Where to Travel in 2013

Today marks the last day of 2012, and that means it’s time for New Year’s Resolutions. Instead of eating healthier, hitting the gym or passing on the extra cookie, we recommend getting out there and traveling!

To help with your travel plans, we’ve searched the net, asked our Facebook friends, read the reviews and compiled a list of the top destinations for each type of traveler in 2013. Do you like to have an adventure when you travel? How about some R&R? Or just some great sightseeing? We’ve got a destination for everyone:

Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries. According to recent data, 841 different languages are listed for the country.

The Outdoors-men: Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is filled with endless outdoor activities. This little known, Western destination boasts all kinds of adventure sports. Whether it be diving, snorkeling or year-round surfing, this destination is great for a traveler who wants an adventure.

The Bookworm: Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a great destination for travelers who want to learn more about the native culture, study it’s history and immerse themselves in the rich wildlife. From the 2004 Civil War to the national parks filled with exotic animals, Sri Lanka has something for the traveler looking to soak up knowledge while soaking up the sun.

The Foodie: San Juan Islands, Washington
The San Juan Islands are the perfect place to escape and eat to your heart’s content. You’ll be able to choose from fresh seafood – oysters, clams, salmon and locally-grown vegetables at farmers’ markets. If you want to exercise after indulging, you’re in luck. The islands boast 250 days of sunshine per year and have bikes available to explore the nearby beaches.

The Penny Pincher: Florida
The state of Florida has a lot to offer including beaches, natural beauty, amusement parks and Key Lime Pie that can’t be beat. According to VisitFlorida.com, Florida beaches are ranked among the best in the country for beauty, accessibility and facilities. Families, couples and active singles enjoy year-round sunshine, soft sand and clear Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean waters. It’s easy on the pocketbook because you can find great flight deals and spend your vacation on one of the many beaches in the Sunshine State. But if you chose Miami, be sure to plan for plenty of time as the airport is known for delays.
After reading the list, tell us – which destination are you going to add to your must-see list for 2013? Leave a comment below, post on our Facebook wall or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing where you’re headed in the upcoming year!

And wherever you go, don’t forget to protect your investment with travel insurance. It can help save your trip from the unexpected.

Safe travels,

Your friends at TravelSafe

Let’s Get Social!


How would you like to get travel tips, share travel insurance advice, receive severe weather updates, see amazing travel photos and connect with other travel agents and travelers all in one place? We’ve got just the spot for you.

TravelSafe is hitting the web to make all of this possible. Start by “Liking” us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and connecting with us on LinkedIn.

We’ll be sharing all things travel including news about our New Rates and Age Bands, how holiday travel plans have been stalled by this bad weather and much more.

So get connected now to stay up to date on the latest news, connect with other travel professionals, day dream about a beach vacation and get travel insurance tips.

You’ll also want to stay tuned because there are more ways to connect coming soon! In the near future, you’ll be Pinning your way to your next vacation and telling us all about it on Google+. Until then, we’ll see you on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

Before you go – tell us, what do you want to see on our Pinterest and Google+ pages?

Winter Storm “Draco” Causes Delays

UPDATE –

The winter storm traveling across the midwest continues to wreak havoc in several states. A blizzard warning from the National Weather Service remains in effect for the region including states from Colorado to Wisconsin.

On Wednesday, there were 47 flights canceled at Denver International Airport. On Thursday, 30,000 people lost power in the state of Iowa, Highway 6 was closed at Loveland Pass in Colorado. Flights are predicted to be delayed or cancelled through the rest of the week, so make sure to check your flight status and be safe while traveling.

Stay tuned for the latest on this storm and how it could affect your travel plans. As always, if you have any questions about your coverage during this storm, leave a comment below or call us at 1-888-885-7233.

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Mother Nature has started singing Christmas carols, and first up is “Let It Snow”! Storms across the nation are threatening to delay travel plans for millions of Americans this year.

