Tag Archives: preparation

SAVINGS on Travel Insurance for Overseas Trips

Whether you are an expat, a round-the-world traveller, or simply someone who is headed off on their annual holiday, a comprehensive travel insurance policy is a VERY necessary item when you leave home. And anyone who fails to purchase such an essential thing may be taking their lives and their financial future in their hands. Rather a lot of people think that they are the ‘lucky ones’ and that no accident or theft or illness will befall them because they are alert and aware and prepared. But, as I can share from personal experience, life’s a little messier than that!

Before you even make a travel insurance purchase, there are ways to save on your overall costs. They usually mean you have to be patient enough to look at quite a few online options, compare the coverage, decide what you don’t need to trim things down a bit, and then consider paying a higher excess or deductible.

Why pay for action sports coverage if that isn’t your thing? And if you aren’t carrying a lot of tech gear with you the way we do, you can probably use a more budget-oriented company that’s a bit ‘no frills’ except on the essentials like medical coverage and missing luggage.

In the past, we have repeatedly used World Nomads as our travel insurance provider. I have nothing but the highest praise for this company and would recommend them to anyone. They were quite reasonably priced, were very pleasant to deal with, and we were quite satisfied with the service we received when we unexpectedly had to make a claim against travel insurance for the first time ever in 2012. They paid a week-long hospital bill for me when I was incredibly ill in France last summer and I would have been stuck with that hefty bill if we had not had an active policy at the time. An episode like that is one of the reasons that I continue to remind fellow travellers to ALWAYS have insurance because the unexpected really does happen more often than you can imagine.

That hospital visit left me in a tricky position though. I now have what’s known as a ‘pre-existing condition’ since it is an issue that could potentially reappear in the future. World Nomads was quite clear on their website when I checked a few days ago and it stated that yes, I could purchase travel insurance that would cover all of the other things like lost luggage or cancelled flights and so forth. But they would NOT COVER any medical issue that had been paid out in the past. On my!

That set me on an almost 3-day search of site after site to try and find good quality travel insurance that I could purchase by simply being honest, stating that I had been hospitalised for a previous issue, and paying a slightly higher premium. Easy, right? But when the companies that I was researching were moving from my budget-target of £500 for the two of us for a 6 week trip and zooming right up to over £1,200 for that short a period, I was a bit stunned. We paid that much for a full year of comprehensive travel insurance a mere 2-1/2 years ago!

I looked at quite a few companies in the UK and discovered that, one after another, they rejected our applications because Mark was British (so he was eligible to buy a policy), but I was Australian and therefore was not. Telling fibs and pretending to be a UK citizen or resident wouldn’t have been a good idea since it would have negated the insurance coverage completely.

When you are preparing to purchase your own travel insurance, you will need to make sure that you answer truthfully what country you are a legal resident of. Since we’ve given up on living in the UK and I didn’t bother doing the paperwork to become a legal resident, I am still a citizen of Australia so I did a web search on insurance for pre-existing medical conditions from the Australian Google site. Simply search from your own country so that if there is ever a problem, they can air-ambulance you back to your home country.

Some of the bigger companies that I included in my search were BUPA, Travel Insure Direct, Medi-Bank, Worldcare.com.au, and 1-Cover as well as the policies offered by banks in Australia. They were all over £1,000 for 6 weeks and CoverMore was the most expensive at £1,249.

Finally (whew!) on Day 3, I found what I was looking for — insurance that covered everything, had a medical certificate stating that I had declared my condition, and we were both covered for all the rest of the baggage, delays, and such. AND, triumph of triumphs, it came in at under £500 for the two of us.

The company we are using this time is InsureAndGo and they have branches in several countries. Securing that insurance for our upcoming trip was the final puzzle piece for the adventure ahead.

Come back soon for more pictures from Newcastle Upon Tyne!

©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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On The Verge Of Christmas in France

We weren’t certain what to expect at the St. Girons Christmas Fair on Sunday, but we headed across the bridge to see what was unfolding.

Headed to the Christmas Fair in St. Girons

Oh my — it was all rather underwhelming. I had been hoping for something along the line of the amazing Christmas markets that I had been to in Germany. But the folksy fair was a very accurate portrayal of the fact that France is generally not the same kind of consumerist society that we have lived amongst in Australia, the UK, or the USA. It seems that the holiday season here is more about families gathered around the table to enjoy food, drink, conversation, and company than about how many gifts are under the tree for each person. And isn’t that charming!

Here are a few pictures from Sunday’s Christmas Fair — followed by a few more from the previous day’s weekly Saturday market. That actually would have been a good place to purchase last-minute Christmas gifts since there were some splendid items for sale at very fair prices.

Christmas balloon seller in St. Girons, France


Carnival-style booth at the Christmas Fair in St. Girons


Hand-cast candles for sale at the Christmas Fair in St. Girons


Food sales benefiting the Autrefois le Couserons association


Christmas quiche seller at the weekend market in St. Girons, Midi-Pyrenees, France


Market stall selling straw goods in St. Girons, France


Happy Holidays to one and all!!!

©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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It’s Almost Christmas In France!

There are only 2 and 1/2 days left until Christmas Day and we had a leisurely ramble through our wonderful Saturday market today here in St. Girons. Thank heavens it is a little less crowded than during the manic summer months!

Saturday market shopping in France on the Saturday before Christmas

After buying our vegetables and dried fruit, we strolled through town enjoying all of the Christmas decorations and the happy vibe of the people all around. There was absolutely no sign of frantic last minutes shopping and everyone looked quite relaxed.

Now we’re home, listening to Christmas music on the stereo — and working on a super-secret project. Sorry — no advanced peeks!

Music for the Christmas season


©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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Prepping For A Winter In Europe

Just in case, mind you — just in case we can’t find steel cut porridge oats or my particular brand of shampoo or Mark’s all important wholefoods peanut butter in France or Italy or wherever we might be in Europe, we have done a bit (!) of shopping and placed almost all of it into stackable snap lid bins. Add a bicycle, a ladder, a few wooden boxes of tools, all of our luggage, clothing on hangers, and our bedding (we do love our own Egyptian cotton bed linens and down filled pillows) — and we are going to have a very full van! But now we can head back across the English Channel on the ferry this weekend in a much more organized manner.

Snap lid bins to help us organise what we travel with

Mark has spent part of the last 2 days lining the back of the newly purchased diesel van with a hardboard-plywood decking followed by new carpeting. That should make everything quieter and easier to load in and out of the back in the months to come.

Back of the van lined and carpeted and ready for travel

I’ve finally broken down and purchased an iPhone as a work tool whilst travelling and writing/photographing. And until I explored the APPS area of the iTunes store, I really had no idea how comprehensive the programs on offer were. I have spent a couple of days loading my selection onto the phone — so I’m ready to go.

Selection of APPS for iPhone

Need to run — my label-maker is about to get a workout!

©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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