Travel insurance protection for international travel

Do I Really Need Travel Insurance?

Do the current attacks and events have you a little nervous about travel? It may be time to reconsider travel insurance.

This is a question that has personally confused me over the years. First, how do you know if you need it? Second, how do you pick it?

I think the answer is there are a few “ifs” and a lot you need to check out. Fortunately, it’s getting much easier to know whether you need it, and then to find the right coverage.

What to consider…

Where are you traveling?

If you’re headed to the coast with the kids for a weekend you probably don’t need travel insurance.  Headed down the road to visit Grandma? Same answer.

Frazzled travel planner 

If you are traveling over 100 miles, have to prepay for tickets, expensive events, or a tour, you may want coverage.

Keywords are “prepaid” and “non-refundable”. You can’t get insurance to reimburse you for money you haven’t spent.

If you are flying, you may want coverage in case there are flight delays or baggage issues.

Sit down with pen and paper and add up trip costs that are non-refundable. Things like pre-paid flights, hotel, all-inclusive packages, tour packages and event tickets. This will show you the travel coverage that you need.

International travel

International has more considerations. It’s more expensive and insurance coverage that you have may not cover you.

  • If traveling internationally, you may want to supplement your health insurance. This may also cover emergency medical evacuation. Medicare does not cover international travelers.
  • Are you a regular traveler? You can purchase coverage that covers all your travels in a year. There are some restrictions and caveats.
  • Another way to save on insurance is to cover all family members traveling together on the same policy.
  • Be aware of the limits and exclusions on the policy.
  • Think about extra coverage – for failure of an airline, cruise ship or travel
    Stressed travel researcher

    company.

  • Activity coverage. There are a lot of common tourist activities that are only covered if you request this. You may not ride an elephant or camel at home, but tourists do this. One woman was badly hurt falling off a camel.
  • Winter sports are a lot of fun but can lead to accidents. You need these covered, just in case.
  • “Cancel for any reason” this covers you for all eventualities. This covers you for things that are foreseeable but unavoidable. If you are traveling with a known medical condition, it’s the only way you can get reimbursed for last minute cancellation.
  • What about coverage through my airline reservation? Do some comparisons. These generally are much more restrictive and harder to receive reimbursement on.

Will you be driving internationally? Most travel policies do not cover international car rental. Your existing auto insurance may not cover this. Some credit card benefits do cover international car rental – check it out. But there are specific restrictions you need to be aware of. Reading the fine print is the only way to know.

Select coverage

When you start making reservations, you need to find desired coverage right away. Most companies require you to purchase coverage within 10-21 days of making your initial purchase. If you have additional purchases to make, contact the company.

Once you have decided what you need, you need to go to an insurance comparison website. Three of the leaders are:

  • insuremytrip.ocm
  • squaremouth.com
  • travelinsurance.com

I recently used Squaremouth based on a travel insurance review that I read. The company is top rated and has 44,795 travel insurance reviews. They made it easy to compare coverage and find exactly what I needed. And the price was less than I was expecting to have to pay.

[Note: I have no financial interest in Squaremouth and receive no reimbursement from them.]

Take documentation with you

In addition to your travel documentation, be sure to take copies and contact information for:

Travel documents
  • your travel insurance policy
  • international health care coverage
  • credit card details on international car rental if applicable

Proper insurance coverage will allow you to relax and travel knowing you have it covered.

Skip the Boozy Bachelorette – Celebrate with a Bachelorette Spa Wellness Retreat

Escape to a spa for your bachelorette retreat
Getty Images

In the past, brides, as well as grooms, have celebrated their upcoming nuptials with a weekend away partying. But with the growing focus on health and wellness millennial brides are opting for something more low key. A de-stressing bachelorette spa wellness retreat.

If you’re a bride or know a bride, it’s a great way to arrive at the wedding, relaxed, pampered and calm.

