set up arrangements to secure things at home during your absence. You’ll want to ensure the safety of your home while you are off in distant lands. Make use of home security systems and monitoring devices, like Nest Secure, that will keep guard when you’re not home. You can monitor the state of your home through the Nest app, which is accessible by Wi-Fi and connects to Nest Cams for visual checks. In addition to your home, you’ll also want to protect your bank and personal information from theft while you’re away. Frequent travelers are at a higher risk of identity theft and may want to consider investing in an identity theft service. Find a service that provides a plan engineered just for you, which includes monitoring of personal info, identity misuse scanning, and services for identity theft restoration.

Traveler’s Insurance

When you’re in a remote place, you may be more susceptible to risky and dangerous situations. Protect yourself from the consequences of any unforeseen mishaps by insuring your travel. With travel insurance coverage, you can have access to some money and life-saving services. These services include coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, medical expenses and 24-hour access to emergency and travel assistance services. For information and quotes on travel insurance plans, visit http://www.travelinsure.com/.

Supplies

Before you set out to your remote and exotic destination, pack supplies that will aid any possible emergencies. Some staples include non-perishable food, such as jerky, trail mix or granola bars; a solar-charged flashlight; an emergency blanket, like an all-weather space blanket; a compass and a map of the area. You should also have a thoroughly stocked first aid kit to handle the aches, pains, and injuries that come with travel. Include in your first aid kit: a prescribed antibiotic, diarrhea medicine, laxative, liniment for muscle aches, ointment for insect bites, sunburn protection, sunburn medication, allergy and cold medicines, tweezers, nitrile gloves, moleskin patches, blister gel, thermometer, pain medication, nausea medication, triple antibiotic ointment, band-aids and bandages, alcohol, rubbing pads, hydrogen peroxide and elastic bandages for sprains. REI’s Smart Travel Adventure Medical Kit is fully equipped with all the essentials you need to stay in good health, though it must be transported in your checked luggage as it is not TSA-approved to carry-on.

Communication

When you’re in an off-the-grid spot, you’ll need a means to communicate with the rest of the world. Check in with your cell service provider to see if they serve the area you plan to visit. You may need to consider investing in a satellite phone or hotspot, which will give you the means to communicate in even some of the remotest areas of the world. The Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 Satellite Phone gives you GPS, Bluetooth and SMS coverage in all areas of the globe, except the poles. The phone’s design helps it work in the most rugged conditions, with casing that protects it from rain and dust storms, sub-zero temperatures, or tropic humidity. It has a long-lasting battery and operates over the Inmarsat global I-4 satellite network.

Traveling to your remote location will be an exhilarating and memorable experience, but could easily be interrupted by an unexpected safety incident. Embark on your travels with all safety concerns and risks tended to, so you can fully enjoy your exotic adventure. 

 

Kyla Stelling is enrolled in the Master in Teaching program at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Previous career roles have entailed everything from design and event planning to public relations and child care. In her spare time, Kyla hikes the Cascade Mountains, designs elaborate cakes, and writes alongside her cuddly cat, Wellington.


Travel article

Pro Tips for Your First Trip Abroad

by Sara Parker

You’ve been bitten by the travel bug, and you finally have the time, money and means to take your first trip abroad. But where do you start? There are so many places to go, people to meet, things to eat and cultures to experience. Lucky for you, there are plenty of resources available to help you decide where to go and plan your entire trip. The following are just a few tips to get you started:

Decide Where to Go

All you know is that you want to travel out of the country, but aren’t sure where to go first. Begin your journey with research. Ask your friends about their favorite trips abroad, conduct online searches of some of the most popular destinations or go to your local bookstore to browse the travel section. You also should start narrowing down what type of trip you want to take, such as a remote, outdoors trek, major city tour or a cruise. Think about what you want out of your first time abroad to help decide what kind of excursion you want. As you start narrowing down your options, you also should narrow down your search parameters. For example, only look for the best locations to go backpacking or the best places with art history museums. The lists, books, and websites you’ll find will help you pick the best destination.

