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.

 

How to Avoid Making Popular Travel Mistakes

The most relaxing vacations can be ruined when common travel mistakes occur. Yes, we’ve all been there. One moment you’re dreaming about kicking back on the beach in the Bahamas and the next, you’re stressing because you forgot to order your passport.

If you follow the tips below, your next vacation will be stress-free and one to remember … for the right reasons.

  •  Make sure there is enough time between connecting flights. It is important to leave at least an hour and a half between connecting flights. This will decrease your changes of missing your flight, having your luggage lost and other travel mishaps. When in doubt, check with your travel agent. They are familiar with the airports and can provide a good estimate for you.
  • Apply for your passport early. Passport processing can take anywhere from four to six week. As soon as you start planning for your trip out of the country, you need to apply for a passport. Already have a passport? Make sure it hasn’t expired or isn’t close to expiring. Some countries require a minimum of six months’ validity remaining to enter.
  • Remember to relax. It is very tempting to fit in as much as you can when you’re traveling. However, it is important to give yourself enough time to see the sites and enjoy the city! Also make sure to factor in time for packing and traveling time. Besides, seeing the city by strolling around can lead to some of the best site seeing. Travel insurance can also help you relax. If you know you’re covered from the unexpected, you can enjoy the city without worry.
  • Do your research. Before taking off on vacation, take some time to research your destination – pick out restaurants, locations you’d like to visit, and accommodations that meet your needs. Although winging it can be fun, having an outline in mind, can ensure you have an enjoyable experience.
  • Protect your trip. Investing in travel insurance is important for any vacation. Travel insurance can protect you from flight delays, flight cancellations, bad weather, illness and more. With protection against the unexpected, you can kick back and relax.

Now it is your turn to tell us. What is one tip you wish you would have known before taking your last vacation? Leave a comment below with your answer. We look forward to hearing from you!
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Passengers Without Carry-On Bags Will Board First

American Airlines is making changes for passengers traveling light. The airline announced the “new system-wide boarding process that saves overall boarding time by allowing customers who are traveling light to board earlier. Customers traveling with one personal carry-on item that fits under the seat in front of them will be invited to board before Group 2.”

Another change in the airline’s policy will allow passengers to leave their carry-ons at the gate for check-in if they want to (that’s currently a free service).

Rising fees and the subject of overhead baggage have been filling headlines. So we want to hear your opinion on the recent changes. Do you think these changes are fair to passengers? Will you change your packing habits now? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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!

London Airport Receives Massive Upgrades

London City Airport is aiming to create an “airport of the future.” The airport’s goal is to eliminate the annoyances that come along with flying.

Their lofty goal includes shortening security lines and making missing luggage a thing of the past.

These experiences will be delivered by technology called Internet of Things (IoT). This technology allows a variety of devices and machines to communicate and has proven to be the foundation for ground-breaking technology. For example, the technology has helped create “smart lights” which detect when you’ve woken up to turn on and “smart cars” which are said to avoid collision.

The London City Airport is the first airport to use this technology for commercial aviation. Over the next year, the airport will integrate different technologies to provide a picture of what’s possible.

A few of these possibilities include tracking luggage and passengers and a system that would allow passengers to pre-order food through their smartphones and have it delivered to their departure gate.

Overall, the airport is combining date to create a better customer experience. So now it’s your turn to tell us — would you welcome these types of changes at airports or are you considered about privacy and safety implications of this technology? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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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!

Travel to Cancun on the Rise

According to the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau, more than 2 million visitors will be visiting Cancun this Spring.

Throughout the past month, families, students and friends are selecting Cancun for their vacation destination. In fact, Easter week saw more than 500 daily flights and an approximate 90 percent occupancy rate. The vibrant city held events like Oasis Dance U brought together a variety of performers from the worlds of electronic music, hip hop and dance, as well as top DJs from around the world that attracted thousands of vacationing college students and other audiences.

Now it is your turn to tell us – is Cancun a popular spot with your clients? Has anyone shared safety concerns about traveling to Mexico? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Report: FAA to allow Kindle use during takeoff

Reports are circulating that the Federal Aviation Administration may allow travelers to use Amazon Kindle devices during takeoff.

The FAA’s Portable and Electronic Device Advisory and Rulemaking Committee is reviewing current policies and will end those deliberations in July. The committee has more than two dozen members, who include representatives of the FAA, Amazon, airlines, pilot and flight attendant unions, aircraft manufacturers, the FCC and the Consumer Electronics Association.

The current guidance is that travelers have to turn off everything while below 10,000 feet, but that may all change.

Over the past few years, the FAA has been under mounting pressure to either allow passengers more electronic freedom onboard aircraft, or provide solid scientific evidence why they can’t. Critics point out that pilots now employ iPads in the cockpit for navigation purposes.

So tell us what you think — should passengers be allowed to use electronic devices during a flight? Leave a comment below, post on our Facebook wall or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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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