Using Your Credit Card Abroad: Everything You Need to Know

22 April 2018

Gone are the days of using traveller’s checks while visiting a new country. Nowadays, we avoid the hassle of converting foreign currencies by using mostly plastic money. Although there are still a few remote places around the world where you will need cash, you should be able to get around by using credit cards while travelling.
Here are a few things you should know before travelling with a credit card.

1- Travel Insurance

Most people believe that it’s unnecessary to get a comprehensive travel insurance because they are protected by their credit card company. While this is true in some cases and for a limited number of days, it is advisable to contact your travel insurance agent to make sure that you have full coverage for your entire trip. As any purchase made with your credit card, flights and hotel reservations might be protected with your card in case of trip cancellation. Get all the information from your issuing bank before your departure to avoid any surprises during your trip.

2- Bank Fees

It’s worth shopping around for a bank that has no withdrawal fees when using foreign ATMs. Those fees can add up quickly when both banks charge you. It’s important to note that ATMs located in airports and in central tourist hubs have higher transaction fees. If possible, stay away from those. When using your credit card abroad, your bank will automatically charge you its own exchange rate, which is not always the most competitive. Also, while in some countries it’s illegal to do so, a lot of places will charge you an extra percentage for paying with your credit card instead of paying cash. It’s normally around 3-5%, so make the extra effort of calculating, if withdrawing money or using your card makes more sense. Lastly, be aware that doing a cash advance at an ATM with your credit card might incur extra interest fees.

3- Credit Card Fraud

Always give your bank a call before your departure to inform them of your expected whereabouts. This little step will ensure that your card doesn’t get blocked because of suspected fraudulent activity. On that subject, be extra vigilant with credit card fraud when using an ATM machine or a card machine in a shop. While entering your PIN, always hide it with your other hand and keep an eye on your card at all times. If you think that you are a victim of fraud, have your bank’s hotline number accessible to quickly cancel your card. As an extra protection, consider having two different cards from two different issuing banks in case of theft, loss or fraud. Some cards like AMEX are not accepted everywhere so it’s good to have another card that you can use in those instances. If all else fails, carry a small amount of cash, preferably USD, as a backup payment method.

4- Pre-Departure Checklist

While you get ready to leave for your trip, check the expiry date of your credit card, especially when travelling long term. Having a card shipped across the world can be quite the hassle. For all your important documents, including your credit card, keep a paper copy and an electronic copy on your computer or cloud. Leave a copy of all these important documents with a trusted person back home. If possible, increase your credit card limit before leaving in case of emergency. Remember that just because you have more money available, it doesn’t mean that you should use it all. Having that extra protection will give you peace of mind if ever you need to purchase a last minute flight ticket for instance.

5- Safety

As with any other valuable, keep your credit card safe while traveling by always having it on your person, either in a money belt or in your daypack. You should also consider getting a RFID blocking wallet to protect your personal data. Leave your card in the safe of your hotel when you know you won’t be needing it during the day. If possible, do not bring it with you on a night out where it can be easily lost or forgotten. One last piece of advice, before leaving an ATM machine or a shop, make sure you take your card back.
Using a credit card while traveling is probably considered the most convenient method to pay for stuff and make reservations online. Keep these tips in mind the next time you go on a trip for safe travels, but don’t forget to have fun while discovering a new destination.

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

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

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 things to plan before you travel

22 December 2016

After weeks of waiting, the long awaited moment has finally arrived: the ticket is purchased and the big trip approaches! From one point of view, the hardest part is already done: the project has turned into reality. But speaking of reality… it is important not to forget all the preparations for the beginning! Here are some steps to be reckoned with before leaving.

1. Obtain an international driving license

Many travelers believe that it is a waste of time and money to obtain an international driving license. However, it is mandatory to be allowed drive in some countries. The rules may even change from one region to another within the same country! While some places like Thailand are rather conciliatory, with a fine of just $ 8 for offending drivers, the bill can rise very quickly around the world. When you know that the international driving license is only $ 25 (at a CAA-Quebec services center), not a bad price to pay for peace of mind!

2. Join the list of Canadians Abroad

All travelers should register on the Canadian government website. The operation takes no more than 10 minutes and it ensures you will always be up to date on important (and potentially dangerous) events in the countries that you plan to visit. Thus, any registered traveler will receive an email in the case of worrying political movement, of imminent natural disaster or any other phenomenon that requires them to take precautions. The email will contain all the recommendations of the Canadian government and the address of the embassy or the nearest consulate and emergency numbers exclusive to Canadian nationals.

3. Subscribe to travel insurance

Who knows who will fall ill while traveling or who is injured on the road? Due to the number of people who suffer the often inevitable repercussions of a trip, we can say that subscribing to travel insurance, goes without saying! All the stress associated with obtaining overseas care is well taken care of so that we can focus on what is really important: going to enjoy your holiday as soon as possible! And it’s almost too easy if your insurer is chosen well.

Tip: Speaking of insurance, travelers planning to be outside Quebec for more than 6 months (182 days) in total in the same year (1 January to December 31) must inform the board of Quebec health insurance by phone.

