Is Travel Insurance Mandatory?

9 April 2018

Going on a trip is not as easy as just packing a swimsuit and sunglasses and call it a day! There is a lot of planning involved, including making a travel budget, creating an itinerary, checking visa requirements and getting the proper immunizations at a travel clinic. All of this can be quite overwhelming.

On top of all this preparation, one has to consider these mandatory travel requirements:

– Having a valid passport

It’s important to check the expiry date as well as the number of pages left since each country has different requirements.

– Applying for a tourist visa depending on the countries visited

Canadians can visit 101 countries without a visa so make sure to verify if your next destination falls in that list.

– Getting the proper vaccination

For instance, a Yellow Fever vaccine certificate might be required to visit certain countries.

– Having a return ticket

Even though it’s not always enforced, it can be necessary to show proof of onward travel or a return ticket to gain entry to some countries.

But What About Travel Insurance? Is That Compulsory?

The answer for the majority of the cases is: no! While having proper travel insurance is not mandatory, it is highly recommended. Although rarely enforced by custom officials, you could be asked to present a health insurance certificate showing that you can provide for yourself in case of a medical emergency.

That being said, there are still countries where Canadians will need to provide proof of a valid travel insurance in order to get a tourist visa. All the information concerning entry requirements can be found on the Foreign Affairs’ section of your government’s website. It is also advisable to confirm this information with your travel insurance agent.

According to the travel entry/exit requirements listed by the Government of Canada, here are the countries for which Canadians may be asked to show proof of travel insurance either upon arrival or to obtain a tourist visa:
Aruba : “proof of health insurance (or travel insurance that includes health coverage) are required to enter Aruba.”
Belarus : “you must present proof of valid medical insurance to enter Belarus. In addition, you will be required to purchase a mandatory state insurance at the port of entry.”
Bulgaria : “you must present proof of medical insurance (minimum €30,000 coverage) that is valid in the European Union (EU) and covers the costs of emergency medical care and repatriation.”
Cuba : “you must present proof of health insurance that is valid for the period of [the] stay in Cuba. Although proof of Canadian provincial health insurance is sufficient for visitors to enter Cuba, your provincial plan may cover only part of any medical costs incurred in Cuba and it will not pay the bill upfront, which is required at most hospitals.”
Falkan Islands : “you should show proof of insurance that covers air evacuation of up to US$200,000.”
Latvia : “you must be able to show sufficient proof of medical insurance to customs officials. The insurance must cover the entire length of your stay. If you do not have proof of insurance coverage, you may be required to obtain health insurance from a Latvian insurance company when you arrive.”
Lithuania : “You must be able to show sufficient proof of medical insurance to customs officials or purchase short-term insurance upon arrival.”
Slovakia : “Customs officials may ask you to show proof of health insurance.”

In many countries, for any visa other than a tourist visa (which most likely means an extended stay in the country) you may be requested to show proof of travel insurance.

Beyond country-specific demands, there are certain types of travel that will also require you to purchase travel insurance. Tours operators, tourism companies, safaris and cruises sometimes have very strict restrictions concerning travel insurance. To be compliant with the booking, it is often mandatory to obtain a travel insurance plan that fits their requirements.

Ultimately, it is your decision to get or not a travel insurance. No matter how many precautions you might take, an accident or a natural catastrophe cannot be predicted. The choice of not having a travel insurance will have an impact on you and your relatives that will have to cover outstanding medical bills if anything was to happen.

Without thinking of all the risks associated with travelling, buying travel insurance is the smartest decision one can make regarding travel plans. After all, travelling should be a source of joy and excitement so make sure to get travel insurance for your next trip now. If you can afford to travel than you can afford travel insurance. In this case, you can see it as the one thing that you will pack and be happy if you never have to use it.

Article by Nomad Junkies team

Tropical Diseases: What You Need to Know About Dengue

4 December 2017

What’s worse: a mosquito or a Great White shark? For starters, the chances of getting bit by a mosquito are much higher than being bit by a shark. Furthermore, in the last few decades, mosquitoes have been recognized as one of the deadliest animals on the planet. In non-tropical environment, they might seem quite harmless (albeit very annoying), but in the majority of the world, they are known for spreading deadly diseases.

This doesn’t mean that one should stay at home with their windows tightly shut to avoid any contact with mosquitoes. Rather, it’s best to be well informed and use caution, especially when visiting an at-risk country.

What Is Dengue?

Dengue is a tropical disease transmitted by a mosquito carrying one of four dengue viruses, which can cause flu-like symptoms. It can take three to fourteen days, after the initial bite, to develop symptoms of the virus. In its worst case, dengue can occasionally evolve into severe hemorrhagic dengue.

Where is Dengue Endemic?