Colorado, Kansas and Iowa are expected to get the worst of the storm on Wednesday with blizzard warnings in effect and up to a foot of snow predicted in the Rockies. Delays already started Wednesday morning at Denver International Airport, where flights were delayed up to 30 minutes due to snow and ice.

The Pacific Northwest is currently digging themselves out of a storm that previously hit the busy travel hub, but they are expected to receive more than a foot of snow on Wednesday according to the National Weather Service.

It doesn’t stop there. The National Weather Service also warned that Chicago could be hit by heavy snow and slick roads on Thursday. In addition, Detroit is expected to see unpleasant travel conditions with rain and wind coming on Thursday, and quickly changing to snow and ice on Friday.

These storms come just as 93 million American travelers are heading out for Christmas and New Year’s. There is some good news – it seems that airlines are in the holiday spirit. Most major airlines including United, Frontier and Southwest are waiving change fees due to the weather.

Stay tuned to our blog for the latest on this storm and how it could affect your travel plans. As always, please remember to check the status of your flight before heading to the airport. Even if your holiday travel plans don’t include one of these destinations, your plane may be delayed or stranded at one of them.

If you have any questions on your coverage during this storm, please leave a comment below or call us at 1-888-885-7233.

Safe travels,
Your friends at TravelSafe

Busy Travel Season Ahead

The upcoming holiday travel season could be the busiest travel season in the past six years according to AAA. They’re predicting that 93.3 million Americans will hit the road, making it a 1.6 percent increase since last year.

The highways will be the most popular route because finding a good deal on a plane ticket has become increasingly more difficult. In fact, AAA says a record 84.4 million people will drive at least 50 miles between Dec. 22 and Jan. 1, and that’s 90.5 percent of holiday travelers. In other words, one in four Americans will be driving long distances for Christmas and New Year’s.

What does this mean for your travel plans? Plan for frequent traffic jams, overcrowded toll plazas and long lines at rest stops. But what about gas prices? AAA estimates the average price will range between $3.20 and $3.40 a gallon by New Year’s Day, according to AAA.

Even though a lot of people are hitting the road, some travelers are still taking to the air. It is predicted that 86 percent of seats will be filled with paying passengers. That number could climb to 90 percent on the weekend before Christmas, the day after Christmas and January 2. Airlines for America estimates that about 15 million people will fly between Dec. 17 and Jan. 6.

Whether you’re driving or flying to your holiday destination, expect to pay more for lodging expenses. AAA three diamond lodgings are forecast to cost $129 a night, up $3 from last year. Two diamond properties are also up $3 a night to $95.

Overall, holiday travel brings on expenses – planned and unplanned. Make sure to protect your holiday travel investment by purchasing travel insurance. It can cover you when unexpected travel delays strike.

Safe travels,
Your friends at TravelSafe

 

Dare to Compare: New Rates and Age Bands

Starting December 15, TravelSafe is proud to offer new rates and age bands. This means there will be “flat” rates for children 18 years and younger traveling with an accompanying adult*. Please note that flat rate premiums have the following Maximum Trip Cost limitations: $10,000 for Basic Plan and $15,000 for Classic “Plus” Plan. Don’t forget, this includes a Cancel For Any Reason – Cash Back benefit, too!

Vacation Basic: Up to Age 18 – $12.00
Vacation Classic
: Up to Age 18 – $14.00
Vacation Classic Plus: Up to Age 18 – $22.00

More great news for travelers – TravelSafe’s Cancel For Any Reason Benefit (CFAR) will now cover up to 75% maximum by eliminating the Cancellation Penalty Schedule. This added benefit will simplify the process and eliminate any unnecessary confusion.
You will be able to see these new rates online starting December 15. Please call us at 1-888-885-7233 or click here if you would like new brochures. Please provide your Agency Code and the amount of brochures you would like to receive.
 
