8 Things You Shouldn’t Do While Travelling

14 July 2017

Nowadays, before we embark on a trip, we search for information as to what we should do in guide books, travel blogs and peers recommendations. However, it’s easy to forget about things that you should not do! We often learn it the hard way and sometimes it can be very embarrassing to commit a cultural faux pas. In most cases, we just need to use our common sense, but sometimes a little bit more research can help avoid uncomfortable situations. Here are eight things you should refrain from doing while travelling abroad:

1. Criticize or Share Your Opinion About the Culture, Politics or Any Other Taboo Subject

When you’re away, you will soon realize that: no, that’s not how things are done at home! But that’s the reason why you explore the world, is it not? You travel to discover different ways of life and to get out of the environment you know so well. You might not agree with the politics or the culture of the country you’re travelling to, but as a visitor it is your duty to keep your opinion to yourself. Not only could it be interpreted as rude and insensitive, in some places, this could land you in a lot of trouble. Save your thoughts for when you go back home and share your experience with your friends and family.

2. Be Disrespectful to Your Host Country and Their Customs

We all know the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans.” Be conscious of your environment and follow the appropriate attire by respecting the dress code. In some more conservative areas, women are required to cover their shoulders in public. It might be okay to yell for your waiter’s attention in Korea, but it’s highly frowned upon in western countries. In Buddhist countries, the head is considered holy so it’s a serious lack of respect to touch someone’s head, even young children.

3. Leave Without Getting a Proper Travel Insurance

We don’t like to imagine the worst, but while being away it’s better to stay on the safe side and never leave without travel insurance. A good travel insurance coverage will relieve you from unnecessary stress. You can be the most careful traveller and very rarely engage in any type of extreme activities, but no one is protected against a fluke accident … at home or on the road! Look for an insurance company that can offer a travel insurance solution best suited to your needs.

4. Do Anything You Wouldn’t Do at Home

It goes without saying that it’s never a good idea to break the law. Unless you are a master of international legislation, you probably don’t comprehend the magnitude of certain offences such as drunk driving, engaging in illegal activities and even drug possession. Remember that some things might seem trivial in your home country, but that are considered a serious crime in other countries. There are Muslim countries where having physical contact such as holding hands, hugging and kissing someone from the opposite sex could land you in jail. Research prior to departure to avoid such situations.

5. Be Unaware of Your Body Language

If you are a very articulate person, this can be a bit tricky. Also, the language barrier often forces us to resort to other means of communication to get our message across. However, some hand gestures like the “okay” sign or doing a thumbs up which might be offensive in some countries. It’s important to understand those protocols before arriving to a new destination. For instance, putting your feet up and showing the soles of your feet or even pointing with your finger can be interpreted as impolite. Be considerate of local ways and learn to adapt to them.

6. Take Pictures of People Without Their Permission

Urban photography might be trending to show the “real side” of a destination, however, it’s still common curtesy to ask locals before taking their pictures. Kids love to have their picture taken but make sure that there are other adults in sight to avoid anything being misinterpreted. While you’re at it, show the people you’ve just photographed the picture you’ve taken of them. This is a wonderful way to break the culture barrier. However, don’t offer to send the pictures if you don’t think you will be able to fulfill this promise.

7. Assume Everyone Speaks English and Be Offended When They Don’t Understand

Unless you’re travelling to an English-speaking country, don’t expect everyone to be able to communicate with you. It doesn’t matter how slow or loud you speak, they won’t understand you just as you don’t understand them. Think about the reverse situation, if someone visits your country and speaks to you in a foreign language, you would also look at them dumbfounded. It is your responsibility as a visitor to try to learn a few basic words to help you communicate. This will go a long way to make the trip more agreeable and gain the respect of locals, who see that you’re making an effort.

8. Expect Restaurants to Comply with Your Dietary Restrictions and Accommodate Them

If you follow a strict diet such as no gluten, vegetarian or sugar-free, take into consideration that eating abroad might entail a certain level of difficulty. In Asia for instance, there is such a thing as “Asian vegetarian”. This means that your dish will be composed of vegetables and there won’t be pieces of meat in it. However, it is highly possible that the broth or the cooking fat is meat-based.