According to the Travel health and safety guidelines issued by the Government of Canada, dengue “is widespread in regions of Africa, Central and South America, the Caribbean, the Eastern Mediterranean, South and Southeast Asia, and Oceania.”

Mosquitoes transmitting the virus can usually be found in urban and suburban areas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that “40% of the world’s population lives in areas where there is a risk of dengue transmission.” A visit to a travel clinic prior to departure will provide you with the details of at-risk zones and advisories based on your health condition.

How to Prevent Dengue?

Unlike Malaria, there are no known immunizations (vaccines or medication) against dengue. Without resorting to paranoia every time one gets a mosquito bite, there are ways to reduce the risk of getting bit in the first place.

– Cover yourself:
Wear pale, loose-fitting clothing that cover the entire body during peak mosquito periods. Wear closed shoes and a scarf if necessary.
– Avoid certain times of the day:
With mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus, this means the time around sunrise and sunset. During those times, stay indoors or wear appropriate clothing.
– Stay in places with air conditioning:
If available, pick a room with A/C, which is normally more sealed. Otherwise, make sure that windows have screens and sleep under a bed net for added protection (check ahead of time if your accommodation can provide you with one).
– Wear DEET insect repellent:
Although many prefer more natural repellents, DEET is known to be the most effective and powerful against mosquito bites. It should only be applied on exposed skin. Alternatively, you can try picaridin which is safer to use on children.
– Stay away from areas where there is standing water:
Mosquitoes lay eggs and spread in areas with standing water such as ponds, kids pool, buckets, flower vases or containers filled with rain water. What can be emptied should always be taken care of to avoid infestation.
– Keep a good air circulation:
Because mosquitoes are not very strong, any breeze or wind is likely to keep them away. It’s advisable to have a fan in the bedroom or other communal rooms.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Dengue?

In mild cases of dengue, symptoms can last from two to seven days. Anyone who has ever contracted the virus will agree that dengue feels like being hit by a train. The symptoms to look out for, especially after having been bit by a mosquito in an at-risk area, are:
– High fever (anything over 38.5 °C should be considered serious)
– Intense headache
– Pain behind the eyes
– Joint, muscle or bone pain
– Fatigue (which can in time lead to lethargy)
– Nausea (also causing vomiting)
– Skin rash (usually on the abdomen)
– Mild bleeding in some more severe cases

If those symptoms persist for more than three days, it is advisable to seek medical help immediately.

How to Treat Dengue?

Unfortunately, there are no treatments available for a dengue infection. A doctor’s visit with appropriate testing will confirm if the disease has been contracted or not. As a side note, make sure to have adequate travel insurance before consulting a doctor abroad. Even getting a simple IV to treat dehydration caused by the virus could lead up to substantial fees. Get travel insurance for your upcoming trip now.

Dengue symptoms can be alleviated by taking pain killers, keeping hydrated and resting. Stay clear of tablets such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or Naproxen Sodium (Aleve) which can have adverse effects with symptoms of dengue. Instead, to relieve the fever and the pain, use Acetaminophen (Tylenol). Consult a pharmacist or doctor if in doubt.

Given the widespread of dengue, it would be unfortunate to avoid travelling altogether. By following these precautions, knowing how to identify the symptoms and taking the necessary measures if the virus is contracted, it is not only possible but still safe to explore the world around us. Put your trousers and long sleeve, spray some mosquito repellent and go enjoy that beautiful sunset!

“Dengue Fever.” Government of Canada, May 3, 2016, travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/diseases/dengue. Accessed June 23, 2017.

“Dengue – Epidemiology.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 9, 2014, www.cdc.gov/dengue/epidemiology/index.html. Accessed June 23, 2017.

Article by Nomad Junkies team

5 Things to Consider Before Moving Abroad

28 November 2017

Travelling to a destination and making the commitment to move your entire life there are two completely different things! When visiting a new country as a tourist, you only get to scratch the surface of what the place has to offer. You might spend your time exploring landmarks, doing some sightseeing of popular tourist attractions and eating at top-rated restaurants.

Alternatively, moving abroad, whether for work, for school, for fun or even for love, gives you the opportunity to truly absorb the essence of a destination and fully integrate as a local citizen. It’s a chance to reinvent yourself with all the challenges and rewards that come with it.

Perhaps you might have this romanticized fantasy of living in a foreign country, perpetuated by countless movies and books, where you’re sipping a coffee in Paris, joining an Ashram in India or surfing barrels in Australia. However, the reality is that moving abroad requires a large amount of planning, preparation and organization.

