About Amanda Hand

I fell in love with travel, so I decided to work in the travel industry. You can catch me on the road, in the mountains, and sometimes in the office at TravelSafe. Wherever I am and wherever I'm going, I'll be sure to give you the goods.

Great Apps to Travel Safe During Hurricane Season

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Destination Travel Weather Apps -  TravelSafe Vacation Insurance

Planning a coastal or Caribbean vacation during hurricane season can be a gamble. You may have a plan, but the important question is will the wind blow in your favor. Time and time again, hurricane history has proven their path isn’t perfectly predictable. For modern day techies, this means having an app in your tech tool belt to keep you updated on forming weather phenomena.

 

NOAA Now brought to you by Kelly Technology

This free app keeps you in the know about both inland and oceanic storms. The information comes right from NOAA and NASA, both reliable resources. It can give you updates on storms worldwide and there is live radar to give you a good visual. The only downfall – it does not have options for storm preparedness, evacuations routes, or emergency numbers.

 

SeaStorm Hurricane Tracker by Poignant Projects

For just $1.99 you can keep track of tropical storm and hurricane activity. You can also share screenshots of your findings on social media to keep friends and family in the loop while traveling. It is limited to the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific basins though, so if you are traveling into the Western Pacific or Indian Oceans regions, you may need to look elsewhere.

 

Hurricane Tracker by HTVMA Solutions

This app is not only free but all-inclusive. It includes up to date information from newsrooms and key government agencies up and down the coast, live video, forecast, local shelter, evacuation zones, and emergency numbers. Hurricane Tracker shows you when there is time for concern with its “threat meter.” Not only do you stay up to date on the latest storm patterns but you also have access to checklists to prepare your family for storm threats. The only drawback is it seems to work best for only those in the Western Atlantic region.

 

Hurricane – American Red Cross

Good for travelers new to hurricane preparedness. This bi-lingual app can tell you what to do before, during, and after a storm. You can monitor storms in your area as well as set locations for multiple destinations. This app enables you to find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out. In the event of an outage, there are step by step instructions informing you on what you need to do to stay safe and updated. Hopefully this app will spread its capabilities worldwide vs. only being available in the U.S.

 

Hurricane HD by Kitty Code (iOS users only)

With many great features, Kitty Code brings you an app able to track Hurricanes and tropical storms globally for just $2.99. It can keep you informed on wind speed, direction, five-day forecasts, tracking maps, satellite view, iOS’s location services to tell you how far away you are from the storm. Its information comes straight from the National Hurricane Center or the Joint Typhoon Warning center which makes it great for storm tracking no matter where you are. If traveling to an area you are unfamiliar with, may want to pair with an app that can inform you on what to do in a natural disaster as well as connect you to local emergency resources and information.

 

TravelSafe Partners with Tourism Cares: Nepal Recovery Fund

TravelSafe Insurance will partner with Tourism Cares in the Nepal Recovery Fund. After the devastating earthquake that took place on April 25th, 2015, many pieces of Nepal’s treasured culture have been lost. The world not only lost over 7,000 beautiful people but also irreplaceable pieces of history that attracted hundreds of thousands foreign visitors each year.

While immediate relief is being provided, the long term toll this devastation with take on Nepal is exponential. Following a natural disaster, is a period where many citizens struggle to make ends meet. Feeding their family becomes a daily struggle, and while providing these families with the food they need to get by is pertinent, they also have a need to stimulate their local economies with work and trade. Many of Nepal’s jobs are provided through the tourism industry, and for the sake of their local economy, their tourism industry needs to be rebuilt and sustained.

TravelSafe Insurance chose to partner with Tourism Cares because both companies value the travel industry and believe it is an industry that supports the world’s economy a great deal, and we do not want to see devastation cause a long-lasting decline in tourism to Nepal. By aiding in the Nepal Recovery Fund, you are choosing to to support history, culture, and Nepal’s long term economy.

Donate a little to help rebuild a lot. Click here to donate.

