Statue of Liberty Scheduled to Reopen by July 4, 2013

The National Park Service is expected to reopen the Statue of Liberty to the public by July 4, 2013, according to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar.  Liberty Island experienced extensive damage due to Hurricane Sandy.

“Hurricane Sandy inflicted major damage on facilities that support the Statue of Liberty – destroying the docks, crippling the energy infrastructure on Ellis Island and wiping out the security screening system – but we are fully committed to reopening this crown jewel as soon as it’s safe for visitors and not a second later,” Secretary Salazar said.

“Lady Liberty was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, but just like New York, she will be back – and stronger than ever,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer. “Being open for the summer tourism season isn’t just important symbolically, it’s a boon to the city’s economy and businesses, as the statue attracts millions of tourists from all over the world to our shores. I thank Secretary Salazar for his extraordinary work – he was uncommonly focused on getting this job done, and the people of New York appreciate it.”

“We worked together to address safety and security concerns to reopen the crown and now he has helped bring this national treasure back after Superstorm Sandy. The Statue of Liberty will stand as a symbol of the whole region rebuilding even better and stronger after the storm,” said Senator Robert Menendez.

The reopening of the monument will also help the New York economy. Approximately 4 million people visited the park in 2011, generating $174 million in economic activity and supporting 2,218 jobs, according to an annual report released by the National Park Service.

However, the economic boost will require an investment from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Lands Highways Program. The program committed $28 million  to roads and bridges in federal parks and recreation areas in New York and New Jersey damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Tell us — are you looking forward to Liberty Island reopening?

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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

Presidential Getaways

President’s Day is right around the corner, and it’s the perfect chance to escape on a quick vacation! In honor of the holiday, we’ve compiled a list of the most Presidential getaways for you:

Mount Vernon Estate
Mount Vernon is located in Alexandria, Virginia, and the estate was home George Washington and his wife, Martha. President’s Day is the perfect time to visit because this historic site is offering free admission and will open one hour early. There are also several events scheduled over the weekend including musical salutes, discussions and a ceremony at Washington’s tomb.

Mount Rushmore
You can take visit four past presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, at this granite sculpture. The unforgettable masterpiece lies in the Black Hills of South Dakota and offer guided tours, the Black Hills National Forest nearby and Crazy Horse Memorial.

Gettysburg National Military Park
This year is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, and the military park’s calendar is filled with events to commemorate the Civil War’s bloodiest battle. President Lincoln delivered one of the most famous speeches in American History, the Gettysburg Address, on the property.

Washington D.C.
Last but certainly not least is our capitol city, Washington D.C. The White House, the Capitol and the unbeatable Smithsonian museums are a great place to start for a weekend trip to D.C. If you decide to go back for more, Washington D.C. also boasts world-class restaurants that will please any traveler.

Tell us – what do YOU plan on doing during President’s Day Weekend?

How to Board your Pet While Traveling

Your bags are packed, plane tickets are booked, travel insurance is purchased, but what about Fido?  While you’re away at the beach, hitting the slopes or far away on a business trip, you have to make plans for your four-legged friends, too.

There are many options for boarding your dogs including veterinary clinics, pet sitters and doggy daycare.  We’re here to help you find the right option for you and your dogs.

First up is veterinary clinics. At a veterinary clinic, you know your pet is in the hands of trained professionals. If your dog is a regular patient, they will be spending time with familiar faces. If your dog is not a regular patient, the clinic may request a copy of your pooch’s shot records. They may also require a bordetella vaccine since upper respiratory infections can be passed from dog to dog. If you decide to go with the option, make sure to ask if you need to bring your own food and bedding.

Another option is doggie daycare. Doggie daycare is a great option for dogs who are especially sociable and enjoy playing with other dogs. Along with the social perks, doggie daycares often have wide-open play spaces, plenty of treats and a designated nap time. You may also be able to see your pets play as some facilities feature doggies cams that you can check via the Internet when you miss your pooch. Be warned, this option will set you back more than a traditional boarding facility or veterinary clinic.

Last, but certainly not least is a pet sitter. If your dog is not suited for a veterinary clinic or doggie daycare, a pet sitter might be the right option for you and your dog (or ask a friend nicely!). If you have multiple pets, an elderly pet or a dog with chronic health issues, this option is definitely best for you. If budget is not a factor, you can hire a professional pet sitter. If you already spent your money on vacation, ask a friend or family member to watch your pet while you’re away, and promise to return the favor at a later date.

So, how do you decide what is the right option for you and your pet? There are a few things you can do. First, ask your pet-owning friends for referrals and their past experiences. Whichever option you chose for your pet, make sure your boarding facility has the right amount of space for your dog and meets all of your requirements.

