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Entries during 2017-05

Best Deal on Trip Insurance

Q. Where can I get the best deal on medical insurance, trip interruption, and other insurance while traveling?

A. I recommend using to compare rates and policies. Be sure to download a copy of the actual contract before you buy and read the fine print. There’s no travel insurance policy that covers every eventuality and there are a lot of exceptions, exclusions, and loopholes. Some insurers offer “cancel for any reason” policies, but they typically refund only 75% of your trip cost and there are other restrictions.

Above image via Shutterstock

Vegas, Minus the Gambling

Q. I am visiting Las Vegas and don’t gamble. What are some other things I should do?

A. When in Vegas, gambling is probably your least interesting option. You might start with a look at the local architecture since surely no other skyline can claim such a flashy hodgepodge of styles. We're not just talking about wacky replicas of world monuments, though those are all very cool too. The Strip is home to some of the world's largest and most impressive hotels (take that, Dubai!), and you'll find many historically preserved sites elsewhere in the city.

And yes, believe it or not, the city of Nomi Malone is serious about its history. For a glimpse into Vegas past, be sure to hit up the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort Historic Park, the Mob Museum, and the Neon Museum.

Of course there are glitzy malls for shopping (the Grand Canal Shoppes, the Forum Shops) and all varieties of shows to catch on any night of the week.

And don't turn your nose up at buffet dining. Even the most fussy of foodie types will enjoy piling up a plate at the Wicked Spoon, located in the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino, the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar's Palace, the Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas, or the buffet at Bellagio. When you tire of buffets, leave the Strip for amazing Thai food at Lotus of Siam, a local spot in a strip mall.

If you're willing to commit to spending a little time in the car, you'll be rewarded with some of the most beautiful scenery in the West. Yes, Vegas is secretly an amazing outdoor adventure destination. Valley of Fire State Park, Hoover Dam, Death Valley National Park, and Zion National Park are each doable day trips.

Above image via Shutterstock

Insurance + Tour Company Coverage

Q. My family has a very expensive international trip coming up, leaving from New York's JFK; however, it is up to us to fly to JFK airport from our home airport. Our tour company trip insurance only covers the tour company's portion of the trip, which begins with the flight from JFK. If our flight to JFK happens to be cancelled and we missed the connection, who is responsible for the expense?

A. If you don't make your flight to JFK, chances are you'd be responsible. And never buy insurance from your tour company! You'd be better off buying from a third party, such as those you'll find on, a comparison shopping site. To be on the safe side, you should always leave a HUGE amount of connection time for JFK connections.

Excess Valuation & Receipts

Q. If you purchase the excess valuation insurance for your trip, do you still have to produce receipts? It seems unreasonable to have to keep receipts for every item that you pack.

A. Most likely you'd be asked to produce receipts and when you check in you'll need to describe the contents of your bag. It's always a good idea to have receipts for things you purchase for insurance purposes in case you need to make a claim with your home or renters insurance, your credit card company, your airline or whatever. For those who don't know what excess valuation is and why you might need it, we'll gladly explain.

Should Anything Arise...

Q. Should anything arise before our upcoming vacation, is it possible to get travel insurance that would cover cancellations for any reason?

A. There is such a thing as cancel for any reason insurance, however the premiums are considerably higher than for regular travel insurance; plus cancellation typically must be made at least 48 hours before departure and you won’t get 100% of your expenses refunded.

You might try comparing policies on sites like TravelGuard, InsureMyTrip, or Squaremouth.

O'Hare Connections

Q. How challenging is Chicago O'Hare to navigate? Is one hour enough time to make a connection?

A. Supposedly it is if you’re traveling to and from a United flight… but it's always a good idea to allow yourself a little extra time, especially if connecting to the last flight of the day, or if you're connecting to an international flight.

And certainly leave extra time if you’re the slightest bit mobility impaired, or make arrangements in advance for a cart to drop you directly at your connecting gate.

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