Do Your International Students Have COVID-19 Coverage?

This fall, StudyInsured™ will welcome new and returning international students, with full medical coverage from the day they arrive in Canada. As with all StudyInsured™ health insurance plans, this includes illnesses and expenses related to COVID-19, during and after quarantine. If you want to know more or have questions about your international student insurance coverage, contact any of our Student Team members listed below. We are always here for you and your students. CLICK HERE TO LEARN ABOUT THE CANADA TRAVEL EXEMPTION FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

EU Welcomes “Safe” Canadian Travellers. But Are You Ready?

By Milan Korcok Now that Canadians have earned a spot on the European Union’s safe travellers list, does that mean you are free and clear to book summer vacations or family visits wherever you like throughout the EU? The short answer is Maybe, and there are many contingencies to consider before you set your sights on spending part of the summer in Britain, France, Germany, Finland, Italy or any of the other EU member countries. The UK, for example has taken the biggest step forward in welcoming foreign visitors by dropping the 14-day quarantine requirement for those from “safe” countries (US is not included) as well for returning Brits. Ironically, the biggest problem for Canadians planning overseas travel is not their destination country, but Ottawa, which requires (as of this date) that Canadians returning from abroad may still be subject to 14-day self-quarantines. Sort of “Welcome Home. But…” Specifically, Travel…

Be Cautious of “Opening Day” Specials at Caribbean Resorts

By Milan Korcok Though vacation resorts throughout the Caribbean and Mexico are promoting re-opening dates throughout July and August. Canadians need to be careful about committing to firm reservations and deposits. You may be in for a culture shock. Let’s take Jamaica as an example because its tourism ministry has provided a detailed protocol (in 120 pages) that all hotels and resorts must follow in protecting their international visitors and their own citizens from the effects of COVID-19. It is expected to guide other Caribbean nations as they open up, which many have already done or will do in the next few weeks. Before you even board your flight to Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston or Sangster International in Montego Bay, you’ll need to have some form of certification that you have tested negative for COVID. If not, expect be swab-tested on arrival, and to undergo a temperature check.…

We support the fight for Freedom and Justice

Dear colleagues, The past few weeks have served as a stark reminder of the horrific impact of anti-Black racism across North America. We have also seen diverse demonstrations of people around the world, banding together in a collective call for change. We, at StudyInsured™, support the fight against racism, prejudice and bigotry in all its forms. As one of the largest and longest-serving providers of international student insurance, we believe that the study abroad experience is transformational, helping to expand our world views and teach tolerance and respect for each other. While Canada outwardly celebrates diversity, international students within our borders have sadly, been subjected to acts of bullying, racism and discrimination. In the spirit of actions speaking louder than words, we want to empower our partner schools with useful tools in the fight against social injustice through the following initiatives: A cyberbullying toolkit, outlining strategies to help educators identify…

Enable a successful return to work for employees…

…while taking mental health into account As companies around the world organize their employees’ “physical” return to work, questions about the psychological challenges employees experienced during the lockdown should be addressed. Taking into account the mental health impacts of COVID-19 will fortify a safe and successful return to work. This webinar will help to better understand these impacts by reviewing concrete examples and recommending practical measures to implement. O U R E X P E R T S W I L L D I S C U S S : Psychological occurrences and effects during lockdownSteps management should take to adapt to the diversity of employees’ psychological needsA global overview of best practices, based on real-life casesQ&A (20 min) The session takes place at 8:00AM – 9:00AM (EDT) on Thursday, June 25, 2020. It is especially relevant for anyone in a leadership or Human Resources role. Register for the webinar OUR SPEAKERS:…

Happy Birthday, Canada! How Old Are You Now?

