Tag Archives: insurance

Wendy's son, Charlie via ferrata at Whistler, British Columbia

Travel Insurance and Emergency Assistance: How to Protect Yourself

If you don’t start thinking about travel insurance until you need it, chances are it’s already too late. For example, did you know that many benefits only kick in if you purchase your plan soon after paying the first deposit for a trip?

For our WOW Week 2024 Travel Talk on February 8, we brought in experts to discuss how to prepare for travel curveballs, from surprise injuries to natural disasters to political unrest, and how to minimize your risk, both financial and medical. Joining us were Stan Sandberg, co-founder of travel-insurance comparison site TravelInsurance.com, and Sheri Howell, from air-medical-transport and crisis-response provider Medjet. Check out all we learned from Stan and Sheri in the video below.

4 top takeaways

Some plans are more generous than others about covering pre-existing medical conditions. Most insurance policies will not cover pre-existing conditions unless you purchase them within a week or two of your first trip payment. However, a few plans have now extended this window to up to 24 hours after your final trip payment. You can filter for such policies when you do a search on travelinsurance.com.

Annual travel-insurance policies are on the rise. Historically these policies have only covered medical expenses, but some now also provide trip cancellation and interruption protection. Those benefits typically only cover $5,000 or so; if your nonrefundable trip costs are higher than that, you’ll get more complete coverage by purchasing individual policies for each trip.

Tread carefully on the gangways. River cruises are a surprisingly common source of travel accidents. Sheri explained that the vessels’ gangways are smaller and less sturdy than on ocean-going ships; the wake from a passing boat has been known to sweep travelers off their feet—and straight into the hospital.

A Medjet membership protects kids studying abroad. Family memberships cover two adults, plus up to five children until age 19, or until age 23 if they are full-time students. Members are  covered anytime they are at least 150 miles away from home, even when not traveling together.

Links to Useful Resources

How to Buy Travel Insurance: What It Covers, When You Need It

What Medical Evacuation Coverage Do You Need?

“Cancel For Any Reason” CFAR Travel Insurance: What It Is and How It Works


Be a smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. Read real travelers’ reviews, then use the black CONTACT buttons on Wendy’s WOW List to reach out to the right local fixer for your trip.

This Cyber Monday Sale Will Give You Peace of Mind in 2024

Wherever I go, it gives me great peace of mind to know my family and I will be covered in a crisis.  Even before the pandemic and recent events in the Middle East, travelers would often ask us about how to protect themselves.  First I point them to our article How To Buy Travel Insurance: What It Covers, When You Need It.  Then I tell them that if they really want peace of mind, they should consider this emergency assistance membership program that goes beyond what regular travel insurance provides:

If you should end up in a hospital far from home—with a complicated bone fracture, a Covid diagnosis, or any other reason—Medjet will get you back home to the doctor you trust and the hospital near your family and friends, saving you many tens of thousands of dollars. (Not every assistance program will transport Covid-positive members, but Medjet will.)  Medjet offers crisis protection too: If during your trip you feel that your safety and security may be threatened—because of a political threat, terrorist attack, natural disaster, or other crisis—they will come to the rescue with access to 24/7 security experts, and evacuation if necessary.

So I thought you’d want to know that on Monday, November 27—for one day only—Medjet is putting its annual memberships on sale again (this time with their largest discount ever: $60 off individual annual memberships, and $90 off family annual memberships). Memberships bought during the sale can be activated later, which means that you can take advantage of the deal now even if you’re not traveling until later in 2024.


If you have any issues accessing the sale pricing,
you may call Medjet at 1-800-527-7478
and reference “Wendy Perrin Cyber Monday”


Not sure which membership is right for you?  Personally, mine is a MedjetHorizon family membership, so that my children are protected too—even when they travel without me—and so that we’re covered in a crisis such as a terrorist incident or natural disaster.

This sale is for new memberships only, so if you’ve already got one for yourself, consider gifting one. After all, it’s a gift you’d want to get.  I plan to give some as holiday gifts. In fact, I’ve already collected this enrollment info from the giftees. (And I plan to have their enrollment packages sent to my address, so I can give them as a physical gift, rather than spoil the surprise!)

Want to speak with a real live human being?  While it’s a cyber sale in theory, human beings at Medjet will be happy to answer your questions—not only on Cyber Monday but every day of Thanksgiving week except Thanksgiving Day and Sunday.

Full disclosure: Medjet is a sponsor of WendyPerrin.com. But that’s because I use their services myself and believe in them. And their sponsorship is another thing for us all to be thankful for: It enables me, Brook, and the rest of our team to spend time answering your many travel questions and finding the savviest trip-planning specialists for you.

Wherever we end up—such as Wadi Rum in Jordan—it gives me peace of mind to know my family is covered.

orange life preserver on hook at lake

How to Buy Travel Insurance: What It Covers, When You Need It

UPDATE—November 7, 2023: It’s important for travelers to be aware that most travel-insurance policies do not cover loss due to war. Many insurance providers did cover claims due to the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas because they deemed it a “terrorist incident”—but the ongoing fighting is not a covered reason for loss under policies purchased on or after that date, when it became a foreseeable event. For more details, see “Can I call off my trip for any reason and be reimbursed?” below. 

