Safe Travel Isn’t An Accident

Safe Travel Tips

Horror stories. we’ve heard a few. The ones you really don’t want to hear are told by family and friends about travel adventures gone wrong. If you’ve spent a couple of decades traveling the world like us, you’re bound to learn a few things along the way about protecting yourself.

First – never think it isn’t going to happen to you. Believing the worst can’t happen to you is the biggest rationalization anyone can make. It actually prevents far too many people from thinking about the unthinkable and stops them from taking steps to be prepared.

  • Accidents
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Disasters
  • Civil Unrest

These can happen anywhere at anytime and while it doesn’t mean you should give up traveling, it does mean you can, and should, make plans just in case.

Second – don’t guess at what protection you have or how things could work in a crises situation while traveling. On far too many occasions we heard about friends that thought that their health insurance would work overseas just like it does back in the United States. The sad truth is that often insurance that provides good protection in America provides very little and even no protection while traveling. Getting stuck for hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills isn’t the best moment to realize this.

Third – the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is really good advice. Buying insurance has always seemed to me to be expensive but if you start looking into areas like travel insurance you will find a number of policies that seem very reasonable. My wife and I have maintained emergency evacuation insurance for a number of years at a cost for both of us around $200 a year.

Another thing that we do to be prepared is pack a first aid and medication kit when we travel. Sometimes there just isn’t a pharmacy available and a small kit of over-the-counter meds for stomach problems, flu and cold remedies and bandages are worth their weight in gold.

After hearing about a couple of real tragedies experienced by traveling friends we started always carrying emergency ID’s. What’s in your wallet or purse? Oddly a driver’s license or even a passport doesn’t provide any good contact information. Also if you have specific medical issues, how are first responders and medical professionals supposed to understand your situation?

Consider the ENIN ID card and information system. It starts with a card you carry on you but the system also provides for access to almost all the recommended information one needs in a medical emergency. Look into it HERE.

What’s In Your Wallet?

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Traveling With A Starbucks Card

Starbucks is becoming as ubiquitous as McDonalds around the world. We have become accustomed to looking for these outlets as we travel. While we are not huge fans you can expect a consistent coffee offering along with free WiFi from Starbucks as you travel.

We just got home from Europe and we just jumped to conclusions about using our Starbucks Gold Card in Europe from our experience on previous trips. Several years ago we cautiously started using a Starbucks card to purchase coffee in various cities. Over time we came to expect it to work everywhere.

While traveling in Australia and Ireland we were very surprised at how the process worked. After paying with the balance on our card we would get a receipt that showed the amount used in local currency along with the card balance expressed in Dollars and local currency.

After this trip a correction is in order. We were in Hungary, Austria and Germany and our card wouldn’t work at all. Checking the Starbucks web site we found the following statement:

Starbucks Cards activated in any of the participating countries can be used to make purchases and be reloaded in any other participating country. Starbucks Cards must first be activated by loading money onto the card in the country of purchase before being used internationally. The participating countries are; UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Mexico, and the Republic of Ireland.

I guessed we jumped to conclusions based on too small a sampling. The good news is the coffee was what we expected and the WiFi is still free.