Here are five things you need to consider prior to making your big move:

1. VISA

First, you will need to research the visa requirements. Establish how you will spend your time in your new host country to evaluate the type of visa necessary. For instance, Canadians between the ages of 18 and 35 have the possibility to legally work abroad with a Working Holiday visa thanks to Canada’s reciprocity agreements with many countries. Check International Experience Canada for more details on how to apply.

However, if volunteering is what you have in mind, you could be subjected to the same immigration laws than someone working for an actual wage. In that respect, allow sufficient time before your departure to research those specific visa conditions.

Since not all countries operate with an equal level of efficiency; plan this step ahead of time. Applying for a visa can quickly become an administrative nightmare especially when having to deal with foreign bureaucracy. Remember to use patience and understanding during that process. This essential step should go hand-in-hand with subscribing to a travel insurance plan. Call your travel insurance agent to find the best solution for your upcoming expatriation.

2. HOUSING

Begin your search for housing solutions before you arrive to help reduce the stress associated with this step. Allow yourself to get your bearings by staying at a hotel/guesthouse for the first few days while you explore the different neighborhoods.

If your belongings are not following you on this journey, look into serviced apartments or shared accommodation which are already furnished. This minimizes the commitment while enjoying all the amenities of a full home setting. Search for local Facebook groups to help you in this process using keywords such as “Take Over my Lease”, “short-term rentals” or “roommates wanted”. Forums for expats and classified ads in the local newspaper are also a great starting point for finding your new home away from home.

It is likely that you will have to provide one or two months worth of rent as a security deposit, so keep this in mind when budget planning. You should also put aside a small “setting up” fund to cover expenses such as bedding, bathroom supplies and kitchen utensils. Regarding utilities, you should inquire beforehand if electricity, water and Internet are included or if you need to set it up on your own.

3. SAFETY

You can only call a place home once you feel safe and sound there. There are many factors to evaluate the safety of a destination. Check the political climate as an indicator of potential political unrest in the country. You can easily find this information on your government’s foreign affairs website.

Other aspects to consider are the weather and the likeliness of natural disasters. Some regions of the world are more at risk for monsoons, floods, hurricanes, volcano eruptions, earthquakes, etc. These events being so unpredictable, you must ensure that you have a valid travel insurance which will cover you in the case of such a catastrophe.

Finally, familiarize yourself with basic local safety precautions. Inquire about less safe neighborhoods and practise the same level of safety as you do at home. Avoid walking alone at night, don’t expose your valuables in public and use your common sense for any other situation. Pick a destination where you know you will feel comfortable and at ease as moving abroad would be quite unfulfilling if you had to spend all your time locked inside your house.

4. COSTS

It can be challenging to establish the perfect budget for living abroad. As a rule of thumb, you want to have, based on your destination, at least $6000 saved up as an emergency fund. This will help cover your needs until you are settled in and money starts coming in again.

Depending on your chosen accommodation option, relocating to a new country involves moving costs. Since airlines will charge substantial fees for any overweight luggage, consider having non-urgent items shipped to you by freight or boat.

Websites like Numbeo can help you evaluate the cost of living by comparing the prices of different destinations. It also provides indicators such as housing, health care, traffic, crime and pollution.

5. SETTLING IN

Moving to a foreign country requires flexibility to adapt to this new life you are creating for yourself. Things will be different and it might be challenging at times, especially if you are faced with a language barrier. You might feel lonely, isolated and find it harder to make friends. Those are all normal feelings experienced by the majority of new immigrants and expats. There are ways to make the transition of moving abroad smoother and minimize the culture shock.

A few months before your departure, you could attend a language school. Just by acquiring a basic proficiency, you will be able to navigate your way around more easily. Once there, you could also register for language classes offered to new immigrants. Not only will you connect with people dealing with the same struggles as you, it will give you the confidence to interact with locals in their mother tongue.

Another way to meet people and make new friends is to volunteer for an organization which mission you endorse. More options include inviting colleagues for drinks or coffee outside of work, signing up for a workout class at your local gym, attending meetups or couchsurfing gatherings or joining an Expat support group on Facebook. The possibilities are endless as long as you keep an open mind. On top of raising your general happiness level, creating a strong social network will help to settle down in a new country.

If living abroad is something you wish to experience at least once in your life, gather your strength and courage and make the move: book that flight, apply for that visa and find the perfect travel insurance plan for your needs. Don’t let small roadblocks intimidate you, instead imagine this exciting new life spent discovering and embracing a new foreign culture. Remember that if all else fails, home is not as far as you think it is.

Article by Nomad Junkies team

Most Frequently Asked Questions About Travel Insurance

12 September 2017

To get or not to get travel insurance, that is the question. As many people start planning their trip, whether during the budgeting phase or as a last-minute decision, the consideration of subscribing to a travel insurance will inevitably pop up.

