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Planning a memorable getaway shouldn’t be a chore. Your options are limitless, but here are 5 essential steps to scheduling a wonderful vacation:

  1. Choose a destination, far in advance. Know where you want to go? Terrific, but don’t delay. Travel experts say some hotels and event tickets are already selling out for 2023, as many people reschedule trips postponed due to the pandemic.
    • Think about locations “off the beaten path” as well. Traditional favorites like Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean have mostly rebounded, but Japan and other areas of East Asia are just starting to welcome a large numbers of travelers again.
  2. Finalize your trip’s dates and duration. Since demand is expected to be strong, consider times of slower occupancy, including mid-to-late fall. Avoid holiday seasons, spring-break weeks, and summer to get the best deals.
    • Know your travel style too. If you prefer days full of touring and activities, allow plenty of time to get from one place to another. Like to try a new restaurant every evening? Make reservations now. How do you prefer to travel at your destination? Consider if you need to buy tickets in advance for transportation like rental cars, shuttles or trains.
  3. Book flights and accommodations before prices rise due to inflation and/or demand. 
    • If you’re absolutely sure of your travel plans, you may save some money by making non-refundable purchases. (Don’t forget travel insurance, though!) On the other hand, if there’s a chance your plans may change, look for reservations that can be changed without huge fees.
  4. Plan activities and buy tickets. Don’t take the risk of arriving only to find that the events you want to attend are sold out, or the vendor is closed in the off-season. 
  5. Pack accordingly. Research your destination ahead of time so you’re aware of climate and cultural norms. Also, having a destination with laundry facilities may allow you to pack less!


Flying can sometimes be the most stressful part of a trip, and long lines at airports don’t help. Here are three programs that help you ditch the long lines at airports. Enrolling in Trusted Traveler programs can drastically cut your wait times. Here’s an outline of your choices:

  • TSA PreCheck®: Want to skip removing your light jacket, shoes, and belt, and keep your 3-1-1 liquids and laptop in your bag? Then PreCheck is for you. Speed through screening lanes at more than 200 airports and with 85 airlines. Children 12 and under can go through PreCheck with a member parent or guardian.
  • Global Entry: Gives you expedited access in foreign countries, with no paperwork hassles, and includes PreCheck.
  • CLEAR: While the previous two programs are government-operated, CLEAR is a private membership. CLEAR speeds up the document/screening process by using biometrics to recognize your physical characteristics, while PreCheck and Global Entry expedite security screenings.

PreCheck and Global Entry last five years, while CLEAR is good for one year. Here’s a comparison so you can choose the program that’s right for you.

Be In the Know

You’ll also want to download the apps for the airports and airlines you’ll be using to find your gates quickly and get important updates. The MyTSA app is great for showing wait times and reminders of what you (and can’t bring) on your flights. If you’re traveling internationally, you can download the Mobile Passport Control (Customs) app and fill it out ahead of time, making it easier to go through checkpoints at MPC approved sites.

Flight Delayed?

See if you have access to airport lounges to wait for your flight in comfort.

  • Many credit cards offer lounge access as a perk of having the card. The AMEX Platinum Card, Capital One Venture X, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve cards all include access to lounges (check the terms and conditions for details).
  • Consider a Priority Pass membership, which gives you access to a network of more than 1,300 lounges. Fees vary based on the number of times you’d like to access a lounge. Some credit cards even provide complimentary Priority Pass access!
  • Access an airline lounge network, like Admirals Club, Sky Club, United Club, etc. which are accessible to airline elite members or people with higher levels of the airline’s credit card

Ask for Help When Necessary

If you’ll need wheelchair or (in large airports) cart assistance, request it from your airline right after booking your flight, and arrive at the airport earlier than usual. Here are a few more tips on this type of assistance.

