Everything You Need to Know About Travel Insurance on Your Credit Cards

A GUIDE TO TRAVEL INSURANCE

Whether you’re planning to take your family to meet Cinderella at Disney World, or do so some serious mountain biking with your buddies in the Sierra Madre Mountains, flight cancellations or hospital visits are never on the itinerary. Travel insurance can deliver piece of mind both while enjoying your trip, and if you’re in a seemingly desperate situation. Not all trips are alike, but they may share some familiar headaches:

    • Pre-destination: travel cancellation (e.g. flight, hotel, tours, etc.) due to unforeseen circumstances

 

    • Travel Transportation: missed, canceled or delayed flights; lost, stolen, or delayed baggage; accidents while on common carriers (e.g. planes, trains, busses, boats); rental car damages and disablement (e.g. towing, delivery of gas, etc.)

 

    • Non-medical Issues Abroad: all types of liability (i.e. you damaged something or injured someone); legal costs; hotel burglary; robbery; stolen documents; travel interruption due to unexpected, urgent, or emergency situations

 

  • Medical Issues Abroad: general medical emergencies; sports and leisure injuries; visit to a local doctor; getting prescription medicines; medical transportation or evacuation; dental problems; insect bites etc

Without even knowing it, you may already have some travel protection. This can come from a variety of places. It’s important to read and understand your policies before you travel to make sure you know the extent of your coverage. Print out the details, and take a copy of it with you in your carry-on.

CREDIT CARDS

Not all credit cards offer the same bundle of protection features, but in general there are some similarities between them:

    • No-Fee Credit Cards ($0 per year): Normally you won’t find any travel insurance with these basic cards

 

    • Mid-Range Credit Cards ($1-99 per year): May offer some elements of travel insurance such as flight delays, baggage loss or delay, common carrier accidents, or trip interruption. Sometimes includes basic medical insurance. Certain cards may include car rental insurance (Collision Damage Waiver). None cover travel cancellation or hotel burglary

 

  • Hi-End Credit Cards ($99+): Typically include trip interruption, flight delays, baggage loss or delay, common carrier accidents, travel medical protection, and rental car protection. May offer trip cancellation and hotel burglary

As much as we love to generalize, there is no escaping the fine print. There are certain conditions that apply, especially for medical insurance (e.g. amount covered, length of trip covered, age of traveler, coverage of spouse and children, and exceptions). Some cards include exceptions for rental car insurance in the case of vehicles over a value of $65,000.

CAA (AUTOMOBILE MEMBERSHIP)

The obvious benefit of being a CAA member is the automobile services they offer if traveling by car. In case you purchased your travel tickets through CAA, you automatically receive Travel Trip Insurance ($100,000 maximum for basic CAA members and $500,000 for CAA Plus and Plus RV Coverage members).

There is always the option of purchasing additional insurance outside of your membership fees, which will provide you with an extensive travel protection plan.

VARIOUS MEMBERSHIP CARDS

Look in any direction, and you’re certain to find some kind of club that wants you as a member, be it an airline or a hotel chain. These memberships may come with extra perks like travel insurance. The Hilton Honors program offered by Hilton Hotels for example, provides a Collision Damage Waiver when you rent a car through their partner, Sixt. Or maybe you are already a member?

UMBRELLA PROTECTION

Ever think that an insurance policy could have you covered if you break a whole stand of Swarovski crystals? Think of umbrella insurance as additional liability protection on top of your other insurances. It may protect you against many types of accidents while on vacation such as bodily injury to others as a result of a car or skiing accident, or paying legal expenses for a court abroad. Check to see if you have such coverage, and the extent to which you are protected.

PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT HEALTH INSURANCE

As a proud Canadian citizen, you can count on the government to bail you out in an emergency if you’re traveling through Siberia, right? Not so fast. Medical treatment abroad can get very expensive, costing several thousands of dollars. Although your provincial health plan may have you covered when you fall off a ladder in your backyard, it is very limited as soon as you cross the border. Take Ontario and Quebec as examples:

    • Ontario Health Insurance Plan pays up to $200 per day for inpatient general services and up to $400 for such inpatient services as operating room or intensive care

 

  • Regie de l’assurance maladie in Quebec pays up to $100 per day for hospitalization

These amounts clearly are not going to pay thousands of dollars per day that you may be charged in U.S. for staying in a hospital

A SAFE BET

When it comes to visiting the hospital while abroad, make sure stress and regret isn’t what you’ll ultimately be treated for. Without coverage from credit cards and limited protection from the government, you’ll most likely require additional medical protection for you and your family. If you’re anything like us, you’ll probably be doing some rock climbing, downhill skiing, scuba diving or hot air ballooning while on your adventure, which are not necessarily covered. Make sure that your medical coverage does not exclude the activity you plan to be enjoying, whether you’re a professional or just do it for recreation.

For some extra peace of mind, review what you are protected against by your current sources. If there is an important type of coverage that you do not have, strongly consider purchasing a more extensive plan for the duration of the trip. In an unfortunate situation, you’ll know you can keep calm and carry on. Travel insurance is provided today by many insurance companies (e.g. Manulife, Co-operators) and multiple banks in Canada (e.g. TD, RBC), just check their web pages.

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER

    • Review your home policy, as some insurance providers require arranged supervision (e.g. checking every 7 days) while you’re away to cover any damages that occurred in your absence (e.g. breakage of plumbing due to freezing)

 

    • Read, understand, photocopy, and carry your insurance policies in your carry-on luggage. Some countries explicitly demand that you demonstrate insurance protection while entering the country

 

    • Some providers may refuse coverage if you are going to “unstable” parts of the world. The list varies from one provider to the next, and changes with time, so explicitly ask if you’re destinations are covered. Some providers use a list from the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

 

  • Get vaccinated if necessary and talk to your doctor. You will need to start dealing with vaccination 4-8 weeks before departure. To see which vaccinations you may require, check out the web site from the World Health Organization

 

5 Great Tips For Budget Friendly Travel

download (56)Want to travel the world but don’t think your budget allows it? Don’t throw away dreams of vacationing because you don’t think you can afford the adventure. With a little research and planning you can become a budget-savvy traveler. Here are some budget travel tips and handy information for getting around the globe on as little cash as possible.

1) Airfare – To save on airfare your best bet is to plan ahead. Advance tickets can be bought at a huge discount, while waiting to purchase airline tickets until right before your flight will cost a fortune. Also, if you are buying tickets online you can often lock in prices and receive money back if the ticket prices drop. You can also frequently find great deals online or get promotional codes for even greater discounts.

2) Transportation – When traveling, transportation costs can really add up. Always try to avoid taxis when possible. Taxis are highly convenient but the prices are high and there are usually more budget friendly alternatives available. Public transportation is not only a great way to save money but it can provide an excellent way to experience new places. Walking when possible is your best budget-friendly way to travel. It is a fantastic way to sight see and it is completely free.

3) Meals – Eating while on vacation can really start adding up if you are not careful. Try and plan your meals in advance whenever possible. Then you can control the cost of the restaurants you visit and not end up shocked when the bill comes after a meal. If you do plan on dining out for your meals try and eat a bigger lunch and go easy at dinner time. Lunches at restaurants are often a lot more budget friendly then dinners so it will really cut down on the costs of dining out. Shopping locally and preparing your own meals is also a viable alternative that can be an entertaining option that will really save money.

4) Lodging – Accommodations during your vacation will probably one of the biggest expenses. Plan ahead and reserve rooms in advance when possible so you can research the best deals and prices within your budget. You can often save money when shopping online by purchasing airfare, transportation and lodging in a travel package. Your options may be limited when you order a travel package but prices are often greatly discounted. Looking for accommodations that are a little out of the way of tourist attractions can often net you huge discounts as well. Just take into account the fact that your travel will be greater and possibly more costly.

