A reader emailed me recently with the following question: "I’m taking my first overseas vacation in a couple of weeks. Should I purchase travel insurance?" It's a question I hear often from travelers, so I thought it would be helpful to share the conversation.
To get an answer from someone who knows travel insurance well, I reached out to John W. Cook an industry expert at QuoteWright.com, a travel insurance comparison website.
Here's what he recommends:
Whether you’re running or cheering the New York City Marathon on Nov. 2, 2014, these simple tips from NewYork.com will help you enjoy the big race -- from start to finish.
I asked my 22-year-old niece, just back from summer travels in Europe, to give us the inside scoop on hosteling. Learn her list of myth-busting tips and packing must-haves.
AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO HOSTELING
by Madeleine Clute
My first foray into hosteling was at the end of high school when some friends and I took a road trip to Quebec, Canada, and it’s been my preferred method of seeing new places since. Most recently, my friend Elizabeth and I traveled on students’ budgets for 30-days in Europe, spanning 10 cities and 8 countries, primarily staying in hostels.
Here’s the truth: The food is GREAT in Britain. Long gone are the days of bland cuisine and mushy peas.
On my last visit I enjoyed fresh, organic produce at local farmers’ markets, dined in cosy gastropubs and globally recognized restaurants and discovered a vibrant scene of fantastic street food. But with recent dollar-to-pound exchange rates it’s not a cheap place to eat.
How can you use GPS to track a lost passport? What is the best way to make free phone calls, video calls or send text messages anywhere in the world? Why is a water bottle that turns local tap water into safe drinking water one of the most valuable things you can pack? Learn how to travel smarter in 2014 with these 10 travel app and gadget recommendations by technology expert Melissa Thompson.
Viber App + (friend with) Viber App = Free Calls (Seriously)
The Viber app allows users to make free phone calls, video calls or send text messages, over 4G or WiFi, anywhere in the world, free of charge (as long as both users are connecting through the Viber application). The app is available on all mobile devices and with 200 million active global users, has become one of the largest disruptors in the online global communication space.
(Free; runs on: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone)
GPS for your passport
Despite the finger scanners and facial recognition currently in use, travelers cannot travel internationally without that antiquated booklet. Avoid the last minute, “I can’t find my passport!” craze with a DIY digitization. Tile, one of Kickstarter’s hottest projects of the year, is a matchbook-sized, thin, white plastic square. This self-adhesive device, equipped with GPS, allows any item to be tracked using the owners smartphone app and Tile’s low-Bluetooth technology. Can’t find your passport? If prepared and equipped with a Tile affixed to the passport’s back or case, the owner can located the passport on a map and remotely send the device a signal to emit a sound, hopefully putting an end to the search-and-rescue. This simple device is the “find my iPhone,” for all physical items. Tile, which does not require battery changes or charging, can be pre-ordered for summer 2014 delivery. Tile for travel could keep your passport and checked-luggage always in your pocket. ($19.95 for one Tile, $59.85 for four Tiles, thetileapp.com)
Rove hands-free, with your automated travel diary
The next time relatives ask to hear all about your trip? Just “Share” from the Rove app and email a link to the trip’s timeline. This free app is an automated timeline, which tracks users’ movements through GPS, estimates the method of travel, and inserts pictures, maps and locations into a timeline. The result is a beautiful visual travel journal– no inputs required. Want to keep Rove personal? The app is 100% private unless users choose to share. (Free in the iTunes store)
Stay hydrated and healthy with TSA approved LifeStraw by Vestergaard
Described as “one of the ten things that will change the way we live” by Forbes, take this (empty!) water bottle on the road, mitigate the risk of illness, and turn local tap water anywhere in the world into safe drinking water. The filtration technology integrated into the LifeStraw Go water bottle reduces the risk of bacterial and parasitic water-borne disease transmission. Through advanced filtration technology, water is forced through fibers that only allow the clean water to pass through, keeping contaminants away from consumption. ($34.95,buylifestraw.com or at select retail stores)
Bring extra juice
There are many options on the market to pack power for on-the-go charging. Dark Reservoir’s sleekly designed device is on the higher end of the price rage, but with the pocket-sized device you can quadruple the power of your portable device and charge anything with a micro-USB charger.
I asked Wildland Adventures’ South America Program Director, Kirsten Gardner, what she carries in her travel bag, and why. Learn her list of must haves.
“I travel frequently, both for work and pleasure, and my jaunts are usually of an active nature (think camping, hiking, mountain biking, etc), says Gardner.” “Whether I’m preparing for a trek in the Cascades or the Andes, these five items are in my suitcase.”
If candle lit nights, questionable drinking water, remote paths, or lengthy transits on public transportation are in your travel plans, read on for Kirsten’s top five trekking essentials.