References: Read more at:

Some places completely transform during the winter months. For destination ideas, put these on your radar:

  • Winter carnival cities. Think frosty fun, like ice fishing, torchlight parades, ice carving competitions and more. Some of the biggest celebrations are in Canada’s Quebec City (with an ice hotel!); St. Paul, Minnesota, and Saranac Lake in New York’s Adirondack Mountains.
  • Warm-weather cities host winter carnivals too. Down in Brazil, Rio’s spectacular Carnaval dazzles with costumed performers in magnificent parades, while its Copacabana Ball is one of the season’s highlights. Across the Atlantic, Italy’s Carnival of Venice hosts thousands of visitors in spectacular masks and costumes.
  • The winter months are excellent for culture, including live theater and concerts. New York City and Washington, D.C., often feature new shows this time of year. Tip: Search “winter theater near me” for venues near you.
  • Winter sports buffs, this is your season. Fresh powder awaits at the world’s best ski slopes, and the ice is ready for skating, broom ball, and hockey too. Find top picks for ski resorts in Europe and the United States. Many national parks feature excellent skiing as well.
  • If you can’t get away for an extended time, plan a shorter vacation to a warm-weather favorite. Some snowbird states have beautiful beaches, and we know many of our members love the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America for cruises and shorter getaways.

References: Read more at: 10 Best Ski Resorts in USA, 2022/23 | SnowPak | USA ski resorts |
Ski resorts in the United States of America | Skiing in North America and 10 Best Ski Resorts
in Europe, 2022/23 (

Mens Journal. Read more at: 5 of the best national parks to ski this winter (

Glamping, camping in more luxurious accommodations, lets you experience the great outdoors in comfort. 

You can go glamping in many types of accommodations—airstream trailers, a rustic barn—even covered wagons, teepees and tree houses are available. lists unique lodgings around the world for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. HipCamp and TheDyrt show more choices. 

Check out or for more glamping choices – many state parks even offer Yurts. The staff of TentRR can even set up your tent for you and provide cooking supplies. 

Here are two reminders for glamping or camping adventures this year:

  • Make reservations now. With travel numbers expected to be high for the rest of the year, national parks, state campgrounds and activities often sell out quickly. 
  • Some national parks are still requiring timed entries.

Bottom line: Glamping is whatever you want it to be. Try it and you might just find a new favorite way to travel. 

Warm-weather getaways don’t have to break the bank. With some advance planning, you can enjoy a snowbird lifestyle for less. Here are 6 money-saving (and fun-finding) strategies:

  1. Reduce your housing expenses with affordable alternatives. Could you become a house sitter or campground host? Swap homes for a few months? Coupons for RV parks can often be found on Groupon.
  2. Protect your home “up north” while away—especially from expensive water leaks. Prevent high utility bills and damage by following these tips and preparing your house before leaving.
  3. Take advantage of free entertainment at your snowbird location. Concerts, plays, sporting events and more with complimentary admission can often be found at or by contacting the local chamber of commerce.
  4. Research your destination and everything it offers ahead of time. Join an online community (Nextdoor, MyNeighborhood) for recommendations on all types of service providers. Looking for the best restaurants? Turn to sites like Yelp and OpenTable. Once you arrive, ask local residents for their favorite places too. 

11 Checklists to Help Manage Snowbird Living -
Snowbirding Central


Let’s say you’re on a tour to see the ancient pyramids in Egypt and you trip and fall, breaking your leg. Or you’re enjoying the Florida sunshine when your spouse has a severe case of appendicitis. We’ve seen cases like these and many others, including members who need to be transported from small clinics in remote areas after suffering a heart attack. So, what happens in situations when you’re far from home and suddenly have a medical emergency? First things first: get to the hospital or other local medical facility if a hospital isn’t available nearby.

If you are an EA+ member, once you have been admitted, contact EA+. Our medical team will work with the facility treating you to determine if you need to be moved to a different location. Every case is different, so we’ll take the following factors (plus others) into consideration:

  • Your condition
  • Your location
  • Distance to be traveled to a more appropriate medical facility (if necessary) 

If our medical team determines that it’s best for you to be moved to another hospital, EA+ will arrange and provide this service. It will require documentation for you and the attending doctors to complete first, so that we can provide transportation. This transportation will happen by ground or air ambulance, which is also known as a medical evacuation.

You may also be moved by medical evacuation if you suffer an injury that makes it impossible to travel commercially, such as on a plane or train. EA+ will handle every detail of sending the ambulance to you, and we will also gain admittance for you at the receiving hospital. Take a look at this EA+ video to learn more about what happens in an air ambulance.

