Celebrating Black History Month Across the Country

February marks Black History Month, a month long celebration of the contributions, accomplishments, and struggles of African Americans throughout history.  Across the nation, there are countless memorials, monuments and historic sites honoring African American culture and influence.  In honor of this celebratory month, Travel Insurance Services has created a short list of travel destinations for the whole family.

1) Martin Luther King National Historical Park – Atlanta, GA EdOnly MLK

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the famed civil rights activist credited for his leadership during the American Civil Rights Movement.  In honor of his life and accomplishments, Martin Luther King National Historic Park is established in his home city of Atlanta, GA, attracting crowds of American as well as international visitors.  The historic site, recently raised up to a National Historic Park status as of 2018, includes the visitor center, Dr. King’s childhood home, his grave site, Ebenezer Baptist Church (where both he and his father served as pastors), "I Have A Dream" World Peace Rose Garden, Fire Station No. 6, the Behold Monument, and The King Center.  According to the National Park Service, the Park is considered a top Atlanta tourist destination.  For more information about the Martin Luther King Historic District, visit the website here. (Photo Editorial credit: Steven Frame / Shutterstock.com)

2) Underground Railroad Heritage Trail – New York EdOnlyPlymouth Church

The Underground Railroad was more than a series of paths leading African Americans northward, it was a physical progression representing the treacherous journey to freedom. Today, that harrowing journey embarked on by countless African Americans is commemorated by the Underground Railroad Heritage Trail located in New York, which was considered a “major destination” for those seeking freedom.  Before hitting the trail, be sure to check out the National Park Service’s National Register Travel Itinerary for a list of museums, memorials, and historic sites on this trail and along similar historic trails in many other states.  As an example, one such historic site is Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims located in Brooklyn, NY. This church was a focal point of the antislavery movement in the years leading up to the Civil War.  For more information about the New York Underground Railroad Heritage Trail, click here. (Photo Editorial credit: Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com)

3) National Civil Rights Museum – Memphis, TN EdOnlyNatCivilRights

The National Civil Rights Museum is an important hub tracing Civil Rights throughout American history, with it’s own brick-and-mortar foundation standing upon history itself.  The museum itself is situated on what was once the Lorraine Motel- the location where world famous activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was tragically assassinated in April of 1968.  The National Civil Rights Museum contains 260 artifacts, over 40 films, interactive media exhibits and more.  The numerous exhibitions trace history “from the beginning of the resistance during slavery, through the Civil War and Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow, and the seminal events of the late 20th century that inspired people around the world to stand up for equality," according to the museum’s website.  To learn more about the museum and/or to plan your visit, check out the website here. (Photo Editorial credit: Gino Santa Maria / Shutterstock.com)

EdOnly Mary McLeod Bethune4) Lincoln Park- Washington, D.C

The largest of the Capitol Hill Parks, Lincoln Park celebrates the freeing of African American slaves and the progress of the Civil Rights Movement.  The park is home to the famed Mary McLeod Bethune memorial, which is credited with being the first monument in the nation to honor a black woman in a Washington D.C. public park.  Her memorial shows Mrs. Bethune handing a her legacy to two children.  Additionally, the park’s namesake, President Abraham Lincoln, has a memorial depicting his likeness holding the Emancipation Proclamation before an African American kneeling in front of him donning broken chains.  Today, Lincoln Park is considered a major destination for tourists visiting Washington D.C.  To plan your trip and/or to learn more about the park’s monuments, check out the website. (Photo Editorial credit: Valerii Iavtushenko / Shutterstock.com )

5) Rosa Parks Museum – Montgomery, AL EdOnly Montgomery Bus boycott

Owned and operated by Troy University, the Rosa Parks Museum commemorates the life of American Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks.  Mrs. Parks sparked the start the Montgomery Bus Boycott by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man on December 1, 1955.  She was arrested and found guilty, inciting others to form the movement that would change the legality of segregation on public transport.  Her influence, and that of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, during the Civil Rights Movement was invaluable.  Today the museum’s mission states: “Our mission is to honor her legacy and that of the boycott by providing a platform for scholarly dialogue, civic engagement and positive social change.”  For more information about the museum, visit the website here. (Photo Editorial credit: JNix / Shutterstock.com)

Bonus!

