Good, practical travel advice just the way your mother used to give. That’s the theme for this week’s Take Five. Well, maybe not all good and maybe not all advice, but it’s stuff I’m sure more than a handful of you out there reading can use. Why? Because we care…

5. New Blogs: Transitions Abroad and National Geographic Traveler:

Looking for a few new blogs to go in your travel RSS feeds? Give these two a go and keep virtual travel going longer and stronger. (Okay, that was corny.)

4. Shape’s Top 25 Stay-Fit Travel Tips:
If you travel so much you basically live on the road and out of a suitcase you probably already discovered a few tips to staying fit. On the flip-side for those of you haven’t found the perfect way to blend your road trippin’ fun with fitness you may wish to take a peek at this plug here.

3. Traveler’s Phrase Book T-shirt:
Unlike Justin, who points out this nifty phrase book style tee to wear and assist in communication, I think it is a great idea and not so overpriced. I’m a HUGE advocate for learning the local vocab and slang, but sometimes your mind freezes, goes numb or went back packing with the cat that also has your tongue and in such event it never hurts to resort to Plan P by pointing it out!

2. Problems in a Hotel? Complain Immediately for Best Results:

I think the title of this one says it all. Don’t wait until check-out to rant and point out flaws. If the room is seriously painfully bad or unsanitary let the folks behind the front desk know ASAP.

1. What Countries Have Universal Health Care?:
So you’ve seen the movie Sicko and you walked away with a knot in your stomach like the rest of us… Now you wish to plan an escape to a country with Universal Health Care… Where do you go?

What Countries Have Universal Health Care?

A few nights ago, I watched Michael Moore’s new documentary, SiCKO, which focuses its crosshair on the health care industry in the United States. At one point in the movie, Mr. Moore claims that the United States is the only “westernized” country without universal health care. Is that true?

First, what does he mean by “westernized”? Defining the “western world” can be subjective, and definitions will vary depending on what criteria is used. Are you defining it from a cultural standpoint? Political? Economical? Perhaps this is why Mr. Moore felt comfortable making such a broad generalization. Is it even possible to truly define what the “western world” really is?

Okay, forget the western world. (I think I know what he meant anyway.) What countries on our good green Earth provide some sort of universal health care for their citizens? Here they are:

Countries in blue have some type of universal health care. Countries in green are currently attempting to implement some type of universal health care. Orange countries have universal health coverage provided by United States war funding. Source. Click to enlarge.

Afghanistan*, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iraq*, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and the United Kingdom

*Universal health coverage provided by United States war funding

There you go. Keep in mind: this is a simple list of countries that have some sort of publicly sponsored health care system. For instance, Sri Lanka may be far from having a true, working universal health care system like France, but prescription drugs are provided by a government-owned drug manufacturer. This qualifies as “some sort of publicly sponsored, universal health care system.”