5) Free Activities – Not everything on your trip has to cost money. Most places you visit will have tourist traps that are expensive and not all they are cracked up to be. Talk to locals and see what they love to do. Some may even volunteer to show you around. Check out all of the local sites that are admission free. Places like gardens, museums, historical sites and parks are often free and will offer you a great glimpse of culture wherever you are visiting.

As you can see, with a little wise planning and flexibility your next vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. Traveling can be within your reach if you just follow these simple tips and rethink your vacation as a budget-savvy traveler. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next adventure today.

 

Transportation For Your Italy Vacation

download (55)When most people travel, transportation is a primary concern. How do you get from the airport to your hotel? How do you see all the sights that the destination has to offer? What if you are traveling in a large group? What about public transportation? If you are traveling to or through Italy, there are several options for transportation.

Many international flights arrive in Rome, so in planning your transportation needs you need to start from there. When you arrive at the airport, you can rent a car from one of the several car rental companies. In addition to local companies, there are the international names such as Hertz and Enterprise, so you should be able to reserve your vehicle online in advance and have it waiting for you at the airport.

There are 2 airports in Rome – Fiumicino and Ciampino airport. Buses and shuttles depart from the airport arrival area about every hour and can take you to the Termini Station which is the central train station. From there you should be able to connect to all other parts of Italy. Public transportation, although it requires some advance planning, is always the cheapest option for your Italy vacation. You may also want to learn some Italian words in case you get lost and need directions or need some help.

If your hotel is near the airport or is in Rome, you may also consider taking a cab. They are known as “taxis,” and most drivers speak English and can even serve as your tour guide if you choose. You may take a taxi out of Rome if your Italian vacation is starting outside the city. If your budget allows, there are limo services at the airports that can serve your transportation needs when you arrive. If you are traveling in a large group, you probably want to rent a van (at least to get to your hotel from the airport). After that, you can plan to join a guided tour as a group, but its best to reserve tickets or space in advance if you want your group to stay together.

To see all the sights that Italy has to offer, you will do best by signing up for a guided tour. With very knowledgeable and friendly tour guides, your Italian vacation can be greatly enhanced by choosing this option. There are walking tours, full day tours, night tours, budget tours and luxury tours. If you are in Italy for a very specific sight, you would probably want to do a walking tour. The tour guides on those tours give a more detailed presentation as you walk through the sight and some of them know little-known facts that are hard to find or read anywhere else. Most tour guides speak English, but you want to be sure before signing up.

No matter where you go in Italy, transportation is key to getting you to and from your destination. Choosing the right one for your Italian vacation should a top priority when planning your trip.

 

The Evolution of Transportation

download (54)People and things have always had the need to move or be moved from one place to another. People have always looked for more comfortable or quicker ways to travel. Transportation is a way people and things move from one place to another. Different environments require different methods of transportation.

People have invented machines, called vehicles or crafts, to travel. Some vehicles travel on the ground, like a train. Some vehicles travel on top of the water, like a jet ski. Some even help people to travel under the water, like a submarine. People use other types of crafts to travel in the air. A hot air balloon is an interesting way to travel through the sky.

Crafts such as rockets can help people to travel into space. Over the centuries, inventors designed machines or improved ways of traveling to move people faster and faster.

Ships and Boats

One of the earliest ways to transport people and things was by traveling in the water. Boats are small crafts generally used for a special purpose like fishing. Ships are larger crafts that might use sails or an engine to propel them through the water. They may travel on rivers, lakes, or oceans.

Boats With Paddles

People use flat wooden boards called paddles to row small boats. An oar is another name for a paddle. A raft is a simple boat with a flat bottom. We can make a raft using tree trunks or logs. Sometimes, flat pieces of wood called planks are bound together to make a raft. Some rafts are made of rubber or a plastic called vinyl. These rafts are often inflatable.

