Why I Always Buy Travel Insurance

Oct 18, 13 Why I Always Buy Travel Insurance

When I’m planning a trip, cost is usually a pretty important factor. It helps determine where I’m going to go and how much time I can be gone for. I do my best to cut out unnecessary expenses which is why I pack light, buy tickets online after shopping around, and stay is reasonably priced hotels. I love to travel, and want to do it as much as possible, and cutting down on expenses helps me make the most of my trips.

One expense I learned the hard way not to skimp on is travel insurance. When I first started venturing out on my own in my mid 20’s I never even considered buying travel insurance. I was young, healthy, and if I lost my bag it was no big deal, my clothes weren’t worth very much anyway. However, on a trip to Honduras I was on an extended backpacking trip when I fell on some slippery rocks and broke my leg.

Luckily I had a guide with me who knew a shortcut back to the road but it still took us several painful hours. We flagged down a car and the driver took us to a hospital where I spent a few days recovering and getting a cast. The doctors did a great job and I was fully healed after 6 weeks but the ordeal ended up costing me over $12,000 and wiped out my trip budget for next few years. It was then that I realized the benefits of travel insurance.

Before I left on that fateful trip I had a job that provided excellent insurance coverage which I naively thought would cover me while traveling. Boy was I wrong. Most insurance will only cover you in your home country and won’t do anything for you when you’re abroad. When I was in Honduras I was lucky enough to have a guide but if I had been out by myself and had needed to be airlifted out it would have been devastatingly expensive. However, most travel insurance will cover evacuations in the event of a medical emergency.

Another benefit of travel insurance is trip cancellation protection. Now you won’t always need this, especially if you’re just taking a low cost weekend flight but if you’re planning a high cost trip of a lifetime it’s a must. Imagine you’re going to Europe for 3 weeks, taking a cruise through the Mediterranean, and then finishing your trip with a week on the Champs D’elysee. You probably only get to go on a vacation like that once and would be absolutely devastated if you got sick before leaving and had to forfeit your cruise deposit and the airline refused to give you a refund because you purchased non-refundable tickets. With travel insurance you’ll be able to file a claim and get reimbursed for all those expenses.

Other benefits, in addition to health and cancellation coverage, include lost bag insurance which is a must if you’re travelling with a laptop or expensive camera. So my recommendation is, if you’re just going on a short trip or staying domestically you can probably forgo insurance but if you’re travelling internationally or for an extended period it’s a must.

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Games to Play on Your Next Road Trip

Oct 18, 13 Games to Play on Your Next Road Trip

Road trips are amazing. Traveling hundreds, or even thousands of miles by car is the best way to see the world, meet people, and experience new cultures. However, I’ll be the first to admit there are definitely periods of monotony, especially on days when you’re in the car for 6+ hours at a time. And if you have kids, they can get restless after 15 minutes!

My family likes to play games when we’re traveling. It makes the time go faster and gives us something to talk about. And a little friendly competition is a good release for the pent up energy you experience after hours of sitting. So here they are, our favorite car games:


Ghost is a spelling game that can be played with two or more people. Pick a person to start and they begin by selecting a letter. Then, moving clockwise, the next person picks a letter, and on and on. The goal is to NOT be the person to spell a word. You have to choose letters that are part of an actual word, but you don’t want to be the person to finish the word. If you are left no choice but to spell the word you get the letter “G”. The next time you finish another word you would get the letter “H”, and on and on. The first person to spell GHOST is the loser. So if person 1 picks “N”, person 2 selects “O”, and person 3 goes with “T”, person three would get a letter for spelling the word “not”.

There’s a surprising amount of strategy in the game so be sure to pick your letters carefully.

20 Questions

20 questions is a road trip classic. One person begins by thinking of an object and the other players can ask 20 questions to try and figure out what it is. And no, you can’t just ask “what is it?”. The most common way to start is to ask if it’s an animal, vegetable, or mineral. That will help you figure what your follow-up questions should be.