Certain food allergies can cause serious health complications and those are exacerbated when visiting a foreign country. When you add to the mix the language barrier, this can be downright dangerous. It is good practice to have your allergies translated in the language of the country you will be travelling to so you can easily alert restaurant staff when ordering food. Beware that some countries don’t have the same standards for their facilities so unless you cook for yourself, there is always a chance of cross-contamination.

Travel Budget Planning Like a Pro

14 June 2017

What kind of budget do I need to travel? This is the million-dollar question for everyone planning a trip. There are so many factors that will influence how much money is needed to go abroad. However, there are a few things to consider before you start crunching the numbers that will help you with budget planning.

You should know that there are two approaches to planning a trip. If you are the type to dream about a specific country and will make it happen no matter the cost, then you will have to build your budget according to the destination. On the other hand, if you are more flexible, you can establish a budget and then pick a destination which fits with this budget.

What You Need to Consider Before You Start Planning

• Length of the Trip:
Whether you leave for a long weekend or on an extended long-term trip, the costs will obviously differ. As a good rule of thumb, for budget travel, you can expect to spend a minimum of $1,000 per month. This comes up to roughly $35/day.

• Time of the Year:
If you are flexible with your schedule, take advantage of the shoulder season to travel. Prices will be much cheaper than during peak season. Travel guides normally have this information available to help you plan. Avoid summer holidays and religious festivities, when everything is drastically more expensive.

• Destinations:
Developing countries cost much less to travel to than western countries. You can expect to get a lot more bang for your buck by choosing destinations in South America, South East Asia and Eastern Europe than in North America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Scandinavian countries.

• Special Activities:
Some activities will require a special kind of budget because of the costs associated with them. Riding waves in the ocean is free compared to paying a lift ticket to go skiing. The same goes for snorkeling as opposed to diving. Think of the type of activities you want to engage in when planning your budget.

• Travel Style:
Decide on the kind of traveller you want to be. If you choose to go the budget way, staying in hostels and using local transportation will be considerably cheaper than going on a luxury holiday.

Once you’ve settled on those factors, you should have a better idea of your kind of trip. The next step will be to figure out fixed costs before you leave. These next items all need to be taken care of in advance. By starting your research ahead of time, you will be able to get a general sense of the budget for your travel.

• Flights:
Consider purchasing your ticket about six weeks in advance to get the best available price. Follow websites like Flytripper and Yulair for flight deals (for flights departing from Canada). Set alerts on sites like Kayak, Skyscanner and Flighthub to be notified when the route you are interested in drops in price. If you plan to move around your destination, check also for domestic flights with low-cost airlines.

• Insurance:
Often overlooked by travelers, this is probably the most important purchase for your upcoming travel. Just for the peace of mind that it will provide, no one should ever go on a trip without proper travel insurance. With a variety of coverage available including medical, trip cancellation and protection against theft and loss, you can pick whatever option is best fitted to your situation. Don’t forget to book your travel insurance.

• Visa:
Check on your government’s foreign affairs website to find out if the country you will be visiting requires a visa. For Canadians, there are 101 countries that we can visit without a visa. Don’t forget to include these costs in your budget and make sure that you have the right currency to pay for it, if it’s only available on arrival.

• Vaccination:
Visit a travel clinic prior to your trip and get your immunizations up-to-date. The doctor will be able to tell you if the region you are visiting is at risk for any diseases. Keep in mind that on top of that, you might have to purchase medicine and pills (against Malaria for instance).

• Travel Gear:
This could potentially take up a good chunk of your budget if you are not equipped. If this is your first trip, you will have to determine if you need a backpack/suitcase, get comfortable walking shoes, travel clothes or any other items specific to an activity (e.g. mask and snorkel, winter gear, camping equipment, etc.)

You are now ready to embark on your trip. Now, the only things where you will be spending money are:
• Accommodation (unless it’s been pre-booked):
You can book online on sites such as booking.com or Agoda, which have a huge selection for every type of budget. Have a look at Airbnb for other rental options.