  PPhillyartmuseumhiladelphia Museum of Art – Philadelphia, PA

Rising above the Schuylkill River, facing the birthplace of the United States, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is an iconic Philadelphia landmark that has gained international recognition.  The third largest art museum in the nation, this museum’s design as it stands today was lead by chief designer and the first African American to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania’s architecture school Julian Abele.  To plan your trip to the museum, visit the website here.  This museum is one of the many reasons USI Affinity is proud to call Philadelphia home! (Photo credit: Samuel Borges Photography / Shutterstock.com)

 

This list is only a snapshot of the numerous parks, monuments, historic sites and memorials nationwide paying homage to Civil Rights activism and African American history.  Wherever you travel, travel with peace of mind knowing that your trip is protected with Travel Insurance Services. Learn more on our website.


A Presidential Tour: Five Historic Sites to Travel to for President’s Day Weekend

Whitehouse

President’s Day is a holiday commemorating the nation’s former and current leaders. From coast to coast, and sea to shining sea, there are hundreds of parks, memorials and the like honoring the national pride and history of the presidential office.  Not sure where to go to really celebrate the long weekend? Check out our list for ideas!

Mt Rushmore1) SOUTH DAKOTA: Rising high above the tree line of the park below, national figureheads George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. They forever look out upon the country they have helped liberate, unite, and develop through both actions and words that continue to influence rising generations. The Mount Rushmore National Memorial, located in South Dakota, is an infamous American landmark and popular historical travel destination, symbolizing not only the nation’s history but also “a promise for the future.” Plan your visit to this national treasure on it’s official website here.  

Monticello2) VIRGINIA: "No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden...But though an old man, I am but a young gardener." Thomas Jefferson is well-known as an American Founding Father, the writer who penned the Declaration of Independence, and the third President of the United States. However, a visit to his plantation home of Monticello presents a glimpse into his life beyond these iconic roles. Located near Charlottesville, Va., The Jefferson Monticello is open to the public for visits and tours, preserving the plantation’s historical integrity as well as educating visitors on the man behind the house. It is famous in part for its historic gardens, which were designed as a sort of showpiece, used to grow food and also dedicated to experimenting with plants from all over the world. Learn more about the home and its gardens here

Lincolnmemorial3) WASHINGTON, D.C.: "In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever." These words are carved into the stone that sits above the likeness of President Abraham Lincoln, famed for his role in navigating the country through the Civil War. The Lincoln Memorial is one among countess structures and memorials paying tribute to the accomplishments and lasting influence over the nation shared by its various leaders.  Washington D.C. is the capitol of the United States, as it has been since 1790, housing its presidents and serving as a commonplace to preserve American history. From touring the acclaimed Smithsonian museums to stepping through the doors of U.S. history firsthand at the White House, Washington D.C. has a lot to offer for a weekend getaway.  For more information about the Lincoln Memorial, click here.  To plan your trip to Washington D.C., click here.

Little white house_ga4) GEORGIA: Hidden in away in Warm Springs, Georgia, famed President Franklin Delano Roosevelt erected his getaway home turned historical site, better known as the ’Little White House’.  He traveled first to Warm Springs hoping that the local spring waters would improve his struggle with polio. Though the waters did not serve as a cure, he returned nearly each year to the area and even carried out official political duties at the house. To further mark its presidential significance, John F. Kennedy as a presidential candidate and Jimmy Carter while opening his general election campaign have spoken at the house. Today the Little White House and its pools and springs are a part of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources State Parks and Historic Sites. Next to the house is the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute, serving as a vocational rehabilitation center. For more information about the Little White House, visit the website here.

Regan library5) CALIFORNIA: Nestled on a mountaintop about 45 minutes outside of he Ronald Reagan Presidential Library And Museum The library, administered by the  National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), houses presidential records from its namesake’s administration, including over 60 million pages of documentation and 1.6 million photos. The building itself is a representation of the “shining city on a hill” President Reagan spoke of, according to the library’s website, and is his also his burial site. To learn more about library, click here.

