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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!

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…

[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…

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…

Coronavirus Impacts Travel Insurance Coverage: Stay Protected

With commercial airline traffic to and from China virtually shut down, and with little prospect that control of the coronavirus is imminent, travellers need to do a quick study of what travel insurance can or cannot do in protecting them from unexpected costs of emergency medical care, trip cancellations, disruptions, re-routings or possibly even temporary isolation far from home. To help with that study, we have asked Matt Davies, Senior Product Specialist with MSH International to help us navigate through the finer points of travel insurance benefits and limitations as they are provided to Canadian travellers planning visits to countries impacted by the coronavirus epidemic. One important point to emphasize is that these guidelines or limitations are largely dependent on government assessments of health or other risks in foreign countries and are not just arbitrary rulings set out by insurers. The before or after rule Generally, if you purchase insurance for…

MSH International Boosts Its Global Expansion With New Health and Travel Insurance Products and Services

MSH International (Americas) is accelerating its international expansion and services to meet the growing demand for its comprehensive, global health insurance products. Adding to the company’s great products and services a new suite of offerings addresses up-to-the-minute needs of leisure and business travelers alike and includes: LivExpat, a new generation of flexible and cost-efficient international health insurance plans MSH Navigator, a mobile application, with geo-tracking capabilities, security warnings, travel and city guides, two-way communication and single-touch access to emergency and provider networks MSH ASSISTANCE, a comprehensive product offering with round-the-clock multilingual medical assistance, emergency evacuation, repatriation and risk management to travellers, worldwide. Born of a 2017 merger between MSH International and Ingle International, a supplier of international insurance solutions for travellers, students and expatriates since 1946, MSH International continues to experience rapid international growth. Together with its continuous product innovation, tailored facilities, global capabilities, customized web and mobile sales/information portals…

Join Our World Wanderer Club! Experience the World in a Whole New Way.

World Wanderer Club We are excited to introduce the new and exclusive “World Wanderer Club” to you travel lovers! If you’re looking for new places to go, travel secrets and tips, the right products to assist your trips, helpful travel blog posts on current events, and special travel perks, discounts, and contests – this is a travellers’ wonderland for you! We hope to inspire you to travel and see the world just like we do and to discover places you never knew about. You can gain a new perspective and educate yourself by travelling abroad as well as learning how to protect yourself when you’re away from home. You can always have fun, but you’ll have the most fun when you’re prepared! Our World Wanderer Club is your resource for: International travellers Canadian travellers and Visitors to Canada Special risks and adventure travellers Group travellers International student travellers Snowbirds Expatriates…

Partner with Your Doctor when Applying for Travel Insurance

Among the most frequent stories I hear from Canadians who have had their travel insurance claim denied are: “My doctor never told me I had a heart murmur” or “he didn’t say that heart pill was for atrial fibrillation” or “my CT scan didn’t show anything abnormal”—so why would they have reported any of this on their application? Why? Because it’s up to you to know what’s in your medical record when filling out an insurance application—and if your claim is denied for non-disclosure or because you had a pre-existing condition that wasn’t “stable,” you are the one who will have to pay the bill. And no matter how strongly your family doctor protests your denial in a letter after the fact, you are still responsible for providing accurate and up-to-date information to the insurer. The decision to pay your claim or deny it will be made on the basis…

Know Who Pays When Your Flight Doesn’t Go Up

This past summer, two of the UK’s biggest airlines stranded hundreds of thousands of travellers in distant locations by cancelling flights at the last minute and invalidating reservations for future flights already planned: Ryanair because of pilot scheduling problems, and Monarch Airlines because it suddenly went out of business—virtually overnight. What about all of those passengers left stranded overseas? Thanks to some quick action by Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority, and a special consumer protection program in which most vacationers book their trips with specially licensed and bonded travel organizers, most were returned home relatively quickly on aircraft chartered by the CAA at no cost to themselves. But at first glance it was not quite so clear as angered passengers were told by airline staff to call their travel insurers for assistance home and recompense for the costs of making and paying for alternate arrangements. At which point the Association of…

Travel Insurance Claim Denial? Demand Answers

If you’ve ever had a travel insurance claim denied, you know how frustrating it can be to get an answer in plain language that tells you why an insurer won’t pay. First of all, let’s get one fable taken care of: Insurers do not routinely deny claims and pay only those for clients who fight back. 95 percent of all travel insurance claims submitted are paid. But if you are among the unfortunate few to receive a claim denial letter and you don’t understand why, you should ask for clarity.  It’s your right. What to do Get right back to the insurer, or the party that sent you the denial letter (it could be the insurer’s assistance company), and ask for a detailed, written report that you can study at your leisure, or take to your doctor. Ask to have key words—such as “pre-existing condition,” “stable,” “condition,” “exclusion,” “eligibility,”…

Studying in Canada? Everything You Need to Know About Your Medical Coverage!