• Transportation:
The options are limitless! You can go from hitchhiking to having a private driver. To keep costs to a minimum, try to familiarize yourself with the local public transport. You can also try ride sharing, which is very big in North America and Europe.

• Food:
A major part of discovering a new culture is through its food. You can save costs by cooking for yourself, but allow yourself to indulge in local culinary delights. In some countries, street food is also the best way to keep costs low.

• Activities:
Unless you plan to spend all your time sitting in a cabin in the woods or lying on the beach, save a portion of your budget for tours, activities, entrance fees and classes.

• Souvenirs:
This is not compulsory, but if you wish to bring back home a little piece of paradise, save some money for little trinkets to remind you of your holiday.

• Emergencies:
Hide some money in different bags and compartments of your luggage is case of theft or loss. Also, this emergency fund can come in handy for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you had not previously included in your budget.

With these guidelines, you should be able to establish a solid budget in preparation for your upcoming travels. Remember that flexibility is key. Try to stick to your budget most of the time but allow yourself some room to splurge a little. This holiday should not be a cause of stress but rather it should bring you immense joy into discovering a new part of the world.

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 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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5 things to prepare for a ski trip

22 November 2016

Winter is coming fast … Good joke! Winter has already started in many parts of the country. While for some that are in perpetual search of the sun and the heat – it is a curse, others are looking forward to start their favorite sports earlier in the season. The skis are ready, the snow is there, go hop on and hit the slopes!

In recent years, there seems to be a craze for ski trips. Extreme sports on the coast, people are looking for a shot of adrenaline on the biggest mountains such as Mont Saint-Sauveur or even Mont Saint-Anne. The destinations such as Western Canada, the Rockies, the Alps and Japan are ideal places for lovers of skiing and snowboarding.

A ski trip – it’s not like going to an all inclusive holiday. Usually, all you need is your swimsuit and sunscreen and voila. In contrast, for a successful ski trip, there are a few tricks to preparing.

1- Make sure you get in shape

A few weeks (or months) before departure, begin to train your body and the cardiovascular system at the muscular level. The body is generally used to ski days for a weekend and that’s it. During a ski trip, rather it is 4-6 days of sport that the body has to endure. Put the odds on your side by physically preparing.

2- Prepare a list of luggage

It’s rare that I give this advice, but during a ski trip, it is better to bring more than just enough. Some ski resorts in the country require a mandatory helmet so it is always better to bring one. Anyway, it is always advisable to wear a helmet! The ideal is to bring two pairs of glasses in case of breakage. The vast majority of ski centers have shops, but in high season, prices are likely to be exorbitant. Since the temperature can vary from day to day, it is important to provide several layers of clothing, even removing them during the day.

3- Predict if you want to use your own equipment or rent

The majority of ski centers offer equipment rentals on site. In contrast, if one wants to use their own equipment they must be prepared for the transportation costs and the risks it can cause. It would be unfortunate to arrive on site with some equipment damaged in transport, for example. It is also recommended to shop around for a good carry bag. If this is the first time the equipment will be used in the season, make sure to set it up prior to departure or find out where it will be possible to do so once you have reached the destination.

4- Plan ahead to save money

Several resort centers offer discounts when lodging and lift ticket are combined. It is therefore appropriate to plan a few weeks to months in advance to book the whole lot together, especially in high season. Ski centers are recognized for the astronomical prices they charge in their restaurants and snack bars, so it is important to bring snacks to give an energy boost during the day.

5. Do not go without insurance

As with all other types of travel, it is recommended to take out travel insurance before the departure. To cover the risk of accidents and flights cancellations due to several factors, like say an avalanche! It is important to confirm with the consultant certain aspects of the cover, as it is a sport and a riskier type of trip which is obviously more expensive. Here are some points to keep in mind regarding coverage:
– What is the destination and length of travel?
– Does it also cover leased equipment or only for your own equipment coverage?
– Is it the same cover for a skier or snowboarder?
– In an accident on the mountain, does that coverage includes repatriation by helicopter to the nearest hospital (if necessary)?
– Does it cover the smaller objects (such as lost or stolen ski passes)?
– Are the different types of activities like skiing off-piste or terrain parks covered?
– What are the terms for the stolen, lost or damaged equipment coverage?
– Is post-trip care for injuries resulting from an accident, such as physiotherapy, for example, covered?
– Is heli-skiing covered?