It might be just you and your bridesmaids or include some of your best friends. It’s a time to enjoy each other’s company and bond. Find somewhere local or pick a destination location.

Make it personal and include activities you and your friends enjoy.

  • Spa treatments
    • Massage
    • Facials
    • Manicures
    • Pedicures
  • Yoga together
  • Outdoor activities
    • Hiking
    • Horseback riding
    • Water sports
    • Skiing
    • Local walking tour
  • Personal fitness advice
  • Cooking class
  • Wine tasting

If fitness is a goal, find somewhere that offers healthy food choices that taste decadent. If the spa you want to visit isn’t in a hotel, is there a nice one nearby that meets those needs? It’s great to keep the group together for the best bonding and fun.

Some hotel resorts offer a great wedding location. They may also offer a package that will allow you and the girls to arrive a few days early. You can have your bachelorette spa retreat on-site. You will feel pampered, rested and relaxed for your magical day.

Their event planner can assist you with all the details and support services you will need.

Here’s a link to Brides for more ideas.

 

Do I need Car Rental While Traveling Domestic or Abroad?

 Car rental or no?

Car rental while you are traveling can be liberating. Using public transit is the best route if you are in a major city. Why fight the traffic, pay high parking fees or having to feed a meter? It’s a major reason why the locals avoid driving. See it as the locals do… on foot, bicycle, bus, trams, trolleys, trains.

But if you want to get out into the countryside, or do a road trip, then car rental is a must.

Your credit card may be an asset

You can save yourself some money by doing your homework before you make that car reservation. Start by looking at the benefits provided by your credit card company. Most card companies have a downloadable guide to benefits they provide.

Yes, the benefits guide is tiny print but you need to read it carefully. It may save you money. In order for their coverage to be in effect you must charge the car rental onto the card. You must also decline the collision coverage offered through the rental agency. Your benefits details will tell you exactly what you need to do.

The benefits guide will also tell you what it does not cover. I found they don’t cover your liability and medical benefits. Check with your auto insurance coverage company. If you will be renting in the US or Canada you may automatically have coverage.

International car rental

However, if you are going abroad, the game is different. You need to check what requirements you need to meet to drive in that country. Then using your credit card benefits information to check for coverage on

  • Collision/theft Damage Coverage
  • Loss of use charges assessed by the rental company while the damaged vehicle is being repaired and not available to use.
  • Reasonable and customary towing charges related to a covered loss to take the vehicle to the nearest qualified repair facility.

You need to know what is not covered. It may seem like common sense but if you are in any way breaking the law, you forfeit coverage.

Not all US auto insurers will insure outside the country. Mine doesn’t. That means purchasing the liability/medical coverage from the local rental agency.

Not all vehicles are covered. “Exotic, expensive” vehicles are generally listed as excluded. Antique automobiles, some vans and trucks are not covered. Renting an RV? Be sure to check to see if it is covered. If in doubt, be sure to ask your credit card benefits department.

It’s a good idea to go over the rental agreement thoroughly. This can be a challenge if you don’t speak the local language. If the rental company insists you take coverage, call your credit card Benefits Administrator. It’s smart to take a copy of the benefits information with you. It will have the details and the contact numbers domestically and abroad.

Before a signing of the contract, ask to see the car. You want to assure yourself that there is no existing damage to the vehicle. If there is anything amiss, make sure you document it with a photo and have it noted on the agreement.

Take a look in the trunk

Is there a spare tire?

Many new cars have no spare. Some have “hard” tires that when damaged give you 50 miles to get to a repair shop. Others have a little kit that must when a tire goes soft. This seals the leak and prevents further problems. Note: it’s only good for a single use.

Get familiar with what is there, how to use it and what to do if you have to use it. Should you contact them for a replacement kit? If a tire requires replacement, who pays?

It may sound far-fetched but it happened to us on our trip to the UK last summer. Tire acted funny. Then going down the heavily traveled M4, it started deflating. All we could do was get to the side of the freeway before it was flat. No spare tire. The kit didn’t work. We called AA.

