Ask the Experts – by Kari Dyngeland

Q: Why should I buy travel insurance?

A: Years ago not many people bought trip or travel insurance, now hardly anyone does not buy it. The reasons are many, but the main reason is that you are insuring your investment of travel in case you have to cancel before the trip. Most policies cover if you need to cancel for a medical reason, but now there are policies that cover for any reason. In addition, they cover you for trip delay, trip interruption, medical expenses while on the trip, emergency evacuation, a missed connection, baggage loss or damage and baggage delay. In addition, some policies cover collision insurance on a rental car in Europe. One of the nicest features of trip insurance is that you have a phone number that you can call anywhere in the world 24/7 for help. The help line will help with anything from lost passport or credit cards to directing you in case of a medical emergency. It is well worth the investment to which many of my clients can attest. There is nothing worse than saving for a dream trip and having to lose all the money invested in the trip because of an unforeseen situation. It is also peace of mind while on the trip.

Q: Are there any cities in Europe that you would recommend visiting on our next trip?

A: Readers of USA Today and voted this year on the Top 10 "Prettiest European Cities". Here's a look at their rankings: 1. Riga, Latvia. 2. Bergen, Norway. 3. Innsbruck, Austria. 4. Dubrovnik, Croatia. 5. Chester, England. 6. Prague, Czech Republic. 7. Budapest, Hungary. 8. Santorini, Greece. 9. Venice, Italy. 10. Bruges, Belgium. So when adding places to your 'Bucket List' for travel, you might want to consider using this list.

Q: Any tips for avoiding jet-lag on trips?

A: As much as you are tempted to check in to your hotel after a long international flight and take a nap, all the experts say no! Instead, do everything you can not to sleep until its dark in the country you are in. If your hotel room isn't ready, ask the front desk to hold your luggage in a locked room. Go for a walk, shop, have a meal, and stay awake and up, walk around town and explore the new city you have arrived in. Drink plenty of water not only on the flight over but upon arrival and while you are traveling. The best way to combat jet lag is to get on the local schedule as soon as possible. The best tip I can give anyone about jet lag is to ignore it. Don't give in to it or you will sleep your holiday away.

Q: I'm single and over 60, and have trouble finding travel companions. Do you have any economical singles travel groups, tours, eco travel, volunteer travel, etc. you could recommend for someone who's still pretty active? (I don't want to ride a bus all day.)

A: Yes, there are several companies that cater to single travelers that travel without companions but don't want to travel alone either. Many of them are off the beaten path, or adventure travel, so although you would travel on a bus some of the time to get from one place to another, you are not riding a bus all day. Many of these trips offer cultural immersion with opportunities to volunteer or interact with the local families. Some are hiking or biking trips if you are physically active, with varying degrees of skill. The cost of the trip of course varies with the length of the trip and the destination. More and more tour companies are understanding there is a need to offer tours for single travelers, and more of them are recognizing that clients would like more free time which allows more flexibility.

Q: I have always wanted to go to China, any suggestions?

A: China is a great country to travel in, steeped in history and with a diverse culture, its one of my favorite countries to travel to. If you have two weeks to spend on your vacation, I would highly recommend a combination tour of Beijing, Shanghai, Xian and a Yangtze River cruise. Beijing is rich in history and a spectacular city. The Forbidden City is immense and intricate, shopping at Silk Alley and the Pearl Market is a must for pearls, jade, cloisonné, designer purses and clothing, scarves, even prescription glasses while you wait! The Hutong is my favorite part of the city, this ancient area is explored in a rickshaw. The Great Wall of China is an unforgettable experience and reached from Beijing. In Xian, you get to see the Terra Cotta Warriors in person. Shanghai is a modern city with towering skyscrapers and the famous Bund. Traveling by riverboat down the Yangtze River, you will see ancient villages and temples, farming with water buffalo, the huge dam that they constructed to change the river. You will see hanging bridges with hanging coffins, exotic birds and monkeys in the trees, etc. China is still relatively inexpensive and one of the best values in travel out there yet.

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