Article by Nomad Junkies team

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.

7 keys to understanding international driving permits

2 October 2016

1. What is an international driving permit?

The international driving permit or IDP has information from the usual driving license translated into ten languages. The languages are English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, German, Arabic, Italian, Swedish and Portuguese. The holder thus has a new photo ID in addition to his other identity documents. In addition, most car rental companies will ask for an IDP, although it is not required to drive in the country visited. The international driving permit is not valid in the state or province where the holder has established his main residence. This should cover the formalities for obtaining regulatory permits for the state or province of residence. The international driving permit or IDP is a title of conduct where one is qualified as non-resident.

2. Does a Canadian motorist need a IDP in North America?

The international driving permit was created as part of a UN convention on road traffic in 1949. This document is recognized in all the signatories to this agreement. Even though some have not signed it, IDP is often accepted in their territory.
For Canadians, the IDP is usually required outside of North America. Normally, the Canadian driver’s licenses are sufficient to circulate in the United States or Mexico. Unfortunately, without explicitly requiring this famous international driving permit, some US states have adopted legislation that did not accept licenses not in English. This has a direct impact for residents of Quebec.

The US state of Georgia is almost a must for those traveling by car to Florida. Many Canadian retirees, commonly called snowbirds, were likely to be confronted with local laws regarding driving licenses. Indeed, any motorist driving in this state should have a driving license in English. This led de facto impossible for Quebecers to ride locally with their driving license denominated in French. The Georgian authorities seemed rarely fined motorists holding only allowed Quebec. Getting suspended since this law will be repealed end 2016, which will allow Quebec drivers to present their passport and driving license of Quebec when needed. From January 1, 2017, Georgia will no longer require that its agents present international driving permit if the lead held permit is written in a language other than English. The presentation of the Canadian passport with the Quebec driver’s license written in French is only admissible for local authorities. There will be no need for Quebeckers to have an international driving permit in Georgia.

3. How to get information about permits for the countries visited?

In addition to the travel advisory, the Department of Canadian Foreign Affairs informs about whether or not to obtain a prior international driving permit. The information is specified in the “Laws and Customs” tab of each country profile. To view the information by country, please follow the following link: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories.

4. Where to get an international driving permit?

For Canadian residents, the CAA is the only Canadian jurisdiction authorized to issue and to deliver international driving permit.

An international driving permit is valid for a period of one year from the date of issue. Motorists must reapply each time another IDP is required.

5. What are the conditions for an IDP?

A Canadian traveler wishing to use a road vehicle in a country requiring an international driving license must be at least 18 years. He must also hold a valid and unrestricted Canadian driving license. The Canadian drivers who can not get an IDP are those who hold only a temporary permit (or learning) and those who were stripped of their license because of violations of the code of the road.

The international driving permit does not apply to the category of vehicles which the Canadian license held by the motorist does not authorize driving.

6. What is the cost of this license?

The Canadian motorist can report to their local CAA Club with the required documents (two-sided photocopy of the driving license in good standing issued by the province of residence, two passport photographs and the IDP application form for the CAA).

The cost is currently $ 25 (subject to change without notice from CAA).

You can also apply by mail. A request sent by mail must include the payment of fees by credit card or by bank draft, money order or check in Canadian currency from a Canadian financial institution payable to your local CAA Club.

Note that IDP will not be issued earlier than a month before the departure date. The IDP is valid for one year from its date of issue. No need to be a member of the CAA to apply!

7. What will happen if you stay abroad for over a year?

If the stay abroad exceeds one year and your IDP expires, you can request a new one, provided that your Canadian driving license is still valid. Your new international driving permit will be posted abroad, at your expense.