34.1 Million Travelers Taking Off for Labor Day

Labor Day is right around the corner, and according to AAA Travel, 34.1 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the upcoming holiday. This is a 4.2 percent increase from the 32.7 million people who traveled last year. Holiday air travel is expected to increase as well by nearly three percent to 2.61 million.

What is the cause of this increase in Labor Day travel? AAA predicts it’s due to higher consumer spending and the improving housing market. The Labor Day holiday travel period, defined as Thursday, Aug. 29 to Monday, Sept. 2, is a popular time for travelers to take off because of the long weekend and typically nice weather.

How much do travelers usually spend on their long-weekend vacations? AAA reports the average traveler is expected to spend $804 and travel a round-trip distance of 594 miles.

In fact, more than 2.61 million leisure travelers will arrive at their destination by air. If those passengers experience flight delays or cancellations, or their luggage is damaged, lost or stolen, travel insurance can provide coverage.

If you’re one of these travelers heading out for Labor Day, make sure you’re protected against the unexpected of travel. It is important add travel insurance to your travel package because it protects your travel investment, provides medical coverage and can make the difference between a disaster and a great vacation.

If you have questions about how travel insurance can protect you and your family on your next vacation, please call us at 888-885-7233 or leave a comment below. We’d be happy to answer your questions.

 

Why Travel Insurance is Important for Your Next Vacation

The Chicago Tribune recently highlighted the pros and cons of travel insurance. While the article raises great points about why travel insurance is important and how it can protect your vacation plans, we do want to provide more information about one part of the article.

The article’s author, Gregory Karp, warns travelers about having duplicate coverage. This means a person would have coverage for the same services under more than one benefit plan. In this case, it would homeowners insurance and travel insurance. While it is true that your homeowners insurance may cover you if you experience a loss while on vacation, your homeowners policy may only cover a portion of your total loss due to coinsurance and deductible requirements.

In the end, it is important to remember travel insurance is designed to protect you in three ways: 1) to reimburse you for your financial investment should a variety of unforeseeable reasons force you to cancel or interrupt your trip or delay you while traveling; 2) most importantly, to protect you against the costs incurred during your trip for medical expenses, a medical evacuation, services to assist you in an emergency situation; and 3) to protect against loss, damage or destruction of your personal belongings.

Tell us, what questions do you have about travel insurance? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We’re happy to answer your questions – even if you’re not buying from us!

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15 Questions to Ask Your Travel Insurance Company

15 Questions to Ask Your Travel Insurance Company


How long has it been since you reviewed your travel insurer’s benefits? Chances are their coverage has changed since the last time you reviewed their Benefits. To make sure your clients are getting the most for their investment, ask these 15 questions to any travel insurer you’re considering:

  • Do they have Flat rates for children under 18? The advantage here is kids do not have to be family or related. Max 2 flat rates per paying adult in each enrollment.
  • Do they have Hurricane Warning Coverage for Trip Cancellation?  TravelSafe provides this coverage.  We offer it if within 24 hours of your clients Scheduled Departure Date and time their Trip destination is under a hurricane warning issued by NOAA instead of waiting for flights to be stopped or the Hurricane to actually hit!
  • How about revocation of previously approved time off from work as a covered reason for Trip Cancellation? This is a covered non-medical reason for us.  No need to add a work cancellation option, it’s already in there with Classic & Prestige plans.
  • Do they have Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation?  Up to $25,000 due to a formal recommendation from the appropriate local authorities, or the U.S. State Department, for customers to leave a country.
  • What’s their Missed Connection coverage? Do they have $2,500.00 in benefit coverage? Probably not, most have only $250 to $500.  At TravelSafe, that amount is included in our Basic program.
  • Is Unemployment covered as a valid reason for Trip Cancellation?  We only require that your client have been with the same company for 1 year, not the 3 to 5 years others require.
  • Do they protect your Commissions?  TravelSafe automatically includes Commission Protection without commission reduction in all of our Programs! We even cover CFAR cancellations for Classic Plus.
  • Do they offer Unrestricted Benefits for Terrorism?  TravelSafe has no restrictive lists that exclude coverage based on countries visited, times of travel, or State Department Warnings.
  • Do they offer Unrestricted Benefits for Financial Insolvency?  Again, we have no restrictive lists of approved suppliers or non-covered suppliers. Just have your clients buy within 21 days of deposit.
  • Do they offer a 12-hour Baggage Delay?  Most plans require your clients’ bag to be delayed 24 hours.  TravelSafe’s benefits begin after a 12-hour delay.
  • What’s their definition of a Pre-Existing Condition?  What’s their “Look back period”.  The language varies slightly but essentially any illness, disease or other condition that undergoes a change during the look back period is considered Pre-existing.  Ours is 60 days while other plans look back 90 or even 180 days. That means something your client was treated for 6 months ago could be an issue!
  • Do they have Deductibles? NO deductible for Medical, Baggage or any other coverage … even in our Basic plan! Only our optional Extended Personal Property Pac benefit has a deductible.
  • Do they offer Non- Emergency Medical Evacuation home or to Hospital of Choice?  It’s automatically included at no additional cost in all of our TravelSafe Plans!
  • Do they have Coverage for Frequent Flyer Rebanking Fees?  We do, for up to $150 for the cost of airline-imposed fees to rebank frequent flyer miles.
  • Do they offer Concierge & Business Services? TravelSafe offers these services Free in all of our plans except for our Basic plan.