What if you didn’t have EA+? 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners reports that the average air ambulance trip WITHIN THE U.S. is about 52 miles, with a cost ranging between $12,000 and $25,000 per flight. What if you are outside the country? Here are emergency medical evacuation costs from these countries to the U.S.: 

  • Caribbean and Mexico: $15,000 to $25,000
  • South America: $40,000 to $75,000
  • Parts of Europe: $65,000 to $90,000
  • Asia, Australia and the Middle East: $165,000 to $225,000


How Much Does an Air Ambulance Cost?

How can you make your phone a great travel partner? Follow these three steps to “tech up” your smartphone before your next getaway.

1. Stay connected abroad

Contact your mobile provider a few weeks before your departure to learn how to use your phone without excess charges. Depending on your phone and service plan, you may need to:

  • Upgrade your plan for your trip’s duration.
  • Purchase a temporary SIM card when you arrive.

Avoid expensive data overages, too. Turn off roaming to help save your battery life, since your mobile device may be constantly searching for Wi-Fi. While public Wi-Fi is becoming more common, be cautious about what information and sites you’re accessing on public networks. Try to only access websites where the sites are HTTPS (secure with an encrypted padlock).

Consider using WhatsApp, a free instant-message and phone-calling service that works around the world.

2. Secure your finances

It may be tempting to check your banking and credit-card balances while away from home, but make sure you’re taking appropriate precautions: use a secure network to log in. Even better: Download the company’s app before you go, then enable two-factor authentication when possible.

3. Take advantage of helpful apps:

  • Mobile Passport Control provides quick customs processing where available.
  • TripIt is an itinerary organizer. 
  • Google Translate helps you quickly communicate, translate, and interact with locals if you’re not familiar with the language.
  • EA+ members can use the EA+ mobile app for currency conversion, or the app Xe if you’re not yet a member.
  • Dateful is a time zone converter.

References: Read more at: How to Get Your Smartphone Ready for International Travel -Tech Guide
FCC. Read more at: International Roaming: Using Your Mobile Phone in Other Countries | Federal Communications Commission ( Read more at: What is Two-Factor Authentication - Authy

What if you don’t have EA+ and an emergency arises when you travel? Many people only concern themselves with fixed trip costs. But that quickly changes when something goes wrong. 

“It’s a cascade of ‘wow’s’ that ends in a big dollar exclamation mark,” notes EA+ Assistance Coordinator Gaby H. “The saddest thing is the dollar sign, because you don’t need to be financially devastated if you just prepare properly ahead of time. There doesn’t need to be this financial burden.”

Unprotected, that bill can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. According to, the average cost of an air ambulance is $43,498. Traveling overseas? The cost can go even higher, into the hundreds of thousands, and Medicare will not pay an international air ambulance bill, except in very limited circumstances.

How can you protect yourself while traveling? Consider traveling with a travel assistance membership like Emergency Assistance Plus. As an EA+ member, here’s what you can expect if you experience a medical emergency while traveling: 

If you need medical help, don’t wait. Call emergency responder services in your current location immediately

Once you’ve been admitted, contact EA+. We’ll gather your information and open a case on your behalf. 

Since we’re familiar with hospitals around the globe, our medical staff can work with the hospital treating you and speak with your doctors to determine next best steps. 

If an air ambulance is necessary to move you to another hospital, EA+ will coordinate and arrange a team to transport you.

If you can continue your care at your current facility until you’re discharged, EA+ will develop a plan to get you home, or to a rehabilitation facility near your home, once you’re determined medically fit to travel.

Your safety and comfort are always our top priorities. When you're an EA+ member, you can count on us to help care for you in these situations—we’re always here to assist.

Ready to become a member? 

This is only an outline of the plan’s features. Hospitalization (admitted as an inpatient) is a requirement to be eligible for some services. All services must be arranged and provided by EA+. Please read the EA+ Plan Description carefully to understand all the services available to you, as well as any rules and regulations.

Booked a trip or traveled lately? Then you know that everything from flights to food is more expensive than ever. And with uncertainty around weather, flight delays, and even vendor availability due to staffing issues, it makes sense to protect your vacation dollars with the right travel insurance. But how do you know what the right protection is?

