Top 12 safety tips while overseas

Nothing is bound to ruin a holiday more than feeling unsafe or running into scams and difficulties. When travelling to other countries, it’s important to always keep international travel safety in mind. Travel risk is unavoidable, but we have created a list of 12 tips that will increase your safety so that you can enjoy your holiday!

1. Get your vaccines before leaving

An unexpected illness can truly ruin a holiday. Make sure to be fully up to date on all your vaccines and double check all the recommended vaccines for your travel destination. Most countries will have a categorized list of all the recommended vaccines for international travellers, and where you can go to get your vaccinations.

2. Use cash when possible

In order to avoid high credit card and debit card fees, we recommend using cash whenever possible. It is also highly recommended that you separate your important cards in case of theft. Have backups if possible, as well as an emergency cash flow just in case. It is important to separate cash, cards and identification cards for any potential problems. Of course, it is also important not to carry too much cash with you and not flash cash when paying your bill in order to avoid becoming a victim of crime.

3. Have an international phone plan

In case of emergencies, you will want to have access to a phone that has the ability to call internationally. Whether you need to call your family back home or your insurance provider, you won’t want to be stuck trying to find a phone with international capabilities in times of emergencies.

4. Research cultural norms

When travelling internationally, especially to culturally diverse regions, it is crucial that you do your research on cultural norms and how the local population behave on the day-to-day. It can be dangerous to be in a situation that is culturally acceptable in your home region, and unaccepted in the region you are visiting. Local natives can find offence to certain behaviours, and it is recommended that you behave in culturally appropriate behaviour for your protection.

5. Tell your bank before leaving

The last thing you need while travelling internationally is to have your cards cancelled or put on hold while away. In order to avoid any situation where this could happen is to notify your bank before leaving. Many banks don’t require notification now, but we recommend always placing a note with your bank for your accounts to avoid any potential of the card holds.

6. Travel in Numbers

Travelling in numbers is highly recommended when travelling internationally. A large group of people is much less of a target for potential danger than comparison to someone travelling alone. Another important note while travelling is to project situational awareness. If you are in a foreign land, it is very important to project, to the best of your ability, situational awareness. If you are in an environment with confidence, you are much less likely to attract potential scammers.

7. Know your destinations food & water safety

Many regions while travelling internationally will have different food and water restrictions then you have in your home town. If you are travelling internationally, it is very important to research the food and water safety warnings that are in place for those destinations. This will allow you to avoid any potential foods and water derived illnesses in order for you to enjoy your trip!

8. Have electronic copies

Although we recommend printing all your necessary travel documents for your travels, it is also highly recommended that you have access to electronic copies of all your important travel documents – including hotel + flight bookings, passport photos, and insurance policy numbers. This is a preventative precaution in case you lose any of your paper copy documents.

9. Have embassy/consulate contact information

In times of emergency, such as losing a passport, it will be very helpful to have your embassy and consulate contact information and address for where you are travelling. Most major cities will have a list of all the international embassies that are located within the city for your convenience. If your country doesn’t have a local embassy, it will be important to have the contact information for the nearest one, as well as contact information for your embassy back home.

10. Give your family & friends an itinerary

Whether you are travelling alone or with friends, it is recommended that you have your family and friends back home know your general location and plans while away.

11. Leave expensive jewellery at home

Although having your jewellery with you may seem appealing, we recommend leaving your expensive and valuable jewellery back home. Travellers displaying expensive jewellery are often targets for theft which can lead to very potentially dangerous situations. In order to stay on the safe side, it is better to simply leave it all at home.

12. Have proper travel insurance

While travelling internationally, most domestic health insurers will not cover you when you leave your country of citizenship, so travel insurance is a necessity. The potential of getting sick or injured while travelling is inevitable, and if you get injured or sick and you can’t get adequate medical treatment in the country or city you are visiting, it will be important to have access to emergency medical evacuation to another country or back to your country of residence. For the simple purpose of peace of mind, purchasing travel insurance is highly recommended in order to protect yourself. 

Expat Financial offers citizens travel insurance from a variety of insurance companies. Get a travel insurance quote and even purchase online. Get travel medical insurance and trip protection plans online via a secure server. Click here to receive an online quote. 

