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Extended winter travel isn’t just for robins or full-time retirees anymore. Many companies are continuing remote work, so going anywhere for long periods of time is easier than ever.

  1. Get it in writing. Have your employer verify that you won’t have to be back in the office until a certain date.
  2. Do your research. There are so many options available— renting an RV, staying in an Airbnb vacation home, reserving a house for an extended period—it all depends on your preferences. Renting can be an excellent way to decide if you like a chosen area enough to buy property or permanently relocate. If you’re renting an RV, confirm how long you can stay at the state and national parks, campgrounds, and private RV parks you may visit.
  3. Consider costs, which can vary widely. Not surprisingly, Florida is a top destination, followed by Texas and Arizona. Compared to your present location, you may need to rework your budget for food, utilities, insurance, and entertainment.
  4. Manage your primary home and finances before leaving. Forwarding your mail and making sure bills are paid on time are key to a worry-free getaway. And don’t forget about taxes. If you stay in your new location for an extended time, you may need to decide which place will be your primary residence for tax purposes.
  5. Know your health plan coverage. Original Medicare plans work in every state, but Medicare Advantage plans are more selective. Many employer plans may be out-of-network for your vacation area. Verify that providers in your new area participate in your plan before obtaining care.

Looking for more snowbird suggestions? Here are some of our favorite resources:

How to Get Ready for a Snowbird Retirement Lifestyle (AARP)

Where and How to Rent an RV for a Road Trip (AFAR)

Boca Raton, Florida, Takes The Crown As Best 2021 Snowbird Destination (STORAGECafé)

Air travel doesn’t just transport you faster, it also affects your body. Many of us have experienced the mild inconvenience of dry skin or catching a cold after a long flight, so we’ve pulled together a list of common ailments you might experience when flying – and what you can do to help avoid these issues.

  • Airplane headaches are a real thing. Low oxygen can make you feel sleepy or headachy, even though air cabin pressure is adjusted. 
    • Problem Solved: Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Sitting too long can cause blood to pool near your feet. 
    • Problem Solved: Get up and walk the aisle occasionally. If it’s too crowded or the seatbelt sign is on, try to stretch, flex, and rotate your ankles regularly.
  • Change in pressure during take-off or landing bothers you. 
    • Problem Solved: Chew gum, swallow or yawn to equalize pressure.
  • Cabin air can dry out your skin from the increased standards of filtration and cleaning. 
    • Problem Solved: Remember to wash your hands often and moisturize as needed.
  • Flying can place pressure on your heart, which can cause you to feel dizzy or even faint. 
    • Problem Solved: Skip high-sodium snacks and choose fruit or yogurt instead. If you’ve concerns about underlying heart conditions, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before travel.

Want more? Checkout our original source: 11 Things Traveling on a Plane Does to Your Body (TheHealthy)

Have you ever dreamed of exploring the history of the world? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk in the footsteps of brave soldiers? Are you interested in honoring our heroes but unsure of where to go? If so, read on for several historical locations where you can experience just that!

Did You Know? As spring arrived during World War I, red poppies bloomed in Europe’s war-torn countryside, inspiring those serving abroad to write a poem in their honor. Today, the red poppy is worn around Memorial Day as a tribute to those who died in battle.

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blo
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

You can find more historic insights like this at battlefields and 10 other military sites across the country and around the world, from Mount Vernon to Pearl Harbor to Dunkirk. You may even want to check out these 100 famous scenes of battle.

Planning a road trip?

The United States is home to many fascinating military museums—here’s 12 of the best. We also have over 150 national cemeteries across the United States. While there isn’t one in every state, there is most likely one at least a road trip away.

Memorial Day is the perfect opportunity to honor those who gave their lives defending our freedom. Along with visiting National Cemeteries near you and participating in local celebrations, here are some big events commemorating our country’s fallen heroes. Ceremonies also take place every Memorial Day in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

There are hundreds of battlefields, monuments and museums that can take you back to pivotal times in our Nation’s history. Visiting them is an excellent way to honor our past and show our appreciation to those who served.

References:
History.com, read more at: How the Poppy Became a WWI Remembrance Symbol

Destination Gettysburg, read more at: The History of Gettysburg, PA

After completing your travel checklist, one important question remains. Do you need travel insurance? Consider these factors: 

  1. Due to increased demand and higher gas prices, travel is more expensive now than 2 years ago, making it a significant investment. If you need to change (or cancel) your trip, you may lose some (or all) of the money you’ve invested in the trip if you don’t have a travel insurance plan.
  2. Uncertainty around travel remains, due to COVID-19, staffing shortages, and international unrest. Since the onset of the pandemic, many providers have expanded their “cancel for any reason” coverage options. (Confirm that the plan you purchase includes this coverage if this is important to you.)
  3. Refunds are often tricky to obtain, and many once-generous COVID-19 refund policies like Airbnb’s are ending. When making your reservations, be sure to note what changes (if any) are allowed, should you need to change your plans. Travel Insurance helps protect those non-refundable expenses.