As you prepare to go back to school, watch this video to get comfortable with your insurance coverage. Let Ingle International guide you through a day in the life of insurance. Subtitled videos in multiple languages are also available further below. In these videos you will find: A break-down of your insurance package An introduction to the multilingual team that is looking after you Information on how to identify the level of your medical need (emergency room versus walk-in clinic) An overview of your toolbox, which includes, but is not limited to your website, Intrepid 24/7, the find a doctor tool and how to submit a claim. And more! Hot tip: Be a smart consumer, always read your policy wording. Watch this video with English, French, Spanish, Chinese or Vietnamese subtitles. For tips on how to prepare for the changing travel seasons, read articles here.

Buying Travel Insurance Online? No Time for Haste

Misunderstanding or minimizing the content of travel insurance policies is one of the most frequent causes of claim denials—more so since online applications are gradually eliminating the advisory role of trained sales agents. Quick and easy online applications that can be completed in 5-10 minutes may fit conveniently into our busy schedules, but if they encourage carelessness or lack of attention, they can invite catastrophic consequences. Let’s look at the case reported recently in the British newspaper The Telegraph—of an English family that took a leisure trip to Berlin and on the way home found that their return flight had been cancelled for the day. Because the husband and son had urgent reasons to return to London, they took alternate and circuitous flights to get home as quickly as possible, encountering several hundred GBP in additional airfares. Bought in haste? That’s trouble The husband told the newspaper reporter that…

Your Guide to Travel Awareness

During the terrorist attack on London UK, casualties and injuries resulted in 4 dead and 40 injured. Though residents and travellers appear more rattled than days prior, London Mayor Sadiq Khan resolves, “Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.” In that breath, it is important to continue travelling and review terrorism preparedness procedures. Over 70 years, Ingle International has developed a wealth of resources about specific events of terror, as well as risk response best practices. Take advantage of these hand-picked articles below, and keep travelling. Common Sense Tourism Protection Lessons From Orlando, Stay Vigilant Terrorism is Changing the Face and Price of Travel Europe Tightens Border Rules, Prepare but Still Enjoy Trip Cancellation Interruption Insurance in Times of Terror How to Respond to Active Shooter Situations A Helpful Guide to Plan for Travel Emergencies Have a look at our travel insurance options.

Four Things to Know about Walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain

The Camino de Santiago is one of the most important Christian pilgrimages of medieval times. Legend has it that the bones of St. James, Jesus’s first disciple, are buried at the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela. Today, pilgrims of all faiths come from around the world to walk The Way for religious, spiritual, health, or personal reasons. If you’re contemplating taking on this challenging pilgrimage here are a few things to keep in mind before you go. 1. Earning a compostela  Every pilgrim will carry a passport, or credencial—a document that identifies them as a pilgrim. If you plan to start your walk in the popular launching-off city of St-Jean-Pied-de-Port you will be given a passport when you register as a pilgrim at the pilgrim’s office. Otherwise, you can obtain a passport at almost any church or albergue (pilgrim’s hostel) in Spain. Each…

What Type of Travel Insurance Do I Need?

You’ve heard it here before: travel insurance is not a one-size-fits-all sort of purchase. That’s why Ingle carries an extensive list of insurance products to cover all sorts of travelling scenarios. But if you’re not familiar with all the ins and outs of travel insurance, looking at the long list of available options out there can feel a little daunting—like having too many brands to choose from in the grocery store. So, what exactly are all these different plan categories? And which one is right for you? With a few quick questions, we can help you figure that out.   1. ARE YOU CANADIAN? Yes, I’m Canadian. For most travelling Canadians, however, Canadian Travellers Insurance offers extensive coverage for a wide range of scenarios. In addition to travel medical coverage for illness and injury abroad, there are also non-medical coverage options for things like cancelled and delayed transport, lost…

Lola Answers Questions about Her Summer Trip to Africa

1. Where did you go in Africa? I went to Morocco, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Tanzania. 2. Do I need to get inoculated before I go? Absolutely. Check out Do I Really Need to get Vaccinated? for more information. 3. How do you choose a good tour company? First, research what you want to see. I began with Trip Advisor, read reviews, then emailed my choices for quotes. I asked lots of questions and eventually narrowed it down to 3. 4. What type of clothing should I take on safari? Take clothes that are easy to wash and dry quickly. Choose earth tones; no whites or bright colours since they make you stand out. Don’t take camouflage clothing that can be confused for military uniforms or dark colours such as black or dark blue because they attract Tsetse flies. Think casual, comfortable and easy to layer; t-shirts,…

No Hospital Beds at Home For Canadians Travelling Abroad?

