15Jul

Why More People are Choosing to Travel Alone

Traveling solo at least once in your life can be one of the most liberating and eye-opening experiences. The Internet has changed the culture of travel by becoming a platform for awareness of different exotic places as well as increased the urge to share our personal lives with friends and strangers. A large group of the expat community in Hong Kong live this kind of life and they would be the first people to attest to the value of exploring new territories on your own.

We are only young and strong once in our lives and getting invaluable life lessons by traveling is a chance we should take when it presents itself. So why are more people traveling solo?

1.       You have no one to worry about but yourself.

The comfort of having zero responsibility to anyone is a needed break from our busy work lives. This makes it easy for you to plan your journey and you have the freedom to make any change without a second thought. Do everything you want and nothing you don’t want.

2.        Experience real local life.

Traveling with other people does not often elicit a need to dive deeper into a country’s local culture because you already have people you can talk to and engage. However, being alone in an unfamiliar place pushes you to connect with your immediate community because these are the people you can possibly turn to in case you need help. You are also more uninhibited about impressions towards you because no one really knows you. Learn the language, break your routines, live a different life.Quote_imge_2,1

3.       Make new friends, or don’t.

Meet fellow expats and travelers or choose to be antisocial. It’s really all up to what you feel like doing. Hunt for hole-in-the-wall cafes and enjoy being with your own thoughts or go out at night and create a new network of interesting individuals at your own pace.

4.       It makes you more resourceful and confident.

Leaving your comfort zone increases your threshold. Hesitation is normal especially for anyone doing it for the first time but once you find yourself backpacking through the countryside or ordering your meal with broken local language, your self-assurance instantly gets a boost and you will discover things about yourself you have not yet realized. Most expats have said that after their first solo trip, they made sure that they would be able to do it again.

5.       The trip is more profound.

Whether you hated the place you visited or fell in love with the country and the people, the experience is an unforgettable one mainly because it’s solely yours. The satisfaction of checking off an item from your bucket list and having done so on your own is incomparable.

Make plans, break itineraries and gain more perspective from people and places. Try it at least once. And if you do decide to go for it, don’t forget to secure proper Travel Insurance for yourself. Get a Third Party Comprehensive Travel Insurance Plan to get covered for more risks—from loss baggage to repatriation in case of any medical emergencies. We can help.

Good luck and safe travels!

10Jul

Financial Protection for Your Family After You’re Gone: Life Insurance

It’s not a topic most people are fond of. Death is a natural part of our lives which also involves strategic financial preparation. Getting Term Life insurance or Permanent Life Insurance also means arranging the best scenario for your spouse and children.

Suffering from a long illness causes a lot of strain on your family’s finances and after a member dies the remaining people are left with the burden of paying for the accumulated bills even during a time of grief.

Getting protection early is the best way to avoid subjecting your family to such tragic circumstances. Here are ways you can prepare and secure them financially.

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Expecting the worst may not be the most pleasant means of preparation but it is the best. An extreme scenario would be falling ill for an extended period of time and failing to claim your insurance or perhaps not being covered at all. Calculate how much long-term care would cost including associated bills.

Term Life Insurance can protect you and your beneficiaries within a set period usually up to 30 years. Your family receives the payout if you die before the policy ends. Some Term Life Insurance will cover critical illness expenses depending on the listed benefits.

Permanent Life Insurance will cover you indefinitely for as long as you are paying the premiums. This type of life insurance allows the holder to cancel the policy and cash out the premiums that have been paid at any time. Ask your insurance broker which type of life cover suits your needs.

Take cancer in a worst-case scenario. If it runs in your family then the probability of getting the disease will be higher. The cost of eight weeks of chemotherapy in Hong Kong can range from HK$100 to $30,000. Cost of cancer chemotherapy also depends on other factors such as choice of drugs as well as frequency and duration of treatment. Hospital charges further add to the cost of the prescribed drugs. It is easy to imagine how your savings can get depleted without an insurance policy to cover part of the expenses. There are a  number of life insurance policies that cover critical or terminal illness. These plans cover treatments and a few prescription drugs. Talk to your insurance broker as these details may vary.

