Ready, Set, Go! – A Prepared Traveler’s Checklist
Your flight has been purchased. Your passport is in its new holder. The hotel is booked. Your bags might even packed. You are ready to go on that long-awaited vacation! But wait…did you know coverage under most group health plans do not provide adequate coverage for medical emergencies incurred while travelling out of country?
Review the travel checklist below to ensure you have everything you need for a worry-free holiday. Being prepared can help keep your dream vacation free from unexpected surprises, and more importantly, free from huge costs associated with falling ill or getting into an accident away from home.
Here is Our Best Travel Checklist:
Before You Leave
- Ensure your vaccinations are up to date. When travelling outside Canada, you may be more at risk for vaccine preventable illnesses. Be sure to visit your doctor or travel clinic up to six weeks before you travel. For a list of vaccination recommendations by destination, visit: http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/vaccines.
- Ensure your passport is valid. Your passport may have an expiry date, but many countries want you to have a minimum of six months left BEFORE that expiry date on a valid passport before they allow you into their country. If you need to renew your passport, do so with a minimum of six weeks in advance because processing times will vary depending on volume of applications.
- Apply for the necessary travel visas. While your Canadian passport allows you to travel to 176 countries and territories visa-free, there are still a number of places that require a travel visa prior to arrival. Allow a minimum of six weeks in advance of your scheduled travel date to apply for a travel visa.
- Scan and email a copy of your valid passport(s). Your Canadian passport is highly sought after and should be protected. Remember to scan and email your passport(s) to yourself and a loved one staying home, with your passport number and validity dates. Should your passport get stolen or lost while on vacation, the scanned document will make it easier to process a new passport for you. In addition, the digital copy gives you the necessary information within easy reach.
- Register you and your family online with the Canadian Consulate in the area. Registration enables the Government to assist in case of an emergency abroad, such as an earthquake or civil unrest, or to inform you about a personal emergency at home. Registration is free, fast and eas You can also download the Travel Smart app to stay in touch with Canada.
- Prepare your mobile phone. To ensure you can receive or make phone calls (or texts) while abroad, get yourself a roaming package from your local mobile phone provider. Roaming charges add up quickly and can lead to a very large, unexpected bill at the end of your vacation. If you want to completely disconnect and avoid those unexpected roaming bills, put your phone on Airplane Mode while on vacation and only use WiFi when available. Additionally, you can unlock your cell phone, remove your SIM card and purchase a local SIM while travelling. This is often a less expensive alternative to be able to make local calls while on holiday.
- Make your bags easily identifiable. Luggage tags for your bags are a great way to differentiate them from other suitcases coming through the baggage carousel. To make them stand out even more, wrap the handle with a bright coloured scarf or cloth. Should someone pick up your luggage by mistake across the room, you will unmistakably know it belongs to you.
- Review your credit card insurance. You may think your credit card insurance covers more of your travel than it really does. Credit card insurance usually only covers your hotel booking or flight. It does not necessarily cover you for other emergency expenses you may have, such as medical treatment, hospitalization, transport or emergency procedures. Call your credit card company to understand what is and isn’t covered. If (and when) you discover that you need additional coverage, be sure to contact your insurance provider.
- Opt-in for optional travel insurance. Your government health insurance is almost certainly not valid outside Canada, and your provincial health plan may only cover a very small portion of costs associated with you getting sick or injured while abroad. Unfortunately, accidents happen and when they do, they can be very costly when in a foreign country. Anything from stepping on a poisonous sea urchin to breaking your ankle, accidents while on holiday are common. You could face years of debt paying off the costs of treatment for an illness or accident you suffered abroad. So, call your insurance provider to opt-in for the travel insurance – just in case!
- Going on a risky adventure? A vacation seems like the best opportunity to try the latest sport activity, but if you are injured many insurance policies won’t cover you. Certain activities, like motorcycling, white water rafting or scuba diving, mean higher risk for injury while on holiday. Check whether your policy covers you for the specific activities you want to try, and what the terms and conditions of these activities are. For example, if you are scuba diving, you may only be covered to a certain depth and/or your equipment may not be covered in case of damage.
- Remember luggage insurance. You may arrive at your destination to discover your luggage did not make the same trip! There’s nothing worse than arriving in your full Canadian winter gear to your tropical location. Luggage insurance can help if you suddenly find yourself without your possessions – including medications, clothing, personal effects and sporting equipment. In another scenario, your baggage might arrive damaged or with some of its contents missing, luggage insurance can also help protect you. Give your insurance provider a call.
- Notify the credit card company that you will be on vacation. You go to pay for your next tour on vacation, and there’s a problem with your card. Unusual overseas purchases may trigger a hold on your credit card that can put a damper on your vacation plans. To avoid the inconvenience of having to call your credit card company from abroad, let them know beforehand that you will be away. You can set up these notifications months in advance.
- Remember your car. You are taking your car with you on vacation and leaving the province or country. Is it covered in case of an accident or if you can’t drive it back home? Or maybe you’ve decided to leave the car at home, but come home to find it broken into. Are you covered? Contact your auto insurance agent to discuss any precautions you need to take in either scenario. In addition, there are a few things you can do to help prevent vehicle theft.
- Ensure your trailer is covered. Did you know that travel trailers are not considered motor vehicles? This means you would not be covered by your auto policy when it comes to comprehensive or collision coverages. With no two RVs or trailers being the same, it is important to speak with a specialist to ensure your temporary home on wheels, and its valuable contents, is covered while on holiday.
