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!

Tips for Home Based Travel Agents

Last week, four of our TravelSafe team members attended the Home Based Travel Agent Forum in Las Vegas, Nevada. The forum, described as a “unique vehicle designed to help you drive your home-based travel business”, featured seasoned experts who shared tips for home based travel agents.

  • Make a video. According to sources at the Forum, 90% of all internet traffic will be video by 2014. What does that mean for you? It means you can’t afford to not be on YouTube! Don’t be afraid to make a video – simply use your smartphone to record a video. You can speak about a popular travel destination, provide packing tips or promote a travel package you offer. Whichever topic you chose, make sure to look straight at the camera and speak directly to your customers. If you follow these tips, you’ll be a YouTube sensation in no time!
  • Focus on your LinkedIn account. Use your LinkedIn account to it’s full potential by joining various travel niche groups. For example, if you specialize in destination weddings, join groups for brides, island resorts and wedding planning. After joining these groups, create connections by starting conversations with other members online. Think of LinkedIn like a networking event – you wouldn’t attend an event and stand in the corner without business cards. The same thing goes for LinkedIn – update your profile and get social on the platform. You’ll see great results!
  • Start a blog. Creating a business blog allows you to share dynamic and interactive content. You can become an important “influencer” in your travel niche by blogging about travel tips, travel package deals, the importance of travel insurance or any topic of your choice. Whichever topic you chose, it is important to include calls to action in your blog posts. You can do this by asking your readers to comment or share your post. Blogging regularly (2-3 times per week) will position you as someone who people trust in the travel industry and therefore lead to profits!
  • Spice up your Facebook page. It is very important that your business’ Facebook page has curb appeal. You can make that happen by uploading a cover photo to ensure your page makes people want to travel. Also make sure to add interesting content on your page including destination photos, links to your blog posts and questions asking your followers about their travel habits.

Now it’s your turn to tell us – how do you connect with your customers online? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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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 Insurance Available for Canadian Residents


We are excited to announce that beginning April 10, 2013, US travel agents may now protect Canadian residents and citizens with the most popular TravelSafe travel insurance protection plans – Basic, Classic and Classic Plus (Quebec excluded).

Each plan offers distinct advantages depending on your customers’ needs. For coverage highlights, see the chart below.

Coverage Highlights for Canadians Basic Classic Classic Plus
Max Trip Cost/Days $10,000/30D $100,000/30D $100,000/30D
Max Age 79 80* 80*

*For passengers age 80, max eligible Trip Cost is $15,000.

In addition, when purchasing Canadian plans for your customers, a final purchasing stage will require you to complete an enrollment with the assistance of Northbridge Insurance Co., our Canadian underwriter.  Since US travel professionals are not licensed in Canada, we are required by Canadian Provincial regulations to complete enrollments in the following manner.

After entering and submitting the customer’s information, you will receive the following notice:

“To complete this enrollment, your client, or you and your client, must call the following number for verification purposes: 1-877-851-4523.”

Please have your client’s Enrollment ID available when you call.

For additional information, please see the Canadian TravelSafe Travel Agent Guide. If you have any further questions, leave a comment below or call us 1-800-523-8020. We’d be happy to speak with you.

Thank you for your continued support!

TravelSafe team

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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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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