Traveling Overseas? Follow This Health Checklist | Health News

By By Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporter, HealthDay Reporter


SUNDAY, May 8, 2022 (HealthDay News) — As summer approaches, you may be planning a big trip for the first time since the pandemic began — but be sure to make and follow a health checklist if you are traveling to another country, an expert advises.

That includes going to a travel medicine clinic, getting all the necessary vaccinations and packing the right medications.

“It’s important to secure the proper vaccinations for your entire itinerary and discuss any potential risk factors with a travel clinic doctor,” said Dr. Andrew Walker, a travel medicine physician at Penn State Health Travel Medicine at Penn State Health Urgent Care.

A travel medicine physician is an expert on health risks and vaccination requirements for countries worldwide. It’s suggested to find one with plenty of personal travel experience.

“The personal experience of a travel medicine physician is important,” Walker said in a Penn State news release. “It’s not something that can be learned from books.”

Try to find a doctor with experience with activities you may be doing — for example, scuba diving, high-altitude mountaineering or ice climbing — to give you practical advice and help you manage risks.

A travel medicine doctor will provide personalized recommendations for you based on your trip and your health. You’ll need to provide an exact itinerary and details on underlying medical conditions.

Vaccinations are crucial because overseas travel may increase your risk of exposure to infections such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B and tetanus, along with diseases like measles, mumps and rubella and polio. Make sure you get your flu vaccine and that you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots, Walker said.

Depending on your destination(s), you may require more specific vaccinations.

In general, try to schedule vaccinations at least four weeks before travel.

Another important point: Stock up on your current prescription drugs and certain over-the-counter (OTC) medications before you leave. In terms of OTC products, Walker strongly recommends medications for indigestion, pain drugs like Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Aleve (naproxen), antibiotic ointment, bandages for minor cuts or blisters, sunblock and insect repellent.

Depending on where you’re going and what you’ll be doing, you might consider prescription medications for traveler’s diarrhea and sea or altitude sickness, Walker suggested.

SOURCE: Penn State Health, news release, May 4, 2022

Copyright © 2022 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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British expats in Spain: Top advice and tips for moving overseas to Spain | Travel News | Travel

Martin said it’s a “relatively easy mistake to make, if you don’t know what you’re doing” in Spain.

He added: “Don’t underestimate the costs of agent fees, legal fees, land registry fees, notary fees and taxes associated with Spanish property purchases.

“And make sure your budget includes exchange rates and other international fees.”

It’s easy for buyers to get excited when they find a dream bargain property but there are plenty of other costs to consider.

Legal fees and agent costs can add up so Britons should make sure they have enough saved before starting the process.

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4 Tips for Planning a Business Trip Overseas – Malawi Nyasa Times

Are you required to travel overseas for a business trip with work? Don’t know where to start? Don’t panic! Travelling overseas on a business trip is a great opportunity to see more of the world on your employer’s time. There is no reason why you can’t have a great time away that is also productive and successful for your company. However, to achieve this, you need to ensure that you take all the necessary steps when planning it. How well you prepare for a business trip is directly related to how successful the trip is going to be, and how much you are going to enjoy it. Follow our top tips and you can’t go wrong! 

Find the Best Accommodations

Once you know your destination, you should find the right accommodations for your trip. While you may be tempted to just book anywhere to stay, you should think about the location and facilities. For example, if you are meeting a client while you are away, you may want to find accommodations that are close to their offices so that you don’t have too far to go. Otherwise, you may find yourself wasting a lot of time travelling to meet people. 

Be sure to also check out what kind of facilities your accommodations provide and the typical guests they host. If your hotel is very popular with families and kids, then you may want to look for something aimed more at working professionals. 

Plan Your Itinerary  

As soon as you know where you are headed and what your company wants you to achieve during your trip, you should start to plan your itinerary. This means scheduling out your travel time, your meetings, and your downtime. Just because you are travelling with work, doesn’t mean that you can’t explore the local area in your own time away from work. We all need a break from time to time! Just ensure that you are realistic about what you can achieve and don’t pack your itinerary too full. Otherwise, you may not feel like you have enough time with clients, and you will feel rushed. 

