Useful Travel Tips
We hope these tips are helpful to you, but if you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to contact us via e-mail, our toll free phone number, or directly via our Customer Care Hotline if we are in office. We want you to be fully informed, and pleased with the travel insurance you receive via our website!
Please browse thru our Travel Tips - or click to go directly to Travel Tips for Seniors, Travel Tips for Women or Travel Tips for Disabled Travelers ... we believe you will find something of use or interest to you.
Travel Tips For Seniors
- Lack of exercise in airports and on planes can result in venous thrombosis and possibly pulmonary embolism. Swollen ankles often result from long periods sitting in the cramped aircraft seating. Walk around as much as possible and keep exercising the feet and legs while seated. Plan stopovers in long haul trips.
- Adequate supplies of all regular medication should be carried with you. Familiar brands may not be available overseas. Allow enough for unexpected delays and always have a doctor's letter detailing your current medical problems and reason for medications.
- Angina and breathlessness can increase at higher altitudes and sometimes in airplanes. Airlines can usually arrange additional oxygen if advance notice is given.
- Diabetes, urinary incontinence, chronic airway disease and many other ongoing medical conditions are not deterrents to travel but plan in advance
- Advancing age is often accompanied by a reduced capacity for exercise. Poor balance and reduced stability make falls more likely and there is a greater risk of accidents in strange surroundings. For these reasons, good walking shoes are a must.
- Hearing and sight impairment can cause confusion in unfamiliar situations – particularly busy airports with continual loudspeaker announcements.
- Hot climates can aggravate low blood pressure particularly in those on anti-hypertensive or anti-Parkinson Medications. In addition, sunburn is a greater risk when the skin is aging or thin. A good sunscreen should be SPF 30+ in most cases and should be used regularly.
- Seniors frequently have reduced stomach acidity, which can increase the risk of travelers’ diarrhea and infections. It is important to have a medical kit with appropriate medications for this and other common health problems.
- Whatever your destination it is essential to have adequate travel health insurance.
- Cabin pressure creates problems for some people. If you have recently had abdominal surgery, oral surgery, or a sinus infection, the pressure changes can cause discomfort. Check with your physician and consider postponing the trip if necessary.
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Some guidelines to increase your comfort and protect your health while flying include:
- Wash your hands several times during the flight before you touch your eyes, nose, and mouth (bring antibacterial wipes or lotion).
- Carry a moist cloth and breathe into it frequently to help protect you from air-borne diseases and to moisten nasal tissue and lungs (saline spray also works well on nasal tissues).
- Avoid alcohol and coffee since both have a dehydrating effect on the body.
- Eat lightly and drink plenty of water.
- Try yawning, chewing gum, or swallowing to alleviate ear pressure. Or try using foam ear plugs (can also help you cope with the noise).
- Wear comfortable loose clothing and low-heeled shoes.
- Bring a small pillow to support your head while resting.
- Frequently stretch your body in all directions possible.
- Get up and walk around every hour or so to avoid blood clots, and exercise while you are seated. Flex your ankles, stretch your legs as much as possible, rotate your neck, roll your shoulders and turn your back from side to side.
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Travel Tips For Women
- Carrying Valuables
Don't put valuables in your purse. Hide those valuables you must carry with you in a neck pouch or waist wallet. If you are sleeping in quarters shared with people you don't know well (such as the sleeping compartment of a train), wear your security wallet when you are sleeping. Your purse is still useful for carrying maps, lipstick, sunglasses, etc., and a small amount of cash. Keep coins in your pocket for subways, buses and tipping so you don't have to open your purse. If your purse has a long shoulder strap, drape it over your head so that the strap crosses your torso diagonally. This makes it more difficult for thieves to grab. Wide straps are safer and more comfortable than thin ones.
Purse and security wallet should each contain your name and who to contact in case of a medical emergency. Also list any allergies you have (such as 'allergic to penicillin'). Write this phrase in English and in the languages of the countries in which you will be traveling.
- Stay Alert in Busy Environments
When you are at the airport, train station or other travel hub, you are at your most vulnerable to pickpockets. You will be tired, disoriented and handling cash, tickets and passport. Remind yourself to take extra care and to not rush.
