Five Things You Need to Know About Travel Insurance
Even the most seasoned travelers sometimes feel confused about travel insurance — what’s out there, what it covers, whether or not they need it.
While coverage and policies vary from state to state, of course, here are some basics of travel insurance to get you started:
1. There are five main types of travel insurance. What you might need depends largely on what kind of trip you’re taking, what kind of traveler you are, and how frequently you travel. The five main types are:
• trip cancellation and interruption (full or partial reimbursement for a trip you need to cancel prior to departure, a trip that gets cancelled because a tour company or resort goes out of business, or a trip that gets cut short for a wide variety of reasons)
• medical (for health issues that occur outside of your normal coverage area)
• evacuation (due to disaster, dangerous weather, political emergency, or medical emergency)
• baggage (reimbursement for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage)
• flight insurance (also called “crash coverage,” this is basically a life insurance policy that covers you while you’re on the plane, in the event of a statistically-rare crash)
Travel expert Rick Steves explains the way they generally work is like this:
“The various types are generally sold in some combination — rather than buying only baggage, medical, or cancellation insurance, you’ll usually purchase a package that includes most or all of them. If you want just one type of coverage in particular — such as medical — ask for that (though it might come with a little cancellation or baggage insurance, too). ‘Comprehensive insurance’ covers all of the above, plus expenses incurred if your trip is delayed, if you miss your flight, or if your tour company changes your itinerary.”
2. Just because you have health insurance at home does not mean that it will cover you on your trip. You need to check the ins and outs of your particular health insurance policy. It may cover you while you travel, but many do not. In fact, some insurance policies don’t even cover health emergencies experienced on foreign-flagged vessels — which is what most cruise ships are. Check with your provider, ask your travel agent for suggestions, and of course direct any insurance-related questions to the provider. As Steves puts it, “Before purchasing a policy, ask your insurer to explain exactly what’s covered before and after you get to the hospital.”
3.Avoid purchasing travel insurance from the company that’s also hosting your trip. The reason for this? If that company goes out of business, chances are, so does their insurance.
4. Some companies offer comprehensive coverage that can serve as your primary coverage while you’re traveling. What does this mean, and how can it benefit you? It means that the insurance company will pay first, regardless of what other insurance you have. They don’t even inquire about additional insurance, saving you tons of paperwork and out-of-pocket expenses. TravelGuard and Travelex are two such companies that provide these policies as an option.
5. Weigh the cost of the trip with the cost of insurance. If you just bought a $79 ticket for a quick weekend in Chicago — is it worth it? Maybe, maybe not. If, however, you’re headed out on a once-in-a-lifetime trip that you’ve been saving for for months, travel insurance is likely a great idea.
If you’re looking to maximize your fun and minimize your risk, travel insurance might be just the right option for you. Take your time, ask tons of questions, and find what works best for you and your family.
Have questions about insurance – or any other travel-related topic? I’d love to sit down with you in person or over the phone and get to know you and your travel plans better. To get in touch, just click here.
Eight Top Greek Island Destinations
Greece has always been an ideal Mediterranean vacation destination. With over 1,400 islands (230 inhabited), it can be hard to choose which one to visit first. Hopefully, these eight guidelines will assist with your decision.
Mykonos, also known as ‘The Island of the Winds’, is world renowned for their vibrant nightlife. Little Venice and Paradise Beach are popular party destinations where clothing is optional, and the LGBT scene is major. There are male go-go dancers everywhere and parties typically last all night. July and August are the main months for tourism and the wildest parties.
Best Traditional Village Life:
The island, Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades and has a little over 6,500 inhabitants and a bit over 20 small villages. Naxos has ancient towers, paved streets and has maintained its unique Venetian architecture.
Best Kite-boarding and Windsurfing:
With gusty winds that can be seen from a mile away; Paros island is best known for kite-boarding and windsurfing sports goers. Santa Maria, Prassonisi, and Pounda are the main beaches where the sport is practiced. The Thalasea Sports Center is the bay of Mikli Vigla and is a popular hub for the sport.
Located in the Aegan Sea, Milos is a beautiful volcanic island that is rich in minerals as well as rich history. Firopotamos, Kastanas and Paliorema are some top beach destinations in Milos. The white-washed Cycladic villages and black sands are picturesque backdrops. Although some may be only accessible by boat, there are over 80 mini beaches throughout Milos that you can explore.
Best for Nature Lovers: Ikaria has some of the World’s most pristine and untouched nature territories. It has been identified as a place that promotes life longevity and better overall health.
Best Robinson Crusoe Destination:
Koufonisia is comprised of two islands, Pano (upper) and Kato (lower). The preferred way to navigate the area is by foot or cycling as everything is within walking distance. The island has a museum and many sightseeing options.
Best Couples Getaway:
Folegandros does not get the crowded tourist scene as most Greek towns do. They have a broad selection of restaurants and cafes. Chora is the main village and has been preserved well, noting open landscapes and clifftop housing.