 

How You Can Help Nepal

Serenity by Jenny Downing

photo by Jenny Downing

It is no secret, the magnitude- 7.8 earthquake has devastated Nepal. The death toll has surpassed 7,000 and many of the country’s historic monuments and temples have been destroyed. Relief efforts are pouring in, but to help Nepal rebuild and sustain it’s culture is going to prove to be difficult when the country’s vital tourist industry has taken such a major hit, adding fuel to the fire set on Nepal’s Economy.

According to Nepal Earthquake 2015: Aftershocks Devastate Nepal’s Tourism Industry, Everest, Unesco Sites, International Business Times, “In the short term, Nepal is going to see its tourism fall to near zero levels,” travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt told International Business Times by phone. “The devastation appears to be so widespread and extensive, it’s understandable.”

Physical aide and food are a primary concern immediately following any natural disaster. However, the initial relief efforts eventually taper off and what helps the affected economy rehabilitate? For Nepal, the tourism industry is going to be a major component in the rehabilitation of their economy.

“More than 8 percent of the country’s $19.29 billion GDP in 2013 came from its tourism industry, the World Travel and Tourism Council reported. Foreign exchange earnings from tourism accounted for about 20 percent of the country’s export earnings in 2013, Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said.”

That is roughly 1.5 billion dollars afforded to Nepal’s economy by the tourism industry. Nepal is going to need aide in rebuilding tourist attractions and accommodations in order to rebuild their economy as a whole. This is the kind of help that does not always provide instant gratification, but gratification as the country in rehabilitated brick by brick.

To donate Nepal’s Recovery Fund please click here

 

Hawaii – Multigenerational Travel Hot Spot

The poles are in and multigenerational travel is here to stay. The trend is growing, and that means more and more families will be looking into ways to include multiple generations in their travel arrangements. A popular destination that is gaining more attention for multigenerational travel is Hawaii. The islands offer a great deal of variety in activities, lodging arrangements and choices for for. Even though the price for larger groups is much higher when compared to smaller groups, families are not waning in their decisions to make Hawaii a top pick for multigenerational travel. So let’s take a look at why Hawaii is said to have it all.

It’s Islands 

Hawaii has six islands, all similar but unique in their own ways. This almost guarantees your multigenerational island experience is a positive one. When planning your trip, everyone can provide a list of activities that are most important to them and what kind of look and feel they want to their vacation. You can come to a group decision of which island fits your multigenerational travel theme the most and, since island hopping is possible, no one has to miss out.

It’s Different Lodging Options

Some family members may enjoy villas while others prefer hotels. Both have their advantages. Villas allow for a more intimate feel while hotels may provide more security. After selecting which island (or islands) you will be staying on, you can begin to dive into what sleeping arrangements are going to work best for the group. The most important thing here, is there are so many options in Hawaii that you will be guaranteed comfort for the entire group.

Its Luaus

Hawaii is known for its scenery and festive luaus. The different luaus will give your family entertainment, leaving no room for boring dinner conversation. Everyone will have something to smile about as the dancers shimmy back and forth. If the mainstream Luaus aren’t for you, try checking out the fundraisers or smaller Luaus on the smaller Islands. It will give you a more authentic feel and you’ll really get a peek into the culture.

The Activities

There is an endless smorgasbord of activities on the islands. There are activities for every kind of traveler and to prove that point even further, we are going to have to break this down into categories.

For the Adventurer

Some people crave adventure. These are the ones who understand how large the world is and whose hearts jump at the thought of a new discovery. Hawaii has activities just for them, especially on the island of Kauai. If you have an adventurer in your multigenerational travel group, they will be sure to be happy with Hawaii as their choice. They can kayak through the Wailua River one day and zipline above Kauai’s beautifully decorated valleys the next. The adventurer will love all Hawaii has to offer and even better, have a great memories of their family vacation.

For the Historian

This kind of traveler loves to take their time learning about the destinations they explore. They understand the age of the earth and appreciate the heart and soul of every culture. The historian will have so much to learn during their stay on Hawaii as it is the only state that was once its own country. There is so much beautiful history to see on every island, the historian will not only stay busy but also very pleased.