Read also…
Where to Travel in 2013
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Winter Travel on a Budget

 

Top Spa Getaways for a Valentine’s Day Vacation

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and you know what that means – the search of the perfect gift has begun! But don’t worry because we’re here to help! We can’t think of a better gift than an unexpected getaway. Whether you’re looking to escape with your loved one, travel with your single friends or just need some alone time, we’re sharing the top resorts around the country for your Valentine’s vacation.

If you want to surprise your loved one with a romantic getaway… travel to New York City and visit the Mandarin Oriental hotel and spa. This 5-star hotel overlooks New York City skylines and Central Park, which makes it the perfect setting for a romantic vacation. When it’s time to eat, the hotel has acclaimed dining options with tempting food and delicious cocktails. After indulging in their world-class restaurants, don’t forget your a stone’s throw away from all the entertainment New York City offers.

Photo: Mandarin Hotel and Spa

If you want to get away for the weekend with your girlfriends… visit the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in Southern California. It’s the perfect place whether you and your girlfriends want an active vacation or want to simply relax. Between their golf course, tennis courts, Ojai Spa and Maravilla restaurant, the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa will keep everyone happy.

Photo: Amangiri Resort

If you’re looking for some alone time… try the Amangiri Resort in Canyon Point, Utah. The resort’s name means “peaceful mountain”, and that’s exactly what this location boasts – the 600 acres define relaxation. With unbeatable views, a world-class spa, quiet suites and pleasant weather, the Amangiri Resort is perfect for a week of reflection and relaxation. If you decide to leave the oasis, the resort is a 15-minute drive to the shores of Lake Powell, where you can explore canyons, go wake boarding or just relax underneath the stars.

Lastly, if you want to ensure your Valentine’s vacation investment is protected… add travel insurance to your getaway package and make sure you can relax at the spa knowing your Valentine’s vacation is covered from the unpredictable.

We’re here to answer any questions you may have, so leave a comment below, write on our Facebook wall or Tweet us.

Happy Valentine’s Day and Safe travels,

Your Friends at TravelSafe

 

Let’s Get Social!


How would you like to get travel tips, share travel insurance advice, receive severe weather updates, see amazing travel photos and connect with other travel agents and travelers all in one place? We’ve got just the spot for you.

TravelSafe is hitting the web to make all of this possible. Start by “Liking” us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and connecting with us on LinkedIn.

We’ll be sharing all things travel including news about our New Rates and Age Bands, how holiday travel plans have been stalled by this bad weather and much more.

So get connected now to stay up to date on the latest news, connect with other travel professionals, day dream about a beach vacation and get travel insurance tips.

You’ll also want to stay tuned because there are more ways to connect coming soon! In the near future, you’ll be Pinning your way to your next vacation and telling us all about it on Google+. Until then, we’ll see you on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

Before you go – tell us, what do you want to see on our Pinterest and Google+ pages?

Winter Storm “Draco” Causes Delays

UPDATE –

The winter storm traveling across the midwest continues to wreak havoc in several states. A blizzard warning from the National Weather Service remains in effect for the region including states from Colorado to Wisconsin.

On Wednesday, there were 47 flights canceled at Denver International Airport. On Thursday, 30,000 people lost power in the state of Iowa, Highway 6 was closed at Loveland Pass in Colorado. Flights are predicted to be delayed or cancelled through the rest of the week, so make sure to check your flight status and be safe while traveling.

Stay tuned for the latest on this storm and how it could affect your travel plans. As always, if you have any questions about your coverage during this storm, leave a comment below or call us at 1-888-885-7233.

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Mother Nature has started singing Christmas carols, and first up is “Let It Snow”! Storms across the nation are threatening to delay travel plans for millions of Americans this year.

Colorado, Kansas and Iowa are expected to get the worst of the storm on Wednesday with blizzard warnings in effect and up to a foot of snow predicted in the Rockies. Delays already started Wednesday morning at Denver International Airport, where flights were delayed up to 30 minutes due to snow and ice.

The Pacific Northwest is currently digging themselves out of a storm that previously hit the busy travel hub, but they are expected to receive more than a foot of snow on Wednesday according to the National Weather Service.

It doesn’t stop there. The National Weather Service also warned that Chicago could be hit by heavy snow and slick roads on Thursday. In addition, Detroit is expected to see unpleasant travel conditions with rain and wind coming on Thursday, and quickly changing to snow and ice on Friday.

