Safe Holiday Travel Destinations

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Posted in Miscellaneous, Travel Safety
Safe Holiday Travel Destinations

There are a lot of things to thing about then considering safe holiday travel destinations.

Where are the safest places to travel to this holiday season? 

In these politically charges times, not to mention unpredictable climate changes, you do have to take some extra time in planning. One thing to carefully consider, no matter where you go, is a solid medical emergency plan.

If you are considering a destination that may be questionable there are a couple of really good sources to check before you book that flight.

  1. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) lists 225 countries in alphabetical order. Click on a country name and you will be given detailed information about that country, travel info, and any travel advisories (if there are any).
  2. The Unites States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) provides travel alerts and advisories, as well as Holiday travel tips.

According to a recent article in The Telegraph:

5 counties with a security status to watch out for

  • Tunisia – It’s almost three years since the terror attack on the beach at Sousse.
  • Turkey – the FCO still advise against all travel close to the Syrian border.
  • Thailand – Avoid the border with Malaysia
  • Egypt – If you are traveling to holiday resorts check FCO advisory first. Large parts of Egypt are deemed to be unsafe due to attacks on police and security forces.
  • France – According to the FCO, ‘Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in France’ – people are advised to be vigilant.

Safest countries to visit

Iceland

The Global Peace Index (GPI) in 2017 ranked the country of geysers, glaciers and the Northern Lights its safest destination for the seventh consecutive year. Its egalitarian society and general air of lack of conflict make it a great place to visit, and with mixed saunas for all ages and the magnificent Blue Lagoon keeping everyone in a peaceful frame of mind, it’s hardly a surprise that it’s a good spring destination.

Croatia

Positioned nicely in central Europe, spring and summer in Croatia has sunshine, relatively cheap hotels and restaurants, and a magnificent living history that is ancient, medieval and in many places very recent. It has a relatively low terror threat, and although there are still areas with landmines, its narrow layout gives it a laid back coastal mentality that makes it a peaceful destination for a summer holiday.

Chile

Chile is continually ranked as the safest country in South America, with political stability and a growing economy, a low terror threat and the highest on the Global Peace Index. Its narrow coastline stretches all the way down the Andes mountains, and it enjoyed record tourist numbers in 2017, with English visitors up 6% to a record 54,714.

Japan

You’re so safe in Japan, that if you accidentally leave your camera or laptop on a bench, you’re likely to come back a few hours later to find it there and untouched. Japan is perennially ranked as the safest country in the world. Even better, it’s also the cheapest long-haul holiday value destination, where your pound will go further. Spring in Japan has the magnificent Hanami cherry blossom season, while summer is a beautiful time to visit the many holiday islands.

Malta

One holiday island the FCO regards as safe is the jewel of the Mediterranean, the rugged, historic beauty of Malta. Its capital Valletta is is the European Capital of Culture in 2018, and while it may not have sandy beaches, it is compact, walk-able and is a living history of Europe, and a safe place to travel for families and enjoy year-round sun.



Flying with Nut Allergies: the risks and new accommodations

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Posted in Travel Health
nut allergies

Nut allergies are serious, life-threatening medical conditions. People who have serious nut allergies have to anticipate exposure everywhere they go. Airplanes are places where they have to be particularly careful due to close quarters and the high volume of people who travel.

Airplane passenger with nut allergies now allowed to board early on American Airlines.

nut allergies

Fortunately, American Airlines has taken an important step in accommodating passengers who have this condition by allowing them to board early. This gives them time to wipe down their seat and surrounding area. The company announced that the new policy will go into effect on Dec. 12 after flight-service manuals are updated.

It will be interesting to see which additional airlines are the first to follow suit.

Nut allergies can be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and these passengers believe they should have the right to fly safely just like every other passenger on board.

Traveling with a peanut allergy

Travelers with Nut Allergies Could Benefit from a Travel Emergency Medical Plan

People who have nut allergies know all to well how scary it can be when you are exposed. If you are traveling outside of your daily routine, you might not be able to anticipate every possible potential situation where you could come in contact with nuts. Emergency trips to the hospital are a real possibility. For this reason, a travel medical emergency plan could be the perfect thing for your peace of mind.