Please note that EA+ is travel assistance, which is an annual plan that primarily arranges and provides transportation for medical emergencies during travel, while travel insurance is a per-trip plan that typically provides reimbursements for prepaid, non-refundable expenses — such as cancelled reservations, lost luggage or medical expenses — at a later date.

If you need assistance while traveling — such as an emergency medical evacuation, a nurse escort, medical transportation, or arrangements for a traveling companion, among countless other services — a travel assistance program takes care of the arrangements and the costs at the time they’re needed, so there are no claims for reimbursement after the fact.

We recommend traveling with both travel assistance and travel insurance. Travel Assistance plans such as EA+ provide year-round protection in the event of a medical emergency when traveling away from home – be it a road trip without any pre-paid, non-refundable expenses or something more expensive like a cruise or international travel. You will have access to the services that EA+ provides on either type of trip. But if you have pre-paid, non-refundable expenses for your trip, we recommend that you also consider a travel insurance plan to protect that investment. 

Every decommissioned “ghost” ship on display comes with tales of battles, bravery, and the souls that died at sea. Some are even rumored to be haunted by those who lost their lives in service to our country. Here are a few of the most famous ghost ships:

  • The USS Hornet, off the coast of San Francisco, set a number of naval records and is also known for retrieving the astronauts after the Apollo 11 and 12 missions. But it is the string of unfortunate accidents that gives the Hornet its haunted reputation—visit and see for yourself
  • The USS The Sullivans in New York’s Buffalo Naval Park is the only battleship named for more than one person, namely the five Sullivan brothers who all tragically lost their lives aboard the Juneau during World War II. This forever changed how family members in the Navy are assigned to ships.
  • The majestic USS Arizona memorial, in Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor, is where more than 1,000 sailors died aboard several ships on that fateful day in 1941.

These are just a few of the many military ships, submarines, and naval museums open for exploration & discovery. After a tour, you’ll have a new appreciation for life at sea during wartime.

References:
Military Spouse, read more at: The Top 7 Most Haunted Military Ships in the Navy
Trip Advisor, read more at: United States Military Museums
 

When we’re looking for smart travel tips, it’s always good to go to the experts – travelers who have traveled around the globe! We’re sharing our 10 favorite travel tips from EA+ members.  

  • Pack a roll of sturdy tape such as postal tape for emergency repairs to luggage, a purse strap, the sole of a shoe.
  • Clothespins are useful for hang rinsed laundry and closing gaps in motel curtains to keep light out.
  • Keep itinerary notes with dates on your phone in case you misplace your written copy.
  • Always carry your keys and a change of clothes in your carry-on luggage. 
  • When booking airline or other travel reservations, consider using a credit card that includes trip insurance such as cancellation due to illness, changes due to weather, etc. With many major credit cards, when you pay for your trip with that card, the insurance is included. 
  • Lay out everything you are going to pack and take pictures before placing in your suitcase. Cell phone photos are fine. Then, if your luggage is lost or delayed, you have a record of what is missing or what you had to purchase for insurance claims.
  • Make a list of most important items to pack. Anything beyond that can usually be purchased at your destination if you’re in need. 
  • Keep a list of your medications and health situation in your wallet, preferably next to your driver’s license. Knowing this information will help medical personal assist you should you become unconscious.
  • Always pack your medications in your carry-on luggage! 
  • When traveling abroad, consider wearing a belt that contains a zipper compartment with critical information—black-and-white copy of your passport, driver’s license, and military ID (if applicable). 

All travel tips provided by EA+ members in 2021. Some have been adjusted for clarity.

 

 

Would you be willing to take a trip to space? Space tourism for the everyday traveler is becoming more of a reality every day. You too, might one day, travel out of this world!

Right now, 15-minute suborbital space flights can cost at least $250,000, but as they become more common, that amount will likely decrease. The space flight company Space Perspective is planning to fly customers to the edge of space in a high-tech version of a hot-air balloon starting in 2024. The cost? $125,000 per person. Launches that actually reach orbit, like the one William Shatner took with SpaceX in the fall of 2021, can cost up to $58 million (Although this is cheap by NASA's standards - a seat on a spacecraft can cost around $80 million!). 