- Going Through Passport Checks
When going through passport, custom, or security checks, be on your best, most serious behavior. Even if you are in a long line and in a hurry, be polite, quiet and follow all instructions carefully. Answer all questions from the agent clearly and briefly. Never make humorous comments. Officials can send you to a holding and questioning area for the slightest reason. It is their job to take all comments and jokes seriously to help ensure your safety.
- Shoulder Surfers
When you are keying in your numbers for your ATM, credit card or telephone card, someone may be looking over your shoulder to get the numbers. Be wary, even if no one is near you as some thieves shoulder-surf with binoculars! Look at the keypad to locate your PIN numbers, then use one hand to shield the keyboard while you press the keys with the other hand. Tuck your card away as soon as you can, don't leave it on the phone or machine while you talk or put things away.
- Use Your Business Address
Put a business card in the pocket of your overcoat and jacket. This will help in case you leave them in a restaurant or on a train. Put you hotel name and telephone number on the cards. Take business cards (with no hotel information) and give these to people you may want to have contact with later, don't give them your home address. Use a business card on your luggage label; never put your home address. Add your hotel name and address on the tag on your trip out; use your business card only on your trip back. If you don't have a business card, use your travel agent's business address for your home address.
- When Wearing Evening Clothes
Safety pin your hotel and/or safe key inside your coat pocket if the key in your security wallet causes an unattractive bulge in your clothes.
- Protect Your Luggage
Secure the strap to your luggage around the leg of your chair, around your leg, or sit on it while waiting in terminals or stations to prevent your bag from being grabbed. If you are sitting for a length of time, attach your luggage to your chair with a retractable cable lock.
- Cable Lock
Locks that have a long retractable wire cable for train and bus travel. You can lock your suitcase to the overhead luggage rack and feel secure when you visit the ladies' room or walk around the train.
- Multiple Destinations
Write your complete itinerary with dates, hotel addresses and phone numbers and place it on a tag. If bags go astray, the tag instructs agents to open the itinerary inside to see where your bags should be delivered.
Don't take anything of great sentimental or monetary value. Take faux jewels or inexpensive real ones. Take two matching pairs of earrings so that if you lose one, you still have a pair.
- Be Prepared for a Hotel Fire
In case of fire and quick evacuation during the night, pack your valuables in your purse and keep it near the bed with a flashlight. Keep shoes and overcoat handy also.
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Tips and Resources for Disabled Travelers
Each year, thousands of persons with disabilities travel the world by planes, trains, automobiles, cruise ships, and even bicycles. With the proper planning and attitude, travel can be rewarding and adventurous.
Each person with a disability has special needs. Individual countries have their own standards of accessibility for disabled travelers. Some countries have nondiscrimination laws that help to protect travelers with disabilities, while other countries have no such laws. Preparing before you go can often prevent difficulties and ensure that your planned destination will be accessible, safe and enjoyable.
Choosing Your Destination
Some countries make every effort to provide accessibility for all travelers, including those with disabilities, while other countries do not have the resources to do so, or do not consider it to be necessary. Before you travel, research your planned stops and ask detailed questions about the services that are provided. Also, be prepared for a certain amount of culture shock. Some cultures are not very accepting or open about their citizens with disabilities.
Once you have decided on a destination, you may also consider local transportation needs to and from the airport, luggage assistance and whether assistance will be needed to leave the airport terminal. Some suggestions for finding resources are: contact the airport management office; work with a travel agent who specializes in travel for persons with disabilities; search the internet, call local disability organizations; or check with various travel guides.
Another aspect to consider when planning your trip is the level of health care available at your planned stops.
Your Doctor: Talk to your physician about the activities you have planned and your general physical condition, any immunizations that might be needed, and medications, whether prescription or over the counter, that you might need for your trip.
Medication: If you take prescription medication, make sure you have enough to last the duration of the trip, including extra medicine in case you are delayed. Pack your medication in your carry-on bag. Delays can occur, and checked baggage occasionally becomes misdirected or lost. Always carry your prescriptions in their labeled containers as many countries have strict narcotic-trafficking laws and might be suspicious of pills in unlabeled bottles. Bring your prescription information and the names of their generic equivalents with you just in case. Double-check one last time before leaving home that you have your medication with you in your hand luggage.
The importance of having adequate insurance to cover you while traveling cannot be overemphasized. Your policy should have no set limit on medical care and evacuation expenses, and you should not have to put up money to get immediate care and assistance.