When the truck arrived, they drove it onto the truck. When we got to the shop, they drove it off the truck. New tire time. We hadn’t selected “that” section of coverage and I hadn’t checked the credit card benefits. We had to pay for it out of pocket.

Lesson learned. Check everything ahead of time and know what’s in the trunk… or not.

Navigation

It’s best to have a navigator so the driver can focus. There’s the traffic, strange environment and staying on the correct side of the road for where you’re visiting.

If the car doesn’t have a navigation system, consider taking a Garmin or the like with you. Be sure to get the card for the area’s location if it is not included. It’s a worthwhile investment. Mine got my girlfriend and me to all sorts of places. Everything from restrooms to restaurants and home again. In a strange country, it was liberating security.

Pay attention to landmarks and your surroundings. Things will look different after dark.  Street lighting is not common on all rural roads.

10 Tips for incorporating wellness into your travel

Wellness Lifestyle Travel

You feel good with your commitment to a healthier wellness lifestyle. Your stress is more controlled, your body feels better, and your clothes fit better. You exercise regularly. You focus your food choices on fresh organic, local, seasonal…

Now you want to maintain those choices while traveling. It can be a challenge. Long hours sitting in transit, airport and hotel food.

Here are ten tips to help you incorporate wellness into your travels.

1) Plan ahead and take favorite snack foods with you.

While you cannot take beverages through security screening, you can take

Healthy travel snacks

food. Proteins, (nuts, seeds, organic snack bars), firm fruits/vegetables, dried fruit… a little advance planning can have you feeling better about your choices.

2) Schedule time to move between flights.

Instead of racing from one flight to another, consider giving yourself a little more time. Walk the airport, explore, make use of the yoga room to stretch and rebalance. All airports have places to walk, more are adding gyms, quiet rooms and massage.

3) Check your destination hotel.

Look for those that feature healthy lifestyle choices. Fitness facilities, access to bicycles, walking paths, yoga and more. Increasingly properties are making healthy food choices available. Don’t see what you are looking for on their website? Call them and ask questions to see if they can accommodate your needs. If not, are there restaurants or grocers nearby that feature organic, seasonal local?

Use internet search engines to help you plan. Find healthy choice restaurants and grocers near where you will be staying. Keep a list of those who meet your specific preferences.

4) Locate the nearest farmer’s market.

Farmers market

This is a great place to find

Healthy travel snacks

seasonal organic items. Often they include vendors offering prepared healthy selections.

5) Ship it ahead.

Consider shipping your own care package of non-perishable foods ahead of time. On arrival, collect the package at the hotel’s business office.

6) Schedule your travel to include time dedicated to your fitness activities.

Don’t let a tight schedule prevent you from a morning walk or time at the gym.

7) Opt for in-room fitness.

Incorporate exercise

Many savvy travelers carry lightweight packable devices like stretch bands. These plus normal in-room furniture allow them to get an exercise routine in. This is a bonus if the weather is inclement or the hotel’s fitness center gets high use. Some hotels also have fitness tools available for in-room use including DVD workouts.

8) Skip the elevators… take the stairs.

If you are staying at a larger property, select a floor that coincides with your fitness level. Then instead of standing around waiting for the elevator, take those stairs.

9) Track your fitness goals.

If you don’t have a personal activity device, there are free applications you can download on your smartphone. Most can track your distance, steps, kcal, time spent and movement speed. Some can be set up with alerts and reminders.

10) Relaxation time.

Relaxation and focused breathing is a proven way to

Time to relax

destress. Work stress, travel stress, too much technology stress. All benefit from dedicated time to relax. Yoga, meditation, and massage are recognized “safety valves” to reduce stress and enhance wellbeing. Schedule some into your trip and renew.