Travel insurance can be confusing—which is why we’ve received countless questions about it from readers. So we’ve created this primer that lays out the basics of travel insurance, including when you need it—and when you don’t.

What is travel insurance anyway?

Essentially, travel insurance serves two purposes, both financial. The first is to protect the investment you’ve already made—the cost of your trip—in the event that you need to cancel. The second is to cover future potential costs because of unforeseen events—for example, the cost of medical evacuation, should you get injured during your trip.

What does travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance policies cover some or all of the following (“comprehensive” policies cover most or all of these situations):

  • Trip cancellation or interruption (if the reason for doing so is one allowed by that policy)
  • Medical expenses, and sometimes evacuation (transportation to an appropriate medical facility)
  • Expenses related to a trip delay and lost, stolen, damaged, or delayed baggage
  • A lump-sum payment if you’re injured or killed while traveling
  • Emergency assistance
  • Financial default of the travel supplier

A policy kicks in only if your situation fits within its specific conditions (those are the pages of fine print at the back of every policy). You can’t, for instance, get your money back if you decide to cancel because your cousin dies; that’s because most policies cover cancellation due to the death of only certain close family members.

Here are three examples of how travel insurance can help. These are scenarios that a traveler might run into—and ways in which the right travel insurance policy could protect the traveler in each scenario. Remember that every policy’s benefits are different:

Beth is headed to the Caribbean during hurricane season, since she knows that prices are lower at that time of year and that the chance of a storm hitting any particular island is low. But a week before she leaves, Hurricane Peter wreaks havoc at her beachfront resort.
Since Beth purchased an insurance policy with trip-cancellation coverage before the storm was named and her hotel is now uninhabitable, she can cancel the trip and get all of her money back.

Halfway through a hiking trip in the Alps, Joe slips and falls, breaking his ankle.
Joe’s travel insurance policy has a medical expense limit of $10,000, so it covers some—but not all—of his medical bills. Because he can’t continue with his trip, his trip-interruption benefit reimburses him for the unused portion of his prepaid expenses.

While Amy is walking from the train station to her hotel, a thief steals her luggage.
Amy’s insurance covers the value of the items in her luggage, up to her benefit limit of $750. Too bad she didn’t leave that diamond necklace at home, though; her policy will only reimburse up to $500 total for jewelry and electronics.

Do I really need travel insurance?

It depends on whether you’re making large nonrefundable advance payments, and whether you’re concerned about potential medical bills.

Are you reserving rooms at hotels that let you cancel up to 24 hours before check-in, and renting a car that you don’t have to pay for until you show up at the counter? In that case, don’t bother with a comprehensive policy that covers cancellation, since you’re not out-of-pocket for many expenses. (Even so, you may still want medical insurance, which is very affordable; you can get quotes for this coverage by entering $0 as your trip cost when researching policies online—see “Which policy should I buy?” below.)

Or are you prepaying for most of the pricey elements of your trip—hotels, private guides, transportation, a cruise—which often means that your deposit and subsequent payments are nonrefundable? In that case, you probably want travel insurance. When you choose a policy, consider the specific reasons you may end up filing a claim. For instance, most policies will cover Covid-related medical bills, but not all of them will cover the costs of isolating at your destination because you’re sick but not hospitalized.

Don’t I already have insurance?

You might. Some—but not all—medical plans, homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies, and credit cards offer benefits to travelers. But Medicare, for instance, doesn’t cover members when they are overseas (though some Medigap plans do), and most health plans won’t cover evacuation (meaning, transportation to an adequate medical facility), which can be expensive if you’re somewhere remote. Check with your insurers to see what’s included.

Some premium credit cards include a level of protection. This coverage probably isn’t itself worth the card’s annual fee—but if you already have such a card, you should know what benefits it offers so that you don’t pay for redundant coverage. For example, Chase Sapphire Reserve (one of Wendy’s favorite credit cards for travelers) has some good insurance benefits, but with set limits (so, for instance, you can get back only up to $10,000 per traveler and $20,000 per trip if you cancel a trip you paid for with the card—even if your African safari cost your family of four $15,000 per person).

Some travel firms and tour operators also include certain insurance coverage in all of their trips. Don’t waste your money buying coverage that’s already built into the cost of your trip. However, don’t assume that this coverage is comprehensive; depending on your circumstances, you might want to buy an additional policy.

How much does travel insurance cost?

Premiums for a comprehensive policy range from about four to 15 percent of your total trip cost. So if you and your spouse are spending $20,000 total on a week in France, expect to pay $400 to $1,500 per person for travel insurance.

Each premium is calculated based on the length and cost of the trip, where you’re going, and how old you are. For travelers above age 50, policies get significantly more expensive, while children can often be added to a parent’s plan for free: Travelex’s Travel Select Plan allows you to add any children under 18 to a parent’s or grandparent’s plan at no additional cost, while most Travel Guard plans include one child under 18 for every paying adult.

At what point during my trip planning should I buy travel insurance?