Get Your Documents

Once you know where you're going, you need to get going on your paperwork as soon as possible. If you don't have a passport or need to update an old one, do this immediately because it can take several weeks (and sometimes months) to complete. According to the U.S. Department of State, your passport needs to be valid at least six months after your return and have at least two blank pages that can be stamped by customs. Depending on the country you've chosen and the duration of your visit, you also may need to get a visa. Each country has different rules and regulations for visas and you usually have to send your passport and documentation to that country to be granted a visa (which is why you should do it immediately). The Department of State has information broken down by country that gives you directions on how to apply for a visa.

Book Your Flights

There are several points you need to consider before booking your flights online: dates, location, and price. If you are set on a certain time of year for your trip, the first thing you need to do is make sure flights are available during this time. From there, you can narrow down your options by what airport you want to fly out of from your home and into for your destination. Be very careful when you're conducting your research because many websites will tell you they are close to major tourist destinations even if they aren't (it's all relative after all). Do your due diligence by checking how far the airport is from your hotel so you don't end up with a large taxi bill. Now you can start looking at various airlines and prices. Although you may be excited, you may not want to book your flight too far in advance, according to CheapAir.com. According to their study, you should book your flight two to four months in advance of your trip to get the best prices. They have each region of the world broken down by the best time to book flights for more information.

Reserve a Place to Stay

Just like with your flights, you need to do some research on where you'll stay during your trip abroad. Whether you make a reservation at a hotel, hostel, Airbnb or couch-surfing option, you should look into how far it is from the major attractions and destination in the city. Use Google Maps on your smartphone to input addresses and locations to see if you can walk or take public transportation to all the places you want to go or if you'll need a car or taxi to get around. Keep in mind that the cost of cab rides adds up quickly.

Your accommodations also greatly depend on your budget for the trip. If you're pinching pennies, hostels are a great option. They usually are in the heart of major cities and can be booked for affordable prices (especially if you're planning an extended trip). Hostels also provide you with the opportunity to meet new people, talk to the locals and have a more authentic experience. Hotels and Airbnb may be more expensive options, but offer more privacy, services, and luxury. Be sure to look at pictures of the hotels or homes on their website, and read reviews and comments on websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp. Take advantage of the power of a smartphone like the LG G6 to compare all of your options and do as much research as possible. Your phone not only lets you look at websites, but also take screenshots and save information for later use in case something goes wrong.

As you plan your trip, be sure to include the major tourist attractions as well as some local activities on your itinerary. Give yourself plenty of time to explore, try new things and soak in a new culture. With a little research and planning, you'll have an amazing trip and be itching to plan the next one.

Purchase Travel Insurance

Getting travel insurance is prudent with any vacation, but it’s especially important when you’re traveling abroad. Protect your investment in your trip, and also ensure you’re covered in case of sickness or an accident while traveling (after all, many U.S. healthcare plans don’t cover you outside the U.S. Check with your individual plan). USI Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of travel protection plans, so you can find the right plan for you:

Visit http://www.travelinsure.com/ to view all of our plans and learn more.

 

Sara Parker has a passion for travel and travel writing. She lived and studied in Segovia, Spain, for six weeks, has traveled throughout Western Europe, Peru, Costa Rica and the United States. She hopes to hit every continent and share her journeys through her writing.

 


  Travel_mountains_hiking

How to Prepare for the Ultimate Backpacking Trip

By Jim Burch

John Muir once said, "The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” And there is no better way to see America's wilderness than to strap your gear to your back and walk. But it's not that simple, is it? Backpacking, while fun and rewarding, is sometimes difficult and requires real preparation.

Get in Hiking Shape

Even at no grade and low altitude, hiking for 10 miles and 25 plus pounds on your back takes a toll on your body. If you're a beginner hiker or you spend most of the day sitting in an office chair, there are a few simple exercises to get your legs and core into prime hiking shape.

  • Core - Deadlifts are crucial to back and core strength. Learn to do them safely and properly.
  • Legs - Squats and lunges target both the front and back muscles all the way down the leg.
  • Mobility - The "Limber 11" is a great series of stretches to make long hikes safer and more comfortable.

