The words travel and insurance put together sound reasonable but it’s not always clear when you might need to consider it and if you do, what to look for. My live chat guest today can clear up the somewhat hazy subject of travel insurance so you can ultimately be more secure in your travels.
As the Global Product Marketing Manager for World Nomads, Katrina Greeves keeps their travel insurance program relevant, competitive and accessible to English speaking travelers from over 140 countries. A traditionally trained marketer with a tourism background, Katrina translates insurance speak into language travelers understand. She also listens and connects with travelers to develop travel services to support their passions, envisaging new ways to sell online and coding just enough HTML to make the web developers sweat.
The chat is now closed, thank you everyone for joining!
Katrina will be online later tonight from the future, in Sydney, Australia (where World Nomads is based) to answers all of your questions about what travel insurance covers, the costs, and when you may not need it. What’s been confusing you about travel insurance shouldn’t be for much longer – ask away in the comments below.
There are times of the year when bargains on airfare seem to be everywhere – particularly right before holiday seasons – but whether or not there’s an actual deal in front of us is often a matter of perception. We know our Paleolithic brains are loaded with biases that can prevent us from traveling; but the airlines are keenly aware of one particular predisposition which fools our minds into purchasing tickets we probably wouldn’t have otherwise.
What Is The Framing Effect?
Many of the decisions we make in life are evaluations of gain and loss, which sounds very logical, except that we’re easily swayed by how a given choice is presented to us. Human beings are highly biased against perceived loss – it’s the reason ground beef is sold as 80% lean rather than 20% fat. Studies have shown in experiments that subjects, when given a choice between two hypothetical political candidates, voted for the one campaigning for 90% employment versus 10% unemployment.
The framing effect makes you more likely to take a risk when the choice in front of you is presented with some negative outcome as opposed to a positive one. You’re much more likely to pay a $100 registration fee early to avoid a $30 fine, rather than take advantage of a $30 discount for early registration of $130.
In the first case your brain makes you feel like you’ve avoided something bad, in the latter, you’ve forgone a benefit that doesn’t make you feel as good inside. All of this, despite the fact that in both cases, the choices have the same outcome.
How Companies Flip The Narrative To Get You To Take Sub-Par Deals
During peak travel times, airfare goes up due to increased demand but to maintain sales and compete with other carriers they’ll often re-frame existing promotions to catch your attention. Some examples of airfare advertisements using the framing effect:
- “Best Value” – Basically means the lowest price we offer. The word “value” often replaces “price” and “best” implies you don’t have to keep searching elsewhere.
- “Save $100″ – Deals presented this way are designed to make you not want to lose that $100; which may actually be a very small percentage off the total price of a given offering.
- “Fly For $15!” – There may be one seat at this price but what such advertisements are really after are pulling you into a site. Once there and you can’t find the $15 ticket, you’ll likely take the next one up, even if it’s $159.
In the last example, you feel like you’ve already “lost” the $144 difference so are inclined to purchase immediately and forgo further searching elsewhere, avoiding another price increase.
Use Math To Jump Out Of The Frame
Our brains tend to go on autopilot whenever they can (the reason return trips always seem shorter than going somewhere) but being conscious of the framing effect before purchasing makes you much less susceptible to it. With that in mind, quantify the results the you find using the best airline search engines – if something is $50 or 15% off, calculate the total cost and keep a list. The raw prices will form a new frame you can use to stop chasing cheap flights to really save money on travel.
Maintain Intense Workouts While Traveling With This Portable Exercise Equipment (That Fits In Any Backpack)
One of the more frustrating aspects of traveling for me personally – and I suspect many of you health nuts as well – is being able to maintain a workout regimen. The exercise part isn’t terribly difficult to muster but it’s cultivating a challenging routine in changing environments that often suffers from a lack of time, gyms, and equipment. Although body weight exercises like this 5 minute hotel room workout are effective at burning calories and slowing muscle mass loss (or fat gain) you’ll need some gear to push yourself.
Since packing dumbbells isn’t practical (just imagine the luggage fees you’d have to avoid) instead of gravity, these tools exploit leverage, pushing your muscles to grow without the benefit of heavy weights.
1. Black Mountain Resistance Bands ($35)
One of the best gifts travelers can buy before the end of 2013 are these highly durable Black Mountain bands that can give you up to 35 kilograms (~75 pounds) of resistance. Highly recommended by fitness expert Yasmin Al-Atrache in my September live chat, the kit also comes with ankle straps, door anchors and occupies only about 640 cubic centimeters (6 x 7 x 6 inches) just under 1 kilo (2lbs).
- Resistance Band Workouts – Men’s Fitness has an excellent full body workout (with video), Bodybuilding.com has two alternative routines, and Shape adds 9 low-intensity moves.
2. ProSource Dual Ab Wheel ($13)
Ab wheels are a somewhat neglected tool which provide an effective core and upper-body workout without the use of weights. For those of you unfamiliar ab wheel roll outs, this video shows a good example with proper form, and the clip below gives you an idea of possible variations.
The ProSource wheels are smaller than shown in these video examples (roughly 15 cm or 6 inches, across) and I prefer them because they can be quickly disassembled for packing.
3. Veloce Pushup Handles ($19.99)
The number of (proper) pushups you can do is a strong indicator of your overall fitness as well as a gauge of how well you might age later in life, according to most health experts. Using pushup handles can engage more of your chest muscles (since you can drop down further than a standard pushup) but a major benefit is strengthening your grip. And it’s not the guy or gal with the biggest triceps or bulging biceps that are the strongest in the gym, it’s the person who’s got the biggest forearms. I recommend the Veloce pushup handles because of their simple, light design that make them a cinch to pack clothes around.
Burn Calories And Ditch Jet Lag
I hate to break it to your friend who’s always going on about what a workout walking around a new city is but when you accurately calculate how many calories you burn sightseeing, it’s likely a lot less than you were hoping. Although any exercise is good exercise, the fact that you’re sore from walking for a few hours probably says more about what you need to be doing on a regular basis back home. (The browser plug-in FitBolt can help.) Aside from strengthening muscles, exercise 3 hours before you need to sleep can induce the right amount of cortisol to get you to dreamland, helping you get back on schedule in a new timezone.
Our bodies begin to lose maximum cardiovascular output after about 9 days and noticeable muscle mass after 3 weeks. The more in shape you are the faster it is to physically bounce back but to keep your motivation lifted at any level, don’t ever leave your workout (or portable equipment) too far behind.
Sitting in an unassuming cafe barely deeper than its dessert cabinet, 1,500 meters up at the base of the Himalaya Mountains in Dharamsala, India, is an unpolished block of chocolate and marshmallow. A bar of cocoa, walnut, and caloric magic lit beneath the glowing smile of a middle aged Tibetan who lives in this exile community. I should have gotten his name but in between searching for his most popular creation subtly named ‘Tibet Special’ – and consuming it – all I could think about was how early to get there the next morning, before he sells out. Something that happens everyday in his shop that’s open daily, with exception for closings to honor regular self-immolations occurring in Tibet – a reminder that Dharamsala is a seed of calm amid political chaos.
The $0.70 (yes, you converted correctly) Tibet Special isn’t the only chocolate bar sold in this McLeod Ganj shop and everyone in town seems to have a personal favorite. It is however, a debate worthy of your full investigation. You can find this literal hole in the wall on Jogiwara Road close to Yak Restaurant or get directions from anyone with a sweet tooth worth 45 rupees. Ask for the Tibet Special and simply follow the smiles.
Sweet or salty, where’s the one bite you’ll never forget? We can start a map of deliciousness based on your recommendations in the comments section below.