For less than the cost of an airplane ticket, you and your whole family can be protected.

Don’t have a plan?

GET A PLAN

WE BRING YOU HOME



Holiday Travel – The Latest from TSA

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Posted in TSA Tips & Reports
holiday travel

Holiday travel during the holidays can be tough, but knowing what TSA expects of you will help. The TSA website, is a great resource for information on how to avoid delays at the security checkpoint.

Our first suggestion is a given no matter what:  Plan to arrive early so that there’s plenty of time for security screenings.  

What if I have mobility issues?

If you have mobility issues, keep in mind that you can call the TSA Cares help line 72 hours before your flight and have someone from TSA there to assist you once you arrive at the checkpoint. The number is 855-787-2227.

Another important point: Even after you’ve arrived at security, you can always request to speak with a supervisor or ask for a private screening.  

What if I Use Mobility Aids?

If you use mobility aids, you know that they are items such as:

  • wheelchairs
  • scooters
  • crutches and
  • canes

If you’re able to raise your hands above your head and can walk without assistance, it’s likely you’ll be asked to submit to advanced imaging technology or a walk-through metal detector. If you can’t stand on your own, or choose not to be screened using these techniques, you will require a pat-down. A pat-down is also necessary if you trigger an alarm during screening.  

Shoes are subject to screening, as are crutches and canes. If you’re unable to remove your shoes, additional screening will be required for them as well. Wheelchairs and scooters, including cushions, can be checked even while occupied, and certain removable portions will undergo x-ray screening.

Still have mobility aid concerns?

  • Contact the TSA Cares helpline at 855-787-2227
  • Click here for a video on TSA and mobility
  • For TSA’s frequently asked questions, click here

What about “Real ID” on Domestic Flights?

In 2005 Congress passed the Real ID act mandating that states establish minimum standards to help ensure secure issuing of driver’s licenses and ID cards. In short, the Real ID act is intended to stop the use of fake IDs by making faking harder to do.

Right now, every state in the US is either compliant or has been issued an extension, meaning you will not have any Real ID issues during the 2018 holiday season. However, the federal government will not accept non-compliant licenses as ID beginning October 1, 2020.  

Passports and passport cards continue to pass muster as acceptable forms of ID, as do “Global Entry” and other cards known as “trusted traveler cards.”

Children under 18 years of age still do not require identification provided their companion has appropriate ID. If you plan to send your child on a flight as an unaccompanied minor, check with the airline to make sure you understand the requirements.

For more on Real IDs click here.

Don’t Forget…

An Emergency Medical Plan is a great investment, especially if you are traveling multiple times in one year or are traveling overseas. If you get sick or injured, the cost of out of pocket medical transportation can be as much at $100k. For less than the cost of a plane ticket your whole family can be covered.

Don’t have a plan? GET A PLAN



2019 Travel Trends: What’s in store for next year?

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2019 Travel trends

What’s in store for 2019 Travel Trends?

Planning anything big for next year? Now is the time to start thinking about those vacation days you are going to rack up in 2019. What’s on your bucket list? We’ve compiled the latest 2019 travel trends from several sources into one easy to read article.

Let us know where your next trip will be?

2019 Travel Trends

Technology

Even though people tend to go on vacation to “unplug,” technology advances in hotels can make traveling more convenient. Hotels are working on how to integrate things like Alexa and more automated devices without taking away from customer service. The flip side is that more and more travelers are seeking destinations to recover from work burn out and escape social media and email. People will continue to seek more and more remote places to unwind.

Online Booking

Some big players (think TripAdvisor and AirBnB) are working on expanding their platforms to provide friendly, one-stop-shopping for all of your vacation planning. No more website hopping. This is great news for those who plan their own vacations and like to shop deals.

Related: Where in the World is Airbnb Cheaper than Hotels?