For the Health Foodie

Not only is multigenerational travel a trend that may be sticking to our culture heavily, we also have health food working its way into many lifestyles across America. While this is not a bad thing, it can add stress to travel for the family especially if there are food allergies involved. But fear not multigenerational travelers! Hawaii has the options you need. Not only does Hawaii have a Whole Foods Market where health food is plentiful, Hawaii has a very strong farm to table food culture. The health foodie is sure to have enough options so they won’t have to go hungry, or even worse, unhealthy!

For the Beach Bum  

Hawaii, where surfing was born and the sand is plentiful. For those who love to park their bums on the beach from morning to late afternoon, Hawaii will offer up the perfect resting spot with a change in scenery. The beach bum can surf, snorkel, or simply rest in the sand for the day. Whatever their heart desires as they relax on your family’s vacation. You won’t have to worry about taking away from their experience, Hawaii’s beaches will offer up the perfect landing pad for their mellow soul.

And last but not least…

The Wellness Traveler

This traveler will have it all. The option for beautiful, luxury spas like the Mauna Lani Spa, the wellness traveler will leave their family vacation stress free. Relaxation is important to the wellness travel, and their mindfulness of their health and body will help them deal with the stressful moments that can go along with multigenerational travel. There are so many opportunities for the wellness traveler to catch up on rest, exercise and eat well, they may end up being the most versatile traveler in the group.

Hawaii just has it all. Every age and every kind of traveler will have all of the options they need when visiting the beautiful state. To please the whole group is to make memories of a lifetime.

You can read about the right time to buy travel protection here. 

 

Insuring Family Travel

Family Travel Protection

insurance-for-travelNot long ago the vast majority of Americans wouldn’t consider traveling outside the United States. When the average family planned a family vacation, they usually limited their plans to places to visit within their own beloved country. Often, those vacation plans centered around visiting extended relatives, especially their older family members. A trip for the family was important for staying connected to parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles, cousins and old friends. And, a smart vacation plan should have included travel insurance for the entire family. A smarter plan would include calling TravelSafe Insurance for your travel coverage needs. During the heady 1980s on through the 2000s, many people eschewed such local vacation trips as bucolically indigent. Jumbo jet travel will whisk anyone anywhere in the world. Albeit for a much bigger chunk of change than a road trip would cost. But, we wanted to see and experience the exotic, the foreign, and the prestigious destinations that we could proudly brag about. Why visit family, when you can just send them regular emails or make a phone call once in a while, became the norm.

With all the terrorist threats and general unrest in the world, more and more people are returning to simpler lifestyles and developing more localized interests. Drawing closer to family is being valued more than ever. People are rediscovering America, a country filled with awe inspiring sights, diverse camping experiences, gorgeous landscapes, and unique culinary dialects. One of the issues that still encourages domestic travel is that expenses are safeguarded with insurance for family travel. If something suddenly comes up, you will be glad you have trip cancellation insurance. You will be repaid for the expenses of reserving car rentals, deposits on hotel rooms, and many other types of expenses connected with a trip.

You can buy trip cancellation insurance for very reasonable rates. Just be sure to purchase it from a reputable travel insurance company. Many travel suppliers offer some level of travel insurance, which is usually overpriced and only covers very limited costs. Most importantly, if that company goes out of business, you are left standing where you are, on your own to get back home and recover whatever you have lost. In that case, paying for their purported in-house coverage is worse than a waste of money.

Consider traveling inside the United States this year. You may be surprised just how much our own country still has to offer.

Multi-Generational Family Travel

The More The Merrier When It Comes To Family Vacation Travel

Multi-Generational Travel Vacations - Travel Health Insurance from TravelSafe

For many years the family entity remained the same. Parents, children and grandparents are still coming together when it comes to vacations and sharing time. Families sit down, map out their adventure and then make their reservations for travel. We all hope that our vacations will go as we planned, but there are occasions when travel health insurance is something we have to call upon and, TravelSafe Insurance can provide peace of mind when health insurance is needed while traveling. It’s very important to make sure that when traveling, we have insurance for family travel just in case someone gets an injury or gets sick.Travel health insurance is one thing that a responsible family member will make sure they have before setting out on that road trip.