Some might view it as an unnecessary cost because they are only taking a short trip, they are in good health, they won’t engage in “at-risk activities” or any other excuse they might come up with. Not only is this foolish, but the sole reason for having an insurance is to cover you in case of an unpredictable event. Now that it’s established that one should not travel without a proper travel insurance, how does one make an informed decision with all the questions that it raises?

Here are the Most Common Questions Regarding Travel Insurance:

Is Travel Insurance Mandatory?

Normally, travel insurance is not necessary to enter a country on a tourist visa. The best is to research the entry requirements ahead of time to confirm this information. However, in order to apply for certain types of visas, like a Working Holiday Visa for instance, you might have to show proof of travel insurance to be granted the visa.

In any case, having travel insurance might not be mandatory, but it is highly recommended. It’s the kind of purchase you won’t think is necessary until you actually need it. Make sure to get your travel insurance now for your next trip.

Travellers needing a visa to enter European countries in the Schengen area are required to purchase travel insurance with a minimum coverage of 30,000 Euros. This requirement does not apply to Canadian travellers.

What Types of Travel Insurance Are There?

There are many types of insurance available to fit different situations and travel styles. A call with your travel insurance agent will be the best option to assess your needs. Basically, there are four major pillars to travel insurance: Travel Health Insurance, Medical Evacuation Insurance, Trip Cancellation Insurance and Baggage/Property Insurance. Some packages will also offer additional coverage for flight delay, accident or personal civil liability.

What Is Not Covered by Travel Insurance?

No one wants to read through an insurance policy! However, there are things that will definitely not be covered by your travel insurance if you make a claim such as: failure to declare pre-existing medical conditions (ex. Chronic ailments, pregnancy or any disease which was not contracted while travelling), failure to involve the police or show proof of ownership in the event of theft or loss, any accident that occurred while intoxicated, travelling through a high-risk zone, engaging in certain extreme sports, etc. Make sure to contact your travel insurance agent to validate the exclusions, conditions and limitations of your policy.

Am I Already Covered by My Credit Card Company?

Travel insurance issued by credit card companies should be regarded with caution. It is really important to understand the contract and its limitation. Some cards will cover trips up to a certain number of days while others will only cover purchases (ex. Flights, hotel reservations, etc.) made with the credit card. By having a good comprehension of your policy, you might find that it requires an additional complementary coverage from an external travel insurance company.

Nowadays it is less common to get coverage for flight accident through credit cards. Only all-inclusive packages provided through your travel insurance broker or through an insurance company directly will guarantee this additional coverage.

When Should I Subscribe to a Travel Insurance?

No matter what the type of insurance you wish to obtain, it should be purchased when the travel plans are official or money towards the trip has been spent on transportation or accommodation. Perhaps getting a travel insurance quote should be on the same level of priority as checking for flights or booking a hotel.

How Much Does It Cost?

This varies greatly based on the age of each traveller, the length of the trip, the type of travel/traveller (e.g. expatriate, snowbird, exchange student, etc.), the destinations (including or excluding Canada/USA) and the health condition of the person insured.

When planning your travel budget, you should not neglect the importance of getting a travel insurance. If you think you don’t have enough money for it then maybe you should not travel in the first place. Having to pay for emergency medical services without having a proper insurance can potentially mortgage your future. For a few dollars a day, it’s very little paid to have peace of mind.

Travelling, as much as it is a wonderful experience, should not be a source of stress. Getting a travel insurance before your trip will help lift the pressure off your shoulder and allow you to relax during your holiday.

Consulting a doctor abroad

18 April 2017

When traveling, you want to visit lots of places… except the doctor’s office! But events shape the adventure and sometimes you can get ill on the road. Whatever the cause, you must always be prepared to handle any health problems abroad.

Before consulting a doctor

Call your insurance company if you are able to do so and ask them to refer you to a hospital or international clinic near you. You’re insured and the recommended locations meet Western standards. In addition, some medical centers are connected directly with the insurance companies and could prevent you from having to pay for medical expenses. If you are not able to call your insurance company, ask at the clinic where you are admitted to make an agreement with your insurer by giving them a copy of your insurance certificate.

Be careful if you are offered to visit the doctor at the hotel where you reside. You must make sure it is professional and not the shaman of the village. Insist on going to a recognized medical center.

Beware of anyone who offers you drugs to relieve yourself without being a doctor or a qualified pharmacist, including other travelers. Although people mean well, they lack the skills to diagnose you. Seemingly innocuous medication such as Advil or Aspirin can have adverse effects on your health and even dangerous in case of dengue (tropical fever), for example.

Make sure that you go to walk-in clinic or accept emergency treatment.

Prepare a list of your symptoms in order of their appearance. Note also the duration of each symptom. (For example, I had a fever for 24 hours, followed by mild vomiting which has intensified, etc.)

