Posts Tagged Travel
Volunteer Abroad Travel insurance
You will need travel insurance when you plan to volunteer abroad. Most companies that organize travel trips insist or recommend you having travel insurance. Travel insurance is an insurance that is intended to cover medical expenses, financial and other losses incurred while travelling. Travel insurance can be gotten directly from insurance companies, travel agents and travel suppliers. The insurance covers student travel, business travel, leisure travel, adventure travel, cruise travel and international travel. Buying travel insurance is tricky especially when finding the right plan for you that will cover you extensively. Travel insurance covers you against risks such as severe weather, last minute cancellations, terrorist attacks, emergency/accidental care, and travel delays, missed connections, lost baggage etc. Most people buy travel insurance so that they are medically covered when they are abroad; they don’t want to lose money due to cancellations and others want to prevent losing their luggage and travel documents. There are various companies to buy travel insurance from depending on your location, price and what you want. Some insurance companies provide travel insurance which is niche specific where they specialize in student travel; others offer simple policies for everyday travelers, some offer just medical insurance or evacuation plans. Depending on what plan you want there are generally two types of plans which are package plans and travel medical plans. When planning to buy travel insurance consider the following: Trip Cancellation insurance Trip cancellation coverage provides reimbursement for lost travel expenses if you need to cancel your trip. Unexpected events like sickness, death, severe weather, industrial strike, terrorist incidents, something happens to your destination residence, theft of travel documents like passports, financial default by tour operator, and you may be needed back at work. Trip cancellation insurance is important because some volunteer abroad fees are expensive which can go up to $ 5,000. With some organizations you are asked to plan early in advance in order to confirm a place with them. In such a situation during the period of waiting a lot can happen and you may need to cancel your trip. Also volunteer abroad programs involve a lot of several stops and connections and they have a higher risk of problems and things to go wrong. Trip cancellation is important as you may choose to volunteer as a group or as a family and you may need to cancel because one of you may fall sick. This will save the money that could have been lost. Depending on the insurance company you use, they each have a number of reasons for you to cancel and they will reimburse you. Trip cancellation coverage should be bought early in advance to make sure you get the full benefits. Medical insurance Health insurance from your country only covers you while you are at home. When you decide to volunteer abroad you will need travel insurance. Travel insurance takes care of medical coverage while you are volunteering abroad. When you are abroad despite of the vaccinations you are given you are still prone to be infected by indigenous diseases. The coverage includes being taken to hospital, being treated, charges for hospital stays, the cost of drugs, and evacuation back to your home country. Medical insurance is important since when you are in a foreign country and you might know where the hospital is. Also they may be speaking in a foreign language and getting help might be a bit difficult. When you are evacuated back to your home country, they will take you straight to hospital for further treatment. When buying medical insurance, inform them of your preexisting conditions to make sure you are fully covered. Other advantages Travel insurance covers against lost or damage baggage. This happens a lot due to connecting many different flights. It also protects against your property being stolen. There are some occasions when you arrive at your destination and your baggage is delayed. The cover includes reimbursement of essential items like toiletries, and basic clothing. Some companies offer extra coverage on car rental damage protection, identity theft, and adventure travel coverage. Consult your travel agent on which is the best insurance company to use and what exactly they cover Examples of travel insurance companies There are many companies, travel agents and specialty travel companies that provide travel insurance. They vary greatly on price and what they offer or cover. Many travelers use the following Cultural Insurance Services International, CMI Insurance Specialists, iNext Travel Card and International Student Insurance. There are many more companies choose wisely.
Volunteer Abroad Travel Money
Volunteers who are planning to go abroad have a lot to plan for. In their planning they will also plan for how they will be using their money. There are various ways of using money while the international volunteers are abroad. The various methods are through cash, travelers cheque, credit card, prepaid cards and local debit cards. Deciding on which form of money to use depends on a number of factors. These factors are length of stay, security, exchange rate and replacement in case they are lost or stolen. They should inform their banks that they are going abroad and that they shouldnt cancel their credit cards while they are gone unless told otherwise. As a volunteer abroad, s/he should carry the different forms of money for safety. Here are the various forms of money that are available to volunteers:
The volunteers will need the local currency when they arrive in the country. They will need money to pay for small things as taxi fare, buses fare, trolley fares and many others. As the volunteer will be in the local country for a period of time, s/he will need to have local currency. The advantages of carry local currency are: it is easy to exchange; easy to use; available everywhere; and fluctuations in the exchange rate wont make it more expensive. The major disadvantages of carry cash are: the volunteers cant carry large sums of money; during conversion they can lose money due to the exchange rate; and its not replaceable when its lost. When dealing with cash, the volunteer should have money bag or an inside pocket where to hide their money. To be safe they should also not carry all their money at the same place and should have large and small denominations.
