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Should You Get Comprehensive Travel Insurance

When planning a trip overseas, most people spend a lot of time comparing plane fares, hotel rates and car rentals just to get the best deals. However, only a few people consider their needs for a comprehensive travel insurance that can make their trip to another country less stressful. Perhaps people tend to assume that everything will go well as planned. Yet, accidents and other unforeseen situations can happen and preparing for them is a smart thing to do.

These days, it is easier to get protection against unforeseen circumstances during holidays or business trips. It has even become easier to buy the coverage you need by using the internet. Most companies have plans that protect you from accidents, unplanned costs due to delayed or canceled flights, lost baggage and other emergencies.

Several options are possible such as single-trip, multi-trip, backpacker, business, and medical travel. To make the best choice, always read the fine print of the insurance policy that you are considering. Compare costs and features to make sure that you are getting your money’s worth.

Purchase the type of protection which suits your needs. For instance, if you go to various destinations quite frequently, consider a multi-trip type cover which is good for a year. If you are just going for a one month holiday in Europe, a single-trip cover should suffice. Whichever one you choose, make sure you are covered for lost baggage, flight delays and cancellations.

Comprehensive travel insurance premiums will vary depending on several factors that determine risks. Your age, is one factor and the security conditions in your destination is another. If the country you are visiting is frequently considered unsafe due to terrorists attacks, you may have to pay more to get the protection you need.

So do not leave an essential thing behind when planning for the perfect trip. Consider buying a comprehensive travel insurance that can protect you against the most common disasters. Shop for the right one to assure you of a pleasant and stress-free trip.



Packing your toiletries kit

From the Packing section of the Indie Travel Podcast

A toiletries kit can make up a large percentage of your luggage, or it could be so small it’s barely noticeable. Purging your toiletries can be a great way to lighten your packing, but there are some things that you really shouldn’t be without.

As a general rule, choose things that are in containers smaller than 100ml so that you can carry your toiletries on the plane with you — this also encourages you to pack light! Keep the small bottles and refill them as you go; if you’re travelling with someone you can split the cost of a larger bottle of shampoo (or whatever) then decant it into your two separate bottles, leaving the large one behind.

1. Deodorant

deodorantRoll-on deodorant is a better option for travel

Choose a roll-on to avoid problems with aerosols on planes; spray deodorant usually comes in containers larger than 100ml anyway.

2. Soap and/or shampoo

There are many options when it comes to soap. Lush makes a shampoo soap that’s suitable for washing your hair and body, or you could just use regular shampoo as a body wash. We use Head & Shoulders two-in-one and use a Lush container to carry around a medium-sized soap. We also have a small collection of hotel-sized soaps, just in case.

3. Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss

It’s a good idea to get a plastic cover for your toothbrush head to keep it separate from the other things in the toiletries case. Check that the toothpaste is 100ml or less as most tubes are just a little over — most supermarkets have at least one smaller option. Dental floss doubles as minty-fresh string.


100ml toothpasteMake sure your toothpaste is 100ml or smaller

4. Comb, hair gel, hair ties

You’ll know what your hair needs, but I discovered that a comb works just as well as a brush while taking up a fraction of the space. I don’t use the gel that often, but it is necessary in humid environments, or will be until frizz becomes cool. Boys, feel free to leave out the hairties.

5. Nail clippers and tweezers

You might not use them every day, but you’ll be surprised at how useful they are. Cutting your nails with paper scissors is not fun. Believe me.

6. Moisturiser and sunscreen

How much you need these will depend on your destination, but it’s worth having a small container of both. When travelling in the South Pacific, you should use sunscreen everyday as the hole in the ozone layer makes the sun more vicious than you might be used to.

7. Razor, shaving gel

Generally a razor with replaceable cartridges is a better idea than disposable ones that lose their edge and rust up with alarming alacrity. When it comes to lubricant, a gel will go further than foam, or you could try the tiny bottles of shaving oil that King of Shaves make.

Razor and gelChoose a razor with a replaceable cartridge

8. Contact lenses, solution, eyedrops

If you are not blessed with perfect vision, contact lenses, solution and eyedrops should go in the case too. Consider getting daily lenses if you don’t wear contacts that often, as they are easier to transport and don’t weigh very much: less than the bottle of solution that you won’t need if you chooses dailies.

9. (Girls only): Makeup

Actually, you don’t need makeup at all. If you wear it at home, start to cut down a bit before your trip… You’re gorgeous enough without it. Plus, you can save a lot of time in the mornings if you cut makeup out of the equation.

