Times Colonist

Travel reminders for snowbirds

- — www.newscanada.com

With winter just around the corner, many snowbirds are itching to finalize their travel plans to warmer climes. If you are among these lucky-ducks, make sure you’ve made the necessary arrangemen­ts before heading to Florida, California, Mexico or Hawaii.

HERE’S A QUICK CHECKLIST TO HELP YOU GET ORGANIZED:

• Tell a trusted friend or family-member about your plans and ask them to keep an eye on your place while you’re away. • Secure your home and turn off the water. • Cancel the newspapers. • Forward or stop mail delivery. • Make photocopie­s of your travel- personal documents for yourself and the trusted friend or family-member as a precaution. • If you’re driving to your destinatio­n, find out if you need supplement­al car insurance. • Find out if you need to update your shots. • Let your bank and credit card company know about your travel plans to avoid any confusion or service disruption. • Buy travel insurance. While most people know that travel insurance is important, many people may not be aware that it is now a prerequisi­te for entering Cuba.

“Since May 1, 2010, Cuban authoritie­s require visitors to provide proof that they can cover their own medical costs,” said François Morel, a sales consultant at Desjardins Financial Security.

“Subsequent­ly, the Cuba Tourist Board advised that Canadians could present their provincial health insurance cards as proof of medical insurance. But, supplement­al travel insurance is necessary because the provincial health insurance plans only offer minimum medical coverage abroad. “Regardless of whether you’re out of the country for a day or for several weeks, accidents or illnesses happen all the time and it’s best to be prepared,” said Morel.

“Hospital stays abroad can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars. So, it’s best to take a few minutes to buy reliable travel insurance coverage.”

WHAT TO REMEMBER:

• It’s Convenient: It can be bought on the Internet or by phone.

• It’s Flexible: You’ll find the right policy that suits your needs based on your age, health situation and trip duration.

• It’s Reliable: Coverage provides 24/7 medical assistance support.

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