 

 

 

 

Becoming a Global Citizen

The opportunity to live a life as a global citizen is one that is appealing to many people. It involves a life of adventure and new experiences. If deciding to become a global citizen, it is important to understand what it takes to successfully take on the opportunity in which you are given and facilitate the transition period. Let’s dive into what it means to be a global citizen.

Health considerations

As many concerns arise about making the decision to become a global citizen, health considerations are likely to be at the top of your priorities before moving. Taking care of your health while living abroad will be one of the most important and crucial steps to ensure a successful and blissful lifestyle.

Global health insurance is highly recommended for anyone living or travelling abroad. The advantages of global health insurance go far beyond basic medical care. It will alleviate any added stress or concerns about medical coverage while travelling abroad, as well as facilitated payments, coverage regions and standard of care.

At Expat Financial, we offer plans from basic in-hospital plans to in-hospital and out-patient plans. We are able to provide various plans from several different insurance companies in order to find the right fit. Contact us today by email at info@tfgglobal.com or click here for a free online quote. 

global medical

Culture adaptations  

Depending on where your global adventures take you, there is a high chance that you will be relocated to a country that will likely lead to a degree of culture shock. The important thing here is to stay as open-minded as possible. Locals will gladly teach you their culture and welcome you into their country, as long as you are willing to immerse yourself in the community.

A useful type for overcoming culture shock is to learn the local language as well as possible. This will allow you to engage with more locals and feel less alienated when exploring and appreciated the new city in which you call home.

Location is key

When it comes to choosing where you want to relocate, there are many different considerations to remember. First, it will be important to understand the local culture and what it will mean to connect with the locals as an expatriate.

A second aspect that is very important will be to find an area that has low crime rates for your safety – whether that is choosing, in general, a safe city or specifically a safe neighborhood. Explore our region & city guides to discover which regions are the best fit for you!

A third factor that is important in choosing a location will be to know what the tax policies are for your incoming country. Many countries have different ways in which they tax their local employees, and as an expatriate living abroad, it will be very important to know the local taxation policies.

Get involved in local politics and policies.

As important as it is to immerse yourself in a local community, it will be equally as important to immerse yourself in the local politics and policies that are relevant to your new home. Knowledge of local politics will help you understand a multitude of important factors, such as taxation, governance, community values and elections, as these will all be crucial in your development in the community.

It is important to note that it is not recommended to get involved in politics in all countries, and it is important to research beforehand and look into political stability before diving into local politics, especially if you are not a citizen of your new country. Getting involved in politics as an expat in many countries, especially ones with little or no human rights protections, can be very dangerous.

Apart from local politics and policies, we also recommend having a general understanding of global politics, specifically with countries that directly affect your new city. This will allow you to stay aware of external factors and policies that may alter the way in which you engage with your community.

Keeping in touch

Lastly, after making the decision to become a global citizen, it will still be important to stay connected with your roots back in your home country. This can come with many challenges, including adjusting to time zones, whether or not you are in a Wi-Fi efficient zone or keeping this priority top of mind. It is important to keep in touch with members back in your home country in order to maintain and facilitate the transition, as well as keeping in touch with your own mental health.

 

6 tips for travelling within budget

Going away on holiday is always an exciting experience with high anticipation! With all the different considerations to plan for, the trip planning portion of your vacation may not be the most enjoyable experience. We have created 6 great tips to help you budget for your travels, as well as staying within budget while away! The next best part about going on holiday is being able to come home from the trip with a full wallet!

Budget before you leave

As many trips go, there will be a hundred different things you will want to explore on your time away. Whether that be a weekend getaway or a long overdue extended trip, you should never underestimate the value in budgeting before you take off.

Whether it’s your first time in a new city or a place that has become your second home, you can never do “too much” research before taking off. It’s vital while budgeting to look into multiple sources and sites when trying to obtain information about different costs. It is important to remember that, although one source may give you tempting information, that that may not be the most accurate source out available. That is why we recommended looking into multiple different sites, platforms and resources while budgeting for your trip.

Look for hotel bundle deals

This goes hand in hand with doing your proper research, but make sure to take extra precaution when looking into hotel and flight deals. With the multitude of websites that are available to the public nowadays, you have an abundant amount of options to choose from. Whether it means not staying right in the centre of the city centre and taking a flight that’s not exactly at your ideal travel time, you may be able to save a fortune on these small compromises, which will ultimately allow you to experience many other adventures on your trip.