For a more extended experience, a hotel named Voyager Status is expected to open in 2027. A three-and-a-half day stay is expected to cost up to $5 million, according to the Washington Post

If you’d rather admire space from the ground, there are many great air and space museums in the United States that let you see spacecraft up close, including the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. And for those who love stargazing, search by state to check out a planetarium near you. Finally, rocket launches are becoming more frequent as well - view the 2022 schedule. However, keep in mind that launches can often be delayed due to weather and/or last-minute equipment adjustments.  

 

Industry experts are calling this the “summer of revenge travel,” with record numbers of travelers expected around the country and abroad. As the airline industry continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic, travelers have experienced flight delays and cancellations due to staffing shortages, weather and other factors. And with less planes in the air, rebooking is often a challenge.

Here are some ways that you can help protect yourself in the event of a flight delay or cancellation:

  • If costs are roughly equal, consider booking directly with the airline. Booking with the airline will give the gate agent more options to help you. If you choose another vendor (Expedia, Kayak, travel agent), call them for assistance with rebooking.
  • Try to fly on a busier day – Thursday and Friday tend to be busy travel days, whereas Saturdays have less flights. If your flight is delayed or cancelled, you’ll have more rebooking options. 
  • Give yourself adequate time to make connecting flights. A few hours will add to your overall travel day but will let you catch a connecting flight if your incoming flight isn’t delayed too long. This is especially important if you’re traveling for an event or boarding a cruise ship.
  • Familiarize yourself with your airline’s policies under “(Airline name) Bill of Rights” or “(Airline name) Contract of Carriage.” This will outline what you’re entitled to in various situations. (It’s a good idea to do this BEFORE you leave home.)
  • If your flight is cancelled, you should be entitled to a full refund if you choose not to fly. Visit the U.S. Department of Transportation website for an overview of your rights

Keep an eye on your plane: Download the free FlightAware app for your Apple or Android phone to see where your plane is, and be sure you have apps for your airline(s) and other travel vendors on your phone for instant updates.

Sources:
https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Travel/airline-employee-shares-top-travel-tips-ahead-summer/story?id=84168851

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/01/summer-travel-challenge-for-airlines-is-rebooking-passengers.html
 

We all know the benefits of travel. Fun. The excitement of seeing something new. Connecting with others. The perks of taking a vacation have also been scientifically proven. Along with the advantages of increased movement while on the go, one study showed that travel enhances empathy, attention, energy and focus.

Another research initiative demonstrated that adapting to a foreign culture can increase one’s creativity.

But what if you’re not quite ready to travel again? Good news! Another study revealed that just the anticipation of traveling increased one’s sense of well-being.

Researchers found that simply thinking about a trip and researching options boosted happiness far more than purchasing material goods. Other studies showed that we’re happiest when mapping out our next vacation and discussing those plans with others.

So no matter what stage you’re at in traveling: taking a trip now, organizing one for later this year, or just thinking about where you’d like to go next – the advantages of experiencing new places are clear. 

 

 

If you’re planning on traveling this year, be sure to check the expiration date on your Passport well-ahead of your trip. Nothing can be worse than discovering your passport isn’t valid when plans have been made and money has been spent. 

If you are traveling internationally, check the passport requirements at your destination – many countries require your passport have 3 to 6 months validity remaining before they will allow you to enter or issue a travel visa.

Get started now – routine processing takes 8 to 11 weeks, and expedited processing only shortens that timeframe to 5 to 7 weeks. Remember to always send all passport applications via USPS Priority Mail with a tracking number or use FedEx or UPS. 

If you expedite your passport application, and mail it through your local post office, you can check the Online Passport Status System or call 1-877-487-2778 or 1-888-874-7793. It typically takes between 7-10 business days for your passport application to be trackable. You can also use a third-party service to expedite your passport.

Did you know? If you have a life-or-death situation, you can request that your Passport be expedited through Life-or-Death Emergency Appointments. Otherwise, non-emergency related passport requests can be expedited at an acceptance facility or by mail.