If you do not speak the language, try to find a “friend” who speaks the local language to accompany you. You can gently ask someone who works at the hotel where you stay to go with you to the clinic. If this is not possible, bring a dictionary or a translation phone app with you.

During the consultation with the doctor

Inform the doctor or pharmacist abroad of the medications that you take regularly (ideally, bring them with you to show him the names on the labels.)

Do not forget to mention your allergies. If you have significant allergies, you can prepare a list in advance with a translation of your list of allergies in the language of the country you visit.

Remember that the doctor you visit abroad has no access to your medical history, it is your responsibility to make them aware of your medical history.

Pay attention to medications that you are prescribed. Make sure you understand the reason for each drug. Ask the professional to repeat and take notes if necessary.

After seeing the doctor

Always keep your receipts for medical treatment and medicines. These will be crucial documents to accompany your claim.

Request a second opinion if an operation or surgery is recommended and if your situation allows. Call your insurance company to ensure that this operation will be covered.

Contact your family doctor by phone or a doctor from your country in case of doubt of treatment.

Finish your treatment in full even if you feel better. Some people stop taking antibiotics as soon as the symptoms disappear. The bacteria that fights you may be active in your body and could come back stronger than ever. Strictly follow the treatment dose you start.

To speed your recovery
, settle down in a comfortable place, even change hostel and pay a little more for somewhere clean, airy and accommodation with air conditioning, example.

You have to put the odds on your side and create a relaxing and familiar environment. Remain hydrated by drinking water and trying to take your mind off it by reading a novel or watching a film. Wash your hands regularly so as not to contaminate you again or catch another disease. It is important not to be stressed or to go read horror stories on the Internet. Sometimes talking to relatives at home can be comforting. Remain positive and return and consult a doctor if necessary.

By following these rules, you maximize the chances of receiving quality medical consultation abroad
and being ready to continue your journey. After all, you’re not the first person to fall ill while traveling, it will pass!

Article by Nomad Junkies team

Smartphone or Camera? What to Bring While Travelling?

20 February 2017

When preparing for a trip, the question that will always arise is “what to bring?” It takes a wizard to nail down the perfect packing list without forgetting any of the essentials. Recently, it seems as though there is another great dilemma when it comes to travelling and it’s whether to pack a camera or can a smartphone do the job.

It would be an understatement to say that the use of smartphones has revolutionized the way we travel. From the palm of our hands, we have access to maps, foreign currency converters and translating tools, all while being connected from almost everywhere in the world. The most enticing features of smartphones is undoubtedly the camera which delivers spectacular photo quality. In that case, many would ask if it’s still necessary to bring a camera while travelling or can you achieve the same results, simply with a smartphone.

Factors to Consider Before Taking a Decision

1. The place visited: Some destinations are a lot more photogenic than others and the camera of a smartphone alone would not give justice to the beauty of the place. For instance, it would be highly recommended to use proper camera equipment to shoot the dancing colors of the Northern Lights in Iceland or tracking lions in the African savannah during a safari.
2. The space available: The growing popularity of low-cost airlines has forced many people to travel with only a carry-on (10 to 12 kg) in order to reduce the costs of checking in luggage. For amateur photographers, the weight limitation can be quite restrictive considering all the gear they need to bring like extra lenses, spare batteries and all the other camera accessories.
3. The purpose of the trip: For the majority of people, taking travel pictures is a great way to save memories and share those moments with friends and family at home. For some, photography is the main reason to travel. In such cases, different equipment will be required.

To facilitate the decision process, here is a list of pros and cons to using either a camera or a smartphone while travelling.

Camera—Pros:
• Unlimited storage space with the use of multiple memory cards
• Extended battery life
• Superior quality because of the options available in manual mode and the higher resolution
• Better capacity to take pictures in difficult environment such as low-light, action shots or distance shots

Camera—Cons:
• Slow learning curve before achieving satisfying results
• More cumbersome to use, which makes it less practical
• Requires another device in order to edit, transfer or share the pictures

Smartphone—Pros:
• Very user-friendly even for people with not photography skills
• Image quality good enough to be used on social media
• Possibility to edit directly from the device
• Small, light, accessible and almost always at hand’s reach
• Apps and accessories available to improve the performance of the camera function

Smartphone—Cons:
• No optical zoom and produces poorer results in difficult environment
• Limited image quality, especially for print
• Low battery life because the camera function requires a lot of power

The majority of travellers would agree that the camera of a smartphone is sufficient enough to capture decent quality travel pictures which will not be used professionally.

That being said, some will still prefer the convenience of travelling with a camera AND their smartphone. Maybe it is in fact, the best of both worlds. There is an appeal to being able to take a picture with your smartphone, edit it and share it instantly on social media and being able to use your camera for higher quality shots regardless of the surrounding environment.

