What Type of Traveler Are You?

Coffee Around the World

Coffee Around the World

If you love coffee as much as the Volunteer Card team does, we know you’ll be scouting out local coffee shops every time you travel. It’s amazing how diverse coffee preparation rituals can be from one country to the next. Here are a few favorites we thought we’d share. Comment below and let us know if you’ve tried any of these!

Australia/New Zealand – Flat White

Espresso with velvety microfoam

Brazil – Cafezhino

A small, black coffee served sweet and very strong

France – Cafe Au Lait

Equal parts coffee and hot milk

Japan – Kah Kohi

“Canned Coffee” found in vending machines and stores throughout Japan

Mexico – Café de Olla

“Pot coffee”, prepared in clay pot with piloncillo and cinnamon

Morocco – Spiced Coffee

Coffee with warming spices such as cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, and cardamom

Turkey – Turkish Coffee

Finely ground coffee is heated slowly in a brass or copper cezve

Vietnam – Egg Coffee

Contains egg, sugar, condensed milk and coffee

Coffee Around the World

 

 

6 Things To Know Before You Go

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There is something so refreshing about traveling without a strict plan – finding that restaurant only the locals know, getting off the beaten path, letting the day plan itself… However, too little planning can lead to easily-avoidable frustrations and delays. Learning basic information about your destination will help you avoid major travel catastrophes and ultimately allow you more freedom to explore and discover.

Here are 6 important things to know about your destination before you leave home:

Entry Requirements

Research visa and vaccination requirements well in advance. Since visa requirements change frequently, it is imperative you do thorough research and make sure you have the most up-to-date information.

Climate & Weather

Are you going during rainy season? Are you visiting a desert region that is hot during the day and cool at night? Check the local weather for your destination to help you pack accordingly and prepare for all weather conditions.

History

Studying the history of your destination can tell you so much about the social and political climate. A basic understanding of the recent history will also help you converse intelligently and respectfully with the people.

Local Laws and Customs

Knowing the local laws and customs is critical for a safe, smooth trip. Consider purchasing a travel guide specific to your destination, or asking your hosts or partnering organization if they have any helpful information.

Food

Read up on the local cuisine to see if there are any “must-try” dishes you should add to your list. Check out our post on “Eating Adventurously” for tips on exploring local cuisine with safety in mind.

Language

Language is usually something best acquired by immersion, but it is so helpful to learn a few key words and phrases before you ever depart. This will help you navigate the city and provide you with a foundation to pick up on new words!

 

Avoiding Travel Setbacks On A Group Trip

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Congratulations, 2017 Vollies Winners!

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In honor of National Volunteer Week, we hosted our second annual Vollie Awards and gave you the opportunity to honor your heroes in the volunteer world – individuals and nonprofits making a huge impact on the communities in which they serve. We are thrilled to share with you the winners of this years Vollie Awards!

Outstanding Volunteer – Richard Munson

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Richard is an incredible asset to our charity organization. He is 71 years young and has participated in 7 volunteer programs with A Broader View in the last four years. Richard enjoys spending time with young adults and has been involved in teaching programs in Cusco & Ayacucho Peru, Quito Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Quezeltenango Guatemala and in La Serena Chile. A Broader View is fortunate to have Richard’s support and look forward to our next adventure together.

-Sarah E.

Outstanding Volunteer Organization – Jasper House Haiti

Jasper House is an organization in Jamel Haiti that works to empower women who have been through some kind of sexual exploitation. They educate, home, counsel, teach a trait, and employ women who have been discarded and abandoned. This organization is deserving of so much. They work to not simply give hand outs which can ultimately cripple an individual, but to empower these women to stand on their own, beat the odds, and turn around to better their country.

-Amanda W.

Outstanding Volunteer Photography – Alisa Hoodikoff

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Alisa Hoodikoff is a brave and adventurous 18 years old young lady who has a passion to make the world a better place with her camera. Earlier this year, she went to the secluded villages in southern Ethiopia to share her life, photography and love to children. Alisa faced many challenges including fundraising for her trip, overcoming illness in the tribes and being homesick. She faced her fears and, through the trials, was able to bring hope and joy to many children in Africa.

-Kelly H.

