Travel Tips

Keep Safe this Vacation

You’ve spent ages researching and planning your special getaway. You’re all packed up and more than ready to leave it all behind for a week or two. Before you walk out that door, make sure that your plans include keeping everything safe while you’re away this vacation.

Take 15 – 20 minutes before you go to safeguard your home:

  • ask a trusted friend or neighbour to check on your home every day, collecting mail and/or papers;
  • use timers to turn lights on and off automatically and make sure no valuables are in clear sight of windows or doors;
  • disconnect electronics like computers, stereos and TV’s that could be affected by unexpected electrical surges;
  • update your home inventory and take photos or video of those items – particularly those great new Christmas gifts;
  • load luggage discretely either in your garage or quickly into a waiting cab;
  • keep travel plans off of social media and out of casual conversations until your return;
  • be cautious not to turn the heat too low in case of a sudden cold snap; and,
  • turn off the main water supply, which will limit damage from unexpected leaks.

Plan to stay safe this vacation – both at home and abroad. Read through our check list if you’re traveling out of country, to make sure you’ve protected your health and financial well being with the right travel insurance. Looking forward to seeing the holiday pictures on your return.

Information courtesy of the Insurance Bureau of Canada

Brrrr! Winter Driving

Does driving in winter weather conditions send a shiver down your spine? You’re not alone. According to a recent survey by ICBC, 40% of respondents felt less confident driving in the winter and 70% felt both less safe and frustrated by the actions of other drivers.

Although Victoria doesn’t tend to have the same severe conditions that the rest of Canada suffers each winter, it is still important to plan for the season:

Winter driving safety tips

  • slow down, mother nature has, so should you. Everything takes longer on wet, icy or snowy roads, give yourself more time to make safe decisions;
  • switch to winter tires – all season tires begin to lose elasticity and grip on the road at temperatures below 7°C, according to Transport Canada;
  • ease off the gas and don’t brake if your vehicle starts to hydroplane or you run into black ice. Look and steer smoothly in the direction you’d like to go;
  • to smoothly handle snow-covered corners, begin to brake steadily as you approach the turn. Once in the corner, ease off the brakes and use the car’s remaining traction to steer through the turn;
  • when the road is steep and icy, gently accelerate before you reach the base of the hill let that inertia drive you up, and when heading down ease off the gas – if possible detour to a flatter route;
  • keep the cruise control off so that you’re in control if you hit bad road conditions;
  • reduce your speed and increase your distance from the car in front of you to protect yourself and your passengers from the unexpected; and,
  • most importantly if you still don’t feel safe, choose to stay home or let a professional take the wheel using public transit or taxi.

Click these links for more tips on safe driving in winter from ICBC or to check road conditions at DriveBC.

Road Trip Summer Holiday Style

Wind in your hair, sunglasses at a rakish angle, the perfect road trip mix playing and,… screaming kids in the backseat. End the cycle. This summer before you hit the road make a complete plan for a safe and happy summer holiday trip.

Summer Road TripBefore the first tire backs off your driveway, make sure that you’re covered:

  • dig up your “old-school” paper maps if the areas you’re driving through are remote
  • pre-plan interesting stops every 3 – 4 hours to stretch your legs and your mind
  • if possible trade driving duties regularly to stay alert and avoid “highway hypnosis”
  • keep the family hydrated with access to lots of water
  • pack nutritious snacks to help cut costs and hopefully keep everyone on an even keel
  • for the non-drivers, pack activities that can be done as a family and individually – remember to bring enough for there and back

Remember to breathe deeply and smile, it’s only two weeks and they’ll never be that young again. And before you leave home, whether you’re renting a car at the start – or after “the family beast” has gasped through her last mile – don’t forget to check you car insurance policy to confirm it covers the mandatory insurance for your rental vehicle.

Travel Insurance

travel insuranceWhere are you off to?  If it is outside the province, don’t forget to pack your travel insurance along with your passport and sunscreen.

Think you’re covered? Don’t forget to ask these key questions before you lock the door:
•    How many days out of country does your policy cover?
•    What occurs if your medical emergency happens due to a pre-existing condition?
•    Is your policy void if you do certain activities or travel to certain countries?
•    Is your entire family covered while traveling with you?
•    Are you covered for an emergency trip home?
•    What are the maximums and deductibles and the 24 hour emergency number?
•    And what documentation is required for a claim?

Enjoy your time away, we look forward to getting your postcard telling us how much fun you had.

Source: A guide to travel health insurance by the Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association Inc.