Additional Resources:

https://www.us-passport-service-guide.com/passport-expires-in-3-months-from-the-date-of-travel.html

You’ve heard about the rollout of 5G, but what does it mean for your next trip? This enhanced broadband cellular technology will supercharge conveniences, even as the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) works out logistics around airports. 5G has the potential to operate at 20 gigabytes per second — 100 times faster than the speed at which we currently connect. For example, 5G will provide:

  • Better connectivity for more devices at busy locations like arenas, hotels and airports
  • Seamless connection between cellular and wi-fi networks (fewer dropped calls!) 
  • Greater security for calls and transactions
  • Higher speeds to greatly reduce lags and dead spots 
  • Faster streaming for entertainment. (TIP: It’s probably still faster to download shows and movies before boarding the plane.) 
  • More personalized messaging from service providers during your trip
  • Several airports, including Phoenix Sky Harbor and John F. Kennedy in New York, are testing the use of next-generation connectivity capabilities to send messages to remind passengers about COVID-19 safety protocols.

References: 
https://thepointsguy.com/news/how-5g-could-transform-the-travel-industry/ 
https://www.verizon.com/business/resources/articles/five-ways-5g-will-transform-the-air-travel-experience/

Did you know your smartphone is a timesaving tool that can make travel much, much easier? Here are a few ways your phone can help when you’re on the go—and they’re all free!

  • Want to know how long the lines are at the airport? Get MiFlight for the latest details. 
  • Download your airline’s app for status updates, baggage guidelines, airport maps and more. And while you’re searching for apps, get FlightStats to see weather delays and flight updates for multiple airlines.
  • Download the Timeshifter app for suggestions on avoiding jet lag and getting used to your new schedule if you’ll be flying across more than one time zone. 
  • Store boarding passes, event tickets, payment details and other travel details in Wallet apps like Apple Wallet and Android Wallet for contactless transactions. 
  • Samsung Pay also lets you store a digital version of your COVID-19 vaccination card.
  • Overwhelmed by travel details? Download App in the Air to keep all your flight numbers, times, boarding gate numbers and more in one place.
  • SpotHero lets you search for and reserve a parking spot at (or near) 40 major U.S. airports, while GasBuddy shows fuel prices nearby.
  • Load your hotel’s app onto your phone for quicker (often contactless) check-in.

Smartphone Updates
Before leaving home, make sure you have the latest updates installed on your smartphone. Back up (or download) your photos and data, then get ready for an amazing trip! Here are more tips for iPhone users. Those with Android phones, follow these steps.  

Traveling outside the United States? Upgrade your phone plan before leaving to avoid costly fees. Either purchase an international calling plan for your trip’s duration or get a different SIM card for your destination(s). Don’t forget an adapter for your charger if necessary and download your phone carrier’s app before leaving in case you run into issues upon arrival.

 

Whether planned or last minute, use these tips to streamline your adventure:

  • Want to visit a national park? More and more parks now require timed-entry tickets to ease congestion. Camping spots and hotels near these national treasures tend to fill up fast during summer months, so finalize your accommodations before leaving home. 
  • If you’d prefer a more spontaneous getaway, consider heading to different state parks, which are often less crowded.
  • Canada has eased its visitor restrictions, though some requirements still apply. Learn more here and download the free ArriveCAN app to plan your stay.
  • International tourism regulations are still changing rapidly. This CNN Travel article (updated 2/25/22) outlines which places are welcoming travelers, what vaccinations are required, and includes links to each country’s embassy. In addition, search for updates from your destination’s tourism office, and review all notifications from your airline.

Before you plan your next trip, be sure to check out your destination’s status. Here is a list of the current travel advisories from U.S Department of State.

  • When packing, remember to gather your essentials first, and leave valuables behind. Here’s a helpful article with a list of free packing apps at the end.

References:

Tripsavvy.com

Adventure is calling! Where can you go last-minute without spending a fortune? Try these tricks:

  • Use a comprehensive search engine like Expedia, Orbitz, TravelZoo, or TripAdvisor to find great prices on individual reservations or an all-inclusive package. You can input your preferences to see terrific deals immediately.  
  • Google Flights lets you find cheap airfares, and you can set an alert for your preferred price, dates and destination.
  • Hotel prices fluctuate constantly, but saving is easier with a search engine like HotelTonight or Trivago.
  • Have the flexibility to travel when the price is right? Subscribe to Scott’s Cheap Flights for alerts on low fares. You can even set your departure airport preferences, and destination preferences. 
  • For more smart tips, including finding discounts on tours and activities, check out these tips from SmarterTravel.

Airline Travel Reminder

Whether booking a long anticipated vacation or a last-minute getaway, remember that the CDC requires that airline passengers two years of age or over, regardless of citizenship and/or vaccination status, must show documentation of a negative viral test taken within one day of the flight’s departure to the United States before boarding a flight to the United States from another country. Go to COVIDtests.gov to get your free at-home tests to take with you when you travel. 

Source: CDC.gov
 

References:

How to set an alert: Google Flights