Purchase your policy as soon as you put down a deposit toward your trip. That’s because certain desirable benefits (e.g., coverage for cancellation because of pre-existing medical conditions, coverage for financial default of the travel supplier, a cancel-for-any-reason upgrade) may kick in only if you buy your policy within 14 days or so of your initial trip payment. This is usually defined as the first payment that will go toward your trip cost and could be included in an insurance claim, not the separate planning fee that some travel designers charge.

Your premium will be lower if you cover only your nonrefundable costs; however, not covering the full amount of your payment(s) may invalidate coverage for pre-existing conditions. Requirements vary from one insurance provider to the next, so read a policy carefully when calculating the amount of coverage you need.

What is third-party travel insurance?

Some travel companies—cruise lines, tour operators, and the like—sell their own insurance or “protection” policies, whereas third-party insurance is sold by someone other than the travel company that is operating your trip. Third-party policies are usually a better choice: They pay you back in cash rather than trip credits, they can protect you in case the travel company goes out of business, and you can choose the plan with the coverage that best fits your specific circumstances.

My travel planner recommends that I purchase a policy through a specific insurer; should I follow their advice?

Some travel planners, tour companies, and outfitters have relationships with a particular insurance provider. They might push you to buy a certain type of insurance because they’ll earn a commission; on the other hand, their relationship with that insurer could benefit you if you have to file a claim. Wendy has seen many cases where Trusted Travel Experts on The WOW List, thanks to their relationship with a particular insurer, have been able to act as advocates for their travelers and get their claims paid.

Should I cover the cost of my flights too?

That depends. If you have to cancel your trip, you can usually put the cost of any unused airline tickets toward a future flight, sometimes minus a change fee. Calculate how much your premium will increase if you insure your flights; if the difference is less than the airline’s change fee, it’s worth insuring the flights. (You might also want to insure flights on any local carrier that you aren’t likely to fly with again—in which case a credit toward future travel would be worthless.)

What does it mean if a travel medical insurance plan is primary or secondary?

“Primary” means that the plan pays any bills first, without having to go through your home health insurance provider; “secondary” means the plan will only cover whatever you owe after you’ve filed a claim with your health insurance provider. You’ll typically get a bit more coverage per dollar with a secondary plan—but you’ll have to deal with more paperwork if you file a claim.

I have a medical condition. Will expenses related to it be covered?

Pre-existing conditions are generally excluded from coverage—but some plans will waive that exclusion if you purchase them soon after making the first payment on your trip (generally within 7 to 21 days of that initial deposit). You also usually have to insure the entire nonrefundable cost of your trip, including flights. Without coverage for pre-existing conditions, you’re on the hook for any expenses related to a condition that wasn’t medically stable at the time you booked.

How does travel insurance handle Covid?

Pretty much like any other illness. Most comprehensive policies will cover you if you test positive right before your trip and have to cancel, or if you come down with Covid during your trip and incur medical expenses. If you are sick enough to be hospitalized, a Medjet membership will get you home. If your symptoms are mild, some insurance policies will cover self-isolation costs under your “Trip Delay” benefit. There are often both daily and total limits to this benefit, so you may not be reimbursed for all of your additional hotel, meal, and airfare costs.

What if I’m hurt doing an adventure activity (say, bungee jumping)?

Most policies won’t cover injuries you receive while taking part in certain “hazardous activities”—a category that can include everything from skydiving and rock climbing to scuba diving and heli-skiing. Some plans will allow you to pay a higher premium to cover these activities. (Dive Accident Insurance from the Divers Alert Network, for instance, covers most bills related to scuba-diving accidents.)

Will insurance pay for me to come home if I get sick or injured on the road?

Not usually. Most policies will pay for transportation to what they consider to be the nearest adequate medical facility (such transport is known as medical evacuation)—but that could be thousands of miles from your loved ones and the doctors you trust. If you want to know that you can get home, you’ll need to purchase additional coverage from a company such as Medjet, which arranges and pays for transportation from a hospital in your destination to one back home. For more details, read What Medical Evacuation Coverage Do You Need?

Can I call off my trip for any reason and be reimbursed?

No. Each policy defines the allowable reasons for which you can cancel and get your money back. To cancel your trip because of a terrorist attack, for instance, the attack typically has to happen in a city listed on your itinerary—not just anywhere in the country you’re visiting.

You can purchase additional “Cancel For Any Reason” (CFAR) coverage, but it’s pricey, and even then, you’ll generally only be reimbursed 50% to 75% of your trip cost. As with pre-existing condition benefits, you usually have to purchase CFAR coverage soon after your initial trip deposit; you also have to insure the total cost of the trip, and you must cancel more than 48 hours prior to your departure. Read more about CFAR coverage in our article “Cancel For Any Reason” Travel Insurance: What It Is and How It Works.

What if the State Department issues a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” advisory for my destination, and I want to cancel my trip?

Standard travel-insurance policies rarely cover cancellation due to war, border closures, lockdowns, or government travel warnings/advisories. (But also note that the 21 countries currently with a Level 4 advisory are not common travel destinations right now, but rather places like Russia and Afghanistan.) Some insurance providers offer “Cancel For Any Reason” (CFAR) coverage; for the pros and cons of that, read “Cancel For Any Reason” Travel Insurance: What It Is and How It Works. If security is a concern, consider a MedjetHorizon membership, which includes access to a Crisis Response Center if at any point during a trip you feel that your safety may be threatened—because of a political incident, terror attack, or other crisis.