Punch Buggie

This game can get a little rowdy, which may or may not be what your road trip needs. Everytime you see a Volkswagen beetle you you yell “Punch Buggie!” and get to hit your adjacent passenger in the shoulder. When I was growing up this game led to a bunch of fights with my brothers but we loved it anyway. We still play it sometimes just for old times sake. There’s no real winner but it keeps everyone alert with their eyes scanning the road.

The Picnic Game

If nothing else this game will help improve everyone’s memory. You work your way through the alphabet choosing an item you might bring on a picnic and repeating the items everyone else has chosen. So pick someone to start and they say “I went to a picnic and I brought apples”. Then the next person would say “I went to a picnic and I brought apples and blueberries.”. Continue moving clockwise around the car until someone makes a mistake. This game can be tough on the driver sometimes but it’s great for everyone else.

So there they are, my family’s favorite road trip games. Happy travels!

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The New 7 Wonders of the World

Oct 18, 13 The New 7 Wonders of the World

Not many people know this, but the original 7 wonders of the world were determined by the ancient Greeks and only included sites around the Mediterranean. While their original list was certainly impressive, it included the great pyramid of Giza and the hanging gardens of Babylon, there was an effort recently to create a worldwide list of wonders.

The new 7 wonders of the world was voted on by people all over the globe and includes amazing man-made structures on 4 continents. I hope to be able to visit them someday but for now I’ll just have to contend myself with reading about them. Here they are, in no particular order:

The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is a beautiful white marble structure located in Agra India. It was built in the early 17th century by emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife. The Taj Mahal is considered by many to one of the most beautiful structures ever built by man. Emperor Mahal must have really loved his wife!

Chichen Itza

Built over 1200 years ago, the Mayan pyramid at Chichen Itza (pronounced by elderly tourists as chicken pizza) is located on the Yucatan peninsula in eastern Mexico. Chichen Itza was one of the largest, if not the largest Mayan cities and the pyramid is thought to have been a place of worship and sacrifice.

Christ the Redeemer

This statue of Jesus Christ is over 100 feet tall and is located in the Brazilian capital of Rio de Janeiro. Completed in the early 1930’s, the statue is a prime example of the art deco style that was prevalent during the first part of the 20th century. The statue is located on a mountain on the outskirt of town and depicts and open armed Christ looking down upon the city.


Built by the Roman Empire nearly 200 years ago, the Colosseum is considered to be their most impressive architectural achievement. While everyone knows it hosted gladiatorial contests, it was also the political and social hub of Rome hosting plays, concerts, and political speeches. We may never know how many people the Colosseum could hold when it was at full capacity, but experts have estimated it to be as high as 80,000 people!

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China was built over hundreds of years beginning in the 7th century B.C. and is the only man made structure visible to the human eye from space. The wall was built to protect the Chinese empire from attacking forces but may have also served as a form of border patrol, ensuring that all goods entering the country were properly taxed. In total, the wall stretches more than 5,500 miles!

Machu Picchu

Located in Peru, the city of Machu Picchu was built by the Incas in the mid 15 century. The city is remarkable for a few reasons. First, it was built entirely of stone at an elevation of nearly 8,000 feet. Second, it was one of the few Inca sites not destroyed by the Spanish when they invaded in the 16th century. In fact, the city was virtually unknown to anyone outside that region until an American archaeologist wrote about it in the early 20th century.


Nothing elicits a sense of adventure like the final site on this list: Petra. Located in Jordan, and the site of my favorite Indiana Jones movie, Petra is an amazingly beautiful and complex structure carved directly into the side of a rock cliff over 2,500 years ago. Possibly one of the most amazing facts about this locale is that they figured out how to provide running water to all the different building by carving canals through the rock. They were definitely ahead of their time!

I don’t know about you, but this list makes we want to get out and see the world!

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