Pack Activities for Downtime  

Just like when you are at the office, you need to allow yourself time to enjoy a break and unwind from work. Therefore, we suggest that you remember to pack activities that you can enjoy when you are travelling or during your evenings off. This could include a book or Kindle to read or electrical devices where you can enjoy some casino gaming. This is sure to keep you entertained while you are away from home. 

Always Make Reservations 

Never assume that you won’t need to book when travelling overseas with business, otherwise you may be left disappointed. Whether you need somewhere to stay or plan to wine and dine with a client at a local restaurant, you should always be sure to make reservations. 

By making all the necessary preparations before you travel, you can ensure that your business trip overseas is not only a success for your work but is an enjoyable experience for you too!

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S.Koreans Flock Overseas for ‘Revenge Travel’ as COVID Rules Ease | World News

By Hyonhee Shin and Yeni Seo

SEOUL (Reuters) – After spending two years being socially distanced in his home country of South Korea, Kim Hoe-jun booked a last-minute flight to Hawaii, where he had enjoyed his honeymoon six years ago, giving in to his craving for overseas travel.

“I bought the ticket just a week ago, but it was rather a no-brainer. It felt like I was making up for those two years not being able to go abroad often as I used to before COVID,” he said, before boarding the plane from Incheon International Airport on Friday.

Vaccinated and boosted, Kim and his wife are among South Koreans joining in a rush for “revenge travel” – a term that has been trending on social media as people scramble to book overseas trips that were delayed by coronavirus restrictions.

The boom started after March 21 when South Korea lifted a seven-day mandatory quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers arriving from most countries. The restriction had been eased last year but was reimposed in December as the highly infectious Omicron variant spread.

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The country has largely scrapped its once-aggressive tracing and containment efforts despite a record COVID-19 wave, joining a growing list of Asian countries which have eased quarantine rules, including Singapore, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Koreans now appear more ready to travel. Polls showed people are less worried about the implications of catching the virus, and increasingly see its prevention as out of their hands.

Sales of overseas flight tickets on 11st, an e-commerce unit of SK Telecom Co Ltd, South Korea’s top mobile carrier, rose more than eight-fold compared with a year before between March 11, when the lifting of quarantine was announced, and March 27, the company said.

Kim Na-yeon, 27, was excited to return to Hawaii where she used to live.

“I couldn’t dare to travel even in Korea because of COVID,” she said. “But now I feel a bit freer with the exemption, so I’ve decided to go meet old friends and do some sightseeing.”

Airlines and travel agencies have reported exploding demand for routes to Hawaii, Saipan and Guam, as well as some destinations in Europe and Southeast Asia where tourists submitting a vaccination certificate or negative test result are exempted from quarantine.

Saipan and Guam, both of which have travel bubble pacts with South Korea, also offer free COVID testing and pay for quarantine expenses if a traveller tests positive. Each South Korean national visiting Saipan even receives $100 in “travel bucks” incentives to spend at businesses there.

The tour arm of online retail giant Interpark Corp reported a 324% growth in flight bookings for Oceania between March 11-22 from the same period of 2021, a 268% increase for Southeast Asia and 262% more bookings for Europe.

On Sunday, the company sold a record 5,200 Hawaii tour packages within just 70 minutes. CJ Corp’s home shopping unit said it received some 2,800 orders for a Spain and Italy trip in one hour on Sunday, totalling 15 billion won ($12.41 million), days after garnering 9 billion won from its sales of a Hawaii package.

“The surge reflects growing customer sentiment that an end of COVID travel curbs might be in the offing after the mandatory quarantine was lifted,” said Lee Jeong-pil, general manager of CJ’s home shopping unit.

Lee Tae-woo, a 36-year-old frequent traveller to Japan, said he has changed some money into yen, taking advantage of the currency’s sharp decline and hoping to jump on the revenge travel bandwagon soon.