Healthy and Active Travel

More and more people are looking to stay healthy and active while on vacation. This means more activities and a wider variety of healthy food options.  This includes yoga sessions, bicycle tours, cooking classes, spa retreats, snorkeling, hiking and more.  Authentic food experiences is also a huge trend made popular by many cooking shows.

Related: 5 Activities to Keep You Active on Vacation

Off Peak Travel

Travelers are taking advantage of deals available in the off season. Cooler weather is also a great perk for many of these deals.

Related: Traveling During Hurricane Season: Tips for Deals & Survival

Educational Trips

2019 will see a focus on travelers making choices with extra significance as they look to add more purpose to their trips. Over half (56%) of global travelers agree traveling has taught them invaluable life skills, and 2019 will see a rise in people’s desire to learn something new while traveling, as well as an increase in volunteering and skills-based vacations across generations.

Related: Family Learning Vacations

Environmentally-Friendly Travel

In 2019 environmental concerns will turn into greater environmental action. Millennials and Gen Z travelers will look for sustainable experiences in their destination, while accommodation providers will look to reduce their plastic usage and increase their sustainable credentials. Expect to see a number of new travel start-ups and individual enterprises committed to shaping a new future for our planet’s destinations emerge in the coming year, with intriguing technology at the core of their solutions.

Related: Eco-Friendly Travel Experiences

The Weekend Getaway

Over half of global travelers report they plan to take more weekend trips in 2019. It’s a year that’s predicted to be all about made-to-measure, bite sized travel with more curated travel itineraries squeezed into shorter time frames. There will also be an increase in the desire to stay in unique and remarkable accommodations, which will give more meaning to the shorter vacations.

Related: Packing Tips for Traveling Light

Don’t Forget…

An Emergency Medical Plan is a great investment, especially if you are traveling multiple times in one year or are traveling overseas. If you get sick or injured, the cost of out of pocket medical transportation can be as much at $100k. For less than the cost of a plane ticket your whole family can be covered.

Don’t have a plan? GET A PLAN


 

Sources:

Budget Travel 

Intrepid Travel

Travel Daily News

Travel Weekly

 



Traveling During Hurricane Season: Tips for Deals & Survival

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Posted in Travel Emergencies
hurricane season

We are in the midst of Hurricane Season in the United States and some of you may be second guessing your travel plans. Hurricane Michael ended up being stronger than originally thought. However, when planning for next year, or even in the next few weeks–you don’t necessarily have to avoid this time of year for travel.

Things to consider when traveling during hurricane season

1. Price Breaks

The travel industry knows people may be less inclined to travel during hurricane season so many companies have deals and incentives to boost tourism. With a little bit of planning, you can take advantage of this.

Remember, weather is unpredictable and the odds are pretty low that a storm will hit when and where you are traveling.

2. Get a Medical Emergency Plan and Trip Insurance

Some trips are just worth the extra insurance, and hurricane season is one of them. Be sure to consider all your trip insurance options for flight, accommodations, and car rental. In addition, an Emergency Medical Plan is a great investment, especially if you are traveling multiple times in one year or are traveling overseas. If you get sick or injured, the cost of out of pocket medical transportation can be as much at $100k. For less than the cost of a plane ticket your whole family can be covered.

Don’t have a plan? GET A PLAN

3. Cruises are a great way to go!

Cruises are a pretty safe option when considering traveling during hurricane season. Even though it is counter intuitive (open water and all that) it actually does make sense if you think about it. Cruise lines have amazing weather technology and can adjust their stops and route if there is a storm in their path.

If there is a hurricane looming, a cruise ship can get ahead of it and head out to see. You are far safer being at sea than on land during a hurricane. Plus, there are some really really great cruise deals this time of year.

4. Be Flexible

If you do plan a trip during hurricane season do it with an open mind and flexible schedule. Flights can get delayed and plans may have to be changed. It doesn’t mean your trip will necessarily be cancelled, just changed. If you know this going in it is less likely to cause stress. Include buffer travel time on either of your trip just in case.

hurricane season

 

5. Be Prepared

In the event that you will have to travel some extra days or be delayed–pack accordingly. Extra clothes, medications and available vacation time at work are all things to consider.