 

To learn more about TravelSafe’s amazing benefits for travel agents, click here or call us at 1-888-885-7233. We look forward to hearing from you!
Your friends at TravelSafe

Lost Luggage Tips

 

Did you arrive at your destination, but your luggage did not?  Unfortunately, we hear many stories about lost luggage and the stress it can add to a vacation.  There’s nothing worse than arriving at the resort and not having your swimsuit to enjoy the sun or arriving at the golf course without your golf clubs.  Wherever or whenever your luggage is lost, we have tips to help you know what to do (or not do!) if your bag is lost.

 

  • Stay calm. It is easier said than done, but keeping your cool is important in these situations.  When you are reporting your missing luggage, remember that they are not the person who lost it.  In fact, they are the people that can help you reunite with your precious cargo, so be kind!  Plus, if you’re calm, you’ll be more likely to provide clear and correct information that can help locate your bag.
  • Include details. If you provide details about your luggage and the contents inside including colors and size, there is a better chance it will be located and returned to you. Moreover, a photo can save the day in this type of situation. Snap a quick photo of your luggage (and a picture of the contents packed inside) on your phone so that  you can provide that to the airline as well.One more thing – if you create a packing list, that type of information can be very helpful when filling out airline and travel insurance claim forms.
  • Travel insurance, travel insurance, travel insurance! Travel insurance can provide an important safety net in many situations, but it can be especially helpful when your baggage is delayed. You can receive up to $250.00 if your baggage is delayed for 12 or more hours with our Travel Safe Classic Plus plan.If your worst nightmare comes true and your bag is lost, the same TravelSafe plan provides up to $2,500 for your baggage or personal effects.  In this case, make sure to keep your receipts for the replacement items you purchase and have a copy of the letter or email from the airline confirming that your bag was lost.  To view the complete plan details, click here.
  • Don’t give up! A common mistake many people make is to leave the airport and “deal with the next day”. No matter how tired or jet lagged you may be, it is important to report the bag as lost immediately. The airline will likely require you to file an official report (some airlines within 24 hours), and it will be the most effective if you file it at the airport.It is important to note that you can also file a report if your bag was damaged instead.
  • Leave your valuables at home (or at least in your carry on). Even though travel insurance and the airlines can help you with the cost of replacing your lost luggage, no one can replace your grandmother’s pearl necklace or anything that has sentimental value. If you have items that you would describe as “priceless”, leave them at home. If you must bring them on your trip, pack them in your carry on so that you can be sure they are not lost.
Now it is your turn to tell us, have you lost your luggage on a vacation? What is your tip for dealing with the airlines? Sound off in the comments below, post on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Furloughs cause flight delays and cancellations

Air travelers are experiencing delays the government warned us about a few months ago. The delays are reportedly caused by forced federal spending cuts. On Monday, New York City-area airports reported delays for all incoming flights because air traffic controllers were forced to take unpaid time off.

Overall, furloughs kicked in on Sunday for 47,000 Federal Aviation Administration workers, including 15,000 air traffic controllers.

“Throughout today, the FAA has put in place a series of traffic management initiatives around the country to manage both reduced staffing as a result of employee furloughs and weather related issues,” Department of Transportation Press Secretary Justin Nisly said in a statement.

