Travel Document Security Abroad

Travel Document Security Abroad


Is there anything that can cause more travel anxiety than…where’s my passport?!

At OnlyHealthInsurance, we want your travels to be as safe and enjoyable as possible. Safety and Security abroad is an immense topic and one we believe to be a layered proposition. Travel medical insurance is one of those layers. Another layer is identification and travel document security. As my dad and I were discussing the latter, we realized we had different opinions about the basics of security and felt a blog on the subject was warranted.


To Pouch or not to Pouch…

In my dad’s travels – whether he was in Cambodia or downtown Paris – he wore a money pouch around his neck and hidden under his shirt containing his passport, maps, credit cards, cash, and travel documents. I, on the other hand, see that as flashy and a security risk—and a nagging reminder of all the valuables I’m carrying with me. Personally, I’m comfortable with the hotel safe with a strong code (not 1234). In our research, travel experts are split on which approach they recommend. Thankfully neither of us have had security issues while traveling. We recognized that our decisions about security were in many ways influenced by our personal attributes and “style” of travel.


Personal Attributes & Style

Gender, age, and habits influence our travel behavior and decisions about personal security. As a young woman, the idea of carrying all my valuables and “identity” around my neck is daunting… and actually terrifying. Less risky to me is trusting the hotel staff and room safe. That said, I’ve never left my passport and other identification behind in a hostel or tent. My dad (being middle-aged) pointed out that his need for an “all-in-one” solution for carrying valuables has less to do with trusting others and more to do with his need to “always be prepared” (courtesy of his Boy Scout training).  Perhaps knowing oneself is the most helpful in making the best decision for you and maintaining confidence and peace of mind.


Other factors that influence our behavior towards travel security:

  • Does our destination country encourage (or require) us to always carry identification?
  • *Do we know locals?
  • How often we will be taking public transportation?
  • What is the level of street crime?
  • Is this rural or urban travel?
  • Level of activities in destination country (ziplining, ocean activities, etc)

*Locals can tell you about tourist traps, schemes and provide recommendations.



In addition, we both agree (and many experts advise) there are some security tips that do make sense for every traveler. Almost universally it is encouraged to make and keep a passport copy in a carry-on or hidden in luggage. We also recommend bringing a copy of your travel insurance documents and giving a copy to a trusted someone at home and a fellow travel companion.

When planning your travels, consider the factors above (and your own self-awareness) to decide how best to travel with security and confidence.

If this blog sparked a memory or comment, please share with us. Email:

The Value of Travel Medical Insurance

The Value of Travel Medical Insurance

International travel has taken off! The global travel & tourism sector has experienced a strong comeback this summer. Jetsetters and vacationers are making up for lost time and eager to tick off those bucket list destinations and experiences. I can certainly relate, as my own travel wish list grows longer each day.

As we consider foreign travel in today’s world (whether for leisure or business), we should be ever mindful of the limitations of domestic insurance and how that affects your financial exposure.


Limitations of Domestic Insurance

Individual & family plans, through California’s public and private marketplaces, only provide emergency medical coverage while outside the country. We’re yet to see a plan that we’d feel comfortable relying on internationally. Non-emergencies and evacuations may or may not be covered—it’s the carrier’s determination.

Note: Group insurance may provide foreign travel coverage, but it too may have limitations. Be sure to refer to your service agreement for specific benefits.


What Medicare and Medicare Related Products Cover

Medicare does not provide coverage outside the US and its territories. Most Medicare Supplements provide only $50,000 lifetime of emergency-only coverage, with a $250 deductible. This usually does not include assistance services to help coordinate care or medical evacuation, and reimbursement is only made after translated receipts and doctors’ notes are submitted upon return. We believe this lack of coverage and support is insufficient. Medicare Advantage Plans (MA) a bundled alternative to receiving Medicare benefits, may or may not provide out of country coverage and those that do will certainly have limitations.


The Value of Travel Medical Insurance

We recommend travel insurance for the added layer of medical insurance for both emergencies and non-emergencies with benefit limits as high as $8,000,000.  Medical evacuations to receive appropriate care can cost tens of thousands without insurance. Some carriers even include evacuations for natural disasters, political unrest and terrorism. An important benefit of Travel Insurance is the assistance services included such as access to global telemedicine services, safety alerts, medical translation tools, and international provider networks of hospitals and doctors. We believe this insurance is vital to protect against potential costly gaps and should be considered in one’s portfolio of insurance.


Travel Medical Insurance Case Study

GeoBlue (a well-known company in the industry) shared a case study with us about an American in France who suffered a severely broken leg during a walking tour. GeoBlue’s policy covered his surgery, hospital stay, ambulance, and transportation costs 100%. Despite having incurred $24,000 in total costs, he walked away having only paid a $34 premium.

At OnlyHealthInsurance we care about the physical and financial health & safety of our client community. Travel insurance can limit your exposure to unforeseen costs. Give us a call or email if you would like a quote or more information.

Palace of Versailles Garden

Gardens of Versailles, Dougherty Family Trip 2012

London Eye

London Eye, Dougherty Family Trip 2012

Kylemore Castle in Ireland

Kylemore Abbey, Dougherty Family Trip 2012

Introducing QuestAssured

Introducing QuestAssured

Introducing QuestAssured, a travel blog from OnlyHealthInsurance inspired by my daughter Patty’s love of travel and our family’s passion for insurance! Our goal with QuestAssured is to encourage our clients to travel with a spirit of adventure and a sense of security.

Whether serving an indigenous people in Mexico’s Copper Canyon (picture below), exploring our roots in Dublin, or hiking the ancient Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, we have experience with travel and travel insurance. We are excited to deliver to our subscribers posts packed with tips and insight for traveling with peace of mind. Our articles will cover the ins and outs of travel insurance, health and safety tips, travel hacks, destination discoveries, sustainable travel, cultural awareness, and more!

We look forward to sharing our professional insight and personal experience to empower your overseas adventures.

Safe Travels!  Phil Dougherty & Patricia Dougherty

Phil & Patty on a Rotary service trip to Copper Canyon in 2006

Patty representing a third generation joining OnlyHealthInsurance in 2021