The 2017 Vollies Are Here

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Here at Volunteer Card, we love to take every opportunity we can to celebrate those who make the world a better place. We are daily inspired by the ways you give and serve and it is our privilege to provide you with quality travel insurance for your short-term and long-term trips.

We are so thrilled to announce our second annual Vollie Awards! For the month of April, we will be celebrating the individuals and organizations that keep you inspired. Whether they’re feeding the hungry, teaching abroad or conserving wildlife, we want to know who your heroes are!

From April 10th – 14th we encourage you to send in your nominations for the three categories below. Our first two categories are for individual volunteers you’d like to recognize for their service or for their humanitarian travel photography, and the third for a deserving organization. The three categories up for nomination this year are:

  • Outstanding Volunteer Service
  • Outstanding Volunteer Photography
  • Outstanding Volunteer Organization

 

Join us in the celebration and submit your nomination today:

The Vollie Awards

Should Your Nonprofit Use A Travel Agent?

If you thought your nonprofit was the only one stretched thin, take heart. There are a vast number of nonprofits the world over and each has a unique mission, but there are a couple of things that most, if not all, nonprofits have in common and that is they operate on a lean budget and their employees wear many hats. Organizations are consistently searching for efficient ways to streamline their work and increase their impact. For those nonprofits that are organizing international travel for employees or volunteers, it’s a relief to find tools that can wrap the job of researching, booking, organizing, and communicating complex travel details into one nice, compact package. Have you ever considered that a travel agent might be just the “tool” you’re looking for?

Should your nonprofit use a travel agent?

If we had to wager a bet, we’d put all of our money on YES. Not only do travel agents save your nonprofit time, money, and potential frustrations, but they also have your back in the event that something goes wrong (which happens with travel from time to time, believe it or not).

should your nonprofit use a travel agent

5 reasons we think your nonprofit should use a travel agent

Now, if you’re like most of America, you may hear the words “Travel Agent” and think to yourself, “Please, it’s 2017. Have you ever heard of Kayak?” We know that the appeal to hop online and book some airfare that’s advertised as the “lowest rate” without having to go through someone else is appealing, but let us offer you 5 reasons why we think it’s better for your nonprofit to use a travel agent. Maybe, just maybe we’ll convince you to give one a try.

1. Travel agents have access to airfare rates that you don’t have access to

Did you know that nonprofits can qualify for special “humanitarian” airfare rates, which often times will offer you the lowest possible ticket price plus many other benefits such as free baggage? This is the airline industry’s best-kept secret. But, you can only get access to these lower rates through qualifying travel agencies, like our sister company Fly For Good.

2. A travel agent can coordinate travel for multiple people in a group

If your nonprofit sends teams of people abroad then you could certainly benefit from the services of a travel agent. Booking and managing airfare for a group can be a real challenge. Let these industry experts coordinate and keep track of all travel details for your teams, freeing you up to accomplish other important tasks.

3. A travel agent is a travel advisor to your nonprofit

You have questions about your destination, traveling internationally, luggage, the airports, connections, what to do if a flight is missed…the list of questions is endless. A travel agent will be able to offer you expertise and personalization for your trip making it easier for you to get answers and communicate information to your teams.

4. Travel agents understand the fine print

We know you don’t want to read it, even though you should. All airlines include fine print on their rules, terms, and conditions and these are things that a travel agent will be well versed in.

5. A travel agent will advocate for you

Sometimes, it can be hard to get an answer or even get in touch with someone directly from the airline. A travel agent will typically have a direct contact at the airline which makes it possible for them to assist with your issue in a timely manner and advocate for the best possible outcome.

If none of those reasons convinced you to contact a travel agent and get a quote on flights, then perhaps this reason will: Humans are better than robots. Working with a travel agent is a human process. A real person will book your flights, rather than booking engine; You’ll build a relationship with a human who learns your frequently traveled routes and what nuances your teams have; If you have a question, concern, need to change some details to a reservation, or anything in between, you’ll be able to contact a real person, whose name you know and who knows yours.

should your nonprofit use a travel agent

 

 

 

 

Are You Prepared To Be An Expat? Get Our Checklist

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So, you are going to live abroad long term. Congratulations! The expat life can be a great one but it takes a lot of planning to make sure things go smoothly and you stay safe, healthy, and accident-free. The to-do list can begin to look quite daunting, but we’re here to help you find a method to your madness.