Always over budget rather than under budget

As easy as it is to take the lowest estimated options when scanning through different sources, we recommend that you take a more generous approach to your budget, rather than optimistic. We know it can be very tempting to downplay the costs of your trip, but at the end of the day, it is always better to come home with a little extra cash or take that extra unexpected tour on your last day rather than coming home to extra credit card debt.

 Follow your budget

After taking all the time to budget and plan for your trip, the next important step in the savings guideline is to actually follow through with your budget. A common mistake done by many travellers is to create a fantastic and well-detailed budget plan, and then fail to execute once on vacation. Not to say that you need to stay on budget for every meal and every expenditure, but make sure to stay well within the confinements of your budget.

Watch for the scams

As many cities & destinations are accustomed to having tourist and visitors around, it is important to be aware of the scams and tricks that many locals, especially in poorer countries, have in mind for visiting guests.  It’s important to note that many scams can be in the form of “too good to be true” savings. In order to be aware of these scams, keep in mind what the value of the product and/or service you are receiving, and make sure it aligns with the proposed costs.

Obtain travel insurance before leaving

One vital step we recommend you taking before taking off on your trip is to obtain travel insurance coverage for the duration of your trip. It is important to obtain coverage for the entirety of your trip in order to avoid a lapse in coverage. Unexpected medical costs can become very expensive while travelling abroad, and you don’t want to be caught without medical coverage. If you are moving abroad for a year or more, it is highly recommended that you obtain a quote for international health insurance to cover you globally.

At Expat financial, a division of TFG Global Solutions Ltd., we are able to offer individuals or group plans for those travelling abroad. To receive a quote contact us directly at info@tfgglobal.com 

 

 

 

business travel

Seven business travel tips for 2018

Business has become even more global over the past ten years, and for most companies, it means that business travel overseas is an absolute necessity. Your clients are no longer local, they are global, and you need to keep in touch with them through email, phone, Skype, chats and of course, travel. Experienced business travel professionals are always sharing their tips on how to make their corporate journeys as smooth and productive as possible. We have gathered seven business travel tips for 2018 to share with our globally mobile employees and associates.

Business Travel Tips

  1. Try to be loyal to your favourite airlines so you can rack up your travel miles with one or two carriers. It will also give you added travel perks and upgrades when you often travel for the same airline.
  2. Dress professionally when you travel, especially in business class. Yes, we love to be comfortable when travelling, but if you are travelling for business, you have to remember that you are representing your business and your brand. You never know whom you are going to meet – maybe a new or existing customer or your boss. It may also help you get an edge in being upgraded by the airline.
  3. Pay attention to travel warnings if you are travelling to countries with current or previous travel safety problems or political instability. There are lots of great government websites such as the US State Department or UK Foreign Office which can provide excellent safety information that is continuously being updated. Your employer may have access to exclusive private country intelligence information, especially if they have a corporate kidnap or evacuation policy through our firm.
  4. Check with your doctor or travel clinic if you require specific vaccinations for the travel destinations that you are going to for business. You don’t want to come back with unwanted diseases or illnesses. The CDC provided some excellent information for business travellers, but talk to your doctor for more details.
  5. Make sure your travel documents are up to date and provide for full entry as a business traveller. You should check first if your passport is valid for at least six months after travel is started or has recently expired. You should also check to see if you have the correct visa entry requirements as business travellers are often viewed differently than tourists. You may have to apply well before you travel to avoid being denied entry into your country destination.
  6. Staying healthy is always good advice, but have you taken steps to ensure you stay healthy when you travel? Here are a few sub-tips for you to consider when travelling abroad:
    1. Try to get some exercise and use the hotel gym.
    2. Bring hand sanitizer and wash hands regularly to avoid unwanted germs and viruses.
    3. Get up during the flight to improve circulation and avoid deep vein thrombosis.
    4. Stay hydrated during the trip and when at your destination. It can do wonders for your travel health.
    5. Try to eat well when travelling, including fruit and vegetables. It can be difficult when you are being wined and dined during your business junket.
    6. Be careful where you eat, especially in developing or third world destinations.
  7. Perhaps the most relevant and important tip for business travellers is to make sure you are covered for emergency medical and evacuation expenses by purchasing travel medical insurance before you go on your business trip. Your corporate HR department may have purchased a single trip or multi-trip business travel insurance policy that will cover your business travel. If you are going to add some pleasure travel days to your business trip, make sure your corporate program thoroughly covers sojourn travels. If you are travelling to areas where terrorism, war and civil conflict are possible, make sure the policy doesn’t exclude war or terrorism. Some plans will also provide some trip delay, trip cancellation, liability and Accidental Death & Dismemberment coverage as well.