Though Japan has yet to allow tourists back in, it has reduced the quarantine period for arrivals for business and other purposes to three days from seven this month, and signalled further easing of travel curbs.

“It’s been a long wait, and I’m ready to go back as soon as they finally open up again, and visit my favourite coffee roastery and enjoy the night view from Shibuya station,” Lee said, referring to Tokyo’s bustling central district.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin, Hyunyoung Yi, Yeni Seo, Minwoo Park and Daewoung Kim; Editing by Karishma Singh)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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Top tips for planning a volunteer trip overseas

What are the most common misconceptions about voluntourism?

People thinking the desire to help is enough, and that ‘popping in’ to volunteer for a few hours is helpful. There might be a feel-good factor for the volunteer, but it does little to help. For example, there are extensive studies that indicate volunteering in orphanages in Cambodia exacerbates the problem rather than helping children, since there are people who view well-intentioned volunteers as cash cows. In fact, these volunteers are perpetuating the circumstances — and worse, without intending to, exploiting kids who don’t benefit from a brief visit.

The focus should be on learning from grassroots leaders and finding ways to support them. Grassroots leaders are familiar with issues in their communities and committed long-term to be of assistance.

Also, in emergencies or when disaster strikes, it’s important that people only help if they specifically trained to help in emergencies. The best way to help is to donate to those who are best equipped to help.

What inspired you to continue travelling the world as a volunteer?

I did two early volunteer trips, three months each: the first to Haiti, which was frustrating, and the second to Bangladesh, which was educational and inspiring. After going to Haiti, I went to graduate school where I got the chance to learn about humanitarian and development programming, and which sorts of organisations were truly useful in community development. When I heard about the success of Grameen Bank in one of my classes, I immediately set my sights on going there to learn about how small loans were making positive change to millions of poor women. I was fortunate that the experience I had as a volunteer evolved into a career in microfinance consulting.

Ten years later, in 2001, when I moved to the UK, I returned to the volunteer side as a board member and supporter of various NGOs. I was able to visit programmes in various countries and then give first-hand accounts of the impact of their work to potential donors. It’s inspiring to work with like-minded people.

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Tips for handling payments overseas

When it comes to travel and money, a lot has changed since the start of the pandemic. According to a customer survey by Yoco, an African payment systems provider, the number of its businesses that don’t accept cash jumped from 8 percent as the pandemic was starting to 32 percent by July 2020.

“Even before the pandemic, many countries were already moving to a cashless society,” says Chuck Huang, CEO of Citcon, a payment platform for businesses. “But covid has accelerated the use of contactless payments using QR codes at checkout. As travelers venture abroad, they may be surprised to find that people outside the U.S. rarely, if ever, touch cash or use a physical credit card. Stores and restaurants may not have a credit card reader at all.”

Before the pandemic, most experienced travelers carried at least two credit cards and relied on an ATM for withdrawing cash.

But today, contactless payment systems are quickly becoming the preferred way to settle your bills. Although many of these systems still rely on credit cards, there are new digital payment methods you need to know about. And some restrictions could limit your ability to use these new systems.

Experts say credit cards are slowly giving way to other, more efficient payment methods for travelers.

“Traditional credit cards aren’t always the best way to pay,” says Michael Sindicich, general manager of TripActions Liquid, the corporate card and expense management division of TripActions, an expense management company.

He says the pandemic accelerated the digitization of payment systems. Contactless, smartphone-based payments have grown in popularity and are now accepted in most tourist destinations.

Nick Brennan has noticed a shift from physical to digital payments in Europe. “In the U.K., I haven’t paid in cash for anything for a long time. I purchase literally everything using Apple Pay on my iPhone,” says Brennan, a frequent traveler who is the CEO of a phone service provider in London.

Some travelers are turning to cryptocurrencies. Digital currencies allow you to avoid several fees. Exchanging your dollars for local currency can be costly because of commissions or an unfavorable exchange rate. And many credit cards charge an exchange fee. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and Ether don’t require any conversion, and there are negligible fees, or none at all.