Safe travels,
Your friends at TravelSafe
 
 
*Maximum of 2 flat rate premiums for each accompanying adult.
 

How to Stay in Touch for Less

If your travel plans are taking you abroad this winter, you’ll most certainly be making calls during the holidays. Traditionally speaking, international calling can be costly and connections can be shaky. However, these days there are more options for international calling including those that won’t cost you a dime. Here are the top ways to stay in touch while abroad:

Purchase a temporary phone. You can rent a cell phone or purchase an inexpensive throwaway phone during your trip. These phones can be found online or your regular carrier may offer overseas rentals. This can cost you less than $50, but be warned, these phones don’t typically have all smartphone capabilities.

Use your cell phone. If you don’t want to part with your cell phone, this option is the easiest for you. Check with your carrier to see if they provide international roaming packages and ask for the fees. If you are going to communicate a lot during your trip, these fees can add up quickly. Also, avoid extra data charges by disabling all notifications from your apps and automatic e-mail pushes.

Connect to a hotspot. Today, a majority of the hotels abroad offer free Wi-Fi (especially in Europe). Before you travel, contact the hotel, ask if they have Wi-Fi and if there are charges involved. This is the perfect option for you if you don’t want to be connected 24/7, but want to call or check in on social media when you are at the hotel. Don’t forget to pack your cell phone for emergencies – just keep it off unless you need it. 

Download apps before you go. If you’re taking your smartphone or tablet, Skype is a great way to stay in touch. It is available for download on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry. You can register for Skype with a unique U.S. number so people can reach you at no cost while you’re abroad.

Buy the cards. If you don’t feel like messing with “Wi-Fi”, cellphones and hotspots, you can buy a local calling card. To call out, you dial a local or toll-free access number, then enter your account ID plus the number you want to call. The big U.S. telecoms offer calling-card systems for international use, but if you really want a deal – buy local and you can find lower rates.

For this option, you’ll have to rely on your hotel for contacting you with an emergency calling, and it might not be easy to find a pay phone if you’re wanting to make a call outside of the hotel.

Whether you use the latest technology or go old school, staying in touch with family and friends during the holiday season is important. What option would fit your travel plans best? Tell us by leaving a comment below.

Safe travels,
Your friends at TravelSafe

Pass the Peanuts, Please!

Can you say something to the parents of noisy children? Is there a polite way to lay claim to an arm rest? Recently, NBC News and Travel + Leisure joined forces to answer common questions like these to help travelers stay on their best behavior. Read on to see answers to all of the questions, and share with us – what’s your best travel advice for an awkward situation?

Q: What do you do when there is a shared armrest on your flight?

A: Airplane etiquette says that the middle-seat passenger has rights to both inner armrests. If you think about it, it makes sense – aisle and window passengers are guaranteed at least one armrest.

Q: How do you handle noisy hotel room neighbors?

A: Don’t knock on their door and ask them to quiet down. Call the manager on duty. You want the hotel to be involved early on in case the culprit is uncooperative. And, don’t expect your neighbors to be moved – if you want quiet, you can request to be moved to another room.

Q: If your taxi driver is reckless, what’s the best course of action, and do you need to pay him/her?

A: Don’t stay in the cab if you feel unsafe. Ask your driver to pull over. Pay the fare, but tipping is optional. You’ll also want to get the taxi or medallion number to report this unsafe driver.

Q: What if you don’t like your wine at a restaurant? Is it OK to send it back even if it is fine wine, but not to your taste?

A: Speak up, and explain why you don’t like it. But, don’t judge too early – keep in mind that sometimes wine needs time to open up.

Q: What do you do if you’re stuck in a seat by noisy children or kids kicking the back of your chair?

A: Assess the situation. If the parent is clearly working to fix the situation, then hopefully things will improve. If the parents aren’t doing anything, you might politely say to the parent something like, “I know they’re kids and I understand it isn’t easy, but if there’s anything you can do to keep the noise level/kicking down, I would really appreciate it.” If you’re on a plane and you’re not comfortable saying something directly, you can see if a flight attendant can assist.

