Your Vacation: Plan for the Best and Worst

Traveling this summer? Plan for the best of times and the worst of times before you go.

Having recently returned from a vacation in Italy, where driving in Rome is considered a blood sport and traffic laws viewed as merely suggestions, I thought it timely to review some planning tips if you expect to travel this summer.

First, don’t leave home without leaving a detailed itinerary with family members or friends. This serves two purposes — in the event there is an emergency at home, and someone needs to track you down, it will be much easier if they know exactly where to find you and how to contact you. Also, should there be a tragic accident involving an airline, for example, your loved ones won’t worry needlessly if the flight is not the one on which you are traveling.

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Before you venture abroad, particularly if you are planning to visit a country where medical conditions are considered sub-standard, review your health insurance to determine whether emergency services will be covered. Medicare, for example, will not cover expenses incurred while traveling outside of the country, though a Medicare Supplement Insurance policy may provide coverage subject to a deductible and lifetime maximum benefit. And if you take prescription medicines keep them in the original container, make sure you have a list of all medicines, including the generic names, and have your doctor’s name and phone number readily accessible.

Before renting a car it’s a good idea to review your auto policy prior to signing the rental agreement. Generally, the coverage and deductibles on your personal auto policy will apply to a rental vehicle, so if you don’t carry collision and comprehensive coverage on your policy you won’t be covered for damage or theft to a rental car. If that’s the case consider purchasing additional insurance especially if you are driving in a country where motorists make up the rules as they go!

It goes without saying that you should not carry large sums of cash in your purse or wallet especially in areas frequented by pickpockets. Consider wearing a money belt under your clothing, empty your wallet of any unnecessary credit cards before you leave home, and if you plan to travel outside the country alert your credit card company in advance so they won’t flag your card for possible unauthorized use.

And, finally, prepare for the worst. In the event you don’t return home make sure you have clearly communicated to your financial designee the names of your attorney, accountant, insurance agent, and financial advisor. Having a consolidated financial plan in a readily accessible location is always wise but it can be especially invaluable when an unforeseen tragedy occurs. As uncomfortable as it may be to prepare for your own demise, you will save your loved ones from additional grief by providing access and information to help them through difficult times.

It’s important to get a complete financial checkup at least annually to make sure your beneficiaries are up to date, your investments and insurance are aligned with your goals, and your legacy wishes are known to your loved ones. I don’t want to throw a wet blanket on your vacation but while you are making those travel plans consider updating your financial plan as well. Bon voyage!

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Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through American General Securities Incorporated (AGSI) Member FINRA/ SIPC, Member American International Group, Inc. GFG, LLC is a separate entity from any member of AIG. AGSI does not offer tax or legal advice.
Carol E. Arnott, Registered Representative, Investment Advisor Representative


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