Travel Planning: what to take care of? Is it worth it?

Traveling for business, fun or any other purpose can put a new perspective on life. However, life is always unpredictable and can throw problems at you when you least expect it. Preparedness can often take the worry out of life’s unexpected circumstances. We listed a few good ways to start planning for your next trip (and life):

It doesn’t matter if it’s only a quick business trip or the vacation of a lifetime. Traveling is an excellent way to broaden the horizons and to see the world from a new perspective. To live temporarily or permanently in another country is to explore new places, cultures and even economics. The trick to a great trip is enjoying every aspect of a new place. And, of course, planning.

Travel planning provides not only an organized documentation process or transportation facilitation but peace of mind as well. By definition, a travel plan is a “package” of services designed especially by a travel company or organization to encourage safe, healthy and sustainable travel options that meet the needs of its clients.

Every single travel plan is different. It depends on what a travel company is offering at the moment. Some plans have pre-determined actions included – lodging, transportation, and exchanges, for instance – while others can be fully customized in order to meet a single client’s needs. However, all of them must follow a structured process in their development to improve a person’s health and wellbeing.

In some cases, there are packaged travel plans that don’t attend to the needs of people with chronic illness, disabilities or even the elderly. That is why planning every step of a trip with a specialized company is very important.

Here are some tips on what to take care of when you’re planning a trip:

Planning a trip: what to take care of?

Before starting your journey abroad, start to plan your trip. The planning phase is the most important part of your trip because it allows you to organize future events. It’s the period when you think of possible problems that you may face in another country and how to resolve issues, should they arise, by having the right tools at hand. It sounds tedious but planning is saving time for the future.

Besides basic plans like destination, touristic attractions, places for accommodation (and else), it’s very important to think about every aspect of your life. Think of what you do on a regular basis: daily activities, most expenses, and also what kind of documentation would you need to have in hand to do the exact same thing in another place. Would you need public transportation? Insurance? A bigger budget?

Remember: there is no task one, task two. Planning a trip may look like a daunting job, but there are no specific rules. Just think about your own life experiences and what would you really need in case of an unpredictable event.

man climbing a mountain with leg fixed

Here are some tips that may help you to decide on what to take care of when you’re planning a trip:

Have your documents at hand.

Without the right documents at hand, travel can become increasingly difficult. Itinerary, lodging information, reservations, etc. But, certainly, there are documents that are more necessary than others when it comes to traveling abroad.

Among them, the most requested are:

  • ID card (since you need do testify your existence)
  • Passports
  • Visas
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Credit cards (or debit, depending on where you’re going)

Remember to save your hotel or vehicle reservations in case you’ve booked or rented one. And if you still don’t have a passport, make sure to get it. In the United States, it takes at least four to six weeks from the time of application for you to receive one – or two weeks if you trim the process down for an additional fee. If you already have a passport, make sure to check its expiration date.

It’s indispensable to make a copy or backup of all your documentation. After all, documents can get misplaced. Even large hotels and airlines can lose your booking reservation or have a communication breakdown between the price that you’ve paid and the expected service. So keep all your documents centralized in one single device, and organize everything to prevent further headaches.

Accessing your own money

When money is at stake, especially when it must be accessed in a country different from yours, the fees go up. Whenever banks need to transfer currency overseas, transaction fees are really hefty. They take a 4% to 7% margin rate and additional rates on top, so that little “extra” that you would like to spend on your trip is sent directly to the bank’s pockets.

In this case, there are ways to ease up the exchange rates and keep your money safe. Solutions like OFX or Monzo, for instance, provide exchanges with no bank drafts or any bureaucracy. Also, make sure to store your money in an account that can be accessed in a global manner, whenever in Australia or Thailand.

Debit cards are a good alternative to credit cards because most people have it and use it, especially the ones with MasterCard or Visa logos. There’s no risk of overspending with a debit card because it’s the money that you’ve already saved in the account – and not your bank’s money.

Travel insurance

Accidents happen, it doesn’t matter where. Your health and belongings are not worth the risk of traveling with no safety whatsoever. If something goes wrong (illness, injury or a heart attack, lost luggage or documentation…) and you’re not insured, prepare to be out a lot of money and inconvenience. And, in the worst case scenario, your loved ones may not know immediately that something could have happened to you.