You might hear people say that Canada is turning 153 years old this year. What this really means is that we’re celebrating the 153rd anniversary of the Constitution Act of 1867, which established Canada as a country. In actuality, this place is a whole lot older than 150 years! Long before European settlers showed up, this land was inhabited by Canada’s First Nations. In fact, they’ve been living in the place we now call Canada for at least 12,000 years. (Learn more about the first peoples of Canada.) Of course, having lived here for such a long time, our various First Nations groups have their own unique explanations as to how our country came to be. Read some of those creation stories here—and find out why some know North America better as “Turtle Island.” For the key events in Canadian history since Europeans came to our shores, see this summary…

Canada Accommodates International Students: Even Through the Pandemic

By Milan Korcok As America prepares to pare down its recruitment of international students—citing tighter immigration controls, job protection for homegrown graduates, concerns about China’s infiltration of intellectual properties, and the lingering consequences of COVID —Canada’s colleges and universities are polishing the welcome mat, beefing up online alternatives, extending post-graduate work guarantees, and ultimately strengthening Canada’s position as the world’s third most favoured destination for international students. According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), international students to Canada have more than trebled their numbers since 2009, peaking at 642,000 in 2019—behind only the US and Australia. Of these, 48 percent have chosen to study in Ontario, 23 percent in British Columbia, 14 percent in Quebec and the remainder have spread across all of Canada’s other provinces. Clearly, the onset of COVID will impact those numbers going into 2020/2021. But in May, IRCC announced accommodations to shield international students from…

Travel Insurance is Not “Optional” in Navigating the Pandemic

By Milan Korcok If ever there was ever a time for Canadians to consider travel insurance mandatory—this is it. With much of the western world inching toward re-opening leisure (non-essential) travel, the prospects for mandatory temperature checks, health status certificates, quarantine requirements, and unexpected cancellations are expected to last for the remainder of 2020 and perhaps into 2021. And if an illness, or even a high temperature reading, can force you into a 14-day quarantine (imposed either by your host country or your own government) consider the cost. To date, most governments (Canada’s included) have strongly urged travellers leaving their country to get the best medical and trip cancellation/interruption insurance possible. Their travel advisory websites have gone to great lengths describing the types of insurance available and the situations that can trigger the need for cover. The need for this was clearly illustrated when the Canadian government sent chartered airliners…

From StudyInsured: A Message of Commitment COVID-19 COVERAGE

I hope this message finds you, your families, friends and colleagues safe and healthy during this difficult time. From the onset of this crisis, we, at StudyInsured, responded quickly. Since last December, we have provided assistance and support to clients around the world, including China, India, the United Kingdom and Europe, as they experienced the effects of COVID-19. Knowing full well that our partner schools would need more than medical coverage, we mobilized tools, information and support resources. Even with these new developments, our services, coverage and above all, our commitment to you remains unchanged. This commitment includes coverage for illnesses and/or expenses related to COVID-19. To be clear: advocating for international travel and education, supporting schools with scholarships and grants and providing international students with peace of mind is more than just a business for us – it’s been our pledge since 1946. We continue to work hard, even…

MSH Americas and StudyInsured™ are proud to announce the launch of the International Student Wellness Hub

Our mission at MSH Americas will always be the same: to respond to the needs of today’s globally-mobile individuals and organizations with innovated products and industry leading duty of care solutions. Since 1946, we have been protecting international students and supporting schools to improve the study aboard experience in Canada and around the world. Being able to anticipate the changing landscape of the international education industry and responding to the needs of students and schools is what sets StudyInsured™ apart from the competition. To continue this legacy, we are proud to bring the International Student Wellness Hub to our students, schools, and partners here at home and around the world. The Hub is the ultimate resources for international students and schools, to find useful and practical information during this uncertain time due to COVID-19. The Hub includes information on: 1. Mental Health Tip Sheets for students: Information and tips for your mental health, and…

Battling COVID-19 Episode 7: Being Patient in a Challenging Time by Dr. Michael Szabo

Remember back in early to mid-March when the reality of COVID-19 was sinking in? Before that point, we knew it was an issue of concern, but we didn’t think it was much to stress over. However, we slowly began to realize that the virus was spreading in the community in North America. We heard horror stories from hospitals in Italy, where health care staff were overwhelmed. We began to see the same thing happening in New York City. All of a sudden, it changed, and our lives were altered dramatically. We immediately went into lockdown. We didn’t leave the house unless absolutely necessary. March Break vacations were cancelled. Restaurants and stores were shut down. Schools were closed. We started working from home. We carefully wiped down our groceries and washed our hands obsessively. I listened to a podcast recently where one of the speakers likened it to what happens when someone…