However, it is nice to be able to get a bit dressed up, and two or three items can make all the difference: a lip liner, an eyeliner and mascara. Use lip balm under the lip liner to make it look more like lipstick. Do not pack foundation or powder. Similarly, avoid nail polish as it constantly needs to be touched up.

How big your toiletries case is depends on how ruthless you are. We tried to cut down by buying a tiny case that could only hold the essentials, but ended up with an extra plastic bag of shampoo and hairgel secreted in another section of the backpack that we tried to ignore. In the end we bowed to the inevitable and decided to use a larger bag that fits everything, even full-size shampoo bottles (not that we have any of those…). Find a solution that suits you and don’t skimp on the necessities: those around you will thank you.


Packing: what to put in your toiletries kit by Linda Martin was originally published on the award-winning Indie Travel Podcast (iTunes). See more of their South America stories.

Kindle for travel

I never wanted a Kindle. I mean, it looked like a great gadget but I struggled to see how it might fit into my life. I love reading (and gadgets), but since the rise of the internet, I’ve found less and less time to get absorbed in a book. I think my friends know me better than I do, because for my most-recent birthday, they clubbed together and got me one. Now I spend an hour or more a day devouring books just like I did as a teenager.

Delivery took a little longer than expected, so first they presented me with this, which I’ll call the Mark One; a week or so later the updated version arrived, which Amazon are now calling the Kindle Keyboard 3G.

Advantages of the Kindle Keyboard 3G over the Kindle Mark One

  • It’s much, much thinner – easily slotting into the front of my backpack or my jacket’s breast pocket.
  • It’s able to access wifi or free 3G in order to shop and download books.
  • I can use that wifi or free 3G to check email or search for accommodation — which has come in handy at more than one bus station around South America.
  • It’s much easier to change pages and books: I can do it with a press of a button, rather than with glue and scissors.
  • I can carry over 2,000 books and it weighs the same. To achieve the same thing with the Mark One means hiring a sherpa.
  • Books are generally cheaper than their paperback counterparts; especially when comparing the ridiculous prices of books in Australia/New Zealand.
  • There’s a huge selection of books available, in English and Spanish, in any country I visit… no more searching for an English-language bookshop.

Advantages of the Kindle Mark One over the Kindle Keyboard 3G

  • A full-colour screen, rather than the greyscale Kindle Keyboard 3G
  • Special Kindle Kindling technology (one-time use only). Possibly a precursor to the Kindle Fire, which is going to be released later this year.
  • I have to charge the Kindle Keyboard 3G every three weeks or so. I never had to charge my Mark One.
  • No DRM or copy protection.
  • More rugged and durable, but you sacrifice on size and weight.

Kindle for travel

After a few weeks of use at home in New Zealand, I’ve been using the Kindle 3 “on the road” for two months. It’s been a fantastic companion through ArgentinaBrazil,Uruguay and Paraguay — not only is it lighter than paperbacks (I used to carry two or three in my backpack at all times), but the way of reading has dramatically changed.

If carrying a paperback, I tend to try and save it for when I’m really bored, but with the Kindle I can read to my heart’s content knowing there are more $0.99 cent books just around the corner — or articles and PDFs that I’ve downloaded online and sent to my Kindle. There’s no need to leave books until you find a book exchange.

On week two in Brazil we were staying with a family that spoke little Spanish and no English. We could jump straight on the 3G connection and download a Portuguese phrasebook while in their living room — making basic communication so much easier!

We often arrive in a town with no plans, trusting in the local tourist information office or a swarm of touts to help us get started. Sometimes that just doesn’t work out, so we can use the free 3G to connect to the internet and check our hostel search tool to find a place to stay.

Thoughts on the new Kindle family

Soon three new styles of Kindle are going to be released. I’m sure they’re going to have advantages but apart from a small speed bump, I think the Kindle 3 does its core job — selling and displaying books — really well.

The $79 Kindle lacks a keyboard or a touchscreen. I really wouldn’t want to be doing a lot of searches or trying to pen a basic email using the joystick to move around. (See the specs for Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6″ )

The Kindle touch looks great, and is likely to be the second Kindle in our family. I’d be concerned about what would happen if it accidentally gets unlocked in my backpack, would I end up buying dozens of books as it’s moved around? I’m also not sure about the screen technology — will it need more protection than the current model? (More on the Kindle Touch 3G)

Originally published as “Kindle for travel” on the Indie Travel Podcast.