How do I protect myself against the travel company I’m working with going out of business?

If you paid by credit card—which we always recommend—your first step should be to file a billing dispute with the credit-card company. The Fair Credit Billing Act stipulates that you are protected against charges for goods or services you do not receive. If you can prove that’s the case, those charges will be credited back to your account.

Some third-party travel insurance policies also cover trip cancellation due to financial default—meaning that an airline, tour operator, cruise line, or other supplier ceases operations, leaving you without a trip. (Travel insurance usually will not cover you if the company declares bankruptcy or if you booked via a travel agency or other intermediary that goes out of business.)  Click here to read more about insurance coverage for financial default. As with pre-existing medical conditions, financial default clauses often require that you purchase the insurance soon after making your first payment, and the coverage typically doesn’t start until 10 to 14 days after you’ve purchased the policy.

Here are a couple of examples: Let’s say you’ve booked a Mediterranean cruise and flights to Venice, where you’ll board the ship. The day after paying your initial deposit, you insured the entire purchase with a carrier that protects against financial default. Two days before you’re due to leave, your airline goes belly-up, and all other flights to Venice from your hometown are booked, so you’re unable to make it to the ship. Your insurance provider reimburses you for the costs of your flights and the cruise you missed.

In another scenario, let’s say you’ve booked a trip to see the Pyramids in Egypt. A month after putting down a deposit on the trip, it occurs to you to insure your considerable investment. A few weeks before your departure, your Egypt tour operator ceases operations, and it turns out that none of your in-country arrangements have been confirmed or paid for. Even though your insurance policy covers financial default, it won’t pay out in this case because you didn’t purchase the policy within 15 days of your initial trip payment.

Should I pay for the car-rental upgrade to my comprehensive insurance policy?

Pay attention to when that benefit kicks in; coverage through your rental agency may be better tuned to the likeliest risks in your destination. For instance, when I rented a car in Iceland, my Travelex policy upgrade would cover me only for damage due to collision, vandalism, windstorm, fire, hail, or flood. Hertz’s options, on the other hand, included coverage for damage from gravel or ash—both far more common than vandals in Iceland.

I travel frequently. Is an annual travel-insurance plan a better choice than individual policies for each trip?

Many annual plans do not cover trip cancellation and thus are missing the coverage you want when you have significant nonrefundable expenses. Also keep in mind that annual plans limit you to the same coverage for all of your trips. For example, say you take a few shorter trips a year that cost $5,000, and one large trip that costs $25,000. An annual plan with a trip-cancellation benefit limit of $15,000 means that you’ll be overinsured for your shorter trips, and underinsured for your larger one.

Which policy should I buy?

It would be so easy if one size fit all—but it doesn’t. To know which policy is right for you, think about what keeps you up at night. Are you most concerned about testing positive for Covid a day before your trip? Or about having to fly home early because a loved one there falls ill? Or deciding to cancel your trip because of a terrorist attack at your destination—or even one in an entirely different country?

Several websites allow you to input your details and compare multiple policies at once, narrowing in on which one is right for you: Check out TravelInsurance.com, InsureMyTrip, SquareMouth.com, and, if you just want medical coverage and don’t need cancellation protection, Medical.TravelInsurance.com. Before you purchase any policy, though, it’s important to get on the phone with that insurer and ask how their policies would work, if the hypothetical reasons why you’re considering travel insurance (e.g., you end up hospitalized with Covid in your destination) were to actually occur.

The insurance that we’ve received the best traveler feedback about is Travelex’s Travel Select policy. It operates as primary coverage, allows a wide range of reasons to cancel, and, based on the feedback we’ve heard, is relatively likely to reimburse you quickly.  This policy must be purchased at least 14 days before your trip starts (this is waived for last-minute trips if you are still within 15 days of your first trip payment). Travelex also offers an optional “Cancel for Any Reason” upgrade that must be bought within two weeks after making your first trip payment.

Transparency disclosure:  Medjet is a sponsor of WendyPerrin.com. That’s because Wendy has had a membership herself since her kids were little and believes in it. Travelex Insurance Services pays WendyPerrin.com a referral fee when a policy is purchased through this link. Wendy chooses Travelex because it has generous policies (see above) and good customer service. (Travelex Insurance Services is not related in any way to the defunct currency-exchange business Travelex.) When you use the links in this article for your insurance/assistance purchases, it allows us to continue the rigorous and honest work we do on behalf of consumers, as well as to continue our Get a Personalized Trip Recommendation service. Thank you for your support.

Be a smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. Read real travelers’ reviews, then use the black CONTACT buttons on Wendy’s WOW List to reach out to the right local fixer for your trip.