FREE Webinar on Re-engineering Readiness

Tues, May 26th, 2020 | 10:30 – 19:30 BST We are thrilled to announce that MSH Americas will be part of The Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council full-day Virtual Summit, with more than 60 speakers representing travel and hospitality, national governments and NGOs and associated industries such as finance, communications, technology and healthcare. Key takeaways from this summit include how to: Assess the state of play for the industryIdentify new trends in travelEstablish trust in a post-lockdown worldBuild credibility and reduce fear through communication and action Speakers: Greg Land, Global Industry Leader, Hospitality & Travel, IBM Robin Ingle, CEO, Ingle International / MSH AmericasAkemi Tsunagawa, CEO, Bespoke Tony Smyth, SVP, iFree Group Carlos Cendra, CMO, Mabrian Technologies Moderated by: Lee Hayhurst, Editor, Travolution Click here for full conference agenda Join us for the FREE Re-engineering Readiness Summit that will take place from 10:30 – 19:30 BST on Tuesday, May 26. Sign-up Today!

Working Out at Home Like a Pro during COVID-19

As the world adjusts to life during the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are spending much more time at home than we usually would. Whatever routines we may have had just a few short months ago have had to adapt and change. And current social distancing guidelines meaning that in-person fitness classes are not likely to come back any time soon. The good news is that there are plenty of exercises you can complete in the comfort of your own home, right now—no fancy equipment required. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your at-home workout. Start with bodyweight exercises Bodyweight exercises are just what they sound like: rather than relying on equipment or weights, they use the weight of your body—like push-ups and sit-ups, for example. This makes them easy to complete pretty much anywhere. (Just don’t forget to stretch first!) Here are some…

Are Snowbirds Ready to Plan for Life After Covid?

By Milan Korcok Any other year, Canadian snowbirds would be anticipating the release of early-bird travel insurance deals for the coming winter season in the US sunbelt or other warm subtropical location. June, July, August—that’s when insurers normally begin rolling out their products for the coming season. But this is not just any other year. The attack of Covid-19 coronavirus has seen to that. As we know, many of you got back north of the border by the skin of your teeth in late March and April before the border shut down. A few others didn’t quite make it and had to pay the price of quarantine. And now the quandary: what to do about winter 20/21? A lot of questions to deal with. When will the US/Canada border restrictions end? Will you feel safe travelling to your winter home? Will you have to wear a face mask all winter?…

Time to Think About Travel Strategies—After Covid-19

By Milan Korcok. That Air Canada expects the pandemic hangover to last at least three years, exposing the airline industry to endure its “darkest period ever,” portends deep instability for all aspiring travellers for the foreseeable future. Canadians and Americans have a lot of places to go and activities to enjoy within a day’s drive—anticipating that the border shutdown between our countries doesn’t last indefinitely. But without the sustenance of air travellers, the tourism infrastructure—hotels, entertainment venues, theme parks, all-inclusive resorts, and mom and pop roadside operations, can’t operate at full capacity and with complete menus for long. A winnowing of destination choices and services becomes inevitable. As Air Canada Chief Executive Calin Rovinescu said in a statement dated May 4, “We expect that both the overall industry and our airlines will be considerably smaller for some time, which will unfortunately result in significant reductions in both fleet and employee…

Battling COVID-19 Episode 6: Wearing masks properly by Dr. Michael Szabo

The decision by public health authorities on whether or not to recommend the use of face masks was a difficult one. One of the biggest reasons was that educating the public on how to safely wear a face mask is challenging, because of the many details involved. During my recent forays into the public, here are the top 5 issues I have seen with people wearing masks:  Pulling the face mask down over your chin.  This is probably the number one mistake.  After wearing a mask while outside for a walk or going to the grocery store, you may need to talk to someone more clearly, eat or just “want a break” from it – so you pull it down over your chin. By doing this, you effectively contaminate yourself with any virus particles that were on your mask prior to that. The rule is once you put your mask…