Q: Should you go first when entering a revolving door?

A: It may seem counterintuitive, but you should go first. Since the door requires some pushing, it is polite to go first and give the door a push to help along the next person.

America’s Worst Airports for Delays

Are you fed up with flight delays and missed connections? Does it seem like you’re always getting delayed at the same airport? You may be onto something. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there are ten airports where you are most likely to get delayed. Find out which airports you should avoid, and if you can’t avoid them, we’ll tell you the best time to travel at each airport.

First up is Newark Liberty International Aiport (EWR). With 23.83% of the flights delayed at Newark, you’re likely to experience some sort of delay. The best way to avoid a delay at this airport is to fly out before 7 a.m. because you’re most likely to get delayed between 1 and 11 p.m.

Next on the list is San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Not far behind Newark, 21.78% of flights out of San Francisco are delayed. This airport has been in the bottom 10 since 2008, and the biggest problem in San Francisco is the fog. Your best bet to avoid fog-related delays is to leave before 8 a.m. However, traveling between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. will most likely result in a delay.

Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) is third on the list. 20.1% of flights out of this airport are delayed. While it used to be the better alternative to O’Hare, Midway has gotten worse over the past few years. Travel before 8 a.m. for the best chances of avoiding delays because if you’re traveling any time after 3 p.m., you’re more likely to experience a delay.

We head southeast for the fourth airport on the list – Miami International Airport (MIA). Miami is a repeat offender and 19.35% of the flights are delayed. Like the previous airports, if you travel before 8 a.m., you have the best chance of departing on time. If you want to sneak in some beach time, fly out after 2 p.m. (especially between 5-10 p.m.) and use your probable delay as an excuse!

George Bush International Airport (IAH) is next on the list at number five. This is a surprise to many since the airport used to be one of the best in on-time performance. Nowadays, 19.29% of all flights are delayed. Delays typically start at 2 p.m. and only get worse. So if you want to increase your chances of staying on schedule, fly out before lunchtime.

Chicago strikes again! Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is number six on the list. O’Hare has long been considered the worst for lengthy waits and 18.82% of the flights are delayed. At O’Hare, the early bird gets the worm because if you depart before 7 a.m., you are less likely to get delayed. However, if you’re leaving late at night, you have a 53% chance of experiencing delays.

Traveling west, Denver International Airport (DEN) takes the number seven spot on this list. Even though the delays aren’t as large as the mountains in the state, 18.24% of flights are delayed. The worst time to travel is between 3 and 11 p.m. This is a great place to travel in the winter, but if you want to get out on time, depart before 9 a.m.

Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Washington D.C. is number eight on this list with 18.02% of all flights delayed. This airport performed worse this year, particularly at night. If you depart around 11 p.m., your chances of being delayed soar to 50 percent. Your best chances of getting out on time fall before the hours of 8 a.m. and between 9 a.m. and noon.

Number nine on the list is Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI). While BWI is one of the most-improved this year, 17.64% of the flights are still delayed. If you want to arrive on time, try flying before 9 a.m. because delays are more frequent after 2 p.m. and only get worse as the day goes on.


Lastly, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) arrives at number ten on the list. 16.67% of the flights are delayed at this mega-hub known as “Big D”. DFW is slowly improving, but don’t take your chances between 4 and 9 p.m. because that is when you’re most likely to experience delays. For your best chances, try to score a flight before 8 a.m.

In the end, what’s the best way to keep travel delays from ruining your vacation? Purchase travel insurance. You’ll be covered for everything from travel delays to an illness. Don’t let an airport behind schedule ruin your vacation. Try to schedule your flights at times with the fewest delays and protect your investment with travel insurance.

Safe (and on-time) travels,
Your friends at TravelSafe