The summer season is officially upon us, which means plenty of time for vacationing. Lately, the conversations among friends and family members seems to be focused on where they will be spending their summer vacation time: Italy, Croatia, Ireland, Tahiti, Tanzania, to name a few. Then of course there’s me, who will be spending the majority of July in Southeast Asia.
While much of the preparation for a trip can be exciting, there are a few important tasks that should be completed before leaving, especially if one is leaving the country. I’ve compiled the three I find most important below:
1. Buy travel insurance:
In today’s world, you really can’t risk traveling without insurance. Look at this year alone: volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, terrorist attacks, and protests. While you may initially feel as though buying insurance for a trip is a waste of money, it’s really not. Protection when you are far from home is important since you never know what can come your way.
In the past I’ve used Travelex and Global Travel Shield, which both worked out well and were reasonable. This summer, I am considering using World Nomads (Recommended by Lonely Planet). For me, it has to lowest quote, as well as an option to donate to a charity of your choice, which I also like.
However, another useful site for finding travel insurance is InsureMyTrip.com. Here you enter in your travel information and different companies and policies come up. You can then choose to view the policies, and easily compare rates.
Browse these sites and see what’s best for you and your trip, but one thing is certain don’t leave home uninsured. *Tip: Keep all receipts: it’ll make it easier to get reimbursed correctly.*
2. Sign up for STEP:
I recently read about the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in the Wall Street Journal, and again with today’s world it’s another bright idea. The program makes it easier for the U.S. Government to get in touch with its citizens in case of an emergency. This is especially great if you are going to a remote location and don’t have access to the Internet and/or television.
I just created my account, which was very easy to do, and added the counties that I will be visiting, along with the dates I will be there. All that was needed was my contact and emergency contact information, along with my passport and my travel destinations. Now I’ll receive e-mails and texts to alert me of any warnings or advisories, which gives me peace of mind.
3. Visit a doctor who specializes in travel medicine:
Be prepared before you go. Visiting a doctor who specializes in travel medicine is a great idea no matter where you are going. They can give you a prescription for antibiotics to take with you, as well vaccinate you for any diseases that are prevalent in the area you plan to visit. Look to The Travel Doctor Experience for my most recent trip to the doctor.
Also, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website. From here, you can look up what vaccinations you need to get, get information about the countries you are visiting, and current outbreaks of diseases. This is an excellent way to get informed about the countries you plan on visiting.
Once you follow through with these simple, yet important, tasks, you’ll be all set for your trip and all the fun along the way.