The FAA said there were 400 furlough-related flight delays on Sunday alone. Examples of the flight delays occurred on two Alaska Airlines flights destined for Los Angeles International Airport. The flights were diverted 60 miles away to Ontario International Airport Sunday night due to furloughs and bad weather. Due to the delay, the airline had to bus passengers to LAX. However, the airline waived rebooking fees through Tuesday, citing furloughs.

These delays are the only beginning. FAA workers are required to take a total of 11 days off by the month of September. The workers must take off at least one day every two weeks which means 1,500 controllers could be off the job per day.

“The best indicator of what this is going to be like is (that) we ran delays on Sunday — not one of the busiest days of the week — … on a perfect weather day,” said Stephen Abraham, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association representative in JFK.

In addition to delays, there were another 400 flights canceled Monday and 50 flights canceled Tuesday cancelled as of 5 am ET.

So what is your best bet for dealing with the delays? Be sure to check your flight status before heading to the airport. Be sure to purchase travel insurance to make sure your travel investment is protected against delays, cancellations and many other unforeseeable events.

We’d like to hear your thoughts about the recent flight delays and cancellations. Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Top 5 Family Travel Tips

Traveling with kids can present challenges, but with these tips your trip will be smooth sailing!

Traveling with children adds another layer to your travel plans. You have to be prepared for all kinds of situations, so we’ve compiled five tips you can use while traveling with your family:

1. Don’t forget necessities! Make a packing list before you travel to ensure you don’t forget anything. Be sure to add these things to your list:

Medicine – Children’s Tylenol, Benadryl, cough syrup and allergy medicine

Baby wipes – You can use them to clean surfaces, hands and faces. They are also great on a hot day to cool the kids’ hot faces, too.

Snacks -  Nuts, granola bars or oranges are great to have on hand for both road and air travel.

2. Choose the right departure time. If you have little ones, try leaving at night as you might get lucky and have your children sleep the whole way!

3. Be prepared for airplane travel with these tips:

Pre-plan. Check out the airplane seat diagrams and try to plan where you want your family to sit. You can sit across the aisles, near the bathrooms or divide and conquer if fighting siblings is a battle you know you’ll have to fight.

Pre-board. Check with the airline to see if they allow pre-boarding for families with small children. If that is not an option, send in one parent with the luggage first, and have one parent stay behind with a child (or two) so they can move around until the last possible minute.

4. Choose your distractions wisely! Bring along books and toys that are easy to pack, don’t have a lot of loose parts and are entertaining. Forgot to pack the toys or they’ve lost interest already? No problem. Simply find some paper and pens, pencils or markers and ask your children to draw you a picture.

5. Lastly, relax and cut yourself some slack! If you expect there are going to be a problem or two, you won’t be disappointed when they arise. If you get stressed when you can’t find your hotel, your kids will get stressed, too. When you think of it as “exploring the neighborhood,” everyone will feel better. Simply go with the flow and everything will work out!

Share with us – what’s your best family travel tip? Leave a comment below, post on our Facebook wall or Tweet us. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Your Coverage During Winter Storm Nemo

As the most recent winter storm approach, travel plans for persons traveling through airports along the northeastern seaboard (i.e. New York, Philadelphia, Boston, etc.) may be disrupted for a few days beginning Thursday, February 7th, 2013.  While many travel suppliers and airlines are trying to reroute and/or reprotect travelers on alternate flights, some delays and/or cancellations are inevitable.
We receive many questions regarding what may or may not be covered in weather-related situations.  Following are some general guidelines – subject to the provisions and limits specific to your plan – regarding the various coverages available:

Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption or Missed Connection – Generally, if your flight is delayed or canceled due to inclement weather, and there is a complete cessation of services for the number of hours specified in your plan, you can take a an alternate flight when travel is possible and be reimbursed for the unused land or water arrangements and any of the specified additional transportation expenses, up to the plan limit, or, If this is not feasible, you can cancel your trip.  There is no coverage if you cancel your trip based upon the possibility of a storm striking your home or trip destination, but coverage is available if your home is made uninhabitable by the storm.  Call us at 1-888-885-7233 and we will be happy to review your benefits and plan provisions with you.

Trip/Travel Delay – If your plan includes travel delay benefits, additional meal and accommodation expenses may be reimbursed up to the amount provided by the plan if you have left home and travel is delayed for the number of hours specified in your plan due to flight delays or cancellations.

Again, if you have any questions, you can reach us at 1-888-885-7233.

Safe travels,
Your Friends at TravelSafe

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

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