Cretan cuisine focuses on all-natural ingredients and can be enjoyed at any local tavern throughout the islands. Some dishes include Dakos, Gamopilafo, Mizithropita and Apaki.
Now you’re all set! With a myriad of beautiful architecture, scenic waterfronts and rich history. There is so much to enjoy!
Call Shore Travel to assist you in planning your vacation to the Greek Isles.
How to Pack Like an Expert
New York Times writer Susan Heller famously said, “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”
Even when we have great intentions, it’s easy to overload our suitcases. We wind up dragging a lot of stuff around. There’s more to keep track of; it winds up being a lot of physical and mental clutter. And, of course, we wind up paying a ton of extra fees for the additional weight and luggage.
So, rather than viewing efficient packing as a practice in minimalism, I like to think of it as a challenge that helps you make the most of every vacation: you have what you need, you’re freed up to not have to lug around a bunch of extra weight, and you can put that saved money towards a special souvenir, a nice dinner out, or another cool experience.
So what are the secrets that seasoned travelers use to guarantee expert packing? Here are the top 6:
1. Remember the 80/20 Principle — that is, 20% of what you pack will be 80% of what you actually wear. If you’re like most people, you’ve already noticed this. You pack four pairs of shoes, but you really only wear one pair every day. You pack three sweaters and a shawl that you never use, because you wind up just wearing your favorite light jacket that goes with everything you own.
2. Don’t pack for every possible situation. Pack for an average day. There’s no way you can cover every contingency. Look at the forecast, the average temps and weather for that time of year, and go with that. If there’s a freak week of rain in what’s normally a sunny season — unless you’re headed to an extremely remote area that sees few travelers, it’s very unlikely that you won’t be able to purchase a rain coat or an umbrella where you are. If there’s a cold snap, there’s probably also a store nearby with just the thing you need.
3. It’s okay to wash. If you’re going to be gone for three weeks, pack enough clothes for one. If you’re a hardcore DIYer, almost every resort or town in the world has a Laundromat or laundry service. If you’re feeling like you want break from daily tasks and routines and you’re really looking forward to the luxury of having other people pamper you, have your clothes laundered and folded for you. It’s still often cheaper than luggage fees!
4. For warmth, go with layers over bulk. Pick several thin layers with insulating, wicking fabrics — merino wool is a great one — over a big jacket. Heavier items like jackets and sweaters don’t offer the flexibility. They’re just hot, and when the sun comes out, then you have to cart around a huge coat. But a compact zip-up fleece can roll up easily into a bag or backpack in the afternoon and then come back out again for that sunset walk on the beach.
5. Think: mix and match, simplified palette, and multi-function items. If three tops match three bottoms, you’ve got nine possible outfits. Add in a Swiss-Army-Knife travel item like the popular Chrysalis Cardi, and you’ve got one item that converts into eight different things. As travel blogger Fred Perotta says: bring pieces, not outfits.
6. If you’ve got to have something bulky and heavy -- wear it, don’t pack it. Hiking boots, down jacket, that awesome cable knit wool cardigan — these might very well have a great place on your trip, but they shouldn’t be in your suitcase. Wear them on the plane. You can easily pack several versatile layers for the space that one sweater would take up.
If you’re ready to pack for an adventure, I’d love to talk to you about it. I know we can find a place that’s just right for you — and I’ll even give you insider tips packing suggestions for your specific destination! You can reach me today by clicking here.
History Isn't Promised
As human beings, we’re guilty of saying “We’ll go there on our next trip,” and “There’s always next summer.” The truth is, next year isn’t always promised. Just last month, the world watched Notre Dame become engulfed in flames, losing three main parts of the historical structure. Now, France is racing to repair the damage before the foundation weakens from spring rains.
The tragedy brings to mind how blessed we are to have sites that recognize and honor our history. Even more so, gratitude floods my heart that we can visit and experience these bucket list wonders.
Believed to be royal or sacred land during the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu is an awe-striking sight stretching over five miles. It’s covered in over 150 temples, houses, and sanctuaries in the countryside of South America.
Bucket List Item: Watch the sunset in the ruins of Machu Picchu.
The oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the pyramid complex honors royalty of the kings and queens of the Egyptian Fourth Dynasty. The entire complex is made of varying-sized pyramids, tunnels and chambers, temples, sacred walls and tombs, cemeteries, and more.
Bucket List Item: Take an illusionary picture “kissing” the Great Sphinx in the Pyramid Complex in Giza, Egypt.
The massive, three-story stone amphitheater was home to the most gruesome gladiatorial combats. The building features the most advanced architecture of its time with a 20-foot basement that transforms the battlefield into an aqua theatre and housed animal cages for exhibit.
Bucket List Item: Enjoy an exclusive Rome rooftop dinner and Colosseum night tour that includes viewing the underground chambers.