Relaxation is the first thing adults think about when planning a vacation. Not having to worry about a thing can make that vacation enjoyable. Grandma and grandpa both can take the children to the beach while the parents relax by the pool. The children can build sand castles and swim while grandma is reading her favorite book under the umbrella. Grandpa is standing on the edge of the surf, trying to catch the big one that got away the year before. Mom and dad are sipping their favorite drinks by the pool while trying to catch up on each other’s lives.

The day ends with a wonderful dinner including the whole family. They all enjoy a great meal, then head to the closest ice cream parlor for a treat. There are museums to visit, amusement parks to attend, and mountains to travel. Family fun begins with the peace of mind that you are covering your whole family with insurance for family travel. No one wants a family or friend to be sick or injured while away from home, but it does occasionally happen so why not prepare for the worst and expect the best.

Travel health insurance is important for church groups, school trips, and family reunions. It is also important to purchase family travel insurance when flying. Slow down, rest, and relax without worry. Your whole family is covered. Grandma and grandpa, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, and friends can all enjoy the best of any vacation when they do not have to worry. Put all your energy into planning and enjoying spending quality time with the ones you love. There is no reason to worry when you purchase your insurance for family travel.

Protecting Multigenerational Travel

Multigenerational travel is all the rage and there is proof to show it. In Forbes article The Hottest Trends In Boomer Travel, there is a strong highlight on the financial investment multigenerational travelers are making.

According to top travel companies, multigenerational family travel accounts for more than 10 percent of their entire business. Dan Austin, director of Austin-Lehman Adventures, says they’ve seen a tenfold increase in custom trips in recent years. “Groups range in size from as few as four to as many as 24 family members,” he says.

In 2013, the average US traveler spending roughly $1,145 (according to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker). This means average families are spending anywhere from $4,580 to $27,480. Now, most families do not have bottomless bank accounts, and I know that investment is one worth protecting.

Choosing travel protection for your multigenerational travel group does not have to be a stressful experience. There are key things you should be looking for when purchasing travel protection. You do not want to get denied a claim because there was not a clear understanding of the products and plans available to you.

Often times, when travelers get an online quote for products, they bypass the heavy reading in hopes of saving themselves some time. This action can really cost you. One thing that our customer service department always stresses to travelers is to make sure they are reading their state specific certificate (it’s the paperwork that tells you every individual thing you are covered for). Boring, but necessary.

If you do not understand something in the certificate, give us a call and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have. You can even tweet @TravelSafeIns if you can’t or just don’t like making the phone call. It is better to reach out and clear the air than to assume you are receiving a benefit.

Something to always consider when you are booking your trip, and debating your travel insurance, is the 21 day window. When you  make your initial trip deposit (an initial trip deposit meaning the day you put money down and choose a set date for travel plans), you are eligible to receive a wider range in coverage if you purchase travel insurance within 21 days.

With multigenerational travel, it usually means a group is traveling with grandparents. While every traveler could potentially have a change in their health, those is older generations are more prone to sudden changes in health and medications. After 21 days of the initial trip deposit, travelers are no longer eligible for this benefit and that can be a real doozie. If Grandma gets ill 18 days before vacation, the doctor puts her on medication, she gets to her destination and realizes the medication is making her ill, her travel protection may not be able to cover that pre-existing condition. So, travelers should play it safe on that one and pay attention to the 21 day window.

Another benefit travelers are only eligible for 21 days within initial trip deposit is Cancel For Any Reason. Yes, you can only purchase Cancel For Any Reason if you purchase your travel protection 21 days from your initial trip deposit.

If you are purchasing Cancel for Any Reason, make sure you cover the entire cost of your trip. You only qualify for Cancel For Any Reason is only granted when you protect your entire travel investment.

Check into the kinds of activities you are going to be partaking in. While some travel protection may cover ziplining, it probably isn’t going to cover sky diving. Sorry grandma!

So don’t just do multigenerational travel, do multigenerational travel protection as well. Wow, what a tongue twister. Get a quick quote for travel protection here and don’t forget to follow us on twitter @TravelSafeIns.