Early Native Americans made canoes out of tree trunks. They hollowed out the trunk and used a paddle to move from place to place. Today, an artificial substance, made by man, called fiberglass is a popular material for building a canoe.

A kayak is a sleeker version of a canoe with one or two small holes. The holes are where people sit. A rider may attach a watertight skin or enclosure to prevent water from getting in the boat. The boat can turn all the way over without sinking. Some people compete in kayak races. The Olympics have had a kayak event since 1936.

Boats With Sails or Motors

Other boats and ships use different types of power. A sailboat uses pieces of canvas or other fabrics called sails, which are filled by the wind fills and pushes the boat forward.

Ancient Egyptians used sailboats to move the stones for the Great Pyramids from Aswan to Giza. Pilgrims traveled from England on a large sailboat called the Mayflower to reach America in 1620.

A motorboat uses an electric motor and propellers. Propellers are turning metal blades that help the vessel to move through the water. A speedboat is a small, but very fast motorboat. Speedboats pull water skiers, help the Coast Guard or marine patrol on rescue missions, or might even compete in a race.

Larger Boats and Ships

Most large ships are made of metals like iron or steel. They use giant propellers powered by engines to move through the water. A steamboat is a large boat with paddles. A steam-powered engine turns the paddles to move the boat.

The biggest ships are tankers and aircraft carriers. Oil tankers can carry millions of barrels of oil inside huge cargo areas. Designers built tankers to travel long distances and other than oil, they may transport water, chemicals, or liquefied natural gas.

Aircraft carriers are long, flat warships designed to act as a floating airbase. Planes take off and land on the runways on the top of the ship.

A submarine is a metal ship that can travel underwater. A submarine can be small enough to carry one or two people and remain underwater for a few hours. They can also be very large, have a crew of over eighty people and remain underwater for a few months.

Trains

A train is a vehicle that runs on tracks, or rails. Passenger trains may have many compartments for people to travel from one place to another. Freight trains carry cargo, or things. Different cars transport different types of items.

Refrigerator cars transport food. Container cars need a crane to lift cargo in or out of the car. Tanker cars transport different types of liquids.

Light Rail

People sometimes use the term light rail to talk about trains that run on city streets. A trolley, also called a streetcar, is one type of light rail transportation. The first streetcars were pulled by horses or even people. Modern streetcars usually get their power from electricity. Electricity makes things run.

A subway is a light rail system of cars. A subway runs on the street and in underground tunnels. Many large cities have a network of subway tunnels.

Big Trains

Big trains have wheels that run on railroad tracks. They travel long distances between cities and towns. The first car on a train is the locomotive. The locomotive powers the train. The first trains used steams engines. Today, most trains get power from using gasoline or electricity. High-speed rail trains are electric trains that run faster than a regular train, sometimes called a bullet train. These high speed rail systems also transport people in Germany, Korea, and Spain. The first countries to build and use the bullet train are the countries of France and Japan.

The monorail is another type of train. Most monorail systems run on a single rail. Some monorails are suspended. The train cars actually hang from the track.

Motor Vehicles

People drive and are passengers in motor vehicles in most places of the world. Motor vehicles have wheels and a motor. They can be driven on many different land surfaces. Cars, buses, and trucks allow people and things to travel to certain places. They can travel where boats and trains cannot go.

Cars

Cars are vehicles used by people to get from one place to another. Combustion engines are often the power source for cars. This type of engine burns gasoline or diesel fuel to run. Some people are concerned that combustion engines are contributing to pollution in the air.

Inventors are developing other types of power systems to make cars run. Electric cars have electric motors that run on batteries. Some cars use hydrogen to provide power. A hybrid car uses a combustion engine and battery power to make the car work.

Cars vary in their size. A limousine is a long car, which has space for many passengers and has a chauffeur to drive the vehicle. A micro-car, also called a bubble car, is very popular in countries outside of the United States. Auto makers designed the microcar to use less gas. It is also economical because a small amount of material is necessary to build the car.

