Solo travel will always represent one of the largest segments of the travel market. And, as intrepid lone travelers hit the road this year, TravelInsurance.com recommends some special planning tips to help them travel safely.
“Traveling alone can be an exciting, enlightening and personally rewarding adventure, however it’s important to be extra vigilant as traveling solo is not without its own considerations,” said Stan Sandberg, travel expert and co-founder of TravelInsurance.com.
“While getting off the grid is part of the appeal, sharing your travel plans and checking in with someone at home on a regular basis is important. Equally important, investing in an emergency travel medical and evacuation plan may just save your life. Travel medical and emergency evacuation coverage can be inexpensive and are included in many travel insurance plans.”
Here are four things solo travelers can do to minimize risks and ensure a smooth adventure, from TravelInsurance.com:
- Purchase travel insurance. If something goes wrong on your trip, travel insurance can be almost as good as having a travel companion. Comprehensive travel insurance plans typically include trip cancellation, trip interruption, travel medical, and emergency evacuation coverages, as well as 24/7 global travel assistance. If cash or credit cards are stolen, travel insurance can help you get back on track. If you get sick or injured, a travel insurance plan’s global medical assistance services can help navigate a foreign hospital system for you. A comprehensive travel insurance plan with trip cancellation coverage will typically range from 4 to 8 percent of the total trip costs. A plan with just medical and emergency evacuation can cost considerably less. By purchasing an insurance plan, it is almost as though you have someone on your side – without having to argue over where to eat each night.
- Let someone know where you are going and how to contact you. Designate at least one emergency contact and share your itinerary and any updates with that person. Make a general rule that you update your contact, even briefly, every time you hit an internet cafe or get decent Wi-Fi coverage on your phone or tablet. Better yet, publish a travel blog along the way or update all of your friends and family with frequent social media posts. But remember: keep your social media profiles private so strangers can’t track you down.
- Prepare with a Traveler’s Checklist. The U.S. State Department has a great Traveler’s Checklist which recommends travelers: Get Informed, Get Required Documents, Get Enrolled, and Get Insured. Registering with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program provides travel advisory updates on your destination and gives the U.S. embassy a way to reach you. Also, keep a list of your emergency contacts handy, including U.S. embassies or consulates, hotels, and 24/7 Global Assistance phone numbers found in your travel insurance plan. Many of the U.S. embassies and consulates use social media to provide information, so that’s another way to stay connected.
- Memorialize the adventure. Keeping a travel journal is a great way to reflect on what you are seeing, learning and experiencing. Sharing your travel experiences can be rewarding for both you and your audience. In addition, keep all receipts and documentation for any expenses associated with the trip before and during the vacation. In the event you would need to file a travel insurance claim, receipts and other proof of loss will be needed to receive reimbursements.