With a little preparation and planning, your next trip can be a wellness fitness trip. You’ll feel better, be more alert, have more energy and come home rejuvenated.

International Phone Use Mysteries Explored

Mysteries of International Phone Use Explored

When traveling abroad you need to plan ahead for your international phone and data use. We are so used to grabbing our phones for information, being without them can be daunting.

 
No way to check for where to meet someone. No way to let family at home know you have arrived safely. How do you find where to go in the airport? The list goes on.
 
You have to plan ahead to have your favorite tech tool working for you. Are you going to one country? Or, are you visiting several? How long are you traveling for? All of these factors will have an impact on choosing your best alternative.

Planning for international phone travel

 There are two major ways to manage your phone needs. You can use an international plan with your existing phone and carrier. Or you can take an “unlocked” smartphone. This method requires a prepaid International SIM card for each country you visit.
 
The easiest way to travel with your smartphone is to use your existing carrier.
Most carriers have some sort of plan. AT&T has a plan that will give you 800mg of data (about a week’s worth), for $120. Verizon’s international plan is $10 per day that you use the phone. T-Mobile and Sprint offer free international use – but the speeds are very slow.
 
All of the plans require you to set up international service before you leave on your trip. They can switch you from US service when you depart to your destination country when you arrive. Or that is what they say.
 
In my experience, there seems to be a time lag. My phone doesn’t seem to get I have just changed time zones. When set to “automatic” time settings, your phone should use the time coming in from local signals. I accidentally discovered the cure is to turn it off and then back on.
Reboot when the plane touches down. By the time you are exiting at the gate, you should be on the correct time and have access to local service.
 
A big plus to this scenario is family and friends will be able to reach you seamlessly. But so will those pesky telemarketers. And they will chew into your time plan. For Verizon, they activate the $10/day fee.
 
Unlock a smartphone.
Smartphones that are paid for have another alternative.  Unlock them following directions on your provider’s website to do this. If you can’t locate them, check with your customer support.
 

Locked phones only work on a single carrier. Unlocked phones can get a

Changing sim cards allows you access to local lines
Smartphone sim cards

separate SIM card and work on a local carrier. You will need to buy the SIM card and a local service plan for voice and data.

 
There are many choices on the internet. Some allow you to purchase and have the card waiting at your hotel when you arrive. SIM cards start at about $29.95 plus the service plan. Swap the cards and you are ready to go.
 
If you travel a lot, or take longer trips, consider buying a local phone. It will have a separate number, but you can just turn it on when you arrive and off when you leave. Service may be a flat rate or a per minute charge plus data. Do your math… it pays.
 

Purchase a local smartphone…

Purchasing a local smartphone starts at about $150 depending on make and model. Or you can rent a local smartphone starting at about $19.95 per week. This may have free incoming calls and pay per minute for outgoing calls. Be sure and check about a data plan, or keep the phone in airplane mode unless you are in a free wi-fi zone.
 

Other travel tips

I did have an unexpected hitch traveling with my US phone. Hotels won’t use that as a contact phone due to international charges. They wanted a local number for contact or limit it to email.
 
There is an easy way to save money with international service. Set your phone for manual data updates or turn off your wi-fi signal. Only turn it on when in a free wi-fi zone. This can save a bundle in data charges.
 
When using free wi-fi try to use one that requires a password. This protects your security. If only “public” wi-fi is available, avoid doing any form of transaction it isn’t safe.
 
Another way to save is to set up Skype. This free service allows you to use the free wi-fi available to call or message your family and friends. Mobile to mobile or a computer device is free. To a landline, it’s pennies to use. Load your Skype account with $5.00 – $10.00 and you will have enough to last a long time.
 
Another suggestion I found was to take advantage of free Apps. WhatsApp by Facebook allows for free phone and messaging services. WeChat does the same.
 
Both of these need access to Wi-Fi to function. You leave your phone in airplane mode unless you are in a free wi-fi zone. Switch airplane mode off, use the app and call free.
 
