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Travel Talk: New Year’s resolutions – travel edition

It’s time for those 2013 New Year’s resolutions! If you’re like Bud and me, some of them will have to do with improving your own health, some will have to do with checking a few items off your Bucket List and some will focus on saving a bit more money. Here are some thoughts about weaving the world of travel into that master list.

Health and travel: Whether you’re a snowbird headed south in your trusty auto, an empty-nester headed out of the country for a long-awaited trip or even a young family planning your first trip to Disney, staying healthy will be key to your enjoyment. Make sure you have enough meds while you’re away by checking your prescriptions against your travel calendar and health insurance plan refill policy. If you’ll run out while you’re away, call the plan and get a “vacation override.” While you’re on the phone, see if your co-pays, coverage and treatment options change if you’re out-of-state (or country). Some plans cover treatment in foreign countries, but many don’t and very few cover transportation back home if you’re injured.

Explore your options at insure
mytrip.com and medjetassist.com. Bud and I also have a “health go-bag” always packed in our travel closet – it’s stocked with OTC meds like ibuprofen, antacids, moleskin for blisters, band-aids, antibiotic ointments and (very important) print-outs of all our immunizations. Lastly, you’ll probably be spending time in airports sometime during the year, so educate yourself on the use of airport heart machines at heartrescuenow.com – a great video!

The Bucket List: The older Bud and I get, the more we focus on prioritizing the destinations on our Bucket List. In a few weeks we’re headed for Burma – remote and exciting! But throughout 2013, we’ll be keeping our eye out for deals to India, Japan and some other places we’d like to see before we “settle down.”

I’ve been watching the major tour companies over the past month, and with the uncertainties over the economy, many are offering great prices on everything from cruises (river and otherwise) to tours (domestic and foreign) if you book early . . . but check out the cancellation policies. I suspect these offers will ramp up even more in January, so go online and explore destinations on your own list. The best deals usually come directly from the company – Abercrombie & Kent, Kensington, Grand Circle, Vanguard and others – or the cruise line – Oceania, NCL, Celebrity, Viking and others. But don’t forget domestic and even in-state travel. If you’ve always wanted to see Charlestown or Savannah, 2013 might be the time, especially off-season, when airfare and lodging will be down. Start by setting up alerts for airfare deals via tripadvisor.com or airfarewatchdog.com. Last, get a map of New Hampshire and vow to visit at least two “new” areas – see visitnh.gov for booking details.

Saving money: Saving money on airfare in 2013 will be relative. The old days of $400-$500 for off-season Europe or $79 each way to Vegas are gone. The best approach will be to adjust your expectations, keep an eye out and be ready to act – but also look for savings on lodging, car rentals, food and more. On the road we look for lodging with free breakfast and no fees for pets or internet access. La Quinta (lq.com) works well for us. One of the few travel expenses that actually will improve this year is gasoline pricing – but again, that is relative. Remember gas at $1.99 a few short years ago? Ha! Make sure you’re getting the best price wherever you are by using gasbuddy.com.

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