“Every Kid Needs a Champion”: Five Must-Watch Videos for Teacher Appreciation Week During Covid-19

Being a teacher isn’t easy, especially in a COVID-19 world with virtual classrooms and technological challenges. This Teacher Appreciation Week, we pay tribute to all teachers by sharing five heartfelt videos to show our solidarity with their efforts and appreciation for all they do: 1. Every Kid Needs A Champion | Rita Pierson Source: Ted Talks Education 2. A Teacher Appreciation Week for the Ages Source: Edutopia 3. Barack Obama Surprises Teachers for National Teacher Appreciation Week Source: NowThis 4. ‘This Will Be A Teacher Appreciation Week to Remember’: WCPSS Superintendent Cathy Moore Source: TheNews&Observer 5. Student Parade for Teachers Source: Wane.com To all teachers and school administrators, thank you for going above and beyond in your efforts to instruct, inspire and challenge students to believe in themselves🍎 – The StudyInsured Team

[Battling COVID-19 Episode 5] A Vaccine for Coronavirus: Are We There Yet? By Dr. Michael Szabo

The current COVID-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented effort by scientists around the world to develop a vaccine. Vaccines are important to protect us where the risks of natural infection are significant. COVID-19 is a more deadly and dangerous virus than the flu. While we still do not have definitive data on the true risks of infection with COVID-19, one can safely say that places like New York City or Italy have never seen a flu season similar to what they are currently going through. Since mid-March, more than 60,000 people have lost their lives in the United States due to COVID-19. It is important to note that this has happened despite the institution of public health measures like physical distancing, quarantines and self-isolation. If not for these, thousands more would have died. Is Allowing Natural Infection a Good Option? One way to protect the population is to allow…

Five Self-Isolating Tips From A Nuclear Submarine Captain

The evolution of the brain is the most obvious example of how we evolve to adapt.Rick Potts, Director of the Human Origins program at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History We’re all living in a new world, and the self-isolation that comes with it. As social beings, we’re used to living our lives by connecting and empathizing with others. Read on for some survival tips on how to cope with our new reality, as told by a nuclear submarine captain about his experience on a U-boat. 1. Ask questions: “How are you feeling today?” has become our new greeting – and that’s fine. We need to reach out to friends and family and check in every day. It instills empathy and reminds us to feel that we’re not alone. 2. Think first, act later: When living through stressful situations, we tend to act on instinct. Let’s slow down…

Cruise Bargains Sound Tempting. Can You Afford to Bite?

By Milan Korcok Despite the lingering images of cruise ships stranded at sea with passengers begging to be freed, the world’s cruise lines continue to drum up business for 2021 and even 2022. And bookings are said to be brisk–thanks to deep price-cuts and on-board cash value incentives. When US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifts its “No Sail” order depends on when it considers the COVID-19 plague under control. And though cruising is a worldwide industry extending far beyond US ports, the world’s three biggest lines*are headquartered in Florida, and their vessels at some time or other sail in US-controlled waters patrolled by the US Coast Guard. Thus, CDC jurisdiction is quite clear. (*Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Holdings account for 60 percent of all cruise traffic). However, none of these lines, and very few others, are flagged in the US, thus they have not…

Battling COVID-19 Episode 4: Why we need to keep physical distancing By Dr Michael Szabo

In Canada, our efforts to flatten the curve are going well. Thankfully, we haven’t seen the same surge of cases that hit New York City, Italy and Spain. Don’t get me wrong, those of us on the front lines here have seen a lot of cases, but so far, our health care system hasn’t been overwhelmed. While our good fortune has much to do with our heeding of public health guidelines, collective uptake of physical distancing rules and staying home as much as possible, I’m still a little worried. There is something about our human nature that concerns me. At times, public health strategies can become the victims of their own success. Vaccines are a great example. The incidence of diseases that were once part and parcel of everyday life has been greatly reduced, and in some cases, eradicated completely with the advent of vaccination. As we don’t see these…