If you use this with your Verizon international plan, you can block incoming calls by being in airplane mode. Tell family and friends to message you and then use skype or other free app and call them when in a wi-fi zone. No use of your voice plan should mean… no international charges.
 
Voltage and converter needs. Be sure and check this before you leave. It can be difficult to find something that will connect your US phone into a foreign plug-in. You want to make sure you don’t toast your phone while recharging it.

Physical challenges require travel planning

Traveling with Physical Challenges?

Traveling with physical challenges requires planning.  I know, I grew up

Physical challenges mean you need a helping hand to enjoy travel
Sis at Wild Kingdom Lodge

around someone with physical challenges.  My sister was born with cerebral palsy. She is fortunate and with a lot of help has been able to lead a pretty normal, independent life as an adult.

Sis has some physical issues. Motor skills, balance, hearing and speech issues, and trouble judging changes in elevation.  She has the heart of a tiger. And big dreams.  It was always her dream to visit Africa. Elephants are her passion.

Finally, she had to accept it would be a physically and emotionally difficult trip for her. Her doctor advised against the arduous journey. That was a bitter pill to swallow.

My son, his wife and I decided to give her the next best thing to visiting Africa… A trip to Disney World with a stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.  The wildlife was right out the window. Giraffes, zebra, flamingos and her favorite… elephants, are in the park. She loved wandering through the African art and shopping for trinkets to take home.

Watching her so excited and blossoming was amazing.  But it did take a bit of planning.  Here are some thoughts.

Plan for Physical Challenges

Individual limitations – clearly define what their challenges are. Think about how those challenges may be affected by things you will encounter.

  • Luggage handling  What will they need through each phase.
  • Airport help – will they be able to board safely and get from gate to gate if there are transfers?  If it’s a long distance, you might consider a wheelchair assist.
  • Room needs – sis needed a handicap accessible shower. But she and I were
    Regardless of your challenges, Mickey Mouse welcomes all
    Mickey Mouse Greets You

    sharing a room and needed two beds.  Couldn’t get both in the same room.  With adjoining rooms, my son and his wife took the one with the single bed and the shower. Sis and I took the two-bed room.  While my son went for a gym workout she got her shower. This gave her a bit of privacy.  It worked great.

  • Meals – table service is easier than buffets. If your meal plans include buffets, be ready to assist them with food selection and getting it to the table.
  • Transportation – like lots of places, shuttles were the best way to get around. With the three of us, it was no problem to give sis the extra hand/support to make her feel secure.
  • Pace your tour – this varies by individual.  Physical challenges can makeyou burn more energy just getting through the day.  Be sensitive to signs of tiring and suggest a break. At a theme park, there are always places to sit and people watch. That was a real bonus.

    Timing can ease the challenges

Theme parks tend to be busy year around. But if you can go at what is

Wild Kingdom room views make you feel like you're in Aftica
Wild Kingdom Room with a view

normally a slower time, it can make it easier. We found out that the first half of December is a great time to visit Disney in Florida.  It is between the Thanksgiving crowds and the Christmas ones.  Lines were shorter, rates a little lower, fewer masses of people to negotiate. Weather can still be warm – or surprise you. It’s smart to either take a warm jacket or plan for a shopping opportunity.

Safari Village Gardens allow those with physical challenges to get around easily
Wild Kingdom Gardens let those with physical challenges get around

Sis discovered she could go and conquer. She mastered escalators – which had terrified her. Staff also spotted her and helped us so she was able to get on and off rides. She had the adventure of her life and we all came home with some great memories.

I’d love to hear your stories/comments/questions about traveling with disabilities.

Senior travelers need planning

Senior Travelers

I love memory making trips.  On a whim of inspiration, I decided to take

Senior travelers may not be as comfortable making travel arrangements
Taking charge of the planning ensures a safer trip with seniors.

my 80-year-old Mom to New England to explore some family history.  It was the first time I’d ever traveled alone with Mom. We made a lot of memories, and I learned some tips for senior travelers.