As with any high-tech devices, like the latest generation of smartphones or the newest camera model, it is important to keep it safe while travelling. A simple clause to a travel insurance contract against theft, loss or damage can make a huge difference.

No matter the option selected whether it’s to pack a camera, a smartphone or even both, remember that it’s the person, not the gear, that makes a great photo.

Article by Nomad Junkies team

Trekking: 7 key questions to prepare for your adventure

1 February 2017

Discover a country walk, it’s magic. Feel dwarfed in the vastness of the mountains, it is priceless. The hike takes you back to the basics, it’s good for the body and mind.

Good preparation is required for a hike, to limit the risks, whether for a day or for several weeks in the Himalayas. Here is a list of key questions that you should answer before the departure:

1. What are my motives?

We often forget to ask this simple question. What drives you to want to do this trek? It is important to clarify your goals and expectations. Are you seeking to simply relax in nature or perform a feat?

2. What are my skills?

It is important to be realistic and not too ambitious. Objectively establish a portrait of your situation. What is my physical condition? What are my skills and knowledge in trekking? One must be aware of their limitations; nobody is invincible. Good mental predisposition coupled with experience in the field can make all the difference to avoid dangerous situations.

3. What will the weather be?

What will the weather be in the country where you go on trek? You have to do research to get an idea of what Mother Nature will prepare for you. Will this be the rainy season? Will you be at high altitude? You have to inform yourself of the temperature difference between day and night. It is better to anticipate the weather and to adjust your equipment list as appropriate. Too much material, is as bad as not enough!

4. How long will my adventure be?

On average, an adult walks four kilometres per hour with a backpack of less than 8 kg. In the mountains, the altitude can affect this and significantly reduce the distance one can travel in a day. You must obviously consider the time you have and add a buffer before and after your hike. You do not want to end up running from the plane to begin a trek.

5. What is my budget?

The budget and the level of adventure you seek affect your decision to opt for a guided tour or independently. Guided hikes vary depending on the price you’re willing to pay, this may include porters and cooks. In contrast, trekking independently does not necessarily mean that you have to do it alone. It is also not recommended to go hiking alone. On classic trekking circuits, it is easy to meet other independent travelers and shelters are rallying places.

For the budget, it includes the means of transport to get to the start of the trek, plus accommodation, food and water supply.

Accommodation in a lodge versus camping will play on the price and the quantity of material to bring. If the chosen route is not a loop, and you can not go back on your steps, think of organizing a “pick up” (a means of transport for the return) and set a date and time.

6. What kind of equipment will I bring?

The backpack is central to transport all your equipment, you must choose a format suitable for the duration of your journey and make sure it is well adjusted. Lack of comfort when trekking is already ubiquitous, so make life much easier with convenient and comfortable equipment.

To quickly adapt to the weather, you can use the technique of “onion skins” that is to wear several layers of clothing. Ideally, you try to have one close to the body, a thermal layer and a protective layer.

Good walking boots are a strategic investment. They should be comfortable for you and respond to your needs (support, flexibility, ventilation, waterproofing …). Wear your new boots several times beforehand, it will save you from “breaking them in” on your hike.

If you go independently, choose carefully your sleeping bag, your means of navigation (GPS, compass, maps …) and practical items such as sunscreen, insect repellent, a pocket knife and a headlamp.

7. Am I covered?

In addition to informing your relatives of your detailed itinerary, you should check with your travel insurance company that you are covered for all of your travel. A simple phone call will allow you to leave with peace of mind.

So, are you ready for adventure? Walking allows you to travel differently, either in the jungle or on mountaintops. Nothing is more impressive than the beauty of nature, but to admire it, we must prepare well to get there and back in one piece.

Article by Nomad Junkies team

Demystifying the concept of medical conditions

24 January 2017

Travel insurance is a protection against health expenses abroad following an accident or sudden illness. This is insurance that covers the person’s health. Insurance’s aim is to warn us of future hazards. Therefore, there are restrictions on the medical conditions for people wishing subscribe a travel insurance. The proper term would be to talk to medical eligibility.

What is a condition of medical eligibility?

To obtain travel insurance that will cover you with the benefits offered by the insurance contract, everyone must first meet certain criteria relating to their medical conditions.
A condition of medical eligibility is a health condition for which you have had to be hospitalized or operated, or any condition for which you are being treated by prescribed medication.

Each insurer decides on conditions that it does not want to accept or that it wants to accept under certain conditions (prior condition of health, degree of medical disorder, medical stability, etc.). All insurance policies operate according to a principle. What is not excluded or subject to restriction in the insurance contract, is covered.

