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7 Important Travel Safety Tips

A vacation that involves traveling abroad can sometimes be one of the most memorable experiences of a lifetime.  The one thing that can ruin your dream vacation is falling victim to theft or some other crisis while traveling.  These 7 important travel tips will help ensure that you travel safely and without incident.

In Case of Emergency

Leave a detail itinerary with a friend or family member in case you need to be reached in an emergency, and notify consulate authorities of your travel destination as well.  Always carry your ID and information about any allergy or health concerns that medical personnel would need to know to treat you properly in the event of an accident.

Plan Well Ahead

Passports are the standard identification required if you intend to leave your home country and the process of obtaining one can take several weeks.  One reason to follow this important travel tip is that planning ahead may not only save you some money but can prevent your trip from being delayed or cancelled because you do not have a passport.

Know the Area

Tourists can sometimes be targeted for theft and other scams in vacation destinations, and someone who is constantly checking a map for directions can become a target for crime.  It’s crucial to know as much as possible about the areas that you will be visiting, including the layout of public places like airports, so that you are more confident of which direction to go when you arrive.  If you need to consult maps, do so in your hotel room before you head out for the day.

Keep Valuables Safe

A traveler who pulls a large sum of cash from their wallet or purse while they try to figure out how to convert currency will stand out in any country.  One important travel tip is to leave your cash and credit cards in the hotel and only carry currency you might need for the day’s activities.  If using a safe accessible to housekeeping staff, wipe the keypad down before and after entering your code as a precaution against theft.

Follow Safety Precautions

Researching your travel destinations will help you to know when you might be in a less than savory environment, but in most locations following standard safety tips for walking alone or after dark will be enough to make your trip go smoothly.  It’s also a good practice to avoid accepting beverages from anyone that you do not know and to stick to group activities that are organized by the hotel or another established organization.

Take Caution When Meeting New People

Although being in an unfamiliar place can be a little disorienting and it can be tempting to accept help if offered, try to refrain from accepting travel tips, rides or tours from people who approach you on the street as you cannot be sure of their trustworthiness and motives.  If you need assistance or a guide for a certain area, ask your hotel concierge or another hotel staff member for assistance.

Safeguard your Children

When traveling with children, it’s important to take precautions in case the unthinkable happens and you are separated somehow.  Give your child a card or piece of paper with important contact information for your trip such as the name of the hotel and your cell number.  Sometimes your hometown hospital will agree to create a plastic hospital bracelet for each child and you can insert a slip with current contact details in multiple languages into the bracelet to help facilitate them being returned to you.

Regardless of where in the world you decide to travel, planning your itinerary ahead and knowing the area along with standard safety procedures and precautions when meeting new people can be the difference between a good vacation and a horrible one.

10 Ways to Have a Cheap Vacation

No matter where you plan to vacation, there are multiple ways to have a cheap vacation. However, it will take a little planning in most cases, and a some sacrifice in others.

Flexible Travel

One important tip to remember is that airline fares can vary depending on which day of the week you travel.  If you do choose to travel by plane, book your flight in advance to obtain cheaper fares.  Use an online service or talk to your travel agent and be prepared to flex your departure and arrival dates to get the best rates for lodging costs as well.

Lodging Costs

If you have friends or family in the area where you are vacationing, consider staying with them to save on hotel costs.  Take advantage of online discount services like to ensure you get the lowest hotel rate possible.  Staying in a two or three star hotel and doing without all those “free” services like breakfast may save you $40 or more per night.

Food on a Budget

Stay at a less expensive hotel that does not provide breakfast and stock up on breakfast items like cereal, granola bars and pop tarts, and then buy milk and orange juice at a nearby store once you arrive.  Save even more on food by packing a cooler with lunch and reusable water bottles to avoid overpaying at attractions and only pay to eat out for dinner.

Coupons and Discounts

It’s important to know what attractions are in your vacation destination area and to find packages that offer admission tickets for several local attractions for one discounted rate.  When planning your trip, take advantage of off season rates and search the Internet for printable coupons that can save you even more on things like lodging costs and dining out.

Share Expenses

Many couples and families team up with others to share vacation expenses.  This could consist of splitting the cost of renting a vacation house for a period of time or even swapping houses with another individual or family.  Consider sharing the same vacation spot with close friends and split the costs of gas, lodging and food expenses to save money.