This is only one example of how travel insurance can help you while traveling abroad. It is a designed solution that covers unexpected medical emergencies, events (such as trip cancellation, personal effects or stolen luggage, for example) and other related losses.

a woman with lost luggage while on a trip

Should you get travel insurance?

What can really happen, right? Well, there are several risks on a trip. Some are small, like rain on your beach day. Some are big, like an vehicle accident or or serious illness, for instance. If you’re far from home and away from familiar faces, you need to be extra prepared for the worst case scenario. Life is unpredictable, after all – even more unpredictable when you’re in a country that you don’t know very well.

Take time to think: which is really worse? Spending a little extra with travel insurance plans that provides complete safety or having an immense amount of additional expenses for medical emergencies?

If you not feeling very convinced yet, check the hints below:

Natural disasters

Let’s imagine that you’ve planned the perfect trip to a Caribbean’s island and invested a lot of money for you and your family to enjoy the summer. The day before you’re supposed to arrive at the hotel, a hurricane unexpectedly hits the island and the place becomes uninhabitable for several days. How are you getting your money back? It’s a re-book possible?

Some trips are almost impossible to cancel. Especially with less than 14 days notice, because most travel companies require the devolution of 100% of vacation price per guest. That’s one of the main reasons why travel insurance exists: it provides easy, safe alternatives for any event. Even natural disasters.

Healthcare

To be struck by a vehicle or suffer serious injuries while climbing a snowy mountain are not ludicrous possibilities. Not to mention accidents (because, well, they happen): you can hop on a plane healthy as a horse, but fall and suffer fractures while getting off.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in your hometown or in an foreign country: health and well-being matter. The only difference between these two locations is that, while on a trip, it’s harder to look for a lifeline.

If you’re in a completely new location, it would be harder to locate a hospital, arrange an ambulance, medical payments, transportation… and if you can’t speak the language, how do you know you are receiving the best care? Well, that’s why travel insurance plans that also provide health care are essential and can be, literally, lifesavers.

Lost or stolen luggage

What would you do if your important documentation was in your luggage, and the airport suddenly loses your bag? Travel insurance also covers lost or stolen belongings, which is a very common thing even for the most experienced travelers. Airlines have serious restrictions when it comes to lost luggage and they will only pay for it in a matter of days (or weeks) before they investigate and decide that it is permanently lost.

Travel insurance normally covers permanent or also temporarily lost luggage. It reimburses the traveler for the purchase of essential personal items that are necessary for living (such as prescribed medication, for instance) until the lost bag arrives or the complete value of the items if the bag is completely lost.

Is travel insurance worth it?

Some travel insurance plans can differ from others, from company to company. Some insurance companies provide benefits that fit your way of living, and some don’t. So do your research and think of what you may need when traveling abroad. Find out what emergencies are covered and if it’s really worth it for you (or your family).

Set your priorities: is it luggage? Health? Financial risk?

If you already pay health insurance, look for companies that provide customized travel plans or single benefits, such as lost belongings, for example.

As stated above, if you can afford to lose money, then skip the travel insurance. Planning every aspect of a trip and also insurance is best used when expenses are more than you’re willing to lose. If you only have a hundred dollars at risk, you can afford to “self-insure” it. However, for most trips, the cost of the service isn’t excessive and can fit the package to provide peace of mind in any kind of situation.

a woman that lost flight at the airport

How to make the best use of travel insurance:

To make the best use of travel insurance, start planning your trip – we mean every aspect of it. To match expectations, look for companies (or agents) that offer customizable solutions. Insurance policies can always be tailored to attend your needs and identify what do you want to protect the most. So, narrow down the kind of policies that are more fitting to your expectations and reduce most of your costs.

The kind of insurance that you need will vary (depending on where you are at in your life). It also depends on what kind of assets you have, what are your long-term goals and responsibilities. That is why it’s very important to talk to different travel agents and explore the benefits of not one, two, but most travel insurance companies.

Planning your trip and finding the right travel insurance plan is a strong financial strategy. It protects you and helps you to remain financially independent even if something unpredictable happens.

What do you think?

Are you ready to travel abroad with no worries weighing on your shoulder?

Plan every aspect of your life – not only traveling.

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