A lot of people take time to plan a vacation, but how many people actually plan for potential problems when on vacation?
It's not the most exciting thing to think about when booking a trip, vacations are supposed to be a carefree time to get away from stress.
But you can save yourself a lot of heartaches if something happens by planning in advance and following our tips.
Planning for a safe and healthy vacation starts before we even leave the country.
Once we have our trip dates booked we have a list of things we do to prepare before we go.
If we follow these steps, it makes for a more relaxing vacation and gives us the tools we need should an emergency occur.
The number one thing we always do before traveling is to make sure we have travel insurance.
We call our provider to make sure we have full coverage for the duration of our vacation and talk with them about what we can and cannot do.
If we are rock climbing or scuba diving we take a close look at our policy for any general exclusions as well as definitions of high-risk activities.
Personally, Dave and I choose to be insured together on one policy, which ends up being more cost effective than two single insurance plans.
We also purchase an annual medical plan because we travel more than once a year.
It is more convenient than having to get separate plans for each trip and it saves us money by purchasing one bundle for the year rather than separate plans for each trip.
Since becoming Allianz Travel Insurance Ambassadors, we’ve learned that Allianz Global Assistance agents are on call 24/7 at 1-844-310-1578, so we can always get an answer no matter what time of day a travel insurance-related question might pop into our minds.
Even before we travelled for a living, we always bought travel insurance.
If we were crossing the border for a short one-day shopping trip or a month-long backpacking adventure, we'd always make sure we were covered.
Anything can happen at any time no matter how short the trip.
Dave and I have been in a motorcycle accident, I've had a serious blood infection, we've both been violently ill and as you may know, Dave broke his back in the Amazon.
Insurance helped us out in those instances by covering the eligible hospital expenses, prescriptions and even flights home.
But there are many other potential aspects of travel insurance that make it valuable to us when booking a vacation.
Having peace of mind before we step on a plane knowing we will be covered should an emergency arise is the best thing we can do to ensure a safe and happy vacation.
You can visit the Allianz Global Assistance website to choose the plan that is right for you.
The government of Canada recommends your travel insurance includes health, life, and disability coverage.
They also suggest if you are flying, you will want to consider flight cancellation, trip interruption, lost luggage, and document replacement.
We were recently in Cuba and I forgot to let my bank know that we'd be traveling. While in Havana I went to the ATM to withdraw Cuban pesos and my card didn't work.
I then tried my Visa and it didn't work either.
I thought it was the ATM, but when I got home, I had a message that there was a fraud alert on my cards and my accounts were locked.
It caused us a lot of hassle as we had to try numerous ATMs and different cards.
Luckily, Dave's card worked and we eventually withdrew some pocket money but if it didn't, we could have been out of luck buying anything.
If all our accounts were locked, it could have cost us valuable vacation time having to phone the bank to try to unlock our cards.
Before booking our trip, we always do a quick search to check travel advisories to see if there are any warnings in the country we are visiting.
In the past, we've made the mistake of not checking. And during one of our travels, we didn't realize that an election was going on that caused violent protests and unrest.
Had we checked the advisory of the country, we would have waited to visit as there were several deaths and arrests.
Luckily we weren't affected, (although we did see a military convoy of tanks drive by to arrest the opposition and his followers). It was a very unsettling experience.
It's always good to know what type of situation you are going into so check advisories for hurricane season and weather, volcanic activity, war or disease outbreaks.
I know people are really excited when going on vacation and want to tell all their friends, but letting everyone know online that you are going to be out of town is an invitation to be robbed.
If you really feel the need to brag about your amazing vacation, wait until you get home.
Dave and I rarely post social media in real-time.
We don't want people to know where we are at any given moment and we don't want people to know when we're not in our home.
So, save the photo-sharing until you return.
If you live in a house, nothing says “we're not home” more than a pile of newspapers, It's a simple phone call to stop mail and newspaper delivery while you are away.
Get to know your neighbours and ask them to pick up any flyers that are left at the front door.
Flyers are the one thing we haven't been able to figure out how to stop coming in, so it’s good to have a friendly neighbour keep an eye out.
We are big fans of putting timers on lights to make people believe someone is home.
When we had our house, we had a timer set to turn on our outside lights in the evening.
We had a couple of lights set up inside too and we set the timers to turn on our indoor lights from 7 – 11 pm.
They can be bought at Walmart, Home Depot or Canadian Tire for peanuts and it could save a break in.
If we are going somewhere exotic, we do our research to see what vaccines we need well in advance. Some vaccines can take weeks or months to get the sequence of shots needed.
There are many life-threatening diseases that can be contracted in certain parts of the world where a vaccine could save our life.
Depending on where we are traveling, we may need vaccines for typhoid, yellow fever, cholera, Japanese Encephalitis and more.
Countries, where Yellow Fever is a risk, won't even let us in if we don't have our Yellow Fever vaccine certificate and it is always good to have Hepatitis A & B wherever we go.
We check our vaccines regularly to make sure they are up to date so we can make sure to stay healthy.
There is a lot of information online, but we typically go to a travel clinic to see a doctor who specializes in travel disease so we know exactly what we need.
Before we travel, we make sure to fill any prescriptions that we need and pack them in our carryon bag.
We never check prescription medication in our luggage and always make sure we have it on us, with a copy of our prescription.