Travel Insurance

Do you buy travel insurance when you go on vacation?

I met people from all over the world while traveling through south east Asia last month. The topic of travel insurance came up when the English girl I met on a bus (on Jan. 1) told me about the time she lost everything during one of her backpacking vacation but because she had travel insurance, she could continue her trip. Just out of curiosity, I asked almost everyone I met after her if they bought travel insurance.

Surprisingly, all the Americans I met did not bought insurance butall the non-Americans (European, Australian, Kiwi….) bought travel insurance. A Kiwi told me it’s pretty much a standard for them to always buy travel insurance for vacation that’s one week or longer. However, it is rare for Americans to buy travel insurance.

I did not bought travel insurance because my medical insurance is covered world wide, plus I used credit card for the international flight and the credit card provided travel insurance. Thus , I thought I am cover for most disaster. I suppose that give me enough security to feel invincible. But is that enough?

I wonder why we never really consider travel insurance. Are Americans feel more invincible than others? Or do we just like to save a few bucks?

Do you buy travel insurance?

February 17, 2007 at 3:33 pm 4 comments

The Spending Diaries

Do you ever wonder what others spend their money on? I found this NYTimes article, via LA Money Guy, where five New Yorkers revealed how they spent their money.

Their spendings did not seem much until the grand total. It’s surprising how much little expenses added up. Just from the top of my head, here’s my spending for this week (Dec. 18 – 24, 2006).

Monday

  • Happy hour at Mediterraneo (for 2 tapas & wine) – $12

Tuesday

  • Dinner at King’s Hawaiian (Chicken with Macadamian nuts) – $12

Wednesday

  • Overnight bus in Thailand – $25
  • Medicine for traveling – $50

Thursday

  • Lunch at The Bottle Inn (Pasta and split a bottle of wine with 3 others) – $20
  • Parking at The Bridge – $2
  • Dinner (Garlic Sausage) from some store at The Bridge – $6

Friday

  • Lunch at Little Sheep Cafe (Hot Pot) – $17
  • Gas – $35

Saturday

  • Bought more stuff for the trip (toothpaste, Imodium AD and other medicines for just in case, anti-bacterial wipes, etc…) – $35
  • Parking in downtown LA – $5

Sunday

  • Spending quality time with family on Christmas Eve, at home – Priceless

Total spending for week of 12/18: $219

Wow! Assuming I did not forget any expense (and added up right), I’m frugual! 🙂

However, if I was to do the spending diary for the week of 12/4 (when all my bills and mortgage payment were due), then the expense for that week would be in THOUSANDS. I think monthly (or annual) spending diary is much more representative than a weekly spending diary.

Anyone wants to share his/her monthly spending diary?

December 25, 2006 at 12:50 am Leave a comment

How to Stop Junk Mails?

Soon after I bought my house, I was flooded with junk mails offering me new loans, life insurance, equity lines….and all the letter contains very accurate information of my financial situation. It was scary!

Here is a very good write up on how these companies get your information.

To decrease the amount of junk mail,  go to http://www.optoutprescreen.com/ or call 1-888-567-8688 to opt out of trigger lists.  To stop telemarketer calling you at dinner time, add your phone number to the National Do-Not-Call Registry (https://www.donotcall.gov/) .

December 20, 2006 at 1:56 pm 1 comment

Free Hotel Is Not Always a Good Deal

I got two nights free hotel stay from the Time Share Presentation I went to awhile ago, so I went to Palm Springs this weekend. Everything went smoothly the previous time that I did something like this with another company (free nights at Tahoe during ski season), thus I was not worry about this trip.

Per instruction, I mailed in my reservation form with $25 deposit to Holiday Travel of America two months ago. Two weeks later, a friendly representative called me to confirm dates and I also faxed them a copy of my credit card for deposit. Another two weeks later, I got a confirmation letter to bring with me to pick up hotel reservation this weekend; also I received a refund for the $25 deposit.

The letter instructed me to show up at TrendWest Welcome Center in Holiday Inn, Indio, between 3 pm and 6 pm to pick up the hotel voucher. I showed up at Holiday Inn at 5 PM and was told by the front desk receptionist that Trendwest stopped helding a welcome center in their hotel many months ago. WTF!!!! >=( I called the number in the letter but kept being directed to an answering machine. I left a message and of course, no one called me back. It’s 5:30 pm and I’m 2.5 hours from home without knowing where is my hotel or where is the new Trendwest welcome center.

The Holiday Inn receptionist commented that Trendwest are not the most organize group. That’d be an understatement! The receptionist gave me a general direction to the new Trendwest resort in Indio, hoping perhaps someone there maybe able to help me.  It took a while to find the Trendwest resort as the resort is not called Trendwest resort but called Terra (something) WorldMark resort. I did not know that and had to call the Holiday Inn receptionist again before finally found the resort at 6PM. Thank goodness the receptionist was very nice and helpful. I rushed to the front desk representative and showed them my letter. And of course, they do NOT take care of these things at this welcome center. ARGH!!! I was frustrated, pissed, and having all those not so nice/vactiony feelings >=(

Fortunately, the receptionist (Sandra) was helpful.  Sandra’s expression implied I was one of many that showed up there but shouldn’t have. Sandra called this woman named Delia (who suppose to take care of this and is the mastermind in making everyone running around and wondering wth is going on).  Delia told me she made reservation at Best Western in Palm Desert and gave me the hotel’s phone number and direction. She said she’ll fax over the voucher to them tonight. I asked for her number just in case. Luckily I called Best Western for direction before I head over there as Delia gave me the wrong direction (not surprising considered how mess up this whole thing is just because of her).

The Best Western told me Trendwest booked two rooms for me, thus I would needed to pay tax for both room. That is interesting! Why would Trendwest booked two rooms for me? I told the Best Western receptionist I only needed one room and she could cancelled the reservation for the other room.  Alas, she couldn’t do that. The room tax was very low ($8) so I went ahead and paid tax for both rooms, even though I had no intention to use the other room.

And good thing I did not use the other room. As I checked out this morning, the receptionist (a different person) told me Trendwest only paid for one room and I had to paid for the other. I explained to him the situation and he repeated the same remark on how disorganized Trendwest is. He called the head of housekeeping to check the other room for ensuring I did not use it. Once he got the confirmation, he removed the charge for the other room and also refunded me the extra tax that I paid during check in.

I hope this is the end of timeshare free hotel frustration. Other than this hotel fiasco, I have fun at Palm Springs.

December 3, 2006 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

Real Estate Dictionary

Ever been confuse by jargons used when you’re shopping for a house? Look through this site beforehand then you can talk with real estate lingos like a Pro.

November 30, 2006 at 4:30 pm 2 comments

Be a Reviewer & Get Free Stuff

From My Money Blog:

Enter BzzAgent, which brings this concept to the public. Based on your profile and little surveys that you fill out, they will send you products that companies are interesting in giving out.

November 25, 2006 at 5:42 pm Leave a comment

Home and Auto Insurance

Because wordpress is acting weird and I been having trouble making it show my entire post (is it because it’s too long?), here’s the link to word file of this blog entry: How to find a home and auto insurance policy.

November 16, 2006 at 3:07 am Leave a comment

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