Click here to learn how to do multigenerational travel like a boss and don’t forget to check out apps for hurricane season, especially if you’re traveling to the Caribbean this summer.

 

Best Practices For Selling Travel Coverage

Buy your Travel Insurance from a reputable Agent like TravelSafe. Last month we talked about questions that surround the selling of travel protection and, how many may think its a waste. But, rest assured the goal of TravelSafe is to look after you and your Family. The article shed some light on how we are in the business of protecting and we really have the best interest of travelers in mind when creating our line of travel protection products. But where does that leave you? This time, I am going to focus on providing you with a few ideas on inspiring your clients to consider travel protection.

Travel protection is a very unique form of insurance. Unlike auto and medical, it is not legally mandated to have and while awareness surrounding the need for travel protection is rising, it seems to be towards the bottom of the insurance market food chain. We know it’s because travel protection is not required. Here at TravelSafe we are happy about that because we actually want travelers to want to purchase our product (mind blowing, I know). Travel protection is also a fairly new product across the globe when compared to its brothers and sisters.

So many travelers have yet to understand the positive qualities in protecting their travel investments. With travel protection they can embark on their voyage, knowing they have coverage if unfavorable circumstances arise. You would think knowing the risks that go along with traveling would motivate your clients to protect their travel investment, but sometimes they need to be provided with a little perspective. I guess that is why we are the insurers and the rest are the insured. We focus on risk management so others can focus on fun and relaxation. The fact is, most travelers do not think the worst could happen when they are gearing up to have the time of their lives.

So what do you do? How do you get your clients to gain awareness and understanding around the need for travel insurance without casting a dark shadow over their booking experience?

You Provide Them with Knowledge

Giving your clients information on travel protection, in a way which is easy for them to understand, is going to be beneficial to both the traveler and yourself. Let them know they have options but not it a way that overwhelms them.

When I go to the grocery store after work, I have already made 20-30 decisions throughout the day. I don’t want to be overloaded with the choice between 57 different spaghetti sauces. While it is nice to know there are 57 different choices, I am going to choose one quickly that is most relatable to my experience with spaghetti sauce. Oh, homemade basil? Yes, please! Check out.

It is the same for your clients during their travel booking process. They are already planning their vacation, which already involves a lot of decisions (most of which are exciting). They don’t want to feel overloaded with insurance information in a way that feels unrelatable.

Which leads me to my next point.

Tell a Story 

Everyone loves a good story, with good reason. We want to feel human, we want to relate to others. This is especially so in any buying process. There are so many products and a ton of information in the world, it is easy to feel like a number. If your client begins to feel like just another number in the insurance market, they will lose interest quickly.

Chances are, you have known a traveler that has lost on their travel investment because they were not properly insured. You also probably know someone who was able to protect their travel investment because they did their homework and got themselves suitable coverage. Tell those stories. If your client can relate to loss, protection and risk, they will better understand why travel protection is a good investment.

Ask a Question

Asking your clients the right questions, in regards to travel protection, will help them better understand the possibilities without making them defensive. If you tell your client their medicare coverage doesn’t apply overseas, it may make them feel as though they are in need of defending the coverage they have, even if it isn’t adequate. It is better to ask questions and help your client come to the realization there is a need for travel protection than it is to tell them they are wrong in their assumptions.

You Empower Them

You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink. Cliche, I know, but this can have more than one meaning. You can lead your client to their dream vacation, but you cannot make them have the perfect trip. You cannot stop the clouds from moving in or the hurricane from landing on their destination’s door. Really, protecting their dream vacation is up to them, just like enjoying the sand between their toes is.

Shine light on how travel protection is a way to ensure they are traveling safe and securing their investment. When we are proactive in our lives, we put the what ifs behind us and take one step towards enjoy each moment for what it is and that is a good feeling.