If ever you’re stuck in a foreign hospital waiting for your travel insurer to get you back to Canada for continuing medical care, don’t blame your insurer for putting you on hold. You can be darned sure your insurer would like to get you back home where your medicare picks up the tab. In a foreign hospital, it’s the insurer who pays. The problem with repatriation now, as in the past 35 years, lies in the inability of health care bureaucrats  to break the hospital bed logjam that bedevils doctors, nurses and floor staff working in most of Canada’s hospitals. How bad is it? On November 30, 2016, the Ontario Auditor General released its most recent report on lengthening waits for beds in the province’s community hospitals. I note that this is a provincial report and not all the findings translate exactly to other provinces. But the similarities are…

5 Tips for Part-Time Travellers

Not everyone can quit their jobs and travel full-time—it’s just not a lifestyle that suits the majority of people. But having a career and a life at home doesn’t mean you have to wait until you retire to travel. Despite what people may think, it’s possible to see the world and maintain a career and home base. Here are five tips that will help you succeed with part-time travel. 1. Use your vacation days In 2015, more than half of Americans left vacation days unused. In most of North America, employees get two to three weeks of vacation, but so many people don’t take advantage of these days and instead let them go to waste. Those with full-time jobs are in the best position to travel because they have a steady income. So stop feeling guilty about asking for time off from your job, you’ve earned it! 2.…

8 Myths about the Full-Time Travel Lifestyle

When I sold everything to travel, I couldn’t imagine a time when I’d say I’ve been on the road for 10 years. But here we are, 10 years later. I’ve travelled through and/or lived in over 50 countries in that time. And I’ve learned a lot about what “full-time travel” really means. Here are eight myths about the full-time travel lifestyle that I’ve learned along the way (often the hard way!). Myth: Full-Time Travel Is an Extended Vacation Full-time travel is a lifestyle rather than a trip or vacation. When travelling full-time, there’s no “regular life” or “home” to return to, like there is if you are travelling for a limited time. This creates a different mindset around foundational ideas like what home is, and ultimately, how to create that sense of home abroad. Myth: Full-Time Travel Is for Rich People Most full-time travellers work in some way…

Spotlight City: Dublin, Ireland

Dublin is the capital and largest city in Ireland with over 1.2 million residents. The city is characterised as a centre for national education, culture, industry, and economy in the country. Around seven million tourists visit Ireland each year, and the number is growing especially after it was ranked as one of the top cities to visit in 2016. The tourism sector is an important and well-developed industry in Dublin, and providing a safe and memorable visit for tourists is one of its top priorities. Before departing for a trip to Dublin, be sure to understand the security situation to have a safe and enjoyable time. Threats and Risks to travellers in Dublin:  Dublin is generally a safe city, and it is a progressive and accepting society. Millions of visits are made each year, and almost all are trouble free. Violent crime is rare; however organised crime and gang…

The Best Canadian Winter Adventures According to Travel Bloggers

Nobody does winter like Canadians. When it’s twenty below and school has been cancelled for snow, most people put a kettle on the stove, turn up the thermostat, and curl up in a blanket. Canadians, on the other hand, bundle up the kids, pull on a toque, and head for the sledding hill. Yes, Canadians have made an art of enjoying the cold. (How else could you explain our passion for curling?)  But even we forget how many awesome winter activities we’ve developed over the years. To help remind us of all the rad things there are to do this winter, I asked 12 travel bloggers to share their favourite Canadian winter adventures. Here’s what they told me. Take a Snow Bath at the Quebec Winter Carnival Quebec City’s Winter Carnival is a 62-year-old tradition that brings the city to life during some of the coldest weeks of winter.…

Travel Fatigue and How to Avoid It

I’ve been proverbially homeless for 10 years, travelling through and living in over 50 countries. Over the years, I’ve experimented with many different styles—and paces—of travel. In 2010, embracing a “backpacker” moniker, I breezed through a dizzying number of countries. In that entire year, the longest I spent in one place was three weeks; on average I “moved house” every five nights. After this fevered travel pace, I spent the first six months of 2011 in a near-comatose state of recovery. Something wasn’t right. I couldn’t quite define what was wrong, but I had an unsettled feeling. I was fundamentally tired, like I hadn’t slept well in months. On reflection, this was true; too many late nights, early mornings, unfamiliar beds, and communal living quarters had taken a toll. I was dizzyingly confused; the whirlwind of travel in the previous year left me feeling like the world was spinning around…