In Cape Town, many merchants seemed to prefer one of the homegrown digital payment systems. One bakery at a farmers market in Cape Town wouldn’t take cash or credit cards but was happy to accept a payment app called SnapScan. The digital payment company allows you to pay for pastries by scanning a QR code.

“It’s relatively easy,” he says. “They have an interface that quickly links to your accounts and has simple steps for the whole sign-up process.”

It’s not always that easy. When I spent a few weeks in Qatar, I tried to download another payment system, Ooredoo, to pay for my passport photos. I got all the way to the screen where I had to input my phone number. Alas, it would only accept a Qatar number. I finally offered the photographer a 10 euro note, which was far more than the cost of the passport photos. He accepted.

“More vendors are accepting digital payments,” says Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue, a travel risk-management company. For instance, in the Caribbean, Richards has noticed more merchants that accept Venmo and PayPal. Because many American travelers already have these payment systems on their phones, it makes using a tap-to-pay system convenient. But don’t forget to download the app before you leave, he warns. In my experience, activating the PayPal app overseas can be tricky because of the company’s security measures, which frown upon foreign IP addresses.

These new payment systems are far from perfect. As new ways to pay when you’re abroad have emerged, so have new scams. They include malicious QR codes that redirect payments, steal sensitive data and install malware. So before you switch to a tap-to-pay option, make sure you fully understand mechanisms such as identity verification and authentication, and always check user reviews of the payment systems before you install them.

And don’t rely entirely on your phone. “Have a backup payment plan in case your device gets lost or stolen,” advises Aubrey Turner, executive adviser of the cybersecurity firm Ping Identity.

What’s behind the shift in payment systems? Part of the reason is the pandemic. Merchants were afraid that cash spread germs, and that fear isn’t going away anytime soon. But the move to digital options also represents a tectonic shift in payment methods. The new app-based payment systems are easier to use or charge lower merchant fees than credit cards, or often both.

Travelers have driven the changes, too.

“They’ve developed new payment habits during the pandemic,” says Kristian Gjerding, CEO of CellPoint Digital, a payment platform. “Cards can still be used, but the convenience of mobile devices, e-wallet options, contactless payments and QR codes [has] transformed the way we pay for goods forever.”

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Omicron variant: What to do for travelers stranded at airports overseas

Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue — a company that provides medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services — said travelers who get stuck at an airport because of a border closing should immediately contact their embassy, provide their information and register their whereabouts. The next step, he said, would be to book a place to stay and then start the process of finding new flights if possible.

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U.S. Travel Ban Ends, and Europeans Head Overseas Again

“We haven’t seen each other in two years,” he said, “so we thought: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve. Why not?”

The Biden administration is lifting the ban weeks ahead of the holiday season, and Europeans can now enter the United States with proof of vaccination and a negative Covid test no more than 72 hours old.

But the opening comes just as Europe faces a near-record level of coronavirus infections. And although 65 percent of E.U. residents have been vaccinated, there are wide discrepancies within the bloc, with most Eastern European countries lagging.

That has left many Europeans worried that travel restrictions could be reimposed soon, although Mr. Alden, of the Council on Foreign Relations, said he doubted the Biden administration would reverse course in the weeks to come, citing pressure from airlines and foreign partners.

Many said they had jumped on the opportunity to fly as soon as they could, no matter the cost.

“Hopefully it won’t be 1.5 years again,” said Luise Greve, a 23-year-old student from Germany who was scheduled to fly on Monday to Kansas City to visit her boyfriend.

Claudio Tomassi, a 46-year-old Italian manager living in Pennsylvania, came back to his hometown near Rome in September because his mother’s health was deteriorating. Her health improved soon after his return, Mr. Tomassi said, but he was stuck in Italy, far from his wife and two children, because he is not a U.S. citizen.

When the Biden administration announced in September that the travel ban would be lifted, demand spiked in Italy for U.S.-bound plane tickets, Mr. Tomassi said, with one-way flights skyrocketing to about 1,400 euros, or about $1,620, much more than their usual price. But he bought one for Tuesday anyway, worried that with the virus again spreading throughout Europe the rules might change once more.

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