Summer vacation safety: Avoiding travel fraud & scams


You may be on vacation, but rest assured, scammers never sleep – they are hard at work thinking of new ways to separate you from your money and your identity. Consumer Reports features an article on Summer Scams to avoid – a few of these are about travel: .

  • Vacation rental scams – you book a cute cottage via the web that requires advance payment. Except the cottage doesn’t exist. Remedy: stick to established online rental vendors.
  • Discounted hotel stays. Fraudent websites can look real and make bogus offers. Remedy: Watch out for third party sites selling hotels or other goods and services at a discount. Use reputable services and be sure to dig around on a site to make sure it is the real thing before you take out your credit card.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  talks more about vacation rental listing scams, common signs of a scam, and how to avoid being bilked. They also have an excellent
resource with travel tips designed to help you avoid scams during the travel planning and shopping process.

If you are traveling internationally, you could become an inadvertent victim of a common scam around International Driver’s license. This FTC tip sheet talks about what International Driving Permits are and what they aren’t. It says, “AAA and AATA are the only organizations authorized by the U.S. Department of State to issue IDPs to U.S. residents. Both AAA and AATA charge less than $20 for an IDP. If you’re asked to pay more, consider it a rip-off.”

Rick Steves has certainly done his share of international travel over nearly five decades as a travel expert and author. He offers a great collection of common Tourist Scams and Rip-Offs. For another good resources, see this guide to other Common Travel Scams and How to Avoid Them.

Summer is a great time for travel but all too often, when in a new or relaxing place, it can be easy to lower your guard. When you’re in an unfamiliar place, it’s more important that ever to be alert and maintain high situational awareness. If something seems too good to be true, it almost always is.

See more posts on common scams and frauds
And if you are going on vacation, here are 5 steps to secure your home while you are away!

32 ways to explore New England this summer


children looking through nautical glasses

How many ways are there to enjoy New England in the summer? Thousands! From beaches and festivals to museums and parades, there’s absolutely no shortage of places to see and activities to participate in.  We’ve compiled a list of 32 of the best ideas and guides to ensure you don’t miss a thing.

AAA offers many great ideas for exploring New England:

Yankee Magazine and its sister site New England Today consistently offer great ideas for seasonal activities.

Visit New England is a state-by-state guide encompassing places to visit, things to see and do and a calendar of events:

Discover New England is another popular travel guide that offers state-by-state ideas for events, activities, and places to visit.

Here’s a list of some other good guides from various sources:

 

 

Prep for winter safety: How to test and maintain your tires


winter tire safety

Your car’s tires are one of the keys to safe driving, particularly when roads are slick, icy or snowy. Before any wintry weather descends, it’s a good idea to check your tires. We love this infographic from Fix.com – it offers tips for checking your tires for proper inflation and signs of deterioration.

We also point you to a few prior posts on our blog that talk about different aspects of tire safety:


Source: Fix.com Blog

Your New England Fall Foliage Toolkit


fall foliage at Saco River Covered Bridge in Conway, New Hampshire.With the fall season upon us, our brilliant foliage is the envy of the nation. People from all over the world travel here, but we can just hop in our cars and travel an hour or two in any direction to see the full glory of the season. We have a Live New England foliage map  for you, as well as links to great ideas for drives, destinations and things to do. And if you decide to venture north, we’re also including tips for avoiding collisions with wildlife since it’s peak season for those type of accidents. You don’t want your car to be in a battle with a deer or worse, a moose. It’s always a god idea to have your independent agent’s phone number or app handy on your mobile phone just in case.

Get free guides to the Best of New England Fall Travel, which includes best places to see foliage, best fall drives, things to do, places to stay, and more.

The foliage network offers local foliage reports with maps showing peak color locations, scenic drives and places to stay – and if you can’t find the time to drive to peak foliage locations or want to check out current conditions, check out the webcams.

Here are some great articles and guides for places to go and things to do:

deer-in-highwayAs you’re out on the roads leaf-peeping, visiting apple orchards or commuting to-and-from work this autumn, keep a sharp eye out: The likelihood of striking a deer more than doubles in the fall. Your normal odds of a ruminant-related collision claim is about 1 in 169, but the likelihood more than doubles during October, November and December. See our post: Watch the roads: Autumn is peak deer-vehicle collision season

What you need to know about the Zika virus


The Zika virus has been much in the news as public health concern, but unless you were traveling internationally, there is a good chance you didn’t pay too much attention. But now that some “homegrown” cases were identified in Miami recently, many folks are wondering if they should be concerned.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tracks the number of Zika cases in the U.S. As of August 3, they report 6 cases that were locally transmitted and another 1800+ travel associated cases in the U.S. Some reports put the Miami cases as high as 14, but all cases appear to be confined to a very narrow geographic area. The cases prompted the CDC to issue an advisory for pregnant women about travel to Florida:

Because the virus can have devastating consequences for a fetus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged pregnant women to avoid traveling to the area, and for pregnant women who live and work there to make every effort to avoid mosquito bites and to get tested for possible exposure during each prenatal visit. It also advised women to use protection during sex, because the virus can be transmitted sexually.

Furthermore, the CDC is advising that all pregnant women should be asked about travel to Zika-infested areas during routine prenatal visits. Any pregnant women who have traveled to Zika areas — including this area of Florida on or after June 15 — are advised to talk with their healthcare providers and get tested for Zika.

This CDC page offers information about everything you need to know about the Zika virus – including the helpful infographic below. . Here are a few other useful links.

cdc-zika-page-001