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Why should you plan a Foreign Vacation and Secure it with a Travel Insurance Policy?

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May 25, 2017:

We do envy global trotters and jet setters who travel round the world and share envious stories/photos on their social media accounts. However, the reality is that when it comes to travelling, many of us prefer to save our money first for jewellery, weddings, or maybe for a house. Unfortunately, travelling comes last on their list. Moreover, there is one section of people who avoid overseas journeys due to their fear— what will happen, if God forbid, there is an emergency?

Well, it is high time people should understand that travelling to a foreign land is a life/ thought changing experience and it is necessary to undertake it as early as possible. Though, one can’t completely rule out the possibility of accidents during vacation, necessary steps can be taken to curtail their impact. As they say, precaution is better than cure, with all paperwork/ documentation for passports and visas, buy a comprehensive overseas travel insurance to secure your journey and travel freely and completely.

Let’s first understand the advantages of a foreign vacation, which are endless before delving deep into the nitty-gritty of travel insurance policies:

  1. Build up your knowledge: Starting from visa, required documents, currency exchange, to other travel formalities, there are various formalities which you have to take care of before boarding a flight. Even if you are taking the help of a travel agent, you will learn about the necessary paperwork when your agent asks you to sign some papers. In this way, a foreign vacation opens your knowledge with respect to current travelling rules, current world affairs and foreign policies.
  2. Help you gain self-confidence: On a holiday, you will be all alone to deal with unexpected situations and combat surprise turns. But when you successfully overcome them, it will give a major boost to your self-confidence and enhance your happiness quotient also.
  3. Make you more aware about your surroundings: Whether it is learning a new cuisine, like Thai or new language, you have a plenty of time to learn new skills when you are on a vacation. When you travel to different locations which you have never seen before like spectacular beaches, mountains, deserts, cities, you get a chance to experience different climatic conditions and how people live there.

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A new learning makes our brains more active and increases our happiness level— particularly when we enjoy it.  

  1. Taste the life: Dig into Fondue in Switzerland or Sushi in Japan! Make friends with like-minded people or with people who are different. Learn how to interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures. What better way to see the world than experience exotic cultures, clothes, and cuisines? Indeed, travelling is a great way to appreciate the real colours of life.
  2. Take a break: The relaxation and unwinding help one get back to the hard grind of daily life with zeal and passion. In fact, a foreign vacation can be such an adrenaline rush that it could provide one with enough motivation to work hard and save for the next holiday!
  3. Get ‘Me’ time: In today’s fast paced life, we all are craving for some ‘Me’ time to do introspection. And, when you travel, you get some ‘me’ time. It allows you to let go stress and tension and just enjoy being in the moment. If you’re travelling with a partner, you will get a chance to spend some time in each other company. Needless to say, it is a great way to reignite your love.
  4. Broaden your horizon: A foreign vacation widens your thinking. One becomes less judgmental and more accepting of people and cultures around the globe. People travelling from India do experience a culture shock when they travel to the western world! In fact, when you travel in your youth, you learn to discern good from bad much faster than the older generation which has not been exposed to different lifestyles.

 

The thrill is what keeps us humans going, in our otherwise mundane busy lives. It is no wonder that many people have been bitten by the travel bug. They just pack their bags and set off to seek those moments of inner joy and moments.

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But have you ever thought, what will happen if any issue arises while you are travelling?

While, travelling rejuvenates all your senses, you can’t completely rule out the possibility of accidents or unforeseen events. After all, Harry Whittington was right when he said, “we all assume certain risks in what we do, in what activities we pursue. Accidents do and what will happen.”

Even if you are travelling, there is no guarantee that you will never face any issue. Mishaps like missed flights, loss of passport/baggage, flight cancellation, accident, health emergency, etc.; can happen even with a meticulous travel planner.

The situation becomes more stressful in a foreign land when there is no one around to help you. Now what you can do instead is to choose a proper travel insurance policy.

A comprehensive international travel insurance policy secures your vacation by covering events like total loss/delay of checked-in baggage, including handbag, personal accident, personal liability, trip cancellation, missed flight connection, etc.

 

Is travel insurance worth it?

Yes, it is. Nobody wants to think about the worst-case scenarios, but the reality is, accidents can happen while walking on the roads of London or enjoying Desert Safari in Dubai. Let’s understand the importance of travel insurance policy through certain examples:

 

Case 1: Undoubtedly, a foreign vacation involves a good chunk of your money. While no one thinks, they’ll have to cancel their trip, there is a wide range of unexpected events that can force you to cancel your trip, like someone falls sick, you’re involved in an accident, etc. You would have to cancel your trip and incur a financial loss if any of these situations happen to you.

Trip cancellation is insured: If a trip is cancelled due to riots, political turmoil, terrorist situation, medical emergency or weather condition, the travel insurer will reimburse the travel expenses.