[CE Credit Webinar] Managing Expats: Know the Landscape, Seize the Opportunity

Attention agents and brokers in Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario! Are you looking for free Continuing Education (CE) credits? Do you know the difference between a travel insurance solution and iPMI (International Private Medical Insurance)? Do you want to learn how to successfully overcome global mobility challenges? Get the right global mobility strategy to embrace these changing times in a free CE Credit Webinar on Wednesday, April 29 or Wednesday, May 6, sponsored by MSH International (Americas). Join this session to learn: How to define an expatriate vs. a global citizenSolutions for an improved travel and health care experience for globally mobile clientsBest practices on how to provide value amid changing global circumstances Register today for one of the upcoming sessions: Wednesday, April 29 – 11am MST / 10am PST / 1pm EST Wednesday, May 6 – 11am MST / 10am PST / 1pm EST Hosted by Sales Executives, Alannah…

Is Coming Back to Normal, Good Enough?

By Milan Korcok It may be too early to think about getting back to “normal” once the threat, and the carnage, of COVID recedes. It could be that what was once normal just isn’t realistic anymore. In Europe, border-free travel between neighbouring states is no longer a given. We have seen how quickly self-preservation can overrule an ideological imperative. In North America, the unthinkable action of shutting down the “world’s longest undefended border” has actually happened—even though commerce continued and most “trapped” travellers eventually found their way home. But just the fact that it could be shut down came as a stunning shock of millions on either side of the so called 49th parallel who had come think that “crossing over” for a few days or half a year was a basic human “right.” It isn’t. It never has been. It’s a privilege. And it can be withdrawn if push comes to shove…quickly. Reality can be stark. How are these new “realities” going…

Introducing MSH HealthExtend

Flexible, everyday health coverage, affordably priced Is your client… In need of a benefit plan? We can help them take care of their health and wellness. We partner with the world’s best providers of health benefit plans to bring your clients uninterrupted health coverage, tailored to their needs. Our expert advisors are with you every step of the way to help you choose the right product and streamline the enrollment process. Contact our Health & Insurance Solutions TeamCall toll-free: 1 800 292 9460Email: msh.agent@americas.msh-intl.com

Time for Canadians to Take up Trip Cancellation Coverage

By Milan Korcok It may be some time before tourism gets back to normal, but one thing the COVID pandemic should have taught Canadians is that they should be paying just as much attention to trip cancellation/interruption insurance as they do to out-of-country medical emergency coverage. The recent example of cruise ships being forced to cancel or divert trips for which their passengers have already prepaid several thousand dollars emphasizes that travelers could be at significant financial risk very quickly through no fault of their own. And though cruise companies have responded with pledges of refunds for interrupted or aborted voyages, those refunds usually take the form of credits for future cruises—not cash. Such credits don’t always confirm vacationers’ schedules or their changing attitudes about the cruise experience. A 2019 survey by travel insurance vendor Kanetix revealed that 65 percent of prospective Canadian travelers do not buy travel insurance or even know if they have cancellation or interruption benefits in their policies—which in Canada are heavily skewed to…

[Battling COVID-19 Episode 3] Face Masks in a COVID-19 World: To Wear or Not to Wear? By Dr. Michael Szabo

Should we wear a face mask when out in public right now? It’s a question many people have since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its new recommendation that people wear face masks when leaving their homes. Canada’s chief public health officer has echoed the recommendation. There is confusion because the CDC and the Public Health Agency of Canada had initially suggested that face masks not be worn in public. The flip-flop in recommendations has triggered many questions. It’s important to understand that, in a complex and evolving situation as this, it can be quite difficult to set a firm policy. As the situation changes, the risks and benefits of recommendations are constantly re-evaluated. In a way, it’s reassuring that agencies aren’t being rigid and are revising their guidelines based on the best available information, with the goal of keeping us all safe. However, the reason behind…