We hope that the above seven tips for business travel will be well received by all the business travellers who are expanding markets, meeting customers and delivering solutions to clients around the world.

What are the Best Solutions for Business Travel Medical?

The best solution for business travellers is to have your HR department contact our firm to quote on a corporate multi-trip annual business travel insurance policy. Such a plan can cover all the business travel for the entire company throughout the year. All employees who travel will receive a particular travel card that they can use in the event they suffer an illness or injury while travelling abroad. The plans can even cover employees in different countries travelling for your company, and some insurers can also include some sojourn or pleasure travel. To learn more, contact us today to discuss your requirements.

7 Tips for School Groups Traveling Abroad

Are you preparing for School Group Travel Abroad? 

There are many exciting opportunities for students to gain international experience while working towards their degree or for high school student groups going abroad on short school trips. Many universities provide either an exchange program or field school, as well as short-term summer programs. If you wish to spend one or more terms on an external program such as volunteering overseas, international employment, school group travel, international Co-op, etc., it is critical to making preparations, such as obtaining a travel medical coverage. In this article, we will provide seven tips for students and school group leaders when preparing for a short or long-term trip overseas.

 

Tips for Students and School Leaders 

  • Vaccination is critical for school group travel overseas. Many universities require standard immunization before arriving, especially for students who come from countries identified as having more infectious diseases and outbreaks. If your school group is visiting the USA, you may be required to complete a TB screening test.
  • Research your destination country for travel advisories and healthcare facilities. No matter where your school tour intends to travel, make sure you check the Travel advisory sites before you leave. This is because a travel advisory may affect your travel health insurance. In some regions, healthcare facilities may be limited. It is critical to understand any terms and conditions in your insurance policy for medical claims made for injuries in your destination country.
  • When selecting a travel medical insurance plan, you should make sure that the plan provides continuous coverage for the duration of your stay. It is also essential to check whether the plan pays for foreign hospitalization and provides the up-front payment of bills.

  • Be sure to obtain an emergency medical plan with a 24-hour/7-day emergency contact number in your language for health care providers in your destination country. Medical evacuation coverage is critical, especially in regions where medical care is not up to first world standards. Ensure that your medical insurance provides coverage for medical evacuation to the nearest location with appropriate medical care from your destination.
  • Preparing your school members for travel is essential, so it makes sense to plan ahead and also bring a first-aid kit. Travelers with any chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or other problems need to carry medications with you on your trip. Moreover, it is always recommended to bring an extra prescription in case you want to extend your trip or have a delay.
  • Regardless of where you are going, you school members should always carry your prescription copies, allergy medication, antibiotic ointment (for more remote areas), sunscreen, etc. It is recommended that students consult a healthcare professional for some extras you should carry if heading to more remote regions or areas.

Bring Student Group Travel Medical Insurance with You 

And finally, with appropriate planning before a school group trip, your students enjoy their travels abroad without worrying about the costs associated with dealing with the unexpected injury or illness while on your tour. Expat Financial is a key resource for students who are going abroad to travel, attend a foreign university or volunteer for up to 1 year for emergency medical expenses. Here are two travel medical insurance plans that we can provide to students living outside the USA:

For students who are studying abroad and require a global medical insurance plan, we offer several international health insurance plans from several global medical insurance providers which are perfectly suited to studying abroad and offer excellent rates for young students, but not school members who are based in the USA.

Check out our international student health insurance plan and discuss with us your student health insurance requirements today. If your overseas education facility would like to discuss offering a plan for its students or even the expatriate staff, please contact us to discuss a group plan.