Get the Gear

The toys needed for a backpacking adventure into the wilderness are minimal, but you should still invest time and research into these key items before exploring the backcountry:

  • Backpack - A good backpack should carry 35-45 liters of gear and have an internal frame to distribute the weight off your shoulders and onto your hips.
  • Tent - The giant tent you use for family car camping won't do for this excursion. Backpacking tents are light, small and only big enough to fit the exact number of people in your group (usually 1-3). Make sure it has a rainfly and consider the additional footprint if you'll be camping on rough ground.
  • Sleeping Bag - If there is one item to splurge on, it should be the sleeping bag. Down feathers pack down and loft out better than synthetic material. You should also find one with a temperature rating below the coldest night of your trip.
  • Sleeping Pad - Most people think the primary function of a sleeping pad is to give cushion, but it's actually to separate you from the cold ground below. The best sleeping bag does nothing if it's pressed up against the cold ground, but a sleeping pad offers a buffer between your body and the dirt below. It also just so happens to be more comfortable.
  • Water Filtration - When you're more than a day's hike from the nearest clean water source, you need a method to filter your own from a stream or pond. Water filters filter out impurities from any water source so you can have safe, clean water to drink and cook with.

There are dozens more items to consider, such as headlamps, a knife, and first aid, but any good backpacking checklist will help ensure you have everything you need.

Get Your Itinerary

You've got the gear, you're in great shape, now it's time to prepare for the actual trip. Controlled land, such as National and State Parks, will usually require backcountry permits for wilderness camping. Popular parks such as Grand Canyon and Yosemite are very difficult to get permits for, so you should sign up for them the moment they're available.

Even if you're backpacking through a national forest or wilderness area, which usually does not require permits, it's a good idea to have an itinerary and share it with someone before you leave. National parks use permits to control crowds on the trail, but also to know where you are if something happens (a fall, an animal attack, etc.).

Make an itinerary, share it and stick to it and you'll be just fine.

Focus on the Journey

Multi-day backpacking trips can be physically challenging, but try to enjoy each moment — even when your body is tired — instead of just thinking about completing your journey. After all, you're off the grid and among nature to savor every step and take in every sight.

 

About the author:

Jim Burch studied creative writing and journalism while working as an editor for the Murray State News in Kentucky. These days, he writes diverse copy -- from sports and movies to tech and health.

 


3 Things to Consider Before Purchasing U.S. Visitor Health Insurance

By Chaitanya Bala

  image from i.imgur.com

Choosing the right health insurance for visitors to the USA can be a very tricky process. After all, the United States has one of the most complex healthcare systems around, which means that not getting travel insurance isn’t a wise option. Sure, when traveling to other countries (especially second world countries where having travel medical insurance is likely pricier than just getting treated at a local medical facility) it might seem that travel medical insurance is something you can easily omit. Although travel insurance is always a safe bet anywhere you go, we can agree that in some areas of the world, it’s not as risky to be uninsured.

But…the United States is a different ball game.

Coming to the United States as a visitor without travel medical insurance can be pretty chancy. It can be like riding a Harley without a helmet, driving a car without a seatbelt, and well…you get the picture. The point is, U.S. visitor health insurance is a pretty smart investment to make when you come here to visit for a short, or even extended period of time. With the high costs of medical treatment in this country, a simple visit to the doctor’s office without travel medical insurance can be detrimental to your finances. Now that we’ve covered why visitor’s travel medical insurance is critical when coming to the United States, one question still remains…

What’s the right visitor’s travel medical insurance for you?

There are quite a few factors that visitors can take into consideration here as they select the right travel insurance plan for them. Let’s go through each of these!

Continue reading "Health Insurance for Visitors to the USA" »


Guide to Beating the Flight Delay Blues Part 3: 4 Places to Unwind and Relax!  image from www.xpresspa.com

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been going over some fun and unique ways many of you can kill time while you’re waiting at the airport, either due to a long layover, or a delay! For art lovers, we showed you some cool exhibits you can find at airports, and for the foodies, we’ve gone over some unique eateries to test out, as well.

But maybe neither of these options strike your fancy. In fact, some of you may be too worn out to walk around all over the airport looking for eateries and art exhibits.

All you really want to do is unwind and de-stress as you prepare for this amazing week away from work, office deadlines, and (most) responsibilities. So take a deep breath and relax! Stop stressing over your delayed flight or your 5-hour long layover. Instead, check out these amazing in-airport spas and salons, and pamper yourself with luxury treatment that is probably long overdue.

Continue reading "Beat Flight Delays at Airport Spas – Travel Insurance Services " »