Should one infer that one can not be perfectly covered (100%) if a medical condition afflicts them? The answer is no. However, the requirements can vary greatly depending on the age, duration of the trip or the medical condition itself.

What are the medical conditions subject to exclusion or restriction?

As stated above, each insurer sets its own rules. There are very frequent exclusions, that is, those that prevent us from taking out travel insurance:

  1. Your doctor advises you not to travel;
  2. You are suffering from a terminal illness;
  3. You are suffering from metastatic cancer or certain specific cancers (e.g., pancreatic cancer or liver cancer);
  4. You have kidney problems requiring dialysis;
  5. You suffer from respiratory problems requiring oxygen at home;
  6. You have HIV or AIDS;
  7. You are afflicted with some sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, etc.;
  8. Your state is considered as disabled*.

* Recently, some insurers refuse disabled people, that is to say the people who need the help of someone else for activities of daily living or to move.

These systematic exclusions are very common but again, should be reviewed with your travel insurance broker. Some insurers have a list that may differ with varying exclusions. There are also additional medical conditions that are found with one insurer and not with another.

What if one of these conditions affects them?

Now look at the positive side. Even with a medical condition, be it cardiac, pulmonary, diabetic or other, you may be covered if your condition is consistent with the stability required by the insurer. Stability is the time between your last treatment, the last change in medication or last follow-up investigation in relation to your subscription date or date of travel departure. Attention must be given to the definition of medical stability given by each insurer.

By cons, we must also understand that if you have more than two or three major conditions in your file, it is quite possible that you are refused to take out any insurance coverage. It can also impose a large deductible of $5,000 or more, in the case of consultation on all of your medical records on a specific condition or only in the case of hospitalization.

When you purchase travel insurance, it is important to give as much information as possible. Obviously, they will not consider an operation for appendicitis that is 20 years old or even the removal of gallstones after a long time. By cons, surgery to the cardiac system (bypass surgery, angioplasty, valve change, etc.) should always appear in the file, regardless of how long the intervention occurred.

This is where a representative in insurance against sickness or accident is a valuable guide to help you in preparing your travel insurance policy.

What medical information should I know before contacting my broker?

To help your broker to find you adequate travel insurance, it is very important

– To know your list of prescription drugs (all drugs listed on your medical record);

– Why you take them (it controls what);

– To have a calendar of important dates of operation, consultation or hospitalization for health problems such as cardiac, neurological, pulmonary, etc.

Example: Bypass surgery or angioplasty more than ten or twelve years old is regularly checked and even excluded for long-term trips.

If you can accurately provide answers to the three points mentioned above, you are putting every chance on your side. In case of hesitation, check with your doctor, because any error or omission makes the contract null and void in its entirety. A simple consultation for influenza on your trip abroad or in another province may be refused by the insurance. Indeed, if there is an error in your record, for cholesterol, high blood pressure or other, even though the wrong state of health is not the reason for the medical claim, you will not be refunded.

Intentionally or unintentionally omitting medical conditions in your file may lead to the refusal of any medical claims.
A good knowledge of the contract conditions and a good statement of your medical conditions are the guarantee of a serene journey!

7 Challenges to working abroad

16 December 2016

Regardless of your country of residence and regardless of the expatriation country, looking for work experience abroad consists of similar challenges. Unless you are assigned abroad by your employer or if you have been recruited remotely, seeking employment abroad is not easy. Those who go abroad to work should prepare for and address the following seven challenges:

1. Obtaining a visa or a work permit

The key element of work experience abroad is to have the legal right to work in the destination country. This prerequisite is acquired by means specific to each country. The procedures can be long and require the applicant’s patience and perseverance. Various types of documents are frequently required for a visa: police clearance certificate, medical certificate, copies of diplomas, criminal record etc.

For young people 18 to 30 years, permits which facilitate working holidays greatly reduce the time required for the precious document to work in a country other than their own. The Working Holiday Permit is a temporary immigration visa which is for those who come from a country which has signed WHP agreements with other nations.

2. Adapt your resume

Each country is characterized by its professional culture and the approach to individual skills and talents. A resume is not written in the same way from one country to another. All candidates will have to discover these codes and customs in order to prepare their resume properly. It must be written in the local language to demonstrate their employability. Since the traveler or expatriate will perhaps be having their first international experience, they will need to bring strong references. Get references from current and past employers prepared before leaving for work abroad. The documents attesting to school and university education, ideally with a translation in the local language are also important in the job search process.