Related:  5 Things to ALWAYS Pack in Your Carry On

6. Choose your travel providers wisely

Picking the cheapest options aren’t always the best way to go this time of year. Many travel providers have a lot of experience dealing with hurricane season and have built in safety measures. They also know how to save you time and money in the event of a hurricane. Always read the fine print and ask a lot of questions.

The Take Away

You don’t need to avoid hurricane season when making travel plans and there are many great deals out there. Just be sure to include some pre-planning measures and never forget the trip insurance and a medical emergency plan.

Happy Travels! We Bring You Home!



Medical Marijuana in Carry-Ons is Now Allowed

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Posted in Travel Safety
Marijuana in Carry-Ons

LAX (Los Angeles, California) Airport announced they will start allowed allowing small amounts of medical marijuana in carry-ons.

In an article published yesterday by CNN Travel it was stated that:

“The Los Angeles Airport Police Department will allow passengers to travel through LAX with up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana,” reads a statement on LAX’s official website, which was posted in September 2018.

Marijuana is not yet legal on the Federal level, so while state laws vary from state to state, that does not guarantee medical marijuana users are completely protected.

While several states have legalized medical marijuana, including California if you are traveling with it in your carry-on, you need to be sure it also legal at your destination.

Recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and medical marijuana is legal in 30 states.

Click here to see a map of which states have legalized marijuana.

Read the full article for all the details.

Remember…

Air Ambulance Brings You Home. Don’t travel without a medical emergency plan.

We encourage you to ensure you will be properly taken care of in the event of an injury or illness. For less than the cost of a plane ticket, your whole family can be covered for a year. You will be medically airlifted home to be treated by your own doctors in the event of an emergency.

Don’t have a plan? GET A PLAN



Where in the World is Airbnb Cheaper than Hotels?

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airbnb

Travelers have so many choices these days when booking lodging. Airbnb, hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, even couch surfing.

We all like to save money while traveling, but with so many options the time it takes to find a great deal may not be worth it in the end. Or is it?

Here is a quick guide to places around the world where it may be cheaper to book through Airbnb than traditional hotels. The prices are based on a one night stay at an Airbnb and the average price for a hotel room according to Hotel.com’s Hotel Price Index Report.

This is information does not necessarily take into account for off-season pricing and special deals. It is just an average.

Where is Airbnb Cheaper than Hotels in the US?

In general, Airbnb is cheaper in the northern US. This applies to cities like:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • New York
  • Portland, OR
  • Seattle
  • Toronto
  • Washington, DC

Hotels typically offer better rates in the southern part of the US. This is true in cities such as:

  • Austin, TX
  • Nashville, TN
  • New Orleans
  • San Francisco

airbnb

How about Airbnb prices in the rest of the world?

Popular tourist destinations around the word that have more affordable Airbnb options include:

  • Amsterdam
  • Berlin
  • London
  • Madrid
  • Paris
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Venice
  • Vienna

Did you know that the majority of Airbnb properties are in Europe? This explains the competitive pricing–there is a lot to choose from.

How to get even lower rates

Airbnb accommodations vary in type. You are going to pay more for a private room or dwelling. You can rent an entire apartment, beach house, condo, etc. To save money you can also book a room in a house with a shared bathroom or other cost saving situations like a shared kitchen, shared room, etc.

The best bargains on shared rooms are in Berlin, Sydney, and Vienna.

What has been your experience staying in an Airbnb versus a hotel? We want to hear your thoughts?

For more information click here.



The #1 Way People Get Sick on Vacation

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sick on vacation

Planning for a trip or vacation requires a lot of preparation. One thing most of us don’t think about is getting sick on vacation.

Traveling can also be extremely stressful, even though the destination is hopefully relaxing.

Germs hide in all sorts of places. It’s likely that you have come across an article or two about the dirtiest places in a hotel room. The phone and the TV remote are likely culprits.

Have you ever thought about the dirtiest places on an airplane?

