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Tales of Caution

Tales of caution from world travelers! Take these tips from these people who have experienced first hand just what kind of tricks countries pull on you when visiting.

  • My husband and I arrived at Paris’ Gare du Nord in the early evening and proceeded to read the map to find out how to get to our hotel via the Metro. One guy came up and advised us to buy tickets from the ticket machine. While we were at the machine trying to read the French, another guy came out and “helped” us buy tickets. The 3-day tickets we thought we were buying were, in fact, 1-way single-use tickets. We paid him the 48 euros which was displayed on the ticket machine, but he must have cancelled that transaction and bought us the single trip ticket instead. My advice is to buy Metro tickets ONLY through the ticket counter at the Metro station (a 2-day ticket is only about 13 euros).

-Emmy

  • Be careful if you are parking at the Tronchetto and want to ride the public vaporetto boat into Venice. Men surrounded us, told us where to walk and directed us to private taxi boats. They refused to allow us to go to the vaporetto dock. They raised their voices at us, insisted that we take their private taxis. I pulled out my Rick Steves book, showed them that I wanted the vaporetto, but they yelled “NO MA’AM” at me and made us walk to the taxi boats. When we got in the boat, the man asked for more money than we’d been told it would cost. When I questioned him, he yelled “GET OUT!” My husband and I and our two children (and luggage) got out of the boat. As we walked back toward the parking garage, we found signs pointing to the vaporetto, and got there easily. We then realized that the men kept positioning us so that we could not see those signs earlier.

-Cathy

  •  I had just been served pizza with some friends in Paris when a women came up to our table and tried to take our food. Thinking she was a waitress, I said in French, “We are not finished, thank you.” She ignored me and kept trying to take our food, when a real waitress appeared and shooed the woman out rather forcefully.

-Kat

  • While visiting Sacre Coeur in Paris, a friend and I fell victim to the shell game in one of the alleys leading up to the church. Yeah, we were stupid, but our initial intention was only to watch. Of course, it all looked so easy. We lost about $70, no big deal. That $70 made me much more vigilant, so perhaps it was a cheap lesson. If you see someone playing the shell game or 3 card monty, be careful. No matter how easy it looks, only the “plants” in the crowd will win (if any native is playing then he/she is a plant). If you want to pick out thieves in the Metro and elsewhere, simply observe who’s looking at what (the thieves are the ones who are looking at what other people are carrying). On the Metro, thieves love to walk up and down the aisles until just before the doors close. They time their grab with the closing of the door, and quickly jump through as it shuts.

-Andy

  • My wife and I were ready to leave Rome after a great ten day visit. We got into a cab outside our hotel, and asked the driver to take us to the train station (where we’d take a cheaper ride to the airport). The cab driver asked if we were leaving to fly home. We said yes. He then proceeded to tell us that there were major problems with the train to Fiumicino Airport, the line was down, etc …but he would be glad to drive us directly to the airport for 80 euros! Thank God I’d built enough time into our schedule so that I could investigate the train situation myself. I told him no thanks, take us to the train station anyway. There was no problem whatsoever with the train and we made it home sans difficulty. The lesson: try not to be in a rush.

-MD

  • Anywhere in Europe, friendly locals can invite a tourist into a bar where you end up buying a drink for a girl, you notice a burly bouncer at the door, and your bill comes to $80. This happened to me in Istanbul. I met a wonderfully friendly young man who suggested we stop by this bar close to my hotel. Once inside, we were having a beer, when a girl sat next to me and my friend ordered her a drink. At that point it just clicked in my head…this is that scam I’d read about. Sure enough, there is no one in the bar other than the big guy standing by the door and the mean looking bartender. The bill was $80 for my beer and the girl’s drink. I had no choice but to pay. Never go anywhere with someone who approaches you on the street, regardless of how “tough” you are or how “nice” they seem. It’s almost always a scam and can lead to real trouble.

-Anonymous

US State Department Travel Warning for Honduras Thumbnail

US State Department Travel Warning for Honduras

Traveling around the world has risk.  Limit your financial risk of unforeseen illness and accidents with a high quality travel insurance policy.

The Department of State has issued this Travel Warning for Honduras to inform U.S. citizens about the security situation in Honduras.

Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Honduras each year for study, tourism, business, and volunteer work. However, crime and violence are serious problems throughout the country. Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world. San Pedro Sula is considered to be the world’s most violent city, with 159 murders for every 100,000 residents in 2011. These threats have increased substantially over the past several years, and incidents can occur anywhere. In January 2012, the Peace Corps withdrew its volunteers from the country to conduct an administrative review of the security situation.  Read More »

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Travel Health Warning for Greece

If you are traveling to Greece, then we highly recommend a low cost travel health insurance policy which includes emergency medical evacuation.  Contact Insurance Services of America or visit their website at www.isahealthinsurance.com for a instant quote.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received information that there have been 11 additional P. vivax malaria cases identified in Greece; two locally-acquired cases in Greek residents with no previous travel, two possible relapses in patients who had locally-transmitted malaria in 2011, and seven cases in immigrants. Between January 1 and September 3, 2012, Greece has reported a total of 50 cases of malaria. Forty-two of those 50 cases occurred among immigrants from malaria-endemic countries and are thus believed to have been imported. However, some of these cases may have been locally acquired. Read More »

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Chaos Ensues After Italian Airlines Halt Flights

On August 12th, Italian Budget airline suspended flights, leaving hundreds of travelers stranded and many remained trapped overnight at Rome’s Fiumicino airport.  An estimated 300,000 passengers have booked flights with the airline in the weeks ahead, leading to the risk of serious travel disruptions.  If you have made reservations on Italian Budget airlines, then we recommend contacting your travel supplier.  If you have purchased the Roundtrip travel insurance plan, then please contact the 24 hour emergency assistance telephone number on your ID card for trip cancellation benefits.  Feel free to contact Insurance Services of America for help.

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Air Traffic Controller Strike in Portugal

Expect airport delays flying into, within and out of Lisbon including flight delays to Europe.  If you have purchased our Roundtrip trip insurance and will be traveling to Portugal on May 17-18 and 24-25, 2012, then please contact the 24 hour worldwide assistance telephone number on your ID card for trip delay assistance.    Read More »

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Easter Travel Delay Alert for the U.K.

Altegrity Risk advises the United Kingdom warns of possible “gridlock” at airports during the Easter break due to staff shortages, reports indicated on April 4th. The British Air Transport Association claimed there were too few border staff scheduled to work during the break, delaying security checks.

If you are a Roundtrip travel insurance policy holder and are traveling to Europe this Easter weekend, then please contact your travel supplier for current travel delays.  While traveling, if your flight is delayed or cancelled, then please contact the 24 hour telephone assistance number on your ID card for live travel assistance.

If you need a travel insurance quote or have questions regarding your existing policy, then please contact us at (800) 647-4589 or (480) 821-9052 and speak to one of our Client Advisors. Safe Travels!

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Israel: Updated Travel Warning

Source: U.S. Department of State

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and about threats to themselves and to U.S. interests in those locations. The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to remain mindful of security factors when planning travel to Israel and the West Bank and to avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip. This replaces the Travel Warning issued June 22, 2011, to update information on the general security environment.

The Gaza Strip and Southern Israel
The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip, which is under the control of Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization. American citizens in Gaza are advised to depart immediately. Read More »

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Updated Travel Warning for Mali

Source: U.S. Department of State

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risk of travel to Mali, and recommends against all travel to the north of the country due to threats of attacks and kidnappings of Westerners. In addition, the National Movement for Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA) and other armed groups have attacked several locations in the north and engaged in battles with the Malian military. The conflict has sparked civil disturbances and attacks against ethnic minority groups in Bamako and other cities in the south. U.S. citizens are also advised that presidential and legislative elections scheduled Read More »

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Travel Warning Issued for Mexico

Source: U.S. Department of State

The Department of State has issued this Travel Warning to inform U.S. citizens about the security situation in Mexico. General information on the overall security situation is provided immediately below. For information on security conditions in specific regions of Mexico, which can vary, travelers should reference the state-by-state assessments further below.

This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Mexico dated April 22, 2011 to consolidate and update information about the security situation and to advise the public of additional restrictions on the travel of U.S. government (USG) personnel.

General Conditions:

Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year for study, tourism, and business, including more than 150,000 who Read More »

Updated US State Dept Travel Warning for Brazil Thumbnail

Updated US State Dept Travel Warning for Brazil

This message is to update US citizens about security concerns in Salvador, Bahia and surrounding areas stemming from a state-wide work stoppage by the Military Police in the State of Bahia. Brazilian national security forces were deployed into Salvador on the morning of Friday, February 3. Nevertheless, the homicide rate in Salvador reportedly has risen significantly during the past week. In addition, there have been reports of significant increases in the rates of property crimes, including lootings and car thefts. All private schools in Salvador were closed on Monday, February 6. Public schools remained open, but report very low attendance. Read More »