Take charge of the travel reservations choosing flights with the fewest transfers. Non-stop are great. Avoid early morning or late night travel. Seniors have more challenges with these.  Mid-morning or afternoon travel is much easier for them.

When I didn’t have that choice, we stayed at a hotel near the airport and let them transport us and our luggage. One less hassle for me.

Plan to do less

Plan to do less than you want.  That senior traveler doesn’t have your energy levels. They will need breaks and or naps.  Plan those breaks into your schedule.  While they rest, head to the lobby to get online, or head to the gym or for a walk.

What are their favorite things? Is there something they would really like to do or see.  If they haven’t traveled much, they may have no clue. Even though we had talked about the plan, Mom was repeatedly surprised and delighted. She knew it, but all of a sudden it was REAL.

Pick a good location with a helpful hotel

Once you know have chosen places to see, locate them on a map.

Seniors need planning to get around historic sights
When visiting historical sites- be sure to take your cane

Foursquare (www.foursquare.com) is great to help you find what you are looking for and map it.

Now you can locate lodging close by. Do a search for “lodging near” and insert where you want to visit. Depending on their abilities, you may want to go for a room with disabled access.  Onsite food services is a bonus if you arrive back to the hotel with a tired traveler.

Even if your companion loves food, older people tend to have a few more issues. They will appreciate casual dining choices.

Mom is diabetic so I had to make sure we stayed to meals at regular intervals. While I’m not into fast food, McDonald’s salads did come to our rescue a couple of times when traveling from one destination to another.

When making your plans, it may be helpful to see what type of restaurants are en route.  Smartphones make this much easier today.

Plan for Assistance

They may not be able to handle their luggage. Especially true if they walk

Airline services can assure traveling seniors safely get to their gate
Take advantage of airline services for senior travelers

with a cane. If there aren’t bell persons to assist, be prepared to tote those bags. Allow extra time as you will be moving bags for two.

Take advantage of airport services. Check your bags.  You won’t be able to handle both of your luggage and be able to help them.

Make sure any medications they may need are with them in their carry-on.

I didn’t want to risk Mom having to rush to catch a plane so made arrangements for wheelchairs to whisk her along. They worked great!  From check-in to the gate and making transfers.  I made sure she had a few dollars in her hand or pocket so she could thank them.

Be aware of what the facilities are in the places you want to visit. A couple

Canes or other assistance devices may be important for seniors
Seniors may want to have a cane for stability on uneven ground

of historical sites had gravel paths. I’m a pretty small person. Pushing Mom in a wheelchair became a real problem.  Thank goodness for a couple of nice big young men who helped me get her back to the entry.  But meeting new people and finding them generally helpful and friendly is a great part of travel.

If visiting a location where there is significant walking and it is ADA compliant, consider renting them a scooter to whisk them around.

Save the memories

Take lots of pictures. They will save the memories.  There are some great online services like www.shutterfly.com. You upload your photos and convert them into a memory photo book complete with comments.  Makes a great present to help them remember your trip together.

Travel Packing Secrets make your life easier and your suitcase lighter

planning your wardrobe is a great packing secret
Secret 1 plan your wardrobe for maximum mix and match

Travel Packing Secrets

There are definitely some ways to make packing for your next trip less stressful. These travel packing secrets will make your life easier and your suitcase lighter. Not to worry, you will have everything you need.

Casual touring

  • Define the activities you will be doing on your trip that take different clothes:
    • in transit clothes
    • casual touring
    • dinner out
    • swimwear
    • lingerie
    • undies
    • sleepwear
    • footwear
  • Plan for mix and match.  I love color, but for travel, it’s easier if you plan around a basic neutral, like black. Toss in a colored shirt or two for fun.
  • Pick fabrics that travel well and are comfortable to travel in.  Like denim? You might want to consider some with a dash of spandex, way more comfy to sit long hours on a plane.
  • Rule of thumb.  Every top must go with at least 3 bottoms and vice versa. It will save you trips to a laundromat and waste time sitting there instead of vacationing.

