Discover the tools and products you need to take more time off from work and live life to the fullest. Whether you want to travel smarter or gain a better work-life balance, our marketplace page has the answer. You can support VacationCounts by taking advantage of these offers from recommended businesses.
You have certainly heard the advice to run a credit check each year, of which the first is free by going to AnnualCreditReport.com (the only official, federally authorized). However if you travel extensively, have retired abroad, or work outside the country on an expat assignment or for the military or U.S. government, it is difficult to keep an eye on your credit status. What happens if there is fraud alert that you never receive or if a criminal opens up a line of credit in your name? Will you first find out when your credit card is declined or will you be alerted in advance and prevent your trip from being severely disrupted?
Credit monitoring is the only way to automatically receive alerts when there is something fishy going on that may negatively affect your credit. With a service such as ProtectMyID from Experian (one of the three credit reporting agencies alongside Equifax and TransUnion) you can be notified about unusual credit check activity, when financial accounts are opened in your name, and other situations that could be a first sign of fraud.
Buying travel insurance is a smart decision if you are visiting one or more foreign countries, especially when the quality of care is not up to your standard. So why do so many of us take the risk? For Americans at least, it is not likely that the health insurance plan provided by your employer will cover you effectively while abroad. It may cover you in a limited way (advanced approval, complex claims, out-of-pocket expenses, delayed reimbursement, etc…) and may not pay for medical evacuation should the situation require it.
Read my post on this subject to find out when I think it’s critical to buy a policy to protect your business trips and your international vacations.
With a low-cost basic travel insurance plan, you and your family will likely be covered for sickness and injury along with transport to the nearest reputable hospital while traveling outside of your home country. A more comprehensive or annual trip insurance policy can protect you when your trip is delayed or cancelled, if you lose your luggage or passport, or when there is a family emergency. When you are spending so much on airfare, hotels, tours or a cruise, buying a travel insurance policy makes financial sense. Plus it is much less expensive than purchasing a policy from your travel agent or the cruise or tour operator since you are avoiding the middleman.
Earth Class Mail is the trusted way to handle your postal mail (the paper kind that comes to your home) while you are traveling. It can be a lifesaver if you travel for work often or live abroad for extended periods of time. Are you planning on taking an around the world trip or expecting to live in a foreign country in the near future. Set up an Earth Class Mail account and change your important account addresses so you can receive your mail online, have the contents scanned for you, and forward it anywhere in the world.
Read our full review of the Earth Class Mail Virtual Mailbox Service and give it a free test drive to understand how it empowers frequent and extended travel.
I wish all cell phone plans would not just work worldwide, but have fair roaming rates. Unfortunately for most people traveling outside of North America, it makes sense to either buy an international SIM card or purchase an international smart phone. The people at Mobal offer both options for very reasonable rates.
You can purchase a phone that can be used in over 100 countries (OK you are not likely to visit anywhere near that many) to stay in touch, plan your trip as you go and for emergency purposes. For those lucky enough to have an unlocked phone where you can insert a SIM card, Mobal sells international prepaid SIM cards too. For an extended trip in one country, it is preferable to purchase a local prepaid SIM card. For most of us a cheap international roaming cell phone is the easiest way to stay connected while on vacation.
Not being able to speak a foreign language stops many people from traveling to a country where English is not the official language. No one expects you to be fluent in another language, but you can easily pick up the most common words and phrases. You’ll gain confidence to travel abroad and the people you meet will honestly appreciate the effort you made.
With Pimsleur you can learn by listening and practicing in a language of your choice to prepare for that future exotic vacation. It is proven to be effective and you’ll have fun talking in a foreign language around the house as you practice. Save with this Coupon for $5 off $25 (code SAVE5)
For an online learning experience like no other, head over to Rocket Languages for their award-winning courses. They make it fun to pick up a few words or become familiar with a language that you want to practice while on vacation. Believe me, a trip is much more rewarding when you can reserve a table, purchase from the market, say excuse me, or ask for directions on the train in the local language (and understand the response!).
RushMyPassport.com is a passport and visa expediter, for those situations where you do not have the time or ability to get a passport or visa in person. They’ll inform you of the documentation requirements, handle the processing and get your passport or country-specific visa to you fast.
To save money first determine where your nearest passport office (the U.S. Post Office offers this service as well) is located if you need a new passport or if it has expired and you cannot renew it by mail. For those countries where you need a visa to visit (like China, India and Russia for example) find out if there is a country embassy nearby. When you are running out of time and are willing to pay for expedited handling, give this business a try.
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