Battling COVID-19 Episode 2: From the Front Lines with Dr. Michael Szabo

With the increasing number of COVID patients presenting themselves to hospital emergency departments across Toronto, it’s a regular occurrence for me to come across several suspected cases while I’m working. Most are well enough to go home, but some are so sick that they need to be admitted. I find myself checking in on the test results of patients I have sent home, breathing a sigh of relief with each negative and feeling a knot in my stomach with each positive. The challenge with being an emergency doctor is that we see a lot of the bad outcomes. They are our reality. During a pandemic, it begins to feel to us like “everyone is dying” – but not everyone is. In fact, the majority of people recover from the virus. The increase in positive results will not only usher in a new reality but hopefully will reduce my own anxiety…

Battling COVID-19 Episode 1: From the Front Lines with Dr. Michael Szabo

Recently, I’ve been working quite a bit in the emergency room of the hospital where I’ve served as a staff physician for the past 20 years in downtown Toronto. There are many positive things happening at the hospital: Everyone is working together to prepare for all the challenges that lie ahead. We’re all connecting with co-workers in ways that are meaningful and inspirational. The strength of the human spirit is alive and well. And we know that we will get through this difficult time and be better for it.We’re starting to see a number of cases of very sick patients with COVID-19 at the hospital. Yes, most of them are older folks over 70, often with chronic health problems. But I’m going to be real with you. We’re seeing some young and otherwise healthy people becoming very sick – sometimes, critically. It’s important to realize that these cases are rare…

10 Tips to Help International Students Survive Self-Isolation

For the 642,000 international students currently in Canada, COVID-19 presents a challenging situation, leaving them isolated and financially vulnerable with few options available. Studies have shown that loneliness can damage mental and physical health, leading to depression. Some students may face problems processing information, and have difficulties with memory retention, recall and decision-making. Our minds can serve as our best friend or worst enemy during such times. As guardians for and carers of international students, we want to share these 10 tips to help them survive the COVID-19 crisis: Kill isolation with daylight: Our circadian rhythm can change in only 24 hours without daylight, impacting our sleep cycle and making isolation feel worse. An increase in daylight exposure reduces levels of melatonin, helping students to feel more alert and awake. Encourage moderation of online activities: Find activities that don’t require a screen. Students are accustomed to stimulation from mobile devices so disconnecting is important for them to reconnect with themselves. This may be accomplished by simple tasks such as preparing a meal or house…

COVID-19 Expatriates FAQ’s

Effective Date: March 26, 2020Please note: This FAQ document replaces any and all previous versions. Currently Available in English Only. Can I receive COVID-19 testing even if I have no symptoms? Since medical benefits are largely limited to expenses related to unforeseen emergencies requiring immediate attention, elective testing for COVID-19 is unfortunately not covered. If you are in Canada, please check with your province’s Ministry of Health for COVID-19 testing details. For example, in Ontario, COVID-19 testing is covered at no charge, regardless of your eligibility under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. Where do I go for COVID-19 testing? If you are in Canada, please visit the website for your province’s Ministry of Health to view a list of assessment centres in your area. Are over-the-counter COVID-19 screening kits (such as those available in pharmacies) covered? Unfortunately, over-the-counter medications, including screening kits, are not covered. Does my policy cover medical…

COVID-19 Visitors to Canada FAQ’s

Effective Date: March 26, 2020Please note: This FAQ document replaces any and all previous versions. Currently Available in English Only. Can I receive COVID-19 testing even if I have no symptoms? Since medical benefits are largely limited to expenses related to unforeseen emergencies requiring immediate attention, elective testing for COVID-19 is unfortunately not covered. If you are in Canada, please check with your province’s Ministry of Health for COVID-19 testing details. For example, in Ontario, COVID-19 testing is covered at no charge, regardless of your eligibility under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. Where do I go for COVID-19 testing? If you are in Canada, please visit the website for your province’s Ministry of Health to view a list of assessment centres in your area. Are over-the-counter COVID-19 screening kits (such as those available in pharmacies) covered? Unfortunately, over-the-counter medications, including screening kits, are not covered. Does my policy cover medical…