- Check in on your home. Arrange to have someone check in on your home and pick up your mail every 72 hours. Not only is this a great way to deter unwanted guests in your home, but it might also be part of your home insurance requirements. Check with your insurance provider to discuss requirements to ensure your policy covers your home while you are away.
- Shut off main water valve. If you are not going to be home and you do not need to have water in your home, turn off the main water valve. This will help to prevent flooding and give you peace of mind while away.
- Remember the lights. Set a timer to turn your home lights on and off at different times throughout the day. This may deter would-be thieves by tricking them to think there are people in the home.
- Ensure Fluffy is cared for. It is easy to think of your furry or feathered friends as family, but they most likely won’t be going on vacation with you. Remember to get a pet-sitter or arrange to leave your furry family member(s) at a kennel. They’ll be happy to see you when you get back if they’ve been well cared for.
- Check-in early to your flight online. There are a number of benefits of checking in to your flight up to 24 hours before your flight. One of them is to secure your window or aisle seat. This is also a good opportunity to check for cheaper upgraded seat options for a more comfortable trip.
- Pre-order food for long-haul flights. Airport food is often expensive and are limited to cold cut sandwiches or granola bars. In-flight food options are great but often run out during long-haul flights. Avoid disappointments, save a little money and pre-order your food.
- Avoid announcing your trip online to non-family members. Social media is an excellent way for strangers to know your home, car and valuables will be left unattended for long periods of time. Post your holiday photos publicly when you return from your trip.
While On Vacation
- Carry a copy of your passport(s). Instead of carrying your passport with you everywhere you go, carry a scanned/photocopied copy instead. This is especially handy when shopping and applying for the visitor tax refunds in certain shops. Keep your original passport securely locked at your hotel.
- Bring your insurance details. Carry details of your insurance with you while travelling and leave a copy with a friend or relative at home . In times of emergency you do not want to have to search your policies to find the details. If you have them with you, you can refer to them on hand – especially if visiting a destination with limited access to the internet. Leave a copy with a friend or family member who can refer to them in case you are incapacitated while abroad.
- Remember boat safety. Boat safety while on the water is very important as fun can quickly turn into danger. Ensure there are enough life jackets on board, and remember a first aid kit. For boat insurance or a full list of boat safety items, visit https://ligroup.ca/research-centre/boat-safety/.
- Protect yourself and the car rental. When renting a vehicle, ensure the insurance you are purchasing covers the value of the entire vehicle.
- Remember rental car insurance covers only one driver. Only the driver listed on the policy is covered in case of an accident. If you want two drivers, purchase the additional coverage – just in case! Confirm the limits of the additional coverage.
- Determine if additional rental car coverage is necessary for you. Only you will be able to determine if additional rental car insurance options are right for you. Base that need on your driving record, how accident prone you tend to be or even if you plan on driving in areas that often have external environmental accidents. Sometimes, its just better to be safe than sorry.
- Watch your valuables. While on holiday, remember to watch your personal effects and avoid flashing your passport(s), laptop(s), mobile phone(s), tablet(s), camera(s) and other valuables in public places. Also, never assume that any valuables will be automatically covered by your insurance policy. Call your insurance provider to find out.
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Travel takes a toll on the human body so staying hydrated will help you transition to the local environment a little easier.
- Relax, enjoy and recharge! You have made every effort to ensure your family is cared for prior to your vacation. It’s time to simply enjoy your much-deserved holiday.
Are you a Canadian Snowbird?
In addition to the checklist above, snowbirds have additional travel and lifestyle needs for their extended stays in the warmer climates. The application for insurance must be made from within Canada before leaving for their trip.
Many travel medical insurance policies are primarily designed for younger travellers or for those who take shorter trips and have fewer pre-existing medical conditions than snowbirds. Property insurance also differs for snowbirds because of the extended length of time away.
There are a number of snowbird insurance policies but each one can be tailored to your specific needs. When choosing a policy, be sure to ask some of the following questions:
- Does my policy cover my medical and property the entire length of my stay in the US?
- Is my motorhome insured for both Canada and the US?
- Will the additional vehicle or trailer I’m taking with me also be covered?
- Is a multi-trip policy option right for me?
- Are there any major exclusions and limitations on this policy?
- Will the medical travel insurance policy exclude coverage for my stable pre-existing medical conditions?
- Can I extend my policy should I choose to?
Luggage: What To Pack?
Don’t forget your:
- Bring enough for the time you will be away. A small emergency kit could also be beneficial
- Sensible footwear. Tired, achy feet make vacationing a lot less fun.
- Sunscreen & mosquito spray. Protect your skin and health.
- Universal travel adaptor. Don’t be left without a way to use your electronics.
- This lightweight, multifunctional item can serve as a towel, scarf, blanket, sun awning, shawl or skirt while travelling. It’s easy to wash and reuse.
- Vacations are a great adventure, but don’t take a risk on your health, property or financials. Contact your insurance provider today.
When you get back
- Download you photos
- Start planning your next trip
- Keep this document handy for your next trip – feel free to share this document with family and friends!
Enjoy Your Holidays!
Should you need any questions about travel insurance for you and your family, be sure to contact Leibel Insurance today.
Email | [email protected]
Phone | 1 (855) 906 4903
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