 

Case 2: We’ve all seen photos of stranded passengers at airports when flights are delayed due to weather or other unexpected reasons. For instance, you are travelling to London via Dubai, but your connecting flight gets delayed due to weather condition. Now in addition to travel expenses, you would have to accrue additional expenses such as food and lodging.

Trip delay is covered: If there is a delay of more than six hours, the travel insurer will offer the coverage.

 

Case 3: While, travelling is considered good for health, there is still a possibility of meeting with an accident or health emergency during vacation. Here in India, your family or friend is only a one phone call away and you can immediately reach out to them in case of any issue. However, in foreign land, you will be alone to deal with any medical emergency.

 

Above all, the healthcare cost is very high in countries like USA, UK, etc. Even a two-day hospitalisation is enough to cost you lakhs of rupees. You would have to make immediate fund arrangement for your medical costs. Also, there would be extra expenses if due to your medical condition, one of your family members travels to stay with you in a foreign country.

Medical evacuation and expenses are covered: Whether it is a single trip travel insurance or multi-trip travel insurance policy, the insurer covers the medical expenses along with the medical evacuation for the further treatment. Some policies also cover compassionate visit of the policyholder’s family member in case of any medical emergency.

 

Case 4: Just imagine, you are blissfully cruising through the Angel Falls when you realise that your baggage is missing. Or worse, what if after reaching your destination, you discover that one of your bags is missing, which has all your clothes and money also. In addition to stress, there is a financial loss as well.

Travel insurance covers lost or misplaced baggage or passport: If you lose your passport or your baggage is lost or delayed, the travel insurer will pay you for your trouble.  

There are some overseas traveller insurance policies which offer burglary and fire cover for the content of your home as well. It has been seen that, thieves target those locked houses whose owners are away on vacation. Thus, a traveller insurance policy is necessitated to protect the content of your house even in your absence. With this policy, you can travel without worrying about your house!

 

Note, no coverage is given if a house remains unoccupied for more than 30 days and the policyholder fails to inform the insurer about the same.

 

When a foreign trip imparts you so many benefits, there is no reason to hold yourself back. So, pack your bags and travel to unknown lands. Take up adventure and create some unforgettable memories. But don’t forget to buy a travel insurance policy!

 

Bon Voyage!

 

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee: A Peace Visionary and a Man Who Believed in India’s Destiny and was Ready To Fight For It

It was precisely this persona of Vajpayee -- one merged in Hindutva ideology yet seemingly not wholly willing to bow to it -- that won him admirers cutting across the political spectrum.

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee,
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, India's peace visionary. Image: Flickr

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a man of moderation in a fraternity of jingoistic nationalists; a peace visionary in a region riven by religious animosity; and a man who believed in India’s destiny and was ready to fight for it.

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (93), who died on Thursday, will go down in history as a person who tried to end years of hostility with Pakistan and put development on the front burner of the country’s political agenda. He was also the first non-Congress Prime Minister to complete a full five-year term.

Even though he lived the last 13 years of his life in virtual isolation, dogged by debilitating illnesses and bedridden, he has left an enduring legacy for the nation and the region where he was much loved and respected across the political spectrum and national boundaries, including in Pakistan.

Vajpayee, former Indian Prime Minister
Vajpayee stunned the world by making India a declared nuclear state. Image: Wikimedia Commons

In the tumultuous period he presided over the destiny of the world’s largest democracy, Vajpayee stunned the world by making India a declared nuclear state and then almost went to war with Pakistan before making peace with it in the most dramatic fashion.
In the process, his popularity came to match that of Indira Gandhi, a woman he admired for her guts even as he hated her politics.

He also became the best-known national leader after Indira Gandhi and her father Jawaharlal Nehru.

After despairing for years that he would never become Prime Minister and was destined to remain an opposition leader all his life, he achieved his goal, but only for 13 days, from May 16-28, 1996, after his deputy, L.K. Advani, chose not to contest elections that year.
His second term came on March 19, 1998, and lasted 13 months, a period during which India stunned the world by undertaking a series of nuclear tests that invited global reproach.

Although his tenure again proved short-lived, his and his government’s enhanced stature following the world-defying blasts enabled him to return as Prime Minister for the third time on October 13, 1999, a tenure that lasted a full five-year term.

When finally he stepped down in May 2004, after an election that he was given to believe he would win, it marked the end of a long and eventful political career spanning six decades.

Vajpayee had gone into these elections riding a personality cult that projected him as a man who had brought glory to the nation in unprecedented ways. The BJP’s election strategy rested on seeking a renewed mandate over three broad pillars of achievement that the government claimed — political stability in spite of the pulls and pressures of running a multi-party coalition; a “shining” economy that saw a dizzying 10.4 percent growth in the last quarter of the previous year; and peace with Pakistan that changed the way the two countries looked at each other for over 50 years.

The results of the elections could not have come as a greater shock to a man who was hailed for his achievements and who was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 influential men of the decade.

