Brent and Michael's Secret Travel Hacks, Part 10! (Including a $5000 Insurance Hack)
Seriously, here's how to save $5000/year on health insurance. Plus, find a better airport lounge, learn how to read online reviews, break big bills, and get cheap wine on cruise ships!
One more edition of our list of unique travel hacks!
For other travel hacks, see Part One of this column here and Part Two here and Part Three here and Part Five here and Park Six here and Part Seven here and Part Eight here and Part Nine here and Part Eleven here and Part Twelve here.
Here are our latest hacks:
Two weeks ago, I recommended Genki Explore travel insurance. But Americans especially might also want to consider Genki’s full international insurance as well, Genki Resident, especially considering this hack I’m about to tell you.
Genki’s coverage works all over the world, but when it comes to coverage in the United States and Canada, there are two options: “all countries excluding Canada and USA,” which only covers emergencies in the U.S. and Canada, and only for six weeks a year, and “all countries,” which has full coverage in the U.S. and Canada for six months a year. But this option is very expensive.
At the same time, this Genki policy also offers clients full coverage in their “home” country for up to 180 days a year (providing they leave the country at least once first).
So what happens if America is your home country? You’d think Genki would opt for the option that most benefits the company, right? But no, to my surprise, for Americans, they still offer that 180 days of full coverage, even with the much cheaper “all countries excluding Canada and USA” option.
In short, a 45-year-old American could get great international health insurance all over the world — including 180 days of coverage in America! — for a mere $2520/year (versus $7,500 for the “all countries” option).
How’s that for a hack, folks? And yes, this is totally legit. See the details and specific pricing here — click on “Check your price” to see the details I’ve mentioned here all spelled out.
In many countries, you can’t drink the tap water. When that’s the case, hotels always provide you with one bottle of drinkable water per guest per night, which is, of course, not nearly enough to stay hydrated, much less brush your teeth.
The solution? The hotel’s gym or fitness center will almost certainly have more drinking water — either in a large cooler or in bottles, often even refrigerated. Either way, it’s there for the guests’ use, even if you don’t actually workout.
When you’re chatting online with a corporation, they can reportedly see what you’re typing even before you press “send.” Likewise, if a corporation puts you on hold, they can often still hear what you’re saying. In both cases, the point is to be able to use that information against you, so be careful what you write and say.
Has the world finally reached the point where so many people are using private airport lounges — often getting free passes through ubiquitous travel credit cards — that the lounge experience is now, well, not very pleasant or exclusive?
My hack-alternative? If you have a few hours before your flight — and if you’re using a private lounge, you probably do — simply go off in search of some currently lesser-used airport wing. For your meal, use the probably-deserted restaurant there.
Okay, yeah, there’s no “free” drinks or all-you-can-eat buffets, but given the membership fees you’re paying for those now-mobbed lounges, are those drinks and buffets really free anyway?
Also, because airport bathrooms are cleaned so frequently, in deserted areas, you’re almost certain to find a deserted and sparkling clean toilet.
I’ve been doing this for years, it almost always works, and I honestly don’t understand why everyone else doesn’t do it too.
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