Some people like to drive a sports car. The fastest cars are race cars. Some cars have special features, like convertible, which have a fabric or hard top that folds back.

Buses

Buses are bigger than cars. A bus has a long body with several rows of seats or benches for passengers. Buses usually operate on a schedule. A passenger bus can carry people long distances. They travel between different cities and towns. A tour bus carries tourists or people on vacation. Some people charter, or rent, a bus for special purposes.

Trucks

Vehicle engineers designed trucks to carry materials of all kinds. Pickup trucks are a bit bigger than cars. They have a flat bed behind the passenger compartment. They can carry many things in the flat bed. Large trucks transport different kinds of heavier materials or equipment. They carry things to places where trains and boats cannot travel. An 18-wheeler is a very big truck. It has 18 separate wheels.

Aircraft

Hot Air Balloons, Blimps and Dirigibles

Aircraft are vehicles or machines that let people travel through the air. The first type of air transportation was the hot air balloon. It is the oldest successful human carrying technology for flight. It floats using a large bag of silk or nylon filled with heated air. People travel in a wicker basket called a gondola, that hangs underneath.

A blimp or dirigible is like a balloon. The gas helium fills up the balloon to help it float. It has a motor to push it forward. This type of craft was very popular before 1940.

As technology for airplanes improved, people stopped using blimps to travel. Today, advertisers use blimps to market their products. Some companies offer sightseeing tours in a blimp.

Airplanes, Gliders, Helicopters

An airplane is an aircraft that flies using wings and an engine. The Wright brothers receive credit for the invention of the first airplane in 1903. Airplanes can be small and carry only one or two people. Commercial airplanes can be large and carry many passengers a long distance in a short amount of time. A motor makes the propellers turn. Most larger airplanes have jet engines. This type of engine has many turning blades inside. They move air much faster than ordinary propellers.

Jet airplanes use turbines to make them move faster. The military uses supersonic aircraft, such as fighters or bombers, to move quickly with a great amount of power. A fighter jet is a small military airplane that can go very fast. The Concorde is one of the only supersonic planes used as a commercial airplane. It carried passengers from Europe to America in less than half the time it took for a regular airplane to fly the same distance. The Concorde was very expensive to fly. Due to rising costs, the Concorde was retired from use. The last Concorde flight was on October 24, 2003.

A helicopter is an aircraft with a large propeller on top. It can rise into the air, or take off, straight up. A helicopter can take off without using a runway.

A glider has a similar shape to an airplane. It uses only the wind for power. The military may use gliders to deliver troops. Gliders are very quiet because they don’t have an engine. Some people participate in glider competitions.

Rockets

A rocket is a vehicle that travels into the air at a very high speed. It burns fuel to make thrust. Thrust pushes, or propels, the rocket upward. A rocket engine ejects the thrust out of the bottom of the rocket. A lot of energy is required to propel a rocket into space. Energy is necessary to make things happen. Astronauts and cosmonauts are people who travel into space using rockets. Rockets also transport the satellites into their destination orbit. Satellites study the Earth and other objects in the universe.

Rocket Design and Travel

Multiple sections or stages make up the design of most rockets. Each stage contains its own fuel supply and rocket engine.

When its fuel is used up, a rocket is released. This lightens the weight of the rocket. It allows it to travel faster. A rocket needs to travel at least 17,700 miles per hour, (28,500 kilometers) to make it out of the atmosphere into space, which is the so-called “escape velocity”. The part of the rocket that actually reaches space is often called a spacecraft.

Booster rockets

Some rockets get extra thrust from booster rockets. The scientists usually attach the boosters to the side of the main rocket. The space shuttle is both a rocket and an airplane. It releases two booster rockets. As the rocket uses up its fuel, it will also release an external fuel tank. The space shuttle lands like an airplane when it returns to Earth.