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Plan Now Relax Later

Most people plan months in advance for that perfect summer getaway – especially if they are traveling abroad. Besides managing all the logistics and packing/To Do lists, there are two ways to prepare for a trip that might cultivate a little peace of mind while you are away.

The U.S. State Department offers a program to help travelers if they encounter serious legal, medical or financial difficulties while overseas. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) helps U.S. citizens with lost or stolen passports and can also provide the names of English-speaking doctors or local attorneys. STEP registrants may also sign up for alerts about safety conditions at destinations. In the event of an emergency (e.g., natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency) the local U.S. Embassy can easily contact those enrolled in STEP.

Travel insurance can be another option to enhance peace of mind while vacationing this summer. Coverage usually includes the costs of missed flights and canceled reservations. A key component of travel insurance is the medical expense coverage, which addresses costs of treatments and hospitalizations that are typically not covered by most HMO/PPO medical insurance policies. Just be aware that many travel insurance policies have exclusions for pre-existing conditions. Waivers for pre-existing conditions can be expensive but are generally available. Another common feature of travel insurance is coverage for lost luggage that has been missing after a predetermined number of hours.

Every traveler can face risks to their safety and wellbeing while they are on the road – medical emergencies, social disruptions, crime, natural disasters – all of which can derail what is supposed to be a relaxing time. Preparing for the unexpected helps reduce vulnerabilities, anxiety and inconvenience when things go awry.


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