The Clever Travel Companion Updates

How do you find a doctor when travelling? March 11 2018, 0 Comments


When it comes to traveling, the old saying "you do not prepare to fail, only fail to prepare" certainly has a lot of relevance and none more so than when it comes to medical treatment.

We can purchase all the insurance premiums salesmen will want to throw at us, get all the vaccines and stock up on all the mosquito sprays, vertigo tablets and sun creams but when it actually comes down to it and something goes wrong - potentially seriously wrong, in a foreign country, how many of us would immediately know what to do? Do you know, for instance, how to say Hospital in German? Or Ambulance in French? Do you know the emergency services telephone number in Thailand? Would you immediately know how to find a doctor whilst overseas if you needed to? 

How do you find a doctor overseas? 

1. Check with your insurance company

It seems quite obvious but many people purchase insurance as a "must have" and don't think about ever actually needing to use it and, afterall, they are there to help you out in sticky situations. That's what we pay them for. All of them should have hotlines ready for you to call in the event of an emergency and offer the most up to date information possible to help you out in your specific situation. It also helps when it comes to paying for care, a lot of insurance companies have conditions to be met if they are going to cover your costs, so save their number and start with a call to them. 

2. Online reviews and information

It's always a good idea once you arrive in country to take a quick browse online and find out what other travelers have done or read the local information pages to find out what to do if something goes wrong - also to find the best possible health service in the area! Sites like Healthgrades can be super useful in helping understand the availability of care on offer. 

3. Ask a Local 

Of course in the event of an emergency your instincts are likely to take over and you'll ask just about anyone around you for assistance so it seems quite an obvious thing to consider but it is worth stating that local knowledge is second to none. It's probably a better idea to ask staff at nearby establishments as there is a better chance that their English will be of a higher standard. 

4. Apps and Services

There are a bunch of services and even apps now available to help with finding English speaking doctors overseas. The International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) and the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) both have tons of advice and a directory of known English speaking doctors throughout the world on their super resourceful websites. Also now available is the Doctor in Your Pocket app which helps you find local, house call and virtual doctors to assist you should anything go wrong. 

So now you know how to manage a medical situation if you find yourself in one overseas, the best medicine is of course preparation and taking care of oneself! Not finding yourself in a medical emergency is better than knowing what to do if you do. 

Do you have any more tips and advice on what to do should you need a doctor overseas? Let us know in the comments below. 

P.S. Hospital in German is  Krankenhaus, Ambulance in French is Ambulance and the emergency services line in Thailand is 1169! 



10 More Retirement Travel Tips March 05 2018, 0 Comments


1. Consider Timeshares

Some timeshare companies will offer prospective buyers a free stay at their property in exchange for sitting through a sales pitch presentation. Beware of this option, though. Even people with nerves of steel sometimes have a tough time walking away without signing up.


2. Rent an RV

After the initial investment, a recreational vehicle (RV) offers an excellent way to travel to scenic mountain, beach and other outdoor destinations without airfare, hotel costs or big restaurant bills. If buying an RV isn't in your budget, consider renting one through a local RV outfit or a national site such as Cruise America.


3. Downsize Your Belongings

One way to raise cash for travel is to thoroughly downsize your belongings. Now that you have time, go through everything you own and consider how many possessions you actually need. Put the rejects on eBay, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, or hold a good, old-fashioned garage sale or yard sale at your home. Put the cash you raise toward future travel.


4. Use Rewards Credit Cards

It can be tough to keep track of which credit cards to use to maximize points that can be redeemed toward travel, but with more free time in retirement, you can research ways to maximize your cards for travel rewards such as free hotel stays and flights. A caution: Since travel credit cards tend to have above-average interest rates on purchases, carrying a balance could cost you more than any travel rewards you earn.


5. Consider a Home Swap

Now that you're the boss of your schedule, you can be flexible around the schedule of people who might want to swap homes in areas you'd like to visit. Check out home-swap websites such as Home Exchange, where you can begin the conversation with someone who might like to stay in your home and you stay in theirs.