Woman holding passport and boarding pass waiting in transit area in the airport, standing by for the next schedule traveling, late delay of the arrival departure, missing checking in

“Cancel For Any Reason” CFAR Travel Insurance: What It Is and How It Works

As a result of Covid, travelers have become more interested in travel insurance than ever. Trip cancellation is a common benefit—but only pays out if you cancel for a covered reason. Additional “Cancel For Any Reason” (CFAR) coverage allows you to cancel your trip without requiring that you justify your reasoning. It may give you the peace of mind you need to book a trip—but there are caveats. Here are the main points travelers need to know about buying and using CFAR insurance.

Cancel For Any Reason coverage is expensive.

Pre-pandemic, CFAR coverage typically added 40% to your insurance premium—but as both interest in and claims against CFAR policies have increased, in many cases their price has too. We looked at six insurance quotes in August 2023 and found that a CFAR clause increased the premiums on five of those products by 50% to 113%. To put this in dollar figures: Standard travel insurance for trip cancellation/interruption and medical expenses on a $20,000 trip may cost $1,000; adding CFAR could bump that up to $1,500 or more.

Don’t expect to get all your money back.

Specifics vary by policy and based on your state of residence, but most plans reimburse 50% to 75% of your nonrefundable, prepaid trip costs. Some have a maximum amount that you can insure (e.g., $10,000 per person).

You can’t add CFAR at the last minute.

To be eligible for CFAR coverage, you must purchase it soon after you make your first trip payment, usually within 14 to 21 days (and in some cases, within just 24 hours of your deposit).

You can’t cancel at the last minute, either.

You’re out of luck if you find out a day before your trip that you must cancel. In order to be reimbursed via a CFAR clause, you must call off your trip at least 48 hours prior to departure.

Covid has impacted the availability of CFAR coverage.

Before Covid, CFAR policies were unavailable to residents of New York State due to state insurance regulations; back in March 2020, in light of Covid, New York’s governor announced that travel insurance companies could sell CFAR policies in the state. While several providers saw Covid as a reason to discontinue offering CFAR coverage entirely, others—including Travelex Insurance Services—have added optional CFAR upgrades.

Is it right for you?

CFAR is an option that can provide some peace of mind, at a price. Whether it’s enough peace to be worth the cost is a personal choice.

Which insurance company should I choose? 

There are many providers, and in our article How to Buy Travel Insurance: What It Covers, When You Need It, you can learn more about what to look for, what to avoid, and how to choose the right one for your specific needs.


Be a smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. Read real travelers’ reviews, then use the black CONTACT buttons on Wendy’s WOW List to reach out to the right local fixer for your trip.

globe with airplane flying around it and a first aid kit on the plane - concept for travel insurance

What Medical Evacuation Coverage Do You Need?

They are the nightmare scenarios you’d rather not consider, but still want to prepare for: maybe it’s breaking a leg while biking through Tuscany, or having a heart attack on a remote island with no decent hospital. The good news is that with the right evacuation coverage, you can avoid the $200,000 bill for emergency medical transport to the best regional medical facility, or even home to a hospital you trust. Here’s what you need to know about how to get home if disaster strikes—and how to protect yourself from the financial repercussions.

What kind of medical transportation does conventional travel insurance offer?

Some travel insurance policies will pay for transportation to a medical facility, should you become sick or injured—but they will usually only take you to the nearest facility that they deem appropriate. If you’re traveling internationally, that probably means a clinic or hospital in the country you’re visiting, where you’ll be treated until you’re well enough to take a commercial flight home. At a bare minimum, you should make sure that your insurance provides at least $100,000 in coverage for medical evacuation to the nearest adequate medical center.

What if I want to be flown to a hospital near my home for treatment?

If you’ve been hospitalized away from home but you want to be treated near family and friends, you need a second layer of protection. Specialized medical-evacuation programs such as Medjet, Global Rescue, AirMed International, and Global Guardian will transport members to the hospital of their choice once they are medically stable. You can purchase a short-term membership from one of these programs to cover a single trip, or an annual membership for an entire year’s worth of travel. The cost of medical evacuation to a hospital back home can easily reach $150,000 or more, so this benefit is important on both international and domestic trips. A few travel insurance providers, including Travel Guard and Ripcord, include transport to your “hospital of choice” in some of their plans.

What if I get Covid during my trip?

Only a few medical evacuation programs will transport Covid-positive patients. Medjet will transport members who are hospitalized with Covid while traveling globally (subject to the local safety situation—State Department Level 3/4 advisories prompted by extreme violence may preclude evacuations); their individual memberships start at $99 for eight days of coverage. Covac Global will evacuate Covid-positive members who are not hospitalized, but only if it is deemed “medically prudent to avoid hospitalization”; those not evacuated receive a $500 stipend for each day they spend in quarantine. Individual Covac Global memberships that cover medical evacuations, including for Covid, start at $765 for 15 days.

Which medical evacuation program do you recommend?