Here are a few things to consider:

  • The length and cost of your trip. Vacations to international destinations include many variables, so make sure you have enough coverage to protect your trip investment.
  • The cost of local health care, especially if you have a more serious medical condition. Some international providers may not accept your health insurance plan and/or may require cash payment before beginning treatment. You should also confirm if your health insurance will work abroad – most Medicare plans won’t pay for health care outside of the U.S. without a supplement like Medigap.
  • Is it required? Some destinations or types of trips require  you to have travel insurance.
  • The coverage options included. Travel insurance plans come in all shapes and sizes, so review the services carefully to ensure it includes the options most important to you such as interruption, cancel for any reason, or trip delay. Also review the coverage limits to ensure they are sufficient for your needs.
  • Is it non-refundable? If your original booking isn’t flexible, you may want to evaluate if you can afford to lose the cost of that booking if your trip encounters an issue.

When booking a flight, cruise or vacation package, you may be offered trip protection during the checkout process. Likewise, your credit card may offer some expense protection when renting a car, and/or your hotel may have a flexible cancellation policy. Always read the fine print to determine what’s covered, then decide if you need a more comprehensive travel insurance policy that provides more coverage.

Note: While travel insurance provides coverage for individual travel arrangements (flight, hotel, cruise, excursions, etc.), EA+ steps in to assist if you have a medical emergency during a trip, such as a serious injury or illness. EA+ is a membership program, it is not insurance.

There’s a phenomenon that occurs when you get sick or hurt away from home. Suddenly, all you want is to be back in familiar surroundings.

It’s something our EA+ care teams see often. Why does this happen? Experts say the well-known “fight or flight” response our body triggers during an emergency gives us energy to face what’s next. However, the unexpected also causes stress, which is heightened in unfamiliar surroundings.

“Strangeness becomes a burden,” notes EA+ assistance coordinator Gaby H. “So, say you’re in Italy and surrounded by people speaking another language, and the hospital looks very different than what you’re used to; the cultural context can concern some members.”

If you have an emergency while traveling, it’s critical to get help right away. That’s why it’s important to contact the emergency provider (in the U.S., it’s 911) for your location. You can find an international list from the U.S. Department of State here.

Even if your trip goes smoothly, you may be interested in tips to maintain your health while traveling:

  • Relaxation and meditation apps can help calm you in stressful situations, such as flight delays and/or threatening weather. Many of these are free or low-cost.
  • Free sleep apps can help you adjust to a new schedule and/or time zone.

References: Read more at: Understanding the stress response - Harvard Health

Are you a fan of delicious cuisine (who isn’t)? It’s easy to find events featuring your favorites. From cherries to watermelons and hot dogs to barbecue, here are some fun food festivals to add to your calendar.

For every genre, from classic rock to country and jazz, find great events here

Imagine strolling down a sunny street while admiring the works of talented artists. This schedule highlights some of the top art and fine handcraft festivals.

Independence Day
Celebrate our nation’s freedom with events across the country, featuring everything from parades to car shows and fireworks.

State Fairs
Nothing says “summer” more than state fairs, with their amazing variety of shows, exhibits and carnival rides. Check out this list to learn more.

Fan Favorites
Hundreds of enthusiasts come together each summer for everything from motorcycle rallies to rodeos and more.

Countries around the world are proud to highlight what makes them special during their yearly festivals. Here’s a rundown of the top international events to add to your travel wish list.

References: Read more at: Visit the USA: Enjoy Eating and Fun at 8 Summer Food Festivalsand USA Summer Travel: 6 Incredibly Popular Festivals and Events (

Knowledge is confidence, and we want you to know how EA+ can assist if you’re hospitalized during a trip. Here’s a closer look at how we coordinate with the facility treating you, and how we work to get you home safely to continue your recovery.

Let’s start with your first call for help during an emergency situation—a fall, car accident, heart attack, etc. We are not first responders, and WE NEVER WANT TO DELAY YOUR CARE. Always dial 9-1-1 first (or the international equivalent).