6. Take Advantage of Free Days

Many museums and other cultural institutions have select days of the week or month when they're open to the public for free. Call and ask if they have retirement discounts, too. 


7. Be Flexible With Flight Dates

Since you don't have to be back home by any certain date, always search for flexible flight dates. You might be able to save hundreds on the same route by being willing to stay an extra night or two or to leave home a few days earlier. By being flexible, you can save a lot of money and stay immune to travel mistakes.


8. Travel Spontaneously

It probably was difficult to get time off work at the last minute, but without that as a consideration, retirees can save significant money on travel by being on the lookout for last-minute travel deals and specials through airline websites or discount travel sites. A number of apps, such as HotelTonight, make it easy to find such specials.


9. Use Coupons

You might not have had time to search for coupons and online deals when you were working, but now that you have more free time, you can properly look for coupons and discounts for any destination you're thinking of booking. You can use a site such as Groupon to find discounts and ideas for activities you're interested in once you've reached your destination.


10. Do Some Research

Spend a few hours or even a day at home planning your trip and your daily activities online. If you're headed toward a tourist area, the tourism board there will have a website that lists popular attractions and discounts. 


How to stay safe as a solo female traveller October 14 2017, 0 Comments

PLAN, PLAN, PLAN

You might be a spontaneous traveller, but when going solo, you should book at least your first night of accommodation before arrival. One tip when choosing a hotel is opting for a centrally located one.

This way, you will not stand out as much, and you will also have a chance to mingle with other travellers. Also, try to time your trip in such a way that you arrive in the morning.

Some female travellers also recommend packing a doorstop that will keep doors from being opened.


TRUST YOUR INTUITION

Women have often been lauded for their ability to read body language and pick up social cues. Use this intuition to your advantage, and learn to trust your gut.

If you are caught in an uncomfortable situation, pack your bags and hit the road. Just ensure that you have alternate accommodation in mind.


DON'T LET PICKPOCKETS PICK ON YOU

Besides staying vigilant, it is also a good idea to spread your valuables into different compartments of your bag.

That way, if you do fall victim to a pickpocket, your important documents are all spread out, so you won't lose everything in one go.

You can also consider making copies of your credit cards and passport and saving it to Google Docs or Dropbox.

When you are sitting down, loop the strap of your bag around your leg to prevent someone from running away with it. When walking in crowded areas, wear your backpack in front to avoid pickpockets from cutting into your belongings. Alternatively, pick up a slash-free and anti-theft bag from brands such as Pacsafe.


WHEN IN ROME...

While you might want to get all dolled up for your vacation, you do not want to draw unwanted attention to yourself. When travelling alone, try to conform to cultural norms and dress modestly in countries where it is expected. In some countries, you might want to wear a wedding ring even if you are single.


HAVE A TIPPLE, BUT DON'T GET TOO TIPSY

Even though you are on holiday, you should be very wary before getting too "wasted" when you are travelling by yourself. Know your limits before you party.

If a stranger asks you to go out for drinks, politely decline the offer and say that you have other plans. Remember, you should not feel guilty or bad when saying no if it means feeling safe.


MAKE YOUR MARK

Inform a loved one of your flights and itineraries. A photo upload and check-in at a new location is also a good way to keep your family and friends posted about your whereabouts.

That said, be careful not to overshare. Refrain from telling strangers where you are staying and only post about hotels on social media after you have left.

Even if you are travelling on a budget, international phone plans are worth spending money on. Carry a few international phone cards if you do not want to commit to a whole phone plan.


WHEN HAILING A CAB

Before you head out, grab the business card or jot down the name, address and phone number of your accommodation. It will come in handy if you get lost or are unable to communicate with the driver.

Another thing you should take note of is the taxi number or the licence plate, just in case.

To avoid getting overcharged, ask the hotel front desk for an estimate of how much it will cost to get to your destination.

Alternatively, Google Maps has a feature that will provide you with a rough estimate.

When possible, agree on the fare beforehand and have the exact change with you to prevent getting ripped off.

If you have baggage with you, keep your stuff in the back seat and not in the trunk. That way, you can jump out of the cab if anything goes wrong.