Keep reading to find out why and how airplane travel is one of the easiest ways to get sick on vacation. Grab the hand sanitizer and start scrolling.

If you don’t pick up any germs dashing through the airport, going through security, checking your bags and waiting for your flight, (it would be a miracle) you are guaranteed to attract those buggers on the plane. Besides the circulating air carrying airborne illnesses, there are certain places on planes that can harbor germs.

The following places usually don’t get cleaned between flights.

  • Airplane seats. The aisle seats are more contaminated then the window seats. The armrests in particular. The tops of the seats collect germs from everyone walking by.
  • Bathroom locks. Just like any public bathroom, you should never assume everyone washes their hands.
  • Bathroom flush mechanisms. It’s pretty hard to flush an airplane toilette with your shoe.
  • Blankets and pillows. You would want to use unwashed pillows and blankets in a hotel room, but that is no different than on an airplane. Bring your own travel pillow and blanket.
  • In-Flight Magazines. Every person who has touched and read it before you has left germs on it. Bring your own reading material. The seatback pocket they slide in is also suspect.
  • Over Head Bin Latches. The things you have to touch when storing your carryon. Everyone else has to touch them too.
  •   Overhead Air Vents. Yep, everyone touches those too!
  • Seatbelt buckle. You have to touch them to use them and you are required by law to buckle it. It can’t be avoided.
  • Tray tables. Bring sanitized wipes and clean this yourself before you use. In fact, wipe down all the things on this list before you touch them.
  • TV remote. Just like in a hotel room.
  • Window shade. While the window seats might not be as dirty as the aisle, the window shade poses a threat.

Still want to fly? Of course you do. It’s still a safe and efficient way to travel. Just bring hand sanitizer and wipes and clean your area and your own hands when flying. Try not to touch your face and mouth while flying.

What to do if you get sick or injured while traveling

Don’t Forget Your Emergency Medical Plan

We encourage you to ensure you will be properly taken care of in the event of an injury or illness. For less than the cost of a plane ticket, your whole family can be covered for a year. You will be medically airlifted home to be treated by your own doctors in the event of an emergency.

Don’t have a plan? GET A PLAN



How to Make Flying More Affordable (and enjoyable)

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flying more affordable

Can we find a way to make flying more affordable? Yes, we can!

In these modern times, we take for granted that we can fall asleep in New York and wake up a few short hours later in Paris. We are usually too focused on the hustle and hassle of the airport and trip preparations that we lose sight of what a miracle flight really is.

The most frequent flyers know how to get the best deals and most affordable flights.

Here is the inside scoop on how to make flying more affordable, and enjoyable!

Related: How to Save Time at the Airport

How to Make Flying More Affordable

Use Credit Cards that Give You Points

Here are some of the best deals out there for racking up and redeeming points:

Finding Free (or Discounted) Fares for Children

  • Children fly free deals. Scandinavian Airlines offers an annual deal where children fly free (not including taxes and fees) to certain Nordic countries with just one paid adult ticket.
  • Traveling with an infant you will hold.  Many airlines charge you a % of an adult ticket even if you plan on holding your infant. However, some loyalty programs allow you to use miles for your infant’s fare if the adult is also using miles for the trip.
  • Register your child to earn travel points. Children can earn frequent flier miles too!
  • Pool your family points. Some airlines (including JetBlue, Lufthansa, and Etihad) allow families to pool their miles and score award tickets faster.

Don’t Forget Your Emergency Medical Plan

We encourage you to ensure you will be properly taken care of in the event of an injury or illness. For less than the cost of a plane ticket, your whole family can be covered for a year. You will be medically airlifted home to be treated by your own doctors in the event of an emergency.

Don’t have a plan? GET A PLAN

Delays, Layovers, and Other Hassles

  • Annual Fee Credit Cards. Does your card have trip delay coverage, reimbursement for hotel rooms, meals, and misplaced bags? Many of them do and a lot of people never take advantage of this. Check it out!
  • Book your own hotel room. If your flight is delayed or canceled you have a better chance of staying in a hotel that you actually like (rather than letting the airport choose for you). Don’t forget to look into getting reimbursed–you will have to show proof of your delayed or canceled flight.
  • Book your own alternative flights. Sometimes when you are told there is “nothing available” is just means that there are no regular flights with easy scheduled. You may find a better alternative if you look yourself.