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Add the inability to pay for funeral costs to your worst case scenario. There are other means of paying for this type of expense such as a separate funeral plan but if this is not the case a life insurance policy will be able to cover the fees if it is included in the benefits. Term Life Insurance policies often add funeral costs. Expenses for a funeral require payment for a funeral director, storage of the body, a coffin, cremation (if preferred), funeral car and more.

The average cost of a funeral in Hong Kong is  HK$7,775, cemetery costs excluded. A grave space, a grave marker and opening & closing the grave can easily cost another HK$1,500 to $2,500. A traditional funeral and burial can go as high as HK$9,000. Adding this amount to unpaid hospital bills is a burden no one would want to place on the people we leave behind which makes it all the more crucial to prepare.

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The spouse is often the primary listed beneficiary but we advise adding your children if the policy allows for it. Again, expect the worse which may mean an unexpected event with your spouse shortly after you’re gone.

Be wise about who you list as your beneficiaries and choose a life cover that allows one or more listed recipients of the payout (if any).  Term and Permanent life insurance allow for this type of arrangement but the number of beneficiaries will vary.

Village Insurance will guide you through the process of preparing for the worst case so you can protect your family.

Contact us here for any questions you might have about Life Insurance.

Feel free to connect with Mark Bromhead on LinkedinFacebook and Twitter.

 

Resources:

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/how-much-does-a-funeral-cost
http://www.termlifeinsurance.org/
http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/97768266/overview-recent-research-longevity-risks-retirement-some-practice-considerations-life-insurance-planning
6Jul

Reducing the Stress When Travelling with Kids

Travelling with a child is not easy. As much as we would want to travel with the whole family, the logistics can be a great source of stress and anxiety. However, just like with anything in life, just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Here are a few tips for stress-free travelling with a child:

Take care of yourself before anybody else.

Monkey see, monkey do. If a child sees or feels anxiety from the parents, then they would most likely copy the mood. It’s important to remember that in order to take care of someone, you have to be in your best condition first. So, make sure that you get enough sleep before the trip and your health is conditioned for travel. Take Vitamin Cs to boost your immunity. With all the stress that’s bound to come, you’re going to need it.

Destination, planning, and packing.

Take into account if the place you’re going is suitable for the child. You can save that Machu Picchu hiking expedition for when your 2-year-old is a little older. Also, make sure that you always have a child-friendly room where you’re going, especially if travelling with an infant.

Create a schedule and book the rooms and the places you want to visit in advance as much as possible. It’s better to have an adjustable itinerary in cases of emergency, rather than have none at all.

Pack just enough diapers and pull-ups for the trip to your destination. Book a room near a pharmacy for easy access to your child’s necessities.

Food, water, and first aid

Keep them fed and hydrated with low-sugar snacks. Make sure all their necessary vitamins, medications and formula are in your carry-on.

Distractions

Bring their favourite toy and keep art supplies within your reach for when your child starts to get bored. Load your tablet or smartphone with their favourite shows.

Keep them close

Save yourself from a heart attack and buy a kid’s harness. It’s weird to see a child on a leash but it will keep them close to you. Before going out, write your contact details on your child’s arm and make them wear a bracelet tag with the same information. At night, make sure that they’re wearing something fluorescent, like a glow stick, to easily spot them in a crowd should they stray.

At the end of the day, we just want our kids to be comfortable, happy, and safe. So, it’s important to meticulously plan a child-centred trip. Making them part of that process ensures satisfaction of not only your child but, also, yourself.

FAMILY INSURANCE

We recommend getting family insurance especially when traveling for an extended period of time. Find an international plan that covers the country you’re visiting. We help expats find the right family insurance for expats living in Hong Kong.