COVID-19 Canadian Travellers FAQ’s

Effective Date: March 26, 2020Please note: This FAQ document replaces any and all previous versions. Currently Available in English Only. Can I receive COVID-19 testing even if I have no symptoms? Since medical benefits are largely limited to expenses related to unforeseen emergencies requiring immediate attention, elective testing for COVID-19 is unfortunately not covered. If you are in Canada, please check with your province’s Ministry of Health for COVID-19 testing details. For example, in Ontario, COVID-19 testing is covered at no charge, regardless of your eligibility under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. Where do I go for COVID-19 testing? If you are in Canada, please visit the website for your province’s Ministry of Health to view a list of assessment centres in your area. Are over-the-counter COVID-19 screening kits (such as those available in pharmacies) covered? Unfortunately, over-the-counter medications, including screening kits, are not covered. Does my policy cover medical…

Stay in Place. Follow Official Guidance. This will End.

By Milan Korcok By now, all Canadians who have been abroad should either be at home or in the final process of getting there. The coronavirus COVID-19 has changed our lives, and perhaps, when we come out at the other end of this trial, we’ll all be better off for it. We’ll be better prepared to deal with any such disruption in future, more cognizant of how vulnerable we really are when we travel to environments not our own. For now, travel is not in our immediate future. For Canadians, some of the most inveterate travellers on earth, that may seem like a forbidding challenge. But this too will pass and when it does we may view travel as more of a privilege than a human right and we’ll be more careful about our choices, our preparations, our own untidiness when it comes to making plans, our own consideration for…

Cruise Lines Roll Out Deep Bargains During Virus Threats… Interested?

By Milan Korcok Cruise lines are now offering deals you wouldn’t have believed possible even a couple of weeks ago—obviously not to China or other western Pacific regions, but anywhere else—to the Caribbean (which normally attracts 32 percent of the world’s cruise traffic), to Mediterranean waters (forget Italy), Alaska and the rest of the world. They have suffered severe business losses since the COVID epidemic spread, and they intend to stay afloat during the current tempest. It’s a buyers’ market, for either short or long term bookings. Should You buy? That’s your personal decision and your willingness to take on risk. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases, and consultant to the White House COVID response team, has advised that anybody with a serious underlying condition, and especially persons over 60 with serious conditions “should not get near a cruise ship.” Canada’s PHAC…

5 Inspiring Women Travellers You Need to Know

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day—and in the spirit of trailblazing women, we want to honour the experiences of some of the most inspiring female travellers from around the world. From a world-record holder, to a decorated Paralympian, to the creator of a supportive community for adventurous travellers of colour, there is no limit to the heights these intrepid travellers can reach. Let’s jump into their amazing life stories to celebrate these women’s courage and love of travel! Lhakpa Sherpa In spring 2000, Lhakpa became the first Nepalese woman to summit Everest and descend alive, and she has continued to make history since: she holds the world record for women climbers of Mount Everest after reaching the summit nine times. Raising her three children by herself after ending years of abuse in her marriage, Lhakpa has let no obstacle keep her from her adventures; she frequently works many jobs to…

Coronavirus Advisory for Italy and Neighbouring Countries

February 25, 2020: Travellers planning trips anywhere to Europe in the near future need to stay tuned  to government and media alerts now that COVID-19 has seriously impacted Italy and begun its spread to neighbouring countries. As of this date, more than 200 Italians have been confirmed positive for the virus and seven have died—the heaviest toll of any country in Europe. Though most of the cases reported to date have been clustered in northern Italy, a late report has just been received of a positive confirmation of coronavirus in Sicily, southernmost Italy. And according to Germany’s DW (Deutsche Welle) News service, Austria has confirmed its first two cases of the coronavirus—detected in two Italians living in the Tyrol region who were likely infected on a recent trip to Lombardy (encompassing Milan) in northern Italy. Croatia has also reported its first confirmed case in a young man who returned from…