Wendy personally has a MedjetHorizon membership covering her and her family, partly because it offers crisis protection too: If during a trip you feel that your safety and security may be threatened—because of a political incident, terror attack, or other crisis—Medjet will come to the rescue. As for travel insurance to get you as far as the nearest medical facility that the insurance company deems appropriate, the policy that Wendy purchases for her and her family members always depends on the circumstances of the trip, but she often chooses and recommends Travelex Insurance Services. That’s because its Travel Select policy is the policy she’s received the best feedback about from travelers, when it comes to reliability, generosity, and customer care. Transparency disclosure: Medjet and Travelex are both sponsors of WendyPerrin.com. But that’s because Wendy believes in them and uses them herself. (Travelex Insurance Services is not related in any way to the defunct currency-exchange business Travelex.)


Be a smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. Read real travelers’ reviews, then use the black CONTACT buttons on Wendy’s WOW List to reach out to the right local fixer for your trip.

Protect Your Trip—and Your Health—in 2023

Baffled by travel insurance and evacuation assistance? You’re not alone. So for our WOW Week 2023 Travel Talk on January 25th, we brought in experts to demystify these seemingly complicated topics, and to help you understand how you can (and can’t) protect your health and your financial investment. Joining us were Sheri Howell, from air-medical-transport and crisis-response provider Medjet, and Stan Sandberg, co-founder of travel-insurance comparison site TravelInsurance.com.

3 top takeaways

  • Buy insurance as soon as you’ve committed to a trip. To get the full benefits of a comprehensive insurance policy—including, in many cases, coverage for any pre-existing medical conditions—you must buy it soon after you’ve made your first trip payment. Don’t wait until your trip is just around the corner to start shopping for insurance.
  • Insurance just gets you to the nearest adequate medical facility. The medevac coverage in your insurance policy is crucial for getting you to a hospital in an emergency. But only a membership-based medical-transport program will then bring you to your hospital of choice back home.
  • Covid is now treated like any other illness. Unlike at the start of the pandemic, Covid is now covered by most insurance policies: You will be reimbursed if you have to cancel your trip because you test positive before you leave, and your medical bills will be paid if you need treatment abroad.

Links to Useful Resources

How to Buy Travel Insurance: What It Covers, When You Need It

What Medical Evacuation Coverage Do You Need?

“Cancel For Any Reason” CFAR Travel Insurance: What It Is and How It Works


Be a smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. Read real travelers’ reviews, then use the black CONTACT buttons on Wendy’s WOW List to reach out to the right local fixer for your trip.

How to Protect Yourself and Have Peace of Mind When You Travel

It may feel like the pandemic is over, but if you are planning a trip, there are specific things you need to do in order to protect yourself. In this talk, experts from the fields of health, travel insurance, and emergency assistance tell you how to prepare.

The WendyPerrin.com team was joined by experts on Covid medicine, travel insurance, and travel emergency assistance:

  • Dr. Timothy Triche, Professor of Pathology at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine
  • Stan Sandberg, Co-Founder of travel-insurance comparison site TravelInsurance.com
  • Sheri Howell, Vice President of air-medical-transport and crisis-response provider Medjet


(6:40) What travel insurance covers and does not cover during this stage of the pandemic

Stan Sandberg of Travelinsurance.com explains what travel insurance covers these days (Covid and otherwise), plus the ins and outs of successfully protecting your investment.

(23:14) The health tools we have for managing Covid concerns when we travel

Dr. Timothy Triche, Professor of Pathology at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, lays out the tools we have to combat Covid when we travel, including why you still want to wear a mask on planes—and which type of mask.

(39:29) Getting yourself home if you run into trouble during a trip

Sheri Howell of Medjet—the membership program that provides global air medical transport, travel security, and crisis response—talks about how and when travelers who are stuck abroad can get home, how Medjet handles members who contract Covid, and how Medjet responds to a security threat or other crisis.

(52:20) Wendy and the experts take questions from the audience

The panelists field questions including how to get medical treatment overseas, whether it’s possible to obtain antivirals ahead of travel, the ideal timing for buying insurance before a trip, and whether Medjet has any age or geographic exclusions.

Read more


5 Testing Tips for an Easy Return Flight to the U.S.

Getting a Covid Test Abroad is Easy

How to Get a Quick Covid Test for Travel

How to Buy Travel Insurance: What It Covers, When You Need It

What Medical Evacuation Coverage Do You Need?

“Cancel For Any Reason” CFAR Travel Insurance: What It Is and How It Works

Traveler Reviews of Pandemic Trips Arranged by WOW List trip-planning experts

Wendy’s Travel Advice for 2022

New Nonstop Flights To Make Your Travels Easier in 2022

CDC Covid Tracker

Worldometer Coronavirus cases/deaths/recoveries counter

Covariants.org: An overview of Covid variants


stock photo of toy airplane on stack of masks and passport with a globe signifying travel during Covid

Your Biggest Covid Travel Questions Answered

I’ve spoken with many of you over the past few weeks as you’ve wrestled with whether to go forward with your winter travel plans and, if so, how to smarten them up, given Covid surges and current global events. Most of you are bound and determined to forge ahead with your trips—to Italy, Egypt, Tahiti, the Galapagos Islands, France, Panama, Iceland, Portugal, Belize, Costa Rica, Colombia, Kenya, Rwanda, the Maldives, Antarctica, and more.  I can understand why.  We’re not back in March of 2020:  There are many more tools now for traveling safely and responsibly. And I’m not just talking about the availability of vaccines, boosters, and N95 masks for the airport and plane. Unlike at the start of this pandemic, we’ve also now got at-home test kits for use pre-trip and before boarding your return flight. There’s now evacuation coverage so that, if your worry is the possibility of testing positive overseas and being quarantined, there’s a way you can avoid that and get home. There are also guardian angels who have proven they can keep travelers away from crowds, privately cocooned, and in the open air as much as possible throughout a trip. The proof?  It’s in your trip reviews. Below find the information you need for safe travel now. —Wendy

Wendy’s Travel Advice for 2022

Wendy’s Travel Advice for 2022: Based on everything we’ve learned throughout the pandemic, if you’re looking for the best travel experiences in 2022, here’s my advice.

