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Last updated February 07, 2016. 

Travel Health & Safety

Travel Precautions | Travel Warnings | Travel Insurance


Travel Precautions 
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.

  • Be alert. Pay 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 criminals.
     

  • Be cautious. Do not 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 strangers).
     

  • Be confident.   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.
     

  • Be inconspicuous.   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. 
     

  • Be polite.   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.

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Travel Warnings 
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. Most of Europe should be as safe or perhaps safer than staying in the United States, Canada, Australia, etc.  

Sites to check out:

Government Travel Warnings & Information Sites:

Other Sites:

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Travel Insurance
There are two main types of travel insurance. Trip 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 .

Travel Insurance Center Offers comprehensive travel medical insurance and trip protection insurance plans available. Use the Policy 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.

Patriot International
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.

Patriot America
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.

 

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