Representing the United States’ birth, growth, development, and preservation, Mount Rushmore was creatively crafted (using dynamite!) in the mid-1900s. Mount Rushmore annually attracts two million tourists who visit to delve into our national history, hike our national parks, and explore the museums honoring our iconic presidents.
Bucket List Item: Hike to visit Mount Rushmore and take a short drive Bear Country USA to see black bears, elk, mountain lions, buffalo, and other wildlife from the comfort of your car!
Discover the over 13,000-mile-long wall that was built collectively starting in 770 BC to protect Chinese border. The Great Wall of China holds the record for the longest building project. Only about 30% of the wall remains due to natural causes and human damage.
Bucket List: Enjoy a cultural experience during a 4-day Beijing tour, taking in the most beautiful views of the Great Wall by night at the Simatai section, which is the only section to offer night tours.
The sad news of Notre Dame shocked the world, although it sets the example as to why it’s crucial to see the top items on your bucket list. Because of donations and laborers, Notre Dame may stand a chance to be restored.
And because you have a travel agent who has the ultimate industry connections and education, you have the best chance in witnessing the most majestic historical sites around the world.
Don't wait! History is happening now!
-KHM Travel Group
Call Shore Travel to assist you in planning the next adventure for your bucket list travel.
How to Skip TSA Security AND Immigration Lines For Good
If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ve undoubtedly had the near-universal experience of enduring a TSA security line or an immigration line upon re-entry to your home country.
What if you could bypass these lines for good?
You may have heard of Global Entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. You fill out a fairly lengthy application, pay $100, and if your application passes the initial phase, you’re invited to an in-person interview/screening at a participating airport. If you pass that phase of the application, you are granted a Global Entry ID. In a nutshell, this is how it works:
At airports, program participants proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and make a customs declaration. The kiosk issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage claim and the exit. (www.globalentry.gov)
In addition, people who are approved via the Global Entry program can also participate in TSA Pre-Check, which allows people to skip regular TSA security lines at participating airports and go through an expedited line — without having to remove shoes or other clothing items, open laptops, or do any of the other things that take up time in line.
Global Entry (and the accompanying TSA Pre-Check) is a good fit for your flying needs if:
In addition to inside information on things like Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check, as your travel advisor, I have many great helpful hints and connections to make your next trip an amazing one. I would be thrilled to meet with you and plan out your next great adventure! You can reach me by clicking here.
Destination Inspirations: Alaska
A Once In A Lifetime Trip
Alaska should definitely be on your bucket-list travel! Considered to be one of the last frontiers of the world and the 49th state in the union, Alaska is a gem of the world. It is a land of ice, bald eagles, mountains, grizzly bears, and the epitome of the American spirit. One of the best ways to see Alaska is by cruise and there are a couple of different ways to do this. The variations include the type of ship and whether you want to tour the Inside Passage or the Gulf of Alaska.
Large Ship vs. Small Ship
There is not one ship better than the other, they just offer different experiences for their guests. Larger ships have the amenities comparable to an all-inclusive resort and they stop in all the most popular ports. They also offer excursions like whale-watching and dog sledding atop breathtaking glaciers. The smaller ships are more intimate, and they tend to spend more time in the wild backcountry of Alaska. For example, it is not unheard of for the guests on smaller ships to visit Glacier Bay for 2 days and explore other areas by kayak.
Gulf Of Alaska
These cruises go through south-central Alaska. There are 3 different start points for these cruises; Steward, Whittier, or Vancouver. You will go through most of the same ports as you would if you were touring the Inside Passage, but these cruises are one way. They travel north or south depending on where you start your trip. It is nice to extend these cruises on land, both before and after to explore more of Alaska.
Some of the stops on these cruises include:
● A few days before the cruise or after it in, either, Anchorage or the Kenai Peninsula
● College Fjord- which is dotted with amazing glaciers
● A few days in Denali National Park
When a cruise is going along this path it will run from the narrow strip near the Canadian border all the way to the Panhandle (which is the beginning of the Gulf of Alaska). This option runs round trip out of either Vancouver or Seattle. This cruise option is the most popular and many of the sights that you will see on this cruise are going to be very similar to the ones that are included for the Gulf of Alaska option. Sights that may be seen include:
● Juneau- the capital of Alaska
● Ketchikan is a great location for fishing and a look into the life of Native Alaskans
● Glacier Bay National Park
● Skagway- a gold rush town with a lot of history
Alaska should be on your list of possible cruises. There are so many amazing sights, beautiful landscapes, and experiences that you will not see anywhere else in the world. It comes down to taking your time to figure out which one of these itineraries is right for you. Figure out what type of excursions you want and the experience you would like to have on the ship. These will be the factors that will help to determine which is best for you.
My family experienced Alaska on an inside passage itinerary last summer aboard Emerald
Princess. It has truly been one of my best adventures yet. I enjoyed the scenic beauty of the
glaciers, the history of the small towns, and the first-time adventure of white water rafting (It
was pretty mild!-They took it easy on me!) while taking in the breath-taking views of the