Business Travel

Have a business event to attend?  Use the same rules. Select outfits that make use of core pieces but can be put together for different looks.

  • Select shoes for comfort and that are multi-purpose.  Some people like to travel in work-out shoes so they don’t take up space in their suitcase.  Other people prefer slip-on shoes that are easier to get on and off in security.    Some people need 6 pairs of shoes for 4 days, others can get bywith 2 pairs for 2 weeks – dressy casual and walking.

    Packing smart

    A sturdy wheeled suitcase is a great packing secret
    Travel packing secret 2 Make sure your suitcase has wheels
  • Think about fitting it all into a 24″ expandable suitcase.  Make sure it has wheels.
  • Think about using packing tools.  Something like ebags packing cubes.  After living out of a messy suitcase for 19 days, I was ready for less mess. Then I stumbled across this website: www.ebags.com.  They had mesh topped zippered packing cubes. Have only used them once but wow, what a difference in packing and how your clothes arrive

When you get there, you can just put the cubes in your drawers. Bam!

Packing tools is my favorite travel packing secret
Travel packing secret 3 packing bags keep clothes tidy and organized.

You’re unpacked.

Or if you are living out of the suitcase, consider packing outfits in a bag. Grab one and you’re ready to go. Everything from the top and bottom to what goes underneath.

  • Traveling with toiletries can get cumbersome.  Take the smallest sizes you can find.  (Giant hairspray cans take up a lot of room.) Ask your stylist for a suggestion of one that works for your hair and meets the 2 oz travel requirements.  If checking a bag, you can avoid the lines at the Security Check Point by putting toiletries in the checked bag.

    gusseted quart carryons give you more space for your travel packing
    Travel packing secret 4 Clear Quart Carry-on
  • Concerned about missing a flight and an overnight without them? Then you want your minimal needs with you.  To give yourself more room, look for an approved gusseted plastic zip bag to put toiletries in. You can get more in the same size quart container with this type of bag.  With its approved emblems right on the outside, there are no questions.

Travel wraps and incidentals

  • What do you need for a wrap?  Remember airplanes can be cool so layering can keep you comfy. Going where it’s cold? Carry the jacket with you, or put it in an outside pocket of your checked bag. This will assure it is easily accessible when you get your luggage.
  • Don’t forget incidentals. What will the weather be?  Chance of showers or bad weather? Make sure your outerwear and shoes will hold up to what you may encounter.

Pack light, pack well, travel light, save your back and go have fun.

7 Tips to enhance your visit to a spa

tip 1 Use those resort amenities to enhance your spa visit
Take advantage of resort amenities is a key tip to spa visiting

7 Tips for Your Spa Visit

There are different ways to visit spas. Here are some tips to help you enjoy it to the maximum.

You can go in for a service. You can spend the day. Many hotels have spa’s on-site. This may mean you can spend the day at the spa, then wearing the lovely robe they provide, wander back to your room to freshen up.

Tip #1: Check out what facilities the spa or day spa has that you will be

Tip for your spa visit, know what amenities are available to you
Relaxation room with cedar spa in background

able to use. While we think of water and showers associated with spas, not all facilities have them. Some are only available to the person who is spending the day as opposed to a single service. You need to know this.

Tip #2: What are you going to be doing after your spa appointment? Plan your visit around this. You will most likely have no makeup and messy hair when you finish. Some treatments include a scalp massage and you may have residual oil in your hair. It’s well worth the disarray. But, if you have social plans either make sure they have a place you can restore yourself, or take a hat. I strongly recommend a hat! It’s a great travel accessory.