4. Choosing the right equipment

Here every traveler has their own method. Some travel very light, while others could practically sleep in their suitcase! But regardless of the method, there are essentials. For a short stay, it is better to provide enough clothing to avoid round trips to the laundry room. In the opposite case, we must provide enough for peace of mind, but not too much, especially if you plan to move around often. Not to be overlooked: the electronics. Is it better to take a camera or smartphone device? A tablet or a laptop? It’s essential to consider everything, because electronic devices are often heavy for their size!

5. List of your possessions

Another important point about the equipment: it is highly advisable to identify what one carries in their luggage. The most important is to note the serial numbers of all electronic devices that includes those being carried around. If one takes other valuables (such as jewelry, for example), it may be wise to also identify it with, if appropriate, make and model. Once everything is noted, it is recommended that all devices and objects are photographed and to send everything to your email. It may be wise to send a copy to a few trusted people, in case you lose access to your emails. When you have a claim for theft or loss, these precautions will serve as proof that you really had these objects.

6. Note the addresses and important phone number

What if it is your papers, wallet or bags which are stolen? To always know who to call first, it is best to make a list of important phone numbers. The number of the Government of Canada’s emergency support service, including email address (sos@international.gc.ca)is a good start. It’s a good idea to continue with a list of contact information (address, phone number and email) embassies and consulates of Canada in countries that you will visit. All friends and contacts that we have in these countries may also be part of the list. Finally, it is very important to note the telephone numbers of banks that manage your credit and debit cards. Again, it must be addressed to yourself by e-mail and send a copy to someone you trust.

7. Check the expiration date of your passport

It may sound obvious, but it is important not to check that the passport is still valid… And it is for even a little while longer! Most countries in the world require that the passport of a passenger is valid for at least six months beyond the date of leaving the country. After all the preparations for the trip, it would be a disappointment to have to go home because of an outdated passport! Moreover, it is essential to check the entry requirements of the country you wish to visit. Maybe getting a visa is required?

Article by Nomad Junkies team

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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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How to make a travel insurance medical claim?

18 October 2016

The bad press when paying insurance claims

Every insured person has already heard it said that the insurance companies do not always properly repay when an accident occurs. Even if the reimbursement rules are specifically listed but due to the fastidious way of insurance contracts, there may remain an afterthought on the risk of not receiving the coverage to which one would be entitled by paying the premium insurance.

This bias may come from several sources. One of the situations is that the insured person has misinterpreted the cover which he thought he had. The role of a broker or insurance representative is crucial because they are the privileged interlocutor to understand the needs of a traveler and to adequately inform the guarantees but also the restrictions and exclusions. Another situation is that the traveler is exposed to a risk of which he had forgotten that was not under his travel insurance policy. A final situation is sometimes the insured traveler did not correctly assess his condition beforehand from the conditions agreed in the travel insurance policy for emergency medical care abroad.

Complaints are perhaps not always easy to complete, but if the rules were well set out in the sale of insurance and where they were being followed by the insured, there is no reason that an insurer does not pay during a disaster.

The restrictions and common exclusions in travel insurance

Whether with travel insurance or without medical questionnaire, any contract includes provisions regarding the prior state of traveler health before his departure date or the date of entry into force. In addition, any traveler must keep in mind some general exclusions on most products. Many travelers are unaware of them and therefore this opens the door to a dispute at the presentation of a medical claim.

The travel insurance does not usually cover

  1. sports risks;
  2. the activities of paid professional sports;
  3. speed or endurance races;
  4. piloting an aircraft or a flight as a paying passenger in another public transport method;
  5. countries, regions or cities in which Canada’s Foreign Affairs issue a warning not to stay;
  6. and in some cases paid work (some insurance travel products for the Snowbirds do not cover people working against remuneration).

Exclusions that can be felt more by all travelers:

  1. an optional treatment (medical care that can wait for the return trip);
  2. a trip undertaken for the purpose of receiving medical treatment;
  3. concealment or deliberate misrepresentation regarding insurance or the presentation of a claim;
  4. drug use, abuse of drugs or alcohol that directly or indirectly leads to a claim;
  5. attempted suicide or self-harm;
  6. mental or emotional disorders, anxiety, stress or depression unless you need to be hospitalized. Here it should be noted that some travel insurance products never cover mental or psychological problems because they are not considered a medical emergency.

Of these exclusions, the one that causes problems most often is the abuse of alcohol.

If you go to the emergency room following a banal accident from a fall causing a blow to the head, a cut above one eye or a sprained ankle, and if they think you exceed the permitted alcohol limit and after a blood test result are above the legal limit, the insurance company has the right not to pay your medical expenses related.

The importance of calling the emergency phone number before any medical consultation

Failure to call the assistance center before consulting (unless a serious medical condition or admission to hospital in extreme emergency) can create unpleasant surprises for you, such as non-payment of the claim. By contacting the support center, the speakers will tell you immediately how to proceed, so you do not make a mistake. The emergency numbers to call are listed on your insurance certificate and your insurance policy detailing the exact scope of coverage purchased.

The importance of having a valid health insurance card

Whatever your province or territory of residence, you will normally have a registration for a public insurance plan. This gives you a health insurance card. It must always be in place, because during a claim when traveling abroad, the insurer verifies if you are in good standing. If unfortunately, your card is no longer valid, your medical claim is likely to be refused or the level of reimbursement of benefits may be drastically reduced.

The best way to avoid problems in medical travel claims is to read your insurance policy before departure and ask all relevant questions to your broker or your insurance representative.