Top US Travel Destinations for 2014

Are you having trouble deciding where to vacation next year? We’ve got just the list for you. And there’s good news – you don’t have to go far for an enjoyable vacation. For the fourth year, Lonely Planet has released their top 10 US travel destinations for 2014.

  1. Grand Rapids & Lake Michigan’s Gold Coast
  2. Yosemite National Park, CA
  3. Boston, MA
  4. Central Coast, CA
  5. Jersey Shore
  6. Kansas City, MO
  7. Cumberland Island, GA
  8. Las Vegas, NV
  9. Sun Valley, ID
  10. Lana’i, Hawaii

To find out why these destinations were chosen, see Lonely Planet’s complete list. And tell us, which of these locations would you like to visit? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us.

Read also…
How to Avoid Theft While Traveling in Europe
Destinations to Add to Your Bucketlist
Why Travel Insurance is Important

Top 5 Labor Day Weekend Events

Labor Day Weekend is here! If you’re still looking for activities to fill your holiday weekend, we’ve got you covered. From hot air balloons festivals to historical walking tours, here are five events that will keep you busy this holiday weekend.

  1. Washington D.C.: On Sunday, Sept. 1, enjoy a free concert by the National Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. local time. The National Symphony Orchestra performs a free Labor Day Concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol each year, the Sunday before Labor Day. This year’s theme is Americana with works by John Williams, Mark Isham and other composers with the Wild West as the theme.
  2. Pine Mountain, Georgia: On Sunday, Sept. 1, the Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival will fill the skies in Pine Mountain. If the Hot Air Balloon Festival doesn’t do it for you, there’s also a classic car show, disc dog demonstrations, a pyrotechnic skydiving demonstration, and a 5K Race event. See the entire schedule of events here.

  3. Kansas City, Missouri: From Aug. 30 through Sept. 1, Kansas City celebrates Irish Fest. Irish music will be played on seven stages, and there are also workshops, exhibits and food throughout the festival. This year you’ll also be able to visit the Tourism Ireland Virtual Café, where you’ll be able to chat directly with someone in Ireland.
  4. New York City: Spend Monday, Sept. 2, getting some exercise and education at the same time. At the Labor Day Historical Walking Tour, you’ll learn about immigrant and labor history as you explore downtown NYC.
  5. San Fransisco: On Monday, Sept. 2, the Golden Gate Park Band will present a concert in Golden Gate Park. The concert will begin at 1:00pm. Special Labor Day Concert with great American and Patriotic music featuring Hall Goff, Trombone soloist along with music by Sousa, Jenkins, Victor Herbert and more!

Share your suggestion for a Labor Day Weekend activity by leaving a comment below, writing on our Facebook page or Tweeting us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Travelettes Inspires Women to Travel

Unforgettable summer nights in Berlin, great bars in Paris or surfing in Costa Rica. These are just a few of the adventures highlighted on the online magazine, Travelettes. Founded by Katja Hentschel, the magazine sets out to inspire a new generation of female globetrotters.

“Backpacking in heels” is their motto and that is just what Hentschel did for one year. After her year of backpacking in heels was complete, she founded Travelettes and shares her adventures there. Whether it is “glamping” (read: glamorous camping) or devouring hot soup at a Thai roadside kitchen, she has a lot to share.

In addition to Hentschel, there are 10 Travelettes from all around the world contributing to the blog, sharing the best hotels, cool things to do, and not to be missed adventures.

Hentschel’s advice for other women who want to see the world?

“Be active, be proactive, go traveling and go see the world. Because I find it’s such a huge part of becoming who you are.”

Our advice for woman who want to see the world? Take advantage of resources like Travelettes, combine that with the knowledge of your travel agent and make sure to protect yourself with travel insurance. If your luggage is lost, you come down with the flu, you have to travel home for a medical emergency, your flight is delayed or you just want to cancel your vacation, travel insurance can help.

If you have questions about an upcoming trip and how travel insurance can protect you against the unknown, leave a comment below or call us at 888-885-7233. We look forward to hearing from you!

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!

Read also…
How to Avoid Making Popular Travel Mistakes
WiFi-Enabled Planes Becoming Popular
15 Questions to Ask Your Travel Insurance Company

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!
Read also…
Summer Sand Sculptures
4 Best Girlfriend Getaway Spots
Why Use a Travel Agent?

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

Popular Underground Accomodations


Window seats are coveted on airplanes. Ocean view rooms are considered an upgrade on cruises. A hotel room with a great view is a perk for most travelers. However, these rooms don’t have great views. In fact, there is no view at all.