Covid Testing

How to Get a Quick Covid Test for TravelWe’ve rounded up several of your best options Covid tests with the last-minute results you need for many destinations: We’ve listed in-person options in select U.S. cities, mail-in test kits that you can do from home (note that some places will not accept results from mail-in tests), and self-administered tests that you can take in a foreign country.

5 Testing Tips for an Easy Return Flight to the U.S.: Air travelers age two and older must still show a negative Covid test when flying back into the U.S. after an international trip. But it doesn’t have to be a hassle. Here’s how to make it easier.

Getting a Covid Test Abroad is EasyDon’t let fear of a required Covid test outside the U.S.—either for a return flight to the U.S. or to cross borders during a multi-country trip—scare you away from overseas travel.

What Happens If I Test Positive on a Trip? We Answer Travelers’ Biggest Concerns About Testing, Quarantine, and InsuranceThe biggest concerns we hear from travelers these days are about how to get tested before and during a trip, what happens if they test positive while overseas, and what quarantine rules will apply there. In this FAQ, we answer all of those questions and more.

Travel Insurance

How to Buy Travel Insurance: What It Covers, When You Need ItTravel insurance can be confusing, especially during Covid. So we’ve created this FAQ that lays out everything from what you can expect it to cover (even now) to when you need it and when you don’t.

“Cancel For Any Reason” CFAR Travel Insurance: What It Is and How It WorksIf you’re concerned about traveling during the time of COVID-19, regular travel insurance won’t help you. CFAR coverage is the only way to be protected.

What Medical Evacuation Coverage Do You Need?In years past, we purchased medical-evacuation coverage in case we broke a leg while hiking in the Alps or had a heart attack on a remote island with no decent hospital. Nowadays, though, the nightmare scenario in our minds as we try to plan travel is the possibility of ending up quarantined—or even hospitalized—with Covid-19 far from home. Here’s what you need to know about how to get flown home, and how to protect yourself from a financial disaster.

Where You Can Go and Entry Requirements

The Countries That Are Open to U.S. Travelers and How to Get InThis is your one-stop resource for all the important details about which countries are opening to U.S. travelers and what their entry requirements are.

Countries With No Covid Entry Requirements: These are the countries where WOW Listers can plan safe, smart trips don’t require any vaccination or pre-trip testing.

Where You Can Travel with No Pre-Trip Test RequiredWe’re also keeping a list of countries that are open to vaccinated travelers—with no testing or quarantine requirements.

Air Travel Tips

New Nonstop Flights To Make Your Travels Easier in 2022Many airlines are planning to launch long-awaited routes next year, and some have already announced new flights that weren’t even on their minds back in 2020. To help you find inspiration, Brett Snyder of Cranky Concierge rounds up the airline routes to keep your eyes on.

When Is the Best Time to Buy Airfare This Year?: Given the rise in fuel prices that’s happening now, given the surge in people who want to travel this summer, and given the no-fly zone over Russia, when should travelers buy their airline tickets for flights this year? We spoke to two air travel experts to get their insights.

When and Where to Use Your Airline Miles This Year: Frequent travelers want to know the best time to start tapping into that stockpile of credit card points and miles they’ve been racking up during the pandemic, plus the destinations and airlines where those awards will stretch the furthest. We’ve got answers.

The Best Credit Cards for Travelers: Whether you’re actually traveling or working your way toward a trip, the right credit card can be a big help in getting you there. We break down which cards are best for travelers in 2022.

Current Travelers’ Experiences

WOW Travel During Covid: The Trip Reviews That Matter Most Right NowFind out what travel is like from real people who’ve just been on trips in the past few weeks. These trip reviews show what it’s really like to travel now in specific places, and how the right destination expert can make it work.

The Trip Planners You’ve Approved

The WOW List: Top Local Fixers in Countries WorldwideThe WOW List is a collection of exceptionally knowledgeable and well-connected trip planners around the world. They have been rigorously road-tested, based on my decades of experience as a travel journalist and based on the most recent trip reviews from travelers who have used my WOW approach to ensure an extraordinary trip. During the pandemic, I have been watching these Trusted Travel Experts like a hawk, closely monitoring our travelers’ pandemic trip reviews and updating The List accordingly.

Be a safer, smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. And read real travelers’ reviews of Wendy’s WOW List and use it to plan your next trip.