As an EA+ member, once you’re admitted to the hospital, call EA+ at the emergency number on the back of your card (or, if you’ve downloaded the EA+ Mobile App, the number on the back of your digital card has a click-to-call feature). One of our coordinators will:

  • Open a case on your behalf after discussing the details surrounding your emergency.
  • Send over initial forms that need to be completed by you and your attending physician that enable us to fully assess your situation and provide the necessary care.
  • Contact the hospital/doctors treating you to discuss your condition and next steps.
  • Consult with our medical staff to align expectations of the care at the hospital and what our recommendations are.
  • Monitor your care and assess and coordinate transportation needs. Depending on your condition, if it’s deemed you’re getting the care you need, you may continue treatment in the first hospital until you’re ready to be discharged and transported home. If it’s determined you need to be moved to another facility for more appropriate care, we will quickly begin arranging for that transportation. Regardless, we’ll be in touch with you the entire time.

How can you best be prepared for the unexpected during a trip? Here are a few tips from our coordinators:

  • Make sure your traveling companion(s) and loved ones back home know that you’re an EA+ member. Leave a copy of your ID card with them, plus a copy of your trip itinerary.
  • Place your EA+ ID card next to your health insurance card in your wallet or billfold.
  • Keep a list of known allergies and current prescriptions handy in your travel documents.

If, due to your hospitalization, you are unable to go home on your original itinerary, EA+ will get you home safely by any means necessary—plane, car, train—we’ve done it all!

Ready to become a member? Enroll in EA+ now!

This is only an outline of the plan’s features. Hospitalization (admitted as an inpatient) is a requirement to be eligible for some services. All services must be arranged and provided by EA+. Please read the EA+ Plan Description carefully to understand all the services available to you, as well as any rules and regulations.

Scary places can be spine-tingling, historical, or even fun and silly. Since Halloween is the perfect time to explore the paranormal, consider what level of “fright” you’d like to experience. 

Fright Level: Low 

If you’re a history buff intrigued by famous forts and battlefields that saw heroic battles (and great losses), check out this list. Interested in something more light-hearted? Several theme parks and local haunted houses are great for a thrill without too many hair-raising surprises. (Be sure to read reviews for local attractions to know what to expect.)

Fright Level: High

If it’s the truly scary you’re seeking, you have several choices. The U.S. is home to many haunted houses, hotels and other sites offering glimpses into the afterlife. You can even tour prisons with spine-tingling stories—a few feature overnight stays!

So why do some of us take pleasure in being scared? What’s the attraction to events and places we can’t quite explain? Experts say many of us enjoy the thrill of the unknown and like being surprised. For those people, the rush of fear, followed by the knowledge that the threat isn’t real, creates a release of endorphins.


Travel and Leisure. Read more at: 10 Most Haunted Houses in America (
U.S. News. Read more at: The 27 Most Haunted Hotels in America (
USC. Read more at: Why do we like to be scared? USC experts explain the science of fright

Prefer to calm your nerves with a tasty seasonal brew? You’re in luck. Fall’s cooler temperatures are perfect for craft brewing, with traditional Oktoberfests and other brew fests around the country offering many tasty samples and other fall treats.

If you’re looking for a beer festival closer to home this fall, check out this list for every state. Some also feature tutorials for those who want to create their own brew.

Fall’s crisp days and colorful leaves are the perfect time to get out and explore. Haunted sites, beer fests and other fall celebrations are great ways to enjoy excellent entertainment and wonderful food and drink.

Fun Fact: Oktoberfest Begins in September Each Year

Oktoberfest began in Munich, Germany, in 1810 and was originally a horse race to celebrate a royal wedding. Eventually the festival changed to the celebration we know today, featuring lederhosen, smiling barmaids carrying huge steins of beer, and polka music. Today, Munich’s Oktoberfest welcomes 6 million visitors per year who celebrate new and old friends at tables under huge festival tents in southern Germany.

You might have heard that Germany’s Oktoberfest actually starts in September, but why? Because the festival’s end date is always the first Sunday in October. So, festival workers schedule the celebration for 16-18 days and have it end near Germany’s Day of Unity on October 3rd. This schedule also takes advantage of September’s warmer weather.