Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Preparation: Inventory of House Possessions

Having an inventory of the possessions in the home is a good idea especially for insurance purposes. Since I like to travel and am away from my house for long periods of time, I make sure to document the things I own.

I have lists on my computer and hard copies of those lists for every dvd, cd, video game and book I own. All items that are stored in a box or tub in my house have also been documented. In addition, I have taken photos of all the rooms in my house and the contents of those rooms. For example, the tubs in this photo are in my basement. One year the sump pump failed and some items in the basement were damaged, so now everything is kept in the tubs. Each one is numbered and the inventory of the contents is kept on my computer and also on a separate hard drive.


When I depart on a trip, I do not leave valuable items in the house. I do not own a desktop computer and I take the laptop and ipad with me. My television sets are really old and no one would want them. Any jewelry of worth is with me. No important papers are in the house.

All travelers should make sure they know what they own at home and are able to prove it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-26 in South Carolina

I-26/I-77 split in South Carolina.
I-26/I-77 split in South Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interstate 26 travels on a diagonal across the state of South Carolina. This interstate connects the cities of Spartanburg, Columbia, Orangeburg and Charleston. I-26 is intersected by I-85, I-20, I-77 and I-95. The port of Charleston has a rich historical background and beautiful architecture. Its people have been honored by various magazines for their manners and hospitality. Nearby attractions also include Bull Island and Cypress Gardens.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for your choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure you give the exit number or a description of the location. For example, when I discuss I-40, I would recommend Exit 145 in Oklahoma City. Many hotels and restaurants were located at this exit and I felt safe in the area. This exit was very convenient for easily continuing west without the hassle of dealing with early morning rush hour traffic.
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Monday, July 23, 2012

On the Road: Medical Concerns

I wanted to address another medical issue that may be encountered while one is traveling. I did not want to extend the last medical post by talking about this because it was important enough to have its own post.

As I discussed in that post, before I left Ohio I made sure that I was aware of the steps I would need to take in order to obtain medical assistance while I was traveling. I had never been ill on any of my trips and I do not know what made me check on this. I did get ill while I was in California and was able to get to a doctor to handle the situation. Unbeknownst to me, I had not gotten the problem completely under control.

I was on vacation and even though I had some pain, I thought I would just wait until I got home to go to the doctor again. While I was in the doctor's examination room, I heard the doctor telling the assistant to contact another doctor who was a specialist because there was a medical emergency. Then when my doctor came in to see me, I found that I was the medical emergency!

The situation was handled promptly and I am better now. Without going into detail about the seriousness of my situation, I wanted to stress that I was willing to put up with the mild pain I was experiencing because I was on vacation. I did not say anything about it to anyone. I did not think it was an important matter. I was so wrong.


I beg everyone to not ignore any discomfort or pain while on the road. I dismissed the symptoms I was feeling to the stress I usually have when I am getting ready to travel. That was wrong and I should have had another medical exam. On my next trip I will be more attentive to my health. I strongly urge all other travelers to do the same.

(Photo taken in 2007)
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-26 in Tennessee and North Carolina

English: Shining Rock Wilderness Area, Blue Ri...
English: Shining Rock Wilderness Area, Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interstate 26 travels through the states of Tennessee and North Carolina before it ends its journey in South Carolina. This interstate has an even number even though it runs on a diagonal through these states from north to south. I-26 connects the cities of Kingsport, Johnson City and Erwin in Tennessee with Asheville and Hendersonville in North Carolina. This highway intersects I-81 in Tennessee and I-40 in North Carolina. Attractions along the way include the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Walnut Mountains and the Bald Mountains, the Peter Guice Memorial Bridge (highest in North Carolina) and the Eastern Continental Divide.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for your choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure you give the exit number or a description of the location. For example, when I discuss I-40, I would recommend Exit 145 in Oklahoma City. Many hotels and restaurants were located at this exit and I felt safe in the area. This exit was very convenient for easily continuing west without the hassle of dealing with early morning rush hour traffic.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Preparations: Medical Issues

Typical scene at a local emergency room
Typical scene at a local emergency room (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
All travelers should make sure they are familiar with the travel guidelines of their medical insurance. Having an idea of what procedures need to be followed in case of a medical situation will help anyone be better prepared in a stressful time.

Vacationers should take their medical insurance card with them. In addition, they should make sure to pack a list of their medications and supplements and be aware of how to obtain refills if needed. Stores like Target have pharmacies and customers are able to obtain their refills from any Target in the nation. A doctor can call in a refill to the local Target and the medicine can be easily picked up at one of their stores in another state.

If they have to go to the hospital, travelers would be wise to ask if the facility takes their insurance. In some states like California, an important question to ask is if the hospital has a contract with the insurance provider. If they are vacationing in one location, people should take the time to research the reviews of the hospitals in the area. They do not want to trust their health to a hospital that has a bad reputation for emergency room service.

