8 Travel Trends Predicted for 2014

2014 is here! Although the countdown to midnight is behind us, we’re counting down the top 8 travel trends for the new year.

1. Domestic flight prices will drop (insert cheering here!). According to the American Express Global Business Travel Forecast 2014, “North American airfares are expected to decline in 2014 as a result of heightened competition from low cost carriers, challenging unemployment levels and corporate travel policies becoming more stringent in regard to business class travel.” Stable oil prices will also help keep costs down. Don’t hold your breath though. The pending consolidation of major U.S. airlines may offset these declines.

2. Brazil’s World Cup will cause a buzz with travelers. According to Brazil’s tourist board, the country is expecting approximately 10 million visitors for the World Cup – more than twice their normal amount of visitors. Why will this sporting event draw so many visitors? Soccer is growing in popularity in the United States and this World Cup will be the first global soccer championship held in South America in almost 40 years.

3. Multi-generational travel will grow. The family groups that started the trend have impressed their remaining kin with their Facebook postings and now everyone wants to join in the party. Watch for family reunions to reach upward toward 100 in the coming year; just be sure you’re booking every member of the clan, grab the whole piece of that pie.

4. Fewer European cruises will be available. According to Fodor’s, European ports will be much sleepier as soon as the summer season of 2014. Carnival, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Regent Seven Seas have either reduced their number of ships or pulled out of Europe all together. Fodor’s sites dwindling passengers rates as the reason cruise lines made the tough decision.

5. Travelers will share even more on social media. While this trend probably doesn’t surprise you, more travelers are turning to sites like Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter to not only plan their vacations, but to share their adventures and get tips from other travelers.

6. Free Wi-Fi will be more readily available. In 2013, you saw Wi-Fi offered in several hotels and airplanes. That number will continue to grow this year, with more airports, hotels and airlines offering free Wi-Fi to their customers.

7. Vacation rental homes will compete with traditional hotels. Sites like airbnb and VRBO offer travelers the opportunity to stay in spare rooms, apartments or even rent an entire home. This option can often save you money and offers the comforts of your own home.

8. Airlines in China and Singapore will have the largest price increases. According to Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s 2014 Travel Price Forecast, Asia Pacific carriers will continue to align with the three global alliances (EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia and SriLankan Airlines) in the new year, causing prices to increase.

It’s your turn to tell us – what are your travel-related predictions for 2014? Leave a comment below, share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing your predictions and seeing if they come true!

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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!

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WiFi-Enabled Planes Becoming Popular

Chances are if you’ve flown recently, you’ve been on a plane that’s WiFi-enabled. In a growing trend among airlines, WiFi is becoming a popular addition to your airs travels. Even though some travelers aren’t keen on the idea, most travelers are very excited about having internet access above 10,000 feet.

“I’m all for WiFi being available on planes. It’s great to be able to answer emails and stay connected even though you’re in the air,” said Carol S., a Southwest Airlines customer. “I usually check my work emails and watch movies. It makes the flight go by very quickly.”

Airlines are taking note of customers who share Carol’s sentiment. In fact, each Air Tran and Virgin America plane has WiFi access. Other airlines are following suit. According to RouteHappy.com, approximately 38 percent of domestic flights in the U.S. have WiFi.

Now it’s your turn to tell us – do you use WiFi while flying? Do you use it for business or pleasure? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us.

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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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!

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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.

Tips to Make the Most Out of Travel Insurance

A growing number of people are investing in travel insurance for their vacations. In fact, the travel industry reported the number of people who purchase travel insurance plans has increased by 20% in the last decade. People are becoming increasingly aware of the value and importance of the coverage that travel insurance provides.

If an unexpected event occurs on vacation, travel insurance provides peace of mind and important coverage.  Unforeseen things can – and do – happen on vacation, and travel insurance can help protect you and your loved ones while they are away from home.

Appreciating the need for travel insurance is a great thing, but it is also important to purchase your policy with knowledge about which plan fits your need. While the most inexpensive plan might be the most appealing, it may not provide the coverage you need. On the other hand, you may not need the most expensive plan either.

Our goal is to help you understand you have many options when purchasing travel insurance, and to pick the plan that provides you the coverage you need while still fitting into your travel budget. Here are the important items to pay attention to so you can make sure you’re getting the most from your travel insurance:

  1. Read the certificate of coverage. We know, we know – it’s not the most exciting read, but it is important to know the details of your policy. Read it as soon as you purchase the plan and be sure to read it carefully. It’s also a good idea to highlight portions that you feel are the most important to you. That way, if you do have to file a claim you can reference your certificate of coverage quickly.
  2. See if your travel insurance policy has a pre-existing condition waiver. This is something that is usually over-looked, however it can be extremely important if you need to file a claim. Some travel insurance policies are more inexpensive because they don’t include a pre-existing condition. On most of our policies, including the TravelSafe Classic and TravelSafe Classic Plus, if you purchase the plan within 21 days of your initial trip deposit, the plan exclusion for Pre-Existing Conditions will be waived. If you have an illness or issue that you feel may cause you to file a claim, make sure your travel insurance policy includes a pre-existing condition waiver.
  3. If your trip plans change, update your policy. Trip dates can change and that can bring charges for extra nights at hotels or increased flight costs. These adjustments mean your overall trip cost has changed, and that information needs to be passed along to your travel insurance company. If you don’t update for the non-refundable parts of your trip, the insurance company can actually deny any claim you might make. This is the case because in order to be covered, you must insure 100% of the non-refundable trip penalties. On the other hand, if the cost of your non-refundable expenses decrease, you should also contact us so that we can adjust your policy and refund you for any differences in your coverage.

 

Still have questions? Want to learn more about which travel insurance policy is correct for your next vacation? You can reach us by phone at 1-888-885-7233, by email at  info@travelsafe.com. You can also post your question on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you and making sure your travel insurance helps you with your travel needs.