These are the most commonly used by travelers worldwide. Credit cards are available and are used in most countries. Cards that have Visa, MasterCard, American express and Access are accepted everywhere. There are many advantages of using Credit Cards for example: they are easy to carry; easily replaceable when stolen; accepted in most parts of the world; the volunteer can get cash advances from ATMs at a fee. The main disadvantages are: credit card fraud; sometimes they are not accepted in some hotels and institutions; there are added service fees by banks when they are used; there are interest fees included and you have notify banks when traveling abroad. The volunteer has to be careful when using credit cards, in that they should be used as few times as possible. Credit cards have hidden costs attached to them and when the volunteer goes back home, s/he will be surprised by the huge fees.
These cards are new to the market and are gaining popularity. Prepaid cards are specifically targeted for travelers. They work the same way as travelers cheques and debit cards. Prepaid cards are preloaded with money from the volunteers home country. They use the standard Visa system, and can be used anywhere there is a Visa symbol. They are much safer to use than Credit cards and Debit cards. With a fixed amount in them, there is no risk in overspending and if the funds run out you can re load the funds through other credit cards. The disadvantages of these cards are: once they are lost they are hard to replace; the commissions are higher than travelers cheques and credit cards; topping up is expensive.
Travelers cheques used to be very common but nowadays they are becoming less and less common. They are still one of the safest ways to carry money as they are not stolen and are easily replaceable. To use a travelers cheque, the volunteers signature is needed. Most of them are issued by American express and can be used in most banks and post banks. They can be replaced anywhere if they are stolen or lost as long as the serial number is produced. They only take 24 hours to replace them. The main disadvantages are: most foreign retailers are not accepting them anymore, in some places they can only be used for changing local currency; and the range of currencies is limited.
Local debit cards and bank accounts
If the volunteer will be staying for a lengthy period of time, they could open a bank account and deposit money there. Using local debit cards is good especially if the volunteer doesnt want to be charged by their home banks when transacting. This method saves money as transactions are only done once and there is no worry of foreign exchange rates.
Volunteering Abroad And Travel Warnings
Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something. ~Author Unknown. Since the beginning of this year, there have been political and natural problems in a number of countries. The problems have been spread throughout the globe. First there was unrest in Ivory Coast due to the elections they had, second were the floods in Australia and Brazil and lately there has been unrest in the Arab nations (Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon). Some of these situations are predictable for example there is bound to be trouble when travelling to a third world country during an election year. It is easy to foresee problems in such scenarios, but there some which take the whole world by surprise. A good example is what is going on in the Arab world where they are fighting for democracy and also the natural disasters in Australia where few knew the floods would bring so much trouble. As a volunteer in a foreign country these problems are compounded in that; the country is no longer safe; communication in to and out of the country could be halted, the internet could be blocked; media black outs and a curfew could be imposed in the said country. When choosing the country to go to care has to be taken to avoid being in such a situation. A couple of tips to help you choosing a country to volunteer in
Travel bans and advisory
Every government tries to protect its citizens by giving out travel advice on countries. In each government there is a foreign affairs arm that looks into what is going on in the world. They get updates from every part of the world. They monitor what goes on in every country and when there is a hint of problems they advice their citizens. On their publications and announcements, they warn their citizens on which countries to avoid. For example there is Know Before You Go campaign, which is from England, Canada has Foreign affairs and International Trade and the USA has Bureau of Consular Affairs. They all have alerts on certain countries and they each have a different valuation of the risk in the countries. Currently there is a general ban on travelling to countries in the red sea region. When picking a country to go to, it is advisable to visit the governments website to see how safe the country you are going to go to is.
Reading and watching news of a country is the best way to be informed. In this day and age there are a lot of sources of News. There is the internet, newspapers, magazines; and televisions all these are sources of News and current events. Although the media channels could be exaggerating what is going on the ground, they are the one of the best sources of information. Keeping abreast with current news of the country will help you to pick the best country to go to. In the news the volunteers will learn about the major things that are happening to the country that they will be going to.
The volunteers who are picking a country which could have security risks, they should have a look at the country profiles. Every country has been listed and there is a measurement to see which country is the safest to travel in. The country profiles are regularly updated and give a sense of how safe the country. The country profiles describe headline facts and figures about the population, capital city, and currency. Then briefly outline the geography and recent history, current politics and economic trends
The volunteers who choose to use volunteer travel organizations are better placed to get information on a country. The volunteer travel organizations have their employees on the ground and they have first hand information on what is going on. With this information they can help to advice you which countries are safe to go to. They will have first hand information from the ground and will inform the volunteers accordingly. The best part of using travel organizations is that in case of an emergency while the volunteer is abroad is that they have contingency plans. They will help you get out of a tricky situation.