Purchasing Food While Traveling

  • When you are running late. Some airports have food apps where you can order food ahead of time and have it delivered to your departure gate. Wow, how handy! American Airlines offers this.
  • AtYourGate and Airport Sherpa are other apps that allow you (at participating airports) to request food, souvenirs and other items (like that phone charger you forgot) to be delivered to your gate.

Skip the Lines

There are a few pre-screening programs you can sign up for that allow you to skip the miserable lines. This is especially handy when traveling with small children–or crabby teenagers.

  • TSA Pre-Check. This allows you to go through specially designated lines at U.S. airports where you can skip removing your shoes, belts and light jackets. You will also NOT be asked to remove your laptop or liquids from your bags.
  • Global Entry. This security program allows members to scan their fingerprints and passports at automatic kiosks instead of waiting in lines. A background check with fingerprinting is required for enrollment.

Note: Some credit cards will offer statement credits to customers who charge the application fee for the above services. Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige, and certain American Express cards are among them. Check into that!

  • Mobile Passport Control. This is a free app that is accepted at several airports and some cruise ports. It allows users to save time by bypassing the paper declaration form. No background check is required.
  • Clear is another expedited security program. There is an annual fee of $179 but it allows you to skip the identification checkpoint. Instead, you go directly to a kiosk where your iris or fingerprints are scanned (oooh, fancy!)

Access to Nicer Lounges

Common areas and public lounges keep getting better and better at airports.

Related: The World’s Best Airports

However, if you can get access to a private lounge they are generally less crowded and have better service. So, how does one score this elite access?

Keep the Kids Busy

As every parent knows, there are key moments when it is important to keep children entertained. Traveling and flying is definitely one of them. A handheld tablet or device is often preferred. Books, iPods, drawing and coloring, and snacks are also great to have along.

Related: Flying with Kids

The Take Away on How to Make Flying More Affordable (and enjoyable)

Do your homework ahead of time and discover the many perks, credit cards, memberships and ways to save time and money. We’ve given you a few here to check out but there are even more. Join some online groups and listen to some podcasts about traveling.

Happy Travels!



Safety and Travel Tips for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

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Tokyo Olympics

It’s 2018, just about the time to start planning your trip to the 2020 Summer Tokyo Olympics in Japan.  If you loved the games in Rio 2016, then the time is right to plan that trip, in advance so you can know what to expect when traveling abroad.  We want to help you have a great time and arrive safely, so here’s our guide to organizing the perfect vacation around the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games!

Mark the Date for the Tokyo Olympics

Before traipsing off in a foreign country, it’s mindful to know what and when the important dates of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games occur.  The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo breakdown is as follows:

Tokyo Olympics run from July 24th to August 9th, 2020

There is a two week break and then the Paralympics begin on August 25th through September 6th, 2020

This is a high peak season for traveling, so be sure to plan accordingly and budget ahead.  Traveling abroad can be expensive and safety is always an issue consider the following when planning your trip:

Purchase Your Tokyo Olympics Tickets Early

toyko olympicsPurchasing a ticket could be very overwhelming.  But rest assured we are here to ease the confusion and help aid in the buying process.  Consider that at the moment 10 Japanese Yen (JPY) equals about .09 cents U.S. Dollars. According to Tokyo2020.org:

“Residents of Japan from today also have their first chance to register on Tokyo 2020’s online platform in order to receive information about ticketing and, from the spring of 2019, to be able to apply for tickets. The platform can be accessed at https://id.tokyo2020.jp/. Additional details of the ticket ordering and purchasing process for residents of Japan will be announced on the Tokyo 2020 website in due course. The basic outline of ticket prices for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be as follows (applicable to tickets purchased in Japan):

  • A range of prices from JPY 12,000 up to JPY 300,000 for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
  • A range of prices for tickets to sports events from JPY 2,500 up to JPY 130,000
  • half of all tickets to be priced at JPY 8,000 or less.
  • A symbolic ticket price of JPY 2,020 for families and groups resident in Japan whose members include children, senior citizens or individuals with impairments; this price will also be available in conjunction with a school program targeting over one million students across Japan.
  • Concessionary tickets for wheelchair-dedicated areas.”