Understanding Travel Insurance in the Covid Era: What you need and where to get it

We’ve gotten so many questions about travel insurance during Covid that we devoted one of our WOW Week travel talks to the topic. The WendyPerrin.com team was joined by three experts on travel insurance and evacuation assistance: Stan Sandberg of travelinsurance.com, Meghan Walch of insuremytrip.com, and Sheri Howell of Medjet. Below are the top six takeaways from our talk, and you can watch the full video above.

Many travel insurance plans have added coverage for pandemics.

Before Covid, it was standard for insurance plans to exclude coverage due to an epidemic or pandemic. Now, some plans—but not all of them—are treating Covid like any other medical illness; they will cover trip cancellation or interruption due to Covid, or medical bills if you are diagnosed with it during your trip. To confirm your policy’s particular coverage, read the disclosures or speak with an agent before you purchase.

Standalone medical coverage is cheap.

Most travelers are looking for a “comprehensive” travel insurance policy: one that covers their nonrefundable trip payments plus any medical expenses that arise during travel. If your main concern is covering illness or injury, you can save hundreds of dollars by foregoing coverage for trip cancellation or interruption. (Annual policies generally only provide medical coverage, and are a good option if you take more than four trips per year.)

For insurance that covers preexisting medical conditions or allows you to “cancel for any reason,” act quickly.

These pieces of coverage are time-sensitive, which means that you’re only eligible for them if you purchase your policy within 10 to 21 days (depending on the carrier) of making your first trip deposit. For more details on “cancel for any reason” insurance, see “Cancel For Any Reason” CFAR Travel Insurance: What It Is and How It Works.

Travel insurance typically covers default of a hotel or other supplier, but not of a travel agency.

Say you put down a deposit for a reservation at a hotel that subsequently goes out of business. Many plans will cover you for financial default of a hotel. However, if your deposit is being held by a travel agency or other intermediary that goes under, your insurance might not reimburse you. To confirm that your financial investment is protected, speak with a representative of the insurance provider whose policy you plan to purchase and explain your specific situation. Click here to read more about travel insurance coverage for financial default.

If travel insurance is the cake, evacuation assistance that gets you back home is the icing.

If you have a medical emergency, most policies will cover your transportation to the nearest acceptable medical facility. If you fall off a horse at a ranch in Argentina, that could mean an ambulance ride to Buenos Aires. If you want to be transported back home, you need additional coverage from a program such as Medjet: Once you are hospitalized, they will transport you back home to the hospital of your choice. See also What Medical Evacuation Coverage Do You Need?

Don’t buy the insurance your airline tries to sell you when you book your flights.

Travel insurance is not one-size-fits-all. Use a comparison site such as travelinsurance.com or insuremytrip.com to search for the most cost-effective policies that best fit your particular needs, with the coverage limits you want.

There was a lot more great info shared by our travel-insurance experts; watch the video above to hear it all. And for a primer on the basics of travel insurance, read this article.




Close-up on a red closed sign in the window of a shop displaying the message "Closed due to Covid-19".

How to Protect Yourself in Case a Travel Company You Pay Goes Out of Business

Travel planning these days often requires that you make a large, non-refundable, advance payment. Here’s how to protect your investment:

Does travel insurance protect me if a travel company ceases operations?

Some comprehensive travel insurance policies will reimburse you for trip cancellation or interruption due to bankruptcy or financial default of your travel supplier: an airline, cruise line, or tour operator, for example. Many such policies will not cover you, however, if the company you used to book your trip—a travel agency or other intermediary—goes out of business. This is one area where policies differ widely, so to confirm that your financial investment is protected, speak with a representative of the insurance provider whose policy you plan to purchase and explain your specific situation.

When do I need to purchase this insurance?

Within a couple of weeks after putting down your deposit toward a trip. One reason why is that coverage for financial default may be activated only if you buy insurance within 10 to 21 days (depending on the policy) after making your initial trip payment. You also usually can’t file a claim for cancellation due to financial default until 10 to 14 days after you’ve purchased the policy. Note that you may not be covered if your trip is years out: Some policies limit financial-default claims to trips taken within 12 or 15 months of purchasing your insurance.

Will the policy offered by my cruise line protect me if the cruise line goes out of business?

No. Some travel companies—cruise lines, tour operators, and such—sell their own insurance or “protection” policies. The premiums may seem attractive, but you will not be covered if that company financially defaults. Instead, you need the protection of third-party insurance—meaning, a policy written by someone other than the travel company that is operating your trip.

Am I protected if I pay by credit card?

If you don’t receive an item or service that you paid for by credit card, you can dispute that particular charge. But what if your airline goes under the day before your trip and you can’t find another way to get to your destination, so you’re out the $5,000 you spent on nonrefundable hotel reservations? In that case, your credit card provider will credit you the cost of the flights, but it won’t help with the hotel stays (because the hotels are still operating). A travel insurance policy with a financial-default clause, however, will cover all of your losses because you were forced to cancel your entire trip.

For more guidance on the right insurance for your particular needs, read How to Buy Travel Insurance: What It Covers, When You Need It.


Be a smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. Read real travelers’ reviews, then use the black CONTACT buttons on Wendy’s WOW List to reach out to the right local fixer for your trip.