These storms come just as 93 million American travelers are heading out for Christmas and New Year’s. There is some good news – it seems that airlines are in the holiday spirit. Most major airlines including United, Frontier and Southwest are waiving change fees due to the weather.

Stay tuned to our blog for the latest on this storm and how it could affect your travel plans. As always, please remember to check the status of your flight before heading to the airport. Even if your holiday travel plans don’t include one of these destinations, your plane may be delayed or stranded at one of them.

If you have any questions on your coverage during this storm, please leave a comment below or call us at 1-888-885-7233.

Safe travels,
Your friends at TravelSafe

How to Stay in Touch for Less

If your travel plans are taking you abroad this winter, you’ll most certainly be making calls during the holidays. Traditionally speaking, international calling can be costly and connections can be shaky. However, these days there are more options for international calling including those that won’t cost you a dime. Here are the top ways to stay in touch while abroad:

Purchase a temporary phone. You can rent a cell phone or purchase an inexpensive throwaway phone during your trip. These phones can be found online or your regular carrier may offer overseas rentals. This can cost you less than $50, but be warned, these phones don’t typically have all smartphone capabilities.

Use your cell phone. If you don’t want to part with your cell phone, this option is the easiest for you. Check with your carrier to see if they provide international roaming packages and ask for the fees. If you are going to communicate a lot during your trip, these fees can add up quickly. Also, avoid extra data charges by disabling all notifications from your apps and automatic e-mail pushes.

Connect to a hotspot. Today, a majority of the hotels abroad offer free Wi-Fi (especially in Europe). Before you travel, contact the hotel, ask if they have Wi-Fi and if there are charges involved. This is the perfect option for you if you don’t want to be connected 24/7, but want to call or check in on social media when you are at the hotel. Don’t forget to pack your cell phone for emergencies – just keep it off unless you need it. 

Download apps before you go. If you’re taking your smartphone or tablet, Skype is a great way to stay in touch. It is available for download on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry. You can register for Skype with a unique U.S. number so people can reach you at no cost while you’re abroad.

Buy the cards. If you don’t feel like messing with “Wi-Fi”, cellphones and hotspots, you can buy a local calling card. To call out, you dial a local or toll-free access number, then enter your account ID plus the number you want to call. The big U.S. telecoms offer calling-card systems for international use, but if you really want a deal – buy local and you can find lower rates.

For this option, you’ll have to rely on your hotel for contacting you with an emergency calling, and it might not be easy to find a pay phone if you’re wanting to make a call outside of the hotel.

Whether you use the latest technology or go old school, staying in touch with family and friends during the holiday season is important. What option would fit your travel plans best? Tell us by leaving a comment below.

Safe travels,
Your friends at TravelSafe

Save Your Vacation from the Flu Bug

There’s nothing worse than coming down with the flu while you’re on vacation, and who can forget the H1N1 hysteria that hit travelers a few years ago? Wether it is a virus or just a cold, follow these steps to stay flu-free during your winter vacation.
Take some extra time to sleep in! According to the Mayo Clinic, quality sleep means a quality immune system. Your body needs that time to recover and fight infectious germs. In fact, studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold.
Wash your hands! While this one seems like a no-brainer, sometimes there’s not always a sink available while you’re traveling. To combat this type of situation, pack a kit with antibacterial hand sanitizer, tissues, and nasal spray. In addition to your hands, use the antibacterial hand sanitizer on any public surfaces like the tray table on your flight or the hand rail on the subway.

Like your parents always said – eat your fruit and vegetables! This is another key to keeping up your immune system. If you load up with fresh fruit and vegetables two weeks before your trip to boost zinc levels and ward off the flu virus!
Grab a glass of water. Experts advise drinking eight ounces for every hour you’ll be traveling. When your body is well-hydrated, it is able to fight off germs and keep your immune system running at full speed. If you’re itching for a cocktail, experts also recommend having two glasses of water with each alcoholic bevarage.
Follow the doctor’s orders! A check up at the doctor is a good thing to have before
traveling. You can find out what illnesses you might be susceptible at your destination.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re up-to-date on your immunizations. One of the most important immunizations is the flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly encourage that every American—especially young kids, pregnant women, those over 65, and anyone with a chronic illness—get immunized every year.
But even if you follow all of these tips, sometimes coming down with the latest bug is inevitable. That’s where we come in. If you, a family member or your traveling partner fall ill, travel insurance may be able to help salvage your vacation. If you have questions about how you’re covered with your current travel insurance or how you could be covered by investing in travel insurance, please post a comment below or call us at 1-888-885-7233 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions.
Safe travels,
Your friends at TravelSafe