The White House, though physically based in Washington D.C., is rooted in the history of every one of these United States. This list is only a snapshot of the numerous parks, monuments and memorials preserving both the pride and legacy of the U.S. presidential office.  Be sure to check out what presidential historical sites are near you!

Wherever you travel this President’s Day weekend, travel with peace of mind knowing that your trip is protected with Travel Insurance Services. Learn more on our website.


 
Traveling to Minneapolis for the Big Game?

Minneapolis_skyline2
For football fans across the nation, Sunday February 4th is much more than a typical Sunday night game- it’s THE Big Game of the year. Whether you are rooting for the reigning champions- the New England Patriots- or their fierce competitors- the Philadelphia Eagles- the game is highly anticipated, with thousands of fans flocking to the site of this year’s big game in Minneapolis, Minnesota. If you’re one of the lucky ones traveling to Minnesota for the big game, here are a few moves to blitz boredom during your stay in the Twin Cities!

Minnesota zoo_photo11) The Minnesota Zoo: If you are looking to get in touch with a different type of nature off of the football, look no further than the Minnesota Zoo. Opened in 1978, the zoo itself is a 485-acre campus and brings in approximately 1.29 million visitors each year. Its mission is “connect people, animals, and the natural world to save wildlife.” In the spirit of that mission statement, the zoo serves as a “[c]oordinator of international conservation and breeding programs for numerous species”, an effort that includes tigers and Asian wild horses among others. The zoo also boasts a robust volunteer program if you are interested in doing some community service during your stay in Minneapolis! To learn more about the zoo, check out the website here.

2) The Mall of America: Traveled out for the game but still need to get your shopping done? No problem! The Mall of America, well known as the largest shopping mall in the country according to U.S. News and World Report, is close by. The mall has over 500 stores within a reported 2.5 million square feet of retail business space. Additionally, the Mall of America is houses “family-friendly” attractions, such as the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park and the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium.

The walker art center_13) The Walker Art Center: If you are looking for an iconic tour of Minneapolis, one stop worth making is to the Walker Art Center. The Walker is well-known for its assortment of both modern and contemporary art, including paintings, sculptures and photographs. According to U.S. News and World Report, one of the Walker's most popular exhibits is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Bundle up and get outside to enjoy the “largest urban sculpture garden in the country,” home to the famous Spoonbridge and Cherry!

4) The Mary Tyler Moore Statue: 1970’s sitcom star Mary Tyler Moore is credited with putting “Minneapolis on the map”. Her namesake television program, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, highlighted Minneapolis often and brought attention to the city at a time when it was starting to grow, according to Meet Minneapolis President and CEO Melvin Tennant. To honor the legacy of the late actress, the Mary Tyler Moore statue stands- forever holding her iconic pose throwing her tam in the air- at the Minneapolis Visitor Information. To learn more about the statue, visit the Meet Minneapolis website here.

Stone arch bridge_15) Stone Arch Bridge: If you are looking to catch up on the city’s history in addition to football activities, take a trip over the historic Stone Arch Bridge. The bridge itself is 2,100-feet of granite and limestone. It was originally constructed in 1883 in order to increase and ease the flow of traffic and goods into and out of the city. According to U.S. News and World Report, the bridge is designated a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and remains the only stone arch bridge to have ever crossed the Mississippi River. Today, it is commonplace to see bikers and walkers crossing the landmark as well as sightseers taking in the marvelous views of the city during twilight.

This is only a short sample of the numerous activities and sites to do and see in Minneapolis. For more things to do in Minneapolis, check out the city’s website here.

Will the Patriots keep their winning streak going for another year? Or will the Eagles fly to victory? We won’t know until game day. But one thing we do know is that, just like on the field, not everything goes according to plan. Be sure you’re ready in the event you need to call an audible; if unpredictable winter weather disrupts your travels or you need to cancel for another reason, make sure your costly trip is covered with a travel protection plan. A travel protection plan can protect your costly travel investment against trip cancellation, delays, lost or delayed baggage, medical expenses (your regular health insurance coverage may be limited far from home), and more. Visit travelinsure.com to learn more about our travel plans, and contact us today to determine the best plan for you and enroll. You can enroll up to 24 hours before you depart, so act now!