Tip #3: All spas should be collecting at least basic medical and skin history information about you. They need to know about any sensitivities that you have. If you tend to have sensitive skin, select non-aggressive treatments. Go for soothing and calming. They need to know what medications you are on, any implants you may have, or if you’ve had Botox or line fillers.

Tip #4: Speak up. Your therapist wants you to have the best possible

Another tip is locating where you can freshen up after the treatment.
Finding a facial room with en-suite shower is a great spa tip

experience. Let them know if you are uncomfortable, hot, cold, the pressure is too much or if a product is uncomfortable. Don’t just endure. They want you to be happy, but they can’t read your mind.

Tip #5: Wet floors can be slippery. Use the slippers they have provided you.

Tip #6: Some shower systems can be a mystery. If you can’t figure out how to turn their’s off and on, don’t hesitate to ask. Every time I travel, I run into one I’ve never seen before.

Tip #7: Be a good spa guest. All spas want this to be a relaxing experience. Turn OFF your PHONE. No phones are allowed in a spa. Guests who don’t follow the rules may be asked to leave. Relax, enjoy your visit, disconnect from the world outside.

Useful Tidbits you may not know about Scotland

Tidbits About Scotland…..

Want to visit the land of your heritage? Just love Scotland? Here are some

Eileen Donan Castle is one of the most photographed in Scotland
Eileen Donan Castle

tidbits you might enjoy.

Scottish History

The Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae is the oldest in Britain. It’s the oldest building, located on Orkney Island dates to 3100 BC. Orkney is one of about 790 islands in Scotland located to the far north of the country.

Roman invasions marked the beginning of modern history. Unable to defeat the locals, they finally withdrew and settled for building the Antoine wall to keep them in out of England.

The Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata was founded in the 6th Century. In the next century, an Irish missionary founded a monastery and introduced Celtic Christianity to the pagan Scoti and Picts.

Places to visit in Scotland

Like tall places? Visit Ben Nevis, the highest point at 4406 feet. The ancient Scottish mountains have been glacially sculpted. You’ll feel like you are in an alien landscape, majestic and stark.

Narrow road leading to ferry landing to take you from Skye to the mainland
Narrow Scottish road on the Isle of Skye looking to the mainland

Prefer fishing? You’ll find more than 600 square miles of freshwater lakes. The deepest is Loch Morar at 1077 feet. Legends still exist of giant sea monsters lurking in the deep lochs.

Don’t miss the distilleries making Scottish whisky. Whisky is synonymous with Scotland. It’s who they are. Currently, there are 98 active distilleries. They employ over 10,000 people and account for 85% of the Scottish food and beverage exports.
Did you know? Scotland didn’t invent whisky. It was invented in China. The Irish monks started distilling it in the 1400s and it reached Scotland about 100 years later.

Scotland is home to the oldest tree in Europe. You can discover the twisted yew in Fortingall where it has grown for 3000 years.

Over 2000 castles were built in Scotland. Many now are only historical documents or ruins. Others remain in private ownership. Historic Scotland cares for over 300 properties including 65 castles. These are open to the public.  Be sure to take a raincoat or umbrella as it rains frequently in Scotland.

Be sure to take a raincoat or umbrella when touring here as it rains frequently.

Where to live

Most of Scotland’s 5.2 million people live in the lower 30% of the country. They account for 8.5% of the total UK population.

What’s in the upper 70%? Glacially sculpted mountains and valleys, hardy farmers, lots of heather and sheep.

Did you know?

Keep meeting Americans with Scottish ancestry? Not surprising. There are as many Scottish people in America as in Scotland with about 5 million claiming Scottish ancestry.

You’ll hear not one but three official languages spoken. English, Scottish and Scottish Gaelic.

Kilts, tartans, and bagpipes are an integral part of Scottish culture. But history notes evidence of them in Central Europe dating to the Bronze Age. Bagpipes may have come from ancient central Asia.