This Week in Links, Olympic Edition

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As the much-hyped Winter Olympics get underway in Sochi this week, there has been no shortage of articles, tweets, posts, and news stories about everything from the toilets to the US team’s official Opening Ceremonies attire.  We’ve already covered some of the pressing travel insurance information that’s relevant to Olympic travelers in our post on the government’s recommendation of travel insurance for Sochi, but we couldn’t let the official kick-off to the Games pass without rounding up some of the other Sochi stories that have been on our minds.

Questionable Sochi Hotels

Some of them are hoaxes, but all too many are real: Journalists, athletes, and spectators alike have been sharing their check-in experiences on the internet, and most of them aren’t pretty.  While taking jabs at decor and touch-up painting probably isn’t entirely fair, some of the concerns — like “Dangerous Face Water” — seem like signs that Sochi may not be completely Olympics-ready.

Just in case you’re wondering, no, dissatisfaction with the condition of your hotel room isn’t covered by travel insurance.  However, in the unlikely even that a hotel situation in Sochi happened to escalate to the point of danger, and guests had to leave the premises for their safety (who knows how dangerous the “Dangerous Face Water” might become?), then it’s possible that their troubles might fall under the umbrella of “Destination Uninhabitable” coverage.

Olympic Hackers

These guys must be gold-medal good, because noted journalist Richard Engel reportedly found himself the victim of hacking within moments of his arrival in Russia.  While some technology experts have refuted Engel’s claims that his computer and phone were hacked, the fact remains that there are well-known internet security threats to users located in Russia at the moment.  For those who are worried about protecting themselves online while in Sochi, this US-CERT Security Guidance document could come in very handy.

Worried about hackers getting your identity while you’re abroad? Some travel insurance companies do offer specialized identity theft protection products.

Tighter TSA Liquid Rules

By now, you’re probably all familiar with the toothpaste threat. Several media outlets have reported this week that there was a security concern in Sochi based on the possibility of a toothpaste tube bomb making its way onto international flights. As a reaction to that news, the TSA has now announced a total ban on liquids in carry-on luggage, affecting passengers on non-stop flights between the USA and Russia. Travelers can still carry liquids in checked baggage, but the long-held 3-1-1 rule is no longer enforced for these selected flights.

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