Let’s begin with some basic health and safety information about long term, expatriate living.

According to a recent article in the International Travel & Health Insurance Journal, 80% of expatriates are concerned about accessing quality healthcare while living abroad, but only 42% actually make a plan for healthcare.  No matter what is taking you to live abroad as an expat, be it a search for new adventure, education, volunteerism or work, you need to put the priority on preventing any travel or medical mishaps. But if an unexpected emergency does arise, you want to be able to handle it quickly and efficiently, all while keeping your financial risk low.

 

“While travel insurance isn’t a cure-all, there are many ways that it can help people during difficult, unexpected travel mishaps or emergencies.”

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to know what steps to take, or how to properly prepare yourself for settling into life as an expat? Yes, it would. Let us help you prepare for your long term trip with this checklist of things that need to be done 90, 60, and 30 days prior to departure.

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1. 90 days before becoming an expat

By now, you should have read up on your destination to learn about visa requirements, local laws, customs, and medical care in your host country. You’ll also want to begin keeping your eye on travel warnings and travel alerts. A great resource for these things is travel.state.gov.

Are you up-to-date on your vaccinations? Does your host country require any additional vaccinations? You can find out about health precautions and recommended vaccinations through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Some vaccines require a series of injections so you’ll want to visit your doctor to begin this process at least 90 days prior to departing on your trip.

Do your friends and family know you’ll be moving abroad? They may want to throw you a going away party, or at least say “see you soon!”. Share your new address with them and let them know how they can get in contact with you while you’re living as an expat.

2. 60 days before becoming an expat

Notify your bank and credit card companies to let them know that you’ll be living overseas. Depending on the financial institution, you may need to cancel cards or get new ones. Check exchange rates for your destination so that you can budget properly. It’s also a good idea to do research on using cash, debit/credit cards, and ATMs abroad.

Visit your family practitioner to get an updated copy of your medical records. Keep these on file as you travel. If you are bringing any medications, you will want to get a letter from your doctor. Some countries have strict laws that effect even over-the-counter medications so read about your destination on the travel.state.gov website

Make sure you have a valid travel insurance policy. As an expat, we recommend that you purchase a supplemental travel insurance policy that will cover you up to 365 consecutive days and one that you can easily renew while living abroad. A good travel insurance policy will cover medical costs and emergency evacuation.

3. 30 days before becoming an expat

Change your address with the post office and reroute your mail. If you’re sending your mail to a friend or family member’s house, ask them to forward you any important documents to your new, international address.

Make sure you have living essentials packed in your suitcase. Document what’s packed, and in which bag, by taking photos of each suitcases contents.

Say goodbye to friends and family!

Download the full expat checklist for free!

 

 

 

 

Avoiding Identity Theft While Traveling: 7 Things To Think About

The top three identity theft risks for travelers are stolen wallets or passports, credit or debit card theft, and fraud. Protect your identity and your sanity by keeping these seven key tips in your mind before, during and after your volunteer trip. If you do experience a loss or theft of personal documents on your volunteer trip, call our claims department so we can help you get things settled. If your passport is lost or stolen while traveling abroad, call the 24/7 Emergency Assistance phone number on the back of your Volunteer Card for immediate assistance with passport replacement.

 

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Avoid identity theft

 

 

 

 

 

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Gratitude Week 2016

Gratitude Week is a time for us to reflect on the year that has been and give some thanks for all of the amazing volunteer and volunteer organizations that we work with every day. A lot of people think the travel insurance world is boring. We have to disagree. Every single day we interact with people who care deeply about the world –  its people, its natural resources, its animals, its wellbeing. We’re thankful for the sacrifices you make in order to go and volunteer, and we want you to know it! We will be celebrating Gratitude Week 2016 from Monday, November 21 – Wednesday, November 23. We’re taking three days to honor volunteers and volunteer organizations by giving you the chance to win the ultimate volunteer prize package! To enter, you simply need to scroll down and tell us why you are thankful for your volunteer experience!

 


By participating in the giveaway, you are agreeing to the official rules. Gratitude Week 2016 contest begins on Monday, November 21, 2016 and end on Wednesday, November 23, 2016. Please take a moment to view our official rules.