U.S. citizens are not covered by Medicare outside the country. If you're hospitalized or need to be airlifted back to the United States, your life savings could be lost paying the bills. If your primary coverage is under Medicare and you think you may be leaving the country, if only to cross the border into Canada or Mexico, be sure to take out some travel insurance. (Be careful of the so-called Medicare supplement-type policy; in most cases it's tied to your Medicare coverage, which lapses for the time you are out of the United States.) If you are a disabled veteran, remember that you are not covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs outside of the US.
Guests with Mobility Problems
Ask for the lowest floor on which accessible services are offered. In an emergency, elevators are often turned off and stairways must be used. Rescue teams can get you down more quickly from lower floors than from higher ones.
Guests with a Hearing Impairment
Travelers that have trouble hearing should contact hotels in advance about devices to alert them visually to the ring of the telephone, a knock at the door, or a fire/emergency alarm. Some hotels provide these devices free of charge. If you don't call ahead, ask for this equipment when you register. If it's not available, discuss your needs with both the switchboard operator and the front desk receptionist so that a hotel staff member can personally alert you in the event of an emergency.
Guests with a hearing impairment should also ask about the availability of telephones with volume control, TDD machines (Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf), television amplifiers, and closed-captioned televisions.
Guests with a Vision Impairment
The Lighthouse advises people with a vision impairment to ask the following questions when making reservations: (a) if someone will be able to give you a tour of the hotel upon your arrival; (b) if there's an audiocassette describing the facilities that can be sent to you on loan; (c) if there are large-print and/or Braille brochures and restaurant and room-service menus; and (d) if there is Braille signage on elevators and doors, or if rooms have tactile (raised) numbers on the doors.
Once you've checked in, ask the bellhop to give you a tour of your room and show you anything tricky or unusual, such as temperature controls, room locks, and water faucets. Consider wrapping a rubber band around the doorknob to your room to assist you in finding the correct door (and tell the cleaning staff not to remove it).
Services & Equipment:
Be aware that some countries have restrictions on service dogs traveling through or arriving in their countries. If you intend to travel with a service dog, be sure to check on possible restrictions with the embassy or consulate of each country that you will visit. This and other country information may be found on each country’s Consular Information Sheet. If service dogs are permitted, learn about quarantine or vaccination requirements.
Find out what documents are needed, including international health certificates, rabies inoculation certificates and if the documents need to be translated. Talk with your vet about how to travel with your dog and how travel will affect the dog. You may also want to ensure that hotels will accommodate your service dog and that there will be an adequate area for the dog to relieve itself.
If you require a wheelchair, scooter or other equipment, consider having a maintenance check done on it to ensure that everything is in working order before you leave. You may want to research the availability of wheelchair and medical equipment providers in the areas you plan to visit before you depart on your trip.
Most airlines are happy to help travelers with disabilities make flight arrangements, provided they receive notification 48 hours in advance. Still, many problems can be avoided if persons with disabilities use travel agents who are familiar with the documentation they need to file in requesting special reservations. If you insist on booking directly with an airline, be sure to get the sine (the computer name used for identification) of the reservation agent, so you have someone you can refer back to.
If you request boarding assistance, you'll probably be the first passenger to board and the last to deplane. Be sure to leave extra time between connections, double minimum flight connection time, as a rule.
People with mobility problems should request bulkhead seats (at the front of each cabin), which have more legroom. Try to reserve these seats at the time of booking; if the reservations agent says they're already taken, arrive early at the airport, go to the gate, and request a bulkhead seat on the basis of your disability. Personnel there will sometimes make the shift, but if you encounter resistance, ask to talk with the airline's Complaint Resolution Officer, who will often honor your request.
Foldable wheelchairs have priority over other carry-ons in a closet. In addition to the allotted number of carry-ons, passengers may also bring aboard any crutches, braces, canes, or other prosthetic devices upon which they are dependent.
Wheelchairs, spare batteries, battery chargers, and all other necessary medical supplies are not included in a passenger's two- or three-bag limit and are transported at no extra charge. Make sure that bags or boxes containing these supplies contain nothing else, nothing or the airline might charge you for excess luggage.
If you use an electric wheelchair, outfit it with gel-cell batteries when you travel by plane, and remind the airline that they do not need to remove the gel-cell battery; airlines are generally required to remove wet-cell batteries from your chair and store them to prevent them from spilling.
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