Check out this infographic that can clear the air on travel protection

 

Wellness Travel’s Trendy Gold Facial

With wellness travel(include hyperlink to wellness travel blog post) on the rise, it is no surprise that spas would be looking for unique ways to impress travelers and stand out from the herd. While spas are known to appeal to those with a taste for luxury, they are also known to target travelers who may be willing to spend more of their hard earned dollars treating themselves while vacationing. The new 24-carat gold facials, also known as the Cleopatra Facial, may seem as though it is taking the experience to the next level but may also be a flash in the pan. Travelers should not steer away from wellness travel, but try to spend wisely on types of wellness they are willing to incorporate into their overall lifestyle.

Hotels like the 5-Star Raffles Dubai Hotel & Spa along with the Copperwynd Resort and Club (located in Fountain Hills, Arizona) are adopting the 24-carat gold facial. Lizzie Porter gives you her full take on what it was like getting this luxurious facial at the Raffles Dubai (you can read her take on the Cleopatra Facial here).

Lizzie Porter with Telegraph Travel gets Gold Facial

Lizzie Porter with Telegraph Travel gets Gold Facial

Lizzy says, “The treatment didn’t quite make an Egyptian queen of me; although it did feel novel, I can think of better ways to spend £335, unless someone suddenly hands me access to a sheika’s bottomless bank account.”

Skin care expert, Renee D’Ariano from reneesspa.com, advises that skin care is much like exercise. Renee says,  “Sure, you will de-stress in the moment, but you will not see the full benefits unless you adopt facials as a regular part of your skin care routine, whether it is once a month or every other. While it is good that you are interested in getting a facial while on vacation, you will get the most value from the skin care techniques when adopting them as a regular part of your wellness routine.”

Renee also says that it is better to do your research and watch where you spend your wellness budget when on vacation. When asked if she thought the 24-carat gold facial could really help with anti-aging she said,  “I don’t know if I would buy into that. I surely wouldn’t spend  $500 on something that may be a trend. It is like the blood facials that were popular a few years ago, yeah, blood facials! They were a big trend and people were spending on these without doing proper research beforehand and now you hardly hear of people doing them. It is because it wasn’t worth the expense and it was fairly gross.

If you are going to try out a spa for the first time, while on vacation, choose something that is going to stimulate your body to generate cell regrowth or hydration. An example would be a microdermabrasion. It is practical, tried and true, and something you can incorporate into your wellness routine once you are home.”

So maybe a 24-carat gold facial sounds like a great way to spend your hard earned dollars while on vacation, but you may want to think about investing in something that will have a much more lasting memory or guaranteed positive effects.

When traveling for wellness, do you fall prey to trendy spa treatments like the 24-carat gold facial? Or are you more likely to spend on treatments you would include in your lifestyle?

Forbes Contributor Trash Talks Travel Agencies

Recently, Forbes published an article named “Why I Hate Travel Agencies” by Larry Magid (Click Here to read the original article). Travel Agencies have been getting a lot of flack over the years in regards to their services. Are they necessary? Are they cheating me of my travel budget? Like any business, they have areas where they need to improve order to get the proper level of customer satisfaction but, like a lot of business in the travel industry, there is a good reason they are still alive and kicking. It’s because a lot of times they are necessary and they are affordable.

In business travel, companies can set pricing guidelines as well as standards for travel arrangements when they choose to host guests and business travelers. This ensures not only a standard in quality for arrangements, but that the company is not paying for unnecessary accommodations. Travel agencies that are given strict guidelines, are the company’s best bet when it comes to making the arrangements for their guests and business travelers.

It is the company’s duty to make sure the guidelines that are set are comfortable for the traveler. Often times the travel agencies are going to have to adhere to guidelines they wouldn’t’ normally set for themselves. It limits travel agencies in their ability to search, given the providers they are mandated to use.

The article “Why I Hate Travel Agencies” has valid points but is a little misdirected. The points leave room for further detail and outline a clear miscommunication and attempt at micromanaging a travel agency’s spending for the sake of their own budget. It should instead be “Why I Hate When Companies Force Me to Use Their Travel Agencies Under Their Strict Guidelines.” Do you think his article is misdirected?  Tweet your feedback @TravelSafeIns

For a more positive view from a business traveler who absolutely adores travel agents click here.  This is much more our style and probably yours, too.