We’re taking a look at a variety of underground accommodations from Arizona to Australia because sometimes travel is just about shutting out the rest of the world.

First up is the Grand Canyon Caverns Suite in Arizona. The caverns are described as the “darkest, deepest, quietest and largest suite room in the world.” Don’t believe it? The caverns are absent of any light and nothing lives in them, so the only thing moving or breathing in the caverns is you. To reach your quiet room, you take an elevator down 22 stories (yes, you read that right!). However, this suite comes at a price. The Cavern Suite is $700 per night as a double, $100 for each extra person. Call (928) 422-4565 for reservations.

Next on the list is the Desert Cave Hotel in South Australia. Subterranean isn’t anything new for Australia. The Outback gets so hot, that many people retreat underground to the shopping, dining, church and accommodation locations. This hotel was chiseled out of the sandstone. Rates start around $200 per night. Email reserve@desertcave.com.au for a reservation.

Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita in Matera, Italy is next on our list because the beautiful stone structures and charm cannot be missed. If you are in search of one-of-a-kind accommodations that allow you to spend time under ground and above ground, you are in luck. The hotel serves breakfast and other meals are served on their flower-filled patios (pictured left). Rates start at $265 per night. Email matera@sextantio.it for reservations.

Tell us, would you stay at in underground accommodations? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Read also…
Lost Luggage Tips
Travel Insurance Available for Canadian Residents
Spa Travel on the Rise


4 Best Girlfriend Getaway Spots

In the past couple of years, girlfriend getaways are growing in popularity. If you’re ready to join in on the trend, we’re sharing the best spots for girlfriend getaways.

  • For Music Fans: Austin, TX | Austin is the perfect destination for a girlfriend getaway if you and your friends enjoy live music. Simply walk outside, and you’ll hear music coming from every restaurant and bar. To find the right hotel for you, click here.
  • For Foodies: Charleston, SC | From seafood to barbeque, Charleston is full of places to get great food. In addition to great restaurants, Charleston is full of great culinary tours and cooking classes. To find the right hotel for you, click here.
  • For R&R Lovers: Scottsdale, AZ | With world-class spas and award-winning hotels, Scottsdale is the perfect place to relax with your girlfriends. To find the right hotel for you, click here.
  • For Beach Bums: Miami, FL | If you want to soak up the sun with your girlfriends, Miami is a great place to visit. With average temperatures of 70-80 degrees in the summer, you can hang out on the beach and enjoy a margarita (or two) with your friends. To find the right hotel for you, click here.

 

Now it’s your turn to tell us – where would you go for a girlfriend getaway? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us.

Top 5 July 4th Fireworks Display Across the Country

July 4th is right around the corner and if you haven’t decided what you’re doing for the summer holiday, we’ve got you covered. We’re sharing the top 5 fireworks display across the country.

Whether you’re celebrating with your family or friends, want a rousing celebration or are in search of a more laid back celebration, there’s something for you with fireworks displays from New York to Hawaii. Read on to learn more about each display and pick the one that’s right for you.

  1. Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks | New York City: This patriotic display has become a tradition for many Americans whether they watch it on television or live from spots along the Hudson River. This year’s show includes 40,000 fireworks and is synchronized to a 25-minute score handpicked by Usher.
  2. Kaboom Town | Addison, Texas: This Dallas suburb lights up their skies with  fireworks on July 3 from 5 pm to midnight. It may be a small town, but their celebration is huge. With over $220,000 worth of fireworks choreographed to music, great food, live music and Addison Airport Air Show featuring the Cavanaugh Flight Museum Warbird Flyover. If you’re in the area, this not a show to be missed!
  3. Go 4th on the River | New Orleans: What could be better than extravagant fireworks on the Mississippi River? Even better, this display is set to music provided by the Navy Band and can be seen from several places in New Orleans.
  4. The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular | Boston, Massachusetts: This Spectacular brings 500,000 visitors to the Charles River for the annual July 4th celebration. But here’s an insider tip for you – many locals argue that the best viewing spot for Boston’s fireworks is across the river in Cambridge.
  5. Ala Moana 4th of July Fireworks Display | Waikiki, Hawaii: The island city will celebrate July 4th with a fireworks display that will be launched from three platforms. The platforms will be located in Ala Moana Beach Park, and the free show is set for 8:30 p.m. on July 4.

Now it’s your turn to tell us. Where will you be celebrating July 4th this year? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook wall or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!