Not traveling to the big game? Lock in travel protection from Travel Insurance Services for your next vacation and breathe better knowing you have our reliable coverage and services at your side.

 


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.


The Anatomy of a Travel Plan: Emergency & Travel Assistance Services

  FemaleTravelerOnPhone_shutterstock_537006328This is the first in our series of posts dissecting travel protection plans so you can better understand these often mysterious products. Each post will focus on one benefit of the plan, explaining what exactly that benefit covers and sharing real-life applications when possible so you can understand the value of that particular benefit.

 At the bottom of the Schedule of Benefits for most of our travel protection plans, there’s a line for Emergency & Travel Assistance, indicated as “Included” on the plans. This particular benefit is not technically insurance coverage and is provided at no additional cost by a third-party vendor (not the insurance carrier). It may be listed last, but it certainly should not be considered the least among the benefits offered to travelers.

 

What is the Emergency & Travel Assistance part of travel protection plans, anyway?

 The Emergency & Travel Assistance benefit offers a 24-hour resource to travelers anywhere in the world, should they need help or have questions. This not only includes assistance in the event of an emergency or unexpected changes to plans on your trip. You can also use this service prior to your trip to help plan your itinerary, get recommendations for restaurants, museums and the like, get help on exchanging currency, and more!

 

Emergency & Travel Assistance: Real Life Application

 In mid-December, there was a detrimental fire at the Atlanta Airport, causing more than a thousand delayed flights and stranding thousands of travelers at the airport for hours with no electricity, limited information and nowhere to stay. In total, more than 30,000 travelers were affected.

 “As the day dragged on, travelers vented on social media about being stranded, the need to make alternate plans and what they complained was a lack of timely information. Some posted photos of passengers standing in the dark in the terminal.”

 What would you do in this situation? Travelers who purchased a travel protection plan would have the benefit of the Emergency & Travel Assistance Services. All they would need to do is make a call to the 800 number provided with their protection plan purchase and help would be available to wade through an otherwise uncomfortable and frustrating situation.

 

Take a look at the full universe of 24/7/365 Travel Assistance Services:

 Travel Arrangements

  • Arrangements for last-minute flight and hotel changes
  • Luggage Locator (reporting/tracking of lost, stolen or delayed baggage)
  • Hotel finder and reservations
  • Airport transportation
  • Rental car reservations and automobile return
  • Coordination of travel for visitors to bedside
  • Return travel for dependent/minor children
  • Assistance locating the nearest embassy or consulate
  • Cash transfers
  • Assistance with bail bonds

 

Pre-Trip Information

  • Destination guides (hotels, restaurants, etc.)
  • Weather updates and advisories
  • Passport requirements
  • Currency exchange
  • Health and safety advisories

 

Documents and Communication

  • Assistance with lost travel documents or passports
  • Live email and phone messaging to family and friends
  • Emergency message relay service
  • Multilingual translation and interpretation services

 

Medical Assistance Services

  • Medical case management, consultation and monitoring
  • Medical Transportation
  • Dispatch of a doctor or specialist
  • Referrals to local medical and dental service providers
  • Worldwide medical information, up-to-the-minute travel medical advisories, and immunization requirements
  • Prescription drug replacement
  • Replacement of eyeglasses, contact lenses and dental appliances

 

Emergency Services

  • Emergency evacuation arrangements
  • Repatriation of mortal remains arrangements
  • Emergency medical and dental assistance
  • Emergency legal assistance
  • Emergency medical payment assistance
  • Emergency family travel arrangements

 Next time you plan your trip, make sure to pack your travel protection plan. Visit http://www.travelinsure.com/ to view all of our various travel products and enroll online. You can also call Travel Insurance Services customer service Monday through Friday, 9 am – 7 pm EST to get your questions answered or enroll by phone: (800) 937-1387.