Success didn’t come easily to the charismatic politician, who was born on Christmas Day in 1924 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, into a family of moderate means. His father was a school teacher and Vajpayee would later recall his early brush with poverty.

He did his Masters in Political Science, studying at the Victoria College in Gwalior and at the DAV College in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, where he first contested, and lost, elections. He began his professional career as a journalist, working with Rashtradharma, a Hindi monthly, Panchjanya, a Hindi weekly, and two Hindi dailies, Swadesh and Veer Arjun. By then he had firmly embraced the ideals of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).
But even as he struggled to win electoral battles, his command over Hindi, the lingua franca of the North Indian masses, his conciliatory politics and his riveting oratory brought him into public limelight.

Also read: For Modi, Road To 2019 Will Be Steeper

His first entry into Parliament was in 1962 through the Rajya Sabha, the upper house. It was only in 1971 that he won a Lok Sabha election. He was elected to the lower house seven times and to the Rajya Sabha twice.

Vajpayee
Vajpayee spent months in prison when Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency rule in June 1975. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Vajpayee spent months in prison when Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency rule in June 1975 and put her political opponents in jail. When the Janata Party took office in 1977, dethroning the Congress for the first time, he became the foreign minister.

The lowest point in his career came when he lost the 1984 Lok Sabha polls, that too from his birthplace Gwalior, after Rajiv Gandhi won an overwhelming majority following his mother Indira Gandhi’s assassination. And the BJP he led ended up with just two seats in
the 545-member Lok Sabha, in what looked like the end of the road for the right-wing party.

In no time, Vajpayee was replaced and “eclipsed” by his long-time friend L.K. Advani.
Although they were the best of friends publicly, Vajpayee never fully agreed with Advani’s and the assorted Hindu nationalist groups’ strident advocacy of Hindutva, an ideology ranged against the idea of secular India.

Often described as the right man in the wrong party, there were also those who belittled him as a moderate “mask” to a hardline Hindu nationalist ideology. Often he found his convictions and value systems at odds with the party, but the bachelor-politician never went against it.

It was precisely this persona of Vajpayee — one merged in Hindutva ideology yet seemingly not wholly willing to bow to it — that won him admirers cutting across the political spectrum. It was this trait that made him the Prime Minister when the BJP’s allies concluded they needed a moderate to steer a hardliner, pro-Hindu party.

He brought into governance measures that created for India a distinct international status on the diplomatic and economic fronts. In his third prime ministerial stint, Vajpayee launched a widely acclaimed diplomatic initiative by starting a bus service between New Delhi and Pakistan’s Lahore city.

Its inaugural run in February 1999 carried Vajpayee and was welcomed on the border by his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif. It was suspended only after the 2001 terror attack on the Indian Parliament that nearly led to a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

The freeze between the two countries, including an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation on the border for nearly a year, was finally cracked in the spring of 2003 when Vajpayee, while in Kashmir, extended a “hand of friendship” to Pakistan. That led to the historic summit in January 2004 with then President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad — a remarkable U-turn after the failed summit in Agra of 2001. Despite the two men being so far apart in every way, Musharraf developed a strong liking for the Indian leader.

His unfinished task, one that he would probably rue, would be the peace process with Pakistan that he had vowed to pursue to its logical conclusion and a resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

He was not known as “Atal-Ji”, a name that translates into firmness, for nothing. He could go against the grain of his party if he saw it deviate from its path. When Hindu hardliners celebrated the destruction of the 16th century Babri Mosque at Ayodhya, he was full of personal remorse for the apocalyptic action and called it — in a landmark interview to IANS — the “worst miscalculation” and a “misadventure”. He even despaired that “moderates have no place — who is going to listen to the voice of sanity?”

In his full five-year term, he successively carried forward India’s economic reforms programme with initiatives to improve infrastructure, including flagging off a massive national highway project that has become associated with his vision, went for massive privatisation of unviable state undertakings despite opposition from even within his own party.

While his personal image remained unsullied despite his long innings in the murky politics of this country, his judgment was found wanting when his government was rocked by an arms bribery scandal that sought to expose alleged payoffs to some senior members of his cabinet. His failure to speak up when members of his party and its sister organisations, who are accused of killing more than 1,000 Muslims in Gujarat, was questioned by the liberal fraternity who wondered aloud about his secular proclamations. He wanted then Chief Minister — now Prime Minister, Narendra Modi — to take responsibility for the riots and quit but was prevailed upon by others not to press his decision.

A day before his party lost power, Vajpayee was quoted as saying in a television interview that if and when he stepped down he would like to devote his time to writing and poetry. But fate ruled otherwise. The man who once rued that “I have waited too long to be Prime Minister” found his last days in a world far removed from the adulation and attention — though across the nation people prayed for his well-being — surrounded only by care-givers and close family whom he even failed to recognize. (IANS)