Health & Safety
Precautions | Travel Warnings | Travel
I traveled through Europe for three months and experienced none of the difficulties I was warned a woman traveling alone
might face. Of course, a great deal of my time was spent in the company of fellow
travelers I met at hostels, trains, buses, or sight-seeing tours. The times that I
was alone were usually by my own choice. But, whether you travel alone or in groups
you still need to follow some basic safety precautions.
attention to your surroundings and the people in them. Do not become distracted by
anyone or anything. When you let your guard down you become an easier target for
walk by yourself late at night. Stay away from the deserted areas of cities (day or
night). Choose your travel companion(s) for the day wisely (most of the people you
meet at hostels are great, but keep in mind that these people are virtual
Act like you know where you are and where you are going even if you don't.
Standing on a street corner with your tourist map flapping in the breeze is not
advised! If you need to look at your map, go inside a shop or perhaps a telephone
booth to sneak a peek. If you find that you do need assistance, make sure you are
the one who asks for help--sometimes people that approach you to offer "help"
have other things in mind.
Okay, so you won't exactly blend in when you're walking around with a gigantic
backpack strapped to your back, but when you don't have your backpack with you try not to
look too "touristy." For example, wearing a sweatshirt you just bought
that has something like "I Love Paris" emblazoned across it is not a good idea.
Also, as much as you may love your Maple Leaf, American flag, Australian
flag, New Zealand flag patch etc.-- you're better off leaving them at home.
Try not to offend the locals with rude and crass behavior. Respect the people and
the culture of the countries you are visiting. Try to make the terms "Ugly
American" and "Traveling Troglodyte" things of the past.
Some of the most frequently asked
questions now are:
"Is it safe to
travel?" There are risks in everything you do everyday, so yes
there are risks when you travel.
"But, if there is a war
and you are an American is it more dangerous to travel?" Well, it
depends where you travel to, but I think Europe should be as safe or perhaps
safer than staying in the United States.
Sites to check out:
Government Travel Warnings & Information Sites:
There are two main types of travel insurance.
Protection Insurance and
International Travel Medical Insurance. If things go wrong while traveling,
having travel health insurance and/or trip protection insurance can be a big
cost saver in the long run.
Trip Protection Insurance plans
typically reimburse your non-refundable travel expenses if an unexpected crises
(e.g., death, sickness, airline strike, travel company bankruptcy,
among other crises) occurs before or during your trip causing it to be
cancelled, interrupted or delayed. Plans often provide reimbursement for:
- Trip cancellation, interruption & delay
- Baggage loss and delay
- Emergency medical expenses
- Emergency medical evacuation
- Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D)
- Repatriation of remains
- Travel assistance services
International Travel Medical Insurance reimburses
you for emergency medical expenses incurred when you are traveling or living in
a foreign country.
- Maximum coverage levels can be substantial enough (up
to US$5 million) to cover major medical expenses such as emergency
surgery and extended hospital stays.
- The "American-style" of international medical
insurance coverage requires you to pay the specified deductible
(excess in the UK) and co-insurance also known as co-pay
before the insurer pays any expenses.
- Plans often require pre-certification
by the insurer prior to hospital admission abroad.
- When hospitalization is necessary, many insurers
provide a guarantee of hospital admission, and some
insurers provide direct payments to hospitals.
- When hospitalization is not necessary, most insurers
require a claim form to be submitted for reimbursement of
covered expenses for basic treatment by a physician and
outpatient medical services.
Plans usually include coverage for emergency medical
evacuation, reunion, repatriation of remains, accidental death and dismemberment
(AD&D), and various other 24/7 travel assistance services.
IMPORTANT: Make sure to find out before you leave if your
current medical insurance will cover you while traveling abroad.
World Nomads offers low cost travel insurance
in over 44 countries. With genuine 24/7 assistance anywhere on the planet and
online claims and extensions from anywhere in the world while you are still
away. Prices start at US$49 for two weeks and US$145 for three months. Prices
quotes available in US$, CAN$, £, and €.
offers citizens of the UK, USA, Ireland, or Spain
travel insurance policies and price quotes.
They offer single trip travel insurance, annual travel insurance, and insurance specific to UK backpackers
who are under 45 years of age. Ideal insurance for gap year travel.
Travel Insurance Center Offers comprehensive travel medical insurance
and trip protection insurance plans available.
Picker to see which plan will best suit your travel needs.
Here are a few of the plans offered:
Student Travel Protection
Low cost, basic travel insurance for students age 26 and
under only. Plan covers trip cancellation, interruption and delay, emergency
medical expenses (US$2500 Max) and emergency medical evacuation (US$10,000 Max),
baggage loss, damage and delay, and more for trips up to 30 days. For students
of all nationalities traveling worldwide.
A short-term travel medical insurance plan
for US citizens traveling outside the United States. Max Benefit up to
US$2 million. Coverage is available for trips up to 12 months.
A short-term travel medical insurance plan for non-US citizens traveling
outside their country of citizenship. Max Benefit up to US$1 million.
Coverage is available for trips up to 12 months.