3. Adjusting your salary expectations

The professional experience gained in your country of origin will not always be recognized at its true value. It is often recommended to favor obtaining a first experience locally rather than seeking the ideal position in salary and job description. When you start a new career path in your expatriation country, do not always keep your previous salary as a reference point. Indeed, the cost of living from one country to another strongly influences the level of remuneration. In addition, some professions may be undervalued relative to its country of origin. The reverse is also true. Salary claims are fixed by inquiring about the local market reality and seeking comparisons.

4. Recognition of qualifications

The education system can be very different in the destination country. Your level of education does not always correspond to a tangible reality in another labor market. Some countries offer services to help establish the local equivalence of diplomas. This does not always guarantee that employers will be receptive to it. For technical professions, it may be necessary to carry out an upgrade in a local college. The issue of recognition of qualifications must be addressed early in the expatriation process to be free from setbacks once there.

5. Know how to decrypt a job offer

Professional jargon is specific to an industry but also a country. Thus, the same profession will be addressed in another country from a different perspective with certain terms and concepts unfamiliar to home. It is recommended to read many job descriptions to incorporate local specificities. Moreover, a similar term can describe even a very different reality. When the expatriate is ready, they can meet people and ask them about the reality of their daily tasks. They should choose their words wisely to define the position sought. As a result, they can detect the employment opportunities that are not really suitable and make the job easier to match the idea that they have.

6. Networking and relying on word -to-mouth

Many job opportunities are not available through traditional channels (job advertisements). In some countries, job positions are filled by an informal approach, on the recommendation or cooptation. Getting closer to expatriates and participating in their community social events are an excellent way to build a network of contacts and discuss employment opportunities. Members of these communities have gone through the same difficulties as any newcomer has. They will be able to warn of the pitfalls and recommend ways to optimize the chances of landing your first job locally. Establishing a list of interesting companies for self and planning a spontaneous application with each one of them is also to be explored.

7. Reassure the future employer

After the first challenges have been faced, the first interviews are conducted. Here, the same criteria of skills, attitudes and behaviors that during a job search in your home country come into play. Abroad, with a greater or lesser mastery of the local language, the expatriate worker or a WHP traveler will deploy his talent to reassure his future employer. The latter will feel that the candidate understands the local reality and will be part of a team that does not know its culture. Rapid adaptation is the hallmark of a successful experience working abroad.

What to do in case of theft while traveling?

16 December 2016

You are on a trip to Bali with friends to start surfing, sunbathe on paradisiacal beaches and immerse yourself in the Indonesian culture. Returning to your hostel, you realize that the locker in your room, where you left your wallet, your laptop and your camera, was vandalized… The padlock was cut. Your valuables are gone!

How do you react? Where do you start in order to get your stolen items refunded? To avoid panicking unnecessarily, here’s what you need to do step-by-step in the event of a theft:

Procedure in case of theft

1. Stay calm. It is useless to let stress take over. While these are items that have significant monetary or sentimental value, you have to keep your calm and focus on the positive. After all, your life is not in danger, and you did well to have subscribed to a travel insurance.
2. Check that it is theft. Sometimes you move your items from your suitcase to your day bag and you simply forget that you moved them. Before crying wolf, you must take the time to check out what is missing. You can also ask your friends who share your room or your neighbors of the same hostel to check if they were also robbed.
3. Make an inventory of what was stolen. Write a list of items that disappeared while your memory is still fresh. Add as much detail as possible in writing, such as the age and model, in the case of electronic devices.
4. Inform the management of the hostel. Go to the reception of your accommodation and ask to speak to the manager. Explain the situation calmly.
5. Call your insurance agent. Your agent will ask you for more information and it will send you a claim form to complete.
6. Get a police report. You must go into a police station and obtain an official report summarizing the theft. This is a key document for a refund of the missing items. If this is totally impossible, check with your insurance agent for insurance covering the loss of objects.
7. Send the police report to your insurance agent. Once you get the famous police report, you send it immediately to your insurance agent. You can email it by scanning the document, or by fax or mail.
8. Get your refund check. Once the documents are approved by the insurer you will receive a refund check according to the conditions of your travel insurance contract.

Experienced traveler tips:

● Take a picture of your passport, your travel documents and your valuable items in addition to noting the serial numbers of your electronic devices before going on a trip and send the to yourself by email. In case of theft, it will simplify your claim process. Click, click!
● If your passport is stolen, you must immediately inform the nearest passport issuing office. It is possible to get an emergency travel document or a temporary passport in case of urgent need. More information on the Government of Canada’s website.
● If you had your credit card stolen, you must quickly inform the company that issued the card. Your card must be canceled as soon as possible. Your credit card company will guide you in the process of obtaining a new card at home or while traveling.

It is not the end of the world to have items stolen while traveling, but it is certainly not pleasant. You should just know what to do and keep cool. After all, you should congratulate yourself for taking out travel insurance before you went! Well done!

Article by Nomad Junkies team

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