Rewards Clubs

Some hotels and airlines offer redeemable frequent flyer miles or loyalty rewards points if you use their card for purchases and services throughout the year. If you currently receive cash back for purchases on a Discover or Visa card, make a commitment to use your card for daily purchases and then use the cash back towards your vacation costs.

Choose Destinations with Cheap Currencies

Choose a destination country with a cheaper currency such as Argentina or Hungary which will help you stretch your money.  Consider going off the beaten path a little for your vacation to such places as Cambodia or Vietnam where lodging can be less than $5 per night which makes it easy to see the sights for around $30-$40 dollars per day.

Create a Daily Budget

Create a daily budget for your vacation based on the total amount you have to spend on a vacation.  If you splurge one day to visit an unexpected attraction, plan to spend a day at the beach relaxing the next to balance things out.  When traveling with kids of any age, consider taking along some card games or board games to play as a family during down time.

Sign up for Alerts

Once you identify the vacation destination that you want to visit, notify your travel agent to alert you of any deals or packages that become available.  Another great way to find up to the minute vacation packages and deals is to sign up online with your favorite hotel, special attraction or travel sites so that you are alerted to upcoming deals as they become available.

Rough It

Anyone who has been on vacation knows that in most cases you return to the hotel only to sleep off the exhaustion from a full day of seeing the sites.  One way to stretch your budget is to choose a resort that has camping facilities or cabins available at a fraction of the cost of hotel prices.  In most cases people are too tired to miss the luxury of a hotel bed anyhow, but can still access typical hotel conveniences such as shuttles to attractions and concierge services.

Regardless of your vacation destination, take advantage of the Internet and work with your local travel agent or AAA office to make sure you know about and can take advantage of everything available so you can have a cheap vacation that will create priceless memories.

What to Look For in Travel Insurance

Different types of travel need different features in travel insurance, so travelers need to consider whether their trip is a short vacation or an extended stay, and compare the needs of traveling with a family with needs of traveling alone. The type of transportation can also be important when choosing travel insurance, since those traveling by air, car, train and cruise liner all face different risks and have different needs.

Vacation Insurance

When planning a vacation of under 30 days, travel insurance that covers trip interruption or cancellation can protect the vacation investment. Medical coverage can make emergency medical services easier to obtain and baggage coverage can prevent vacations from being ruined by the loss of clothing and other possessions. Evacuation coverage can help defray unexpected costs created by acts of war or natural disasters.

Family Travel

Traveling with minor children can present extra difficulties and additional insurance coverages can offer peace of mind. In many cases it is free to add children to travel insurance and the medical coverage can be a great advantage. In addition to trip cancellation and interruption insurance, repatriation coverage can help return children home if a parent is hospitalized or unable to accompany them.

Senior Travelers

While seniors should have the same coverages as vacation travelers, they should also consider purchasing a waiver for pre existing conditions on their medical travel coverage since seniors are more likely to have them. If traveling to remote areas, emergency medical transportation coverage is also important. Travel assistance can help keep a trip running smoothly and provide peace of mind.

Cruise Liner Vacations

Travel insurance can reimburse the cost of a cruise vacation if the traveler misses the boat for any reason. It also provides coverage for stolen wallets or purses and lost or damaged baggage. Perhaps the most important coverage on a cruise is for medical transportation since cruise liners may not have full medical staff capable of handling medical emergencies and evacuation can be expensive. Travel insurance can cover the cost of removing a passenger to the nearest medical facility.

Other Coverages Under Travel Insurance

Some individuals travel either for business or on a pilgrimage to areas of the world that are not always safe. Some travel insurance provides coverage for terrorism which may interrupt a trip or require evacuation from the area. Many insurers provide travel assistance by telephone 24 hours a day so travelers can get help in the event they need to make a claim, or just receive assistance in arranging for tours or side trips.

Travel insurance can help travelers avoid monetary loss when a trip has to be cancelled, provide cash to restore lost property, assist in replacing a stolen passport, provide medical insurance to cover expenses anywhere in the world, and protect the traveler’s investment in a vacation or business trip. It is easy to compare the features and prices of different travel insurance carriers by requesting free online quotes from travel or insurance websites.