On a personal note, I had never checked about obtaining medical assistance while on vacation until last summer just before I left on my trip. My insurance company went over with me what I was to do in case I needed help. When I wasn't feeling well, I knew exactly what to do. I was able to easily locate a doctor and obtain the help I needed.

(HBS)
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Friday, July 13, 2012

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-25 in New Mexico

White Sands National Monument
White Sands National Monument (Photo credit: yusuikao)
Interstate 25 runs down the middle of New Mexico. I-25 links the cities of Raton, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Truth or Consequences and Las Cruces. Attractions fairly close to this interstate include Sandia Peak, White Sands National Monument, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park. In Albuquerque Interstate 25 is intersected by I-40.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for your choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure you give the exit number or a description of the location. For example, when I discuss I-40, I would recommend Exit 145 in Oklahoma City. Many hotels and restaurants were located at this exit and I felt safe in the area. This exit was very convenient for easily continuing west without the hassle of dealing with early morning rush hour traffic.
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Preparation: Using a National Bank

English: Chase Bank branch (Athens, Ohio, USA)
English: Chase Bank branch (Athens, Ohio, USA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have been with my local bank for decades. I love them, but they are located only in Ohio. When I started to drive back and forth to California, I needed a bank there. I was familiar with Washington Mutual in California and one year while I was there, I noticed its name was being changed to Chase. When I returned to Ohio, I was sitting at a traffic light and noticed a Chase bank on the corner. It was the perfect solution.

I opened this account so I could use it no matter where I traveled in the United States. That saves money on ATM fees. If there is not an actual bank location in a city, Chase has ATMs at Walgreens, CVS and Target. An added bonus was to put my daughter on the account. Whenever money is needed, she can access the account quickly. (This is a perfect solution for those with children in college!)

This is not my main account...yet. Its sole purpose is to hold money for my trips. I use it to pay for hotels, gas, food and entertainment while traveling. No automatic payments come out of it. That way if I have a problem with the security of the account, it affects only that small amount of money and not all my money.

I make a point of visiting inside a Chase Bank at least once a year, so a bank representative knows me and can update me on any services Chase has. Then I put the branch phone number on my cell with the first name of the Chase employee and the last name of Chase. Recently I spoke to Alison at my local branch and so her number will be under Alison Chase. If I have a problem on the road, I will call her. In California my contact is Evelyn Chase at the branch near Burbank. The area code of the phone number tells me which branch I am contacting. If the employee leaves the particular branch, I will still have contact with someone. I do this with my local bank as well. This personal touch means a lot when there is a stressful financial situation while I am traveling.


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Friday, July 6, 2012

Your Favorite Interstate Exits: I-25 in Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interstate 25 runs north to south along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains and divides the state of Colorado. I-25 connects many of Colorado's major cities. Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, Aurora, Colorado Springs and Pueblo are just some of the cities along the path of this interstate. To the west of this highway are all the attractions of the Rocky Mountains including Rocky Mountain National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and Pikes Peak. If you have never visited Great Sand Dunes, please make a point to do so. It is a great experience.

Please share with other drivers your experiences as to which exits are best for single travelers or anyone for that matter. Reasons for your choice may include the safety of the surrounding area, the availability of good hotels and restaurants or proximity to the interstate. Please make sure you give the exit number or a description of the location. For example, when I discuss I-40, I would recommend Exit 145 in Oklahoma City. Many hotels and restaurants were located at this exit and I felt safe in the area. This exit was very convenient for easily continuing west without the hassle of dealing with early morning rush hour traffic.


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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Preparation: Insurance Apps

Many insurance companies are offering apps for your cell phone. At first these apps were for only the iphone, but now they are available for android phones as well. My insurance company is State Farm and it offers Pocket Agent which is free for both iphones and androids. This app enables the customer to report an accident claim, get roadside assistance and produce a copy of the insurance card.

When you travel across the country, you may feel out of your element when an accident occurs. This app enables you to send photos of the accident directly to the insurance company. You can also fill out the claims report from your phone. Need a locksmith or a tow truck? The app will give you the info. It also provides lists of nearby hotels and gas stations.

I have this app on my phone, but until recently I never realized how lucky I was to have it. My daughter was in an accident and in California the police seldom deal with fender-benders anymore. On one phone we had the State Farm representative and on the other phone we had the Pocket Agent app running. Our communication with State Farm was amazing and we were able to get all the information they needed to them immediately. The cell phone photos were critical to the investigation of the accident.

Check with your insurance company to see if this type of app is available for you.

For more information on what an app like Pocket Agent can do, visit the following:

http://www.statefarm.com/mobile/android/pocketagent.asp

http://www.statefarm.com/mobile/iphone/pocketagent.asp

The QR code to download pocket agent:

(Photo taken in 2012)