Book Your Flight Now for the Tokyo Olympics

Flying from the U.S. to Japan is a long and lengthy trip.  Be sure you pack accordingly and check what restrictions there are at customs before leaving the terminal.  The best Airport to fly into for anyone visiting the Games is the Narita National Airport which is about 40 miles from the center of Tokyo.

toyko olympics

Accommodations for Tokyo Olympics

This is where you can get creative.  Japan is a completely different culture, so sure, you can stay in a fabulous hotel, but if you are trying to save a buck or two consider Housesitting.  You can look up places at Mind My House, and cook for yourselves and enjoy a little bit more bang for your buck.  Enjoy all the comforts being in your own “home”. There is so much to do, honestly, having a big fancy hotel room you just might regret, because you will never be there to enjoy it.

Traveling Around town

It’s easy to get around Japan, just purchase a Rail Pass!  Japan Rail Pass is a multi-use discounted ticket, valid for travels on all JR national trains in Japan, including Shinkansen bullet trains and Narita Express. You can select 7, 14 or 21 consecutive validity days. Choose between Standard and Green Pass (first class).

Order your JR Pass online. You will receive an Exchange Order (delivery in Japan available), which then needs to be exchanged and activated in Japan for the actual JR Pass. All foreign nationals who visit Japan for tourist reasons can purchase it.

Safety

Japan is a very safe city, ranked 26th on the world’s safest cities.  Despite Japan’s ranking as the world’s safest nation, crime happens. Women have the most to fear, but everyone can benefit from learning safety measures and taking extra precaution. The following strategies can get pretty heavy and might leave you feeling paranoid. My intent is not to instill a sense of fear but a sense of preparation, understanding, and even confidence. We are not helpless and being proactive can reduce the chances of falling victim in Japan, or anywhere.

According to Safearound.com Japan has a safety index of 83%.  This is how to be and stay safe in an emergency in Japan:

If you caused or are in an accident

Put safety first. If there are injured people or broken cars, please move to a safe space to avoid causing a second accident. If the police are called, they will ask for details on the accident, such as time and how it occurred. CALL 119 EMERGENCY! Get your English Pamphlet about 119 emergency here.

After calling 119, contact insurance companies

After you’ve contacted emergency services, the next step is to contact the insurance companies. The insurance company will guide you through the necessary procedures, so please follow those. The formula to dialing outside of the country is 010 + country code + area code + phone number. If you’re calling a cell phone, then it’s 010 + country code + cell phone number. If the area code or the cell phone number starts with a 0, please leave that out when dialing.

Here is a list of country codes:

www.countrycode.org

You’ve been robbed

If you’ve been robbed or lost something, contact an employee if it was in a train station or an officer at a police box if it was in town. The police boxes will be easy to find, and there is always an officer there. They have the word KOBAN written in front, and are often in places filled with people, such as by train stations.

You’ve fallen ill

The best way to protect yourself from a problem with injury or illness is to obtain an emergency medical plan. For a low fee you will be guaranteed medical transportation to your home country. You will want to be treated by your own doctors surrounded by your family.

If you’ve fallen seriously ill, call an ambulance.  Follow the English Pamphlet about 119 Emergency.

If the illness isn’t too severe go to the clinic if possible with a person fluent in Japanese.  If not, take this link to English-speaking clinics in Tokyo.



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Broken in Brazil

"We were in a third-world country. You do not want to have that kind of surgery in those conditions, especially when you don´t speak the language. You need to be close to home, close to your doctors, not only for surgery, but for the recovery. I am forever grateful that there is a service like this out there. If I didn´t have it, I would still be in Brazil recovering." Read More

Barbara Leutwiler Boulder, CO

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