4 Reasons Your Insurance Claim Might Be Denied

When you buy travel insurance, the hope is that you are purchasing some peace of mind for your trip. However, every once in a while, a high-profile case hits the news about a claim that was denied, leaving the claimants with huge medical bills. This understandably has some travellers concerned about how much they can actually rely on their insurance policy. The good news is: as long as you fully understand the workings of your insurance policy, there’s no need to fear an unexpected surprise from your insurer. To help you gain that confidence, let us explain the four main reasons why someone’s insurance claim might be denied. Why could my claim be denied?  1. Because your claim was related to a pre-existing condition. This is a term one hears often when it comes to travel medical insurance, and there can be some confusion around what it really means.…

Travel to Canada Surges, So Does the Need for Medical Protection

Canada remains an increasingly attractive country to visit. Recent data from Statistics Canada verifies that in the first 8 months of 2016, the number of visitors from Europe, Asia Pacific, Central and South America, and to a lesser degree the United States ( due to a poorly performing loonie) have been breaking records. According to Statistics Canada’s August 2016 Tourism Snapshot: Canada welcomed 12.4 million overnight visits from international travelers from its 11 most popular overseas destinations in the first 8 months of 2016. That is up 10.4 percent over the comparable period in 2015—14.4 percent if travel from the US is discounted. And where are all of these visitors coming from? China is comes in first with 428,000 visitors, followed by Europe’s 3 main markets (UK, France, Germany), Japan, South Korea, Australia, India and increasingly from South America as well. Analysis of the numbers indicate that many come to…

Zika Warnings for Canadians Travelling South, Winter 2017

It’s the time of year that Canadians start planning their winter vacations in warmer climates. But this year, due to the massive spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus throughout the Western Hemisphere (except for Canada), planning a vacation should involve some additional research. Warnings to avoid travel to  Zika affected countries or regions are primarily directed towards women who are pregnant, anticipating become pregnant, and their partners (see the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory at the end of this article). For others, Zika is not a serious threat: 80 percent of people infected with the virus suffer no symptoms, and those who do may notice only mild fever, rash, fatigue, lasting a few days—not usually requiring medical care beyond the use of aspirin of acetaminophen. Where is Zika active according to CDC current reporting? This does not include areas where residents have contracted the…

Spotlight City: Cairo, Egypt

Cairo is a bustling and culturally rich city that attracts millions of foreign travellers each year, and the majority of visits are trouble-free. However, in recent years, large-scale demonstrations, civil unrest, and security threats have battered the tourism sector. Before embarking on a holiday or routine business trip to Cairo, there are a few crucial factors you should keep in mind. Understand the threats and risks to travellers in Cairo, even if the occurrences are unlikely Being prepared and understanding the security situation should give you more confidence than fear. It is commonplace throughout Cairo to go through metal detectors and have bags searched before entering some sites, which may cause delays. The crime rate is moderate, although the risk of violent crime is low due to the high police presence. Tourists tend to be the most susceptible target for petty theft, so be sure to take precautions. You…

Riding Alone across the Continent: Therapy on Horseback

On July 8, 2012, when I jumped into the saddle to ride horseback from Canada to Brazil, I had no idea the journey of solitude I was about to undertake. There were times during the 803 days I spent on the road when family and friends met me, but for the majority of the trip, it was just my horses and me. Some nights I met generous people who kindly hosted me in their homes, while other nights were spent camping in the wilderness. But every day, while I rode, I spent eight to ten hours alone. Without saying a word. Or hearing one. Some days my voice hardly came out in the afternoon. And on some stretches I went days without seeing or conversing with another human being. Being left alone with your thoughts for such long periods of time, away from your family and loved ones, is not…

How to “Vet” Your Travel Insurance Policy

Critics of travel insurance often argue that claim denials are too frequent, unfair to the customer, and might be avoided if issuers vetted policy applications at the time of distribution instead of when a claim is made. The rationale for that argument is that applicants could then be certain that their policy would pay off in case of medical emergency abroad. Sounds reasonable, as a principle—except that it’s impractical given the millions of policies issued to Canadian travelers each year. At present, most policies are issued on the understanding that customers provide complete and accurate information about their medical histories when applying for insurance. Some are asked a few questions about recent treatment interventions, medication use, or hospitalizations; others, usually elderly travelers, are required to complete detailed medical questionnaires designed to give underwriters a more precise assessment of their health status. And there are other policies—usually attached to credit cards—that…