About Amanda Hand

I fell in love with travel, so I decided to work in the travel industry. You can catch me on the road, in the mountains, and sometimes in the office at TravelSafe. Wherever I am and wherever I'm going, I'll be sure to give you the goods.

4 Things About Terrorism & Travel Insurance You Probably Didn’t Know

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Terrorism is a global concern right now. We have seen attacks through Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Sadly, it only seems to be getting worse.
So, what do you do? Do you play it safe and stay home? Do you just keep traveling? If you’re like most, you’ll travel.
We have had a lot of travelers voice their concerns about travel. But often has little to do with canceling their trip and more to do with what coverage travel insurance can provide when facing terrorism.

Where You Can Travel & Not Worry About Zika (Probably)

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It’s only been a couple of weeks since WHO declared Zika virus a worldwide public health emergency, and many travelers who are looking to expand their families are wondering where they can consider booking their next trip.

There are areas of the world that are not ideal environments for the species of mosquito responsible for carrying Zika virus. This means, families can still consider travel to new and exciting places.

Here is a slideshow to help travelers choose a future destination that will most likely remain Zika virus free.

 

Whether travelers choose to tour Europe or cruise Alaska, there are still options available that are fun, exciting and full of relaxation. It may involve thinking outside of the box, but destinations of the world are endless.

If you feel as though you don’t know where to begin, you can always search for a travel professional to help you find a trip that is both safe and remarkable. To search for a travel professional to help you, just click here.

Protecting Multigenerational Travel

Multigenerational travel is all the rage and there is proof to show it. In Forbes article The Hottest Trends In Boomer Travel, there is a strong highlight on the financial investment multigenerational travelers are making.

According to top travel companies, multigenerational family travel accounts for more than 10 percent of their entire business. Dan Austin, director of Austin-Lehman Adventures, says they’ve seen a tenfold increase in custom trips in recent years. “Groups range in size from as few as four to as many as 24 family members,” he says.

In 2013, the average US traveler spending roughly $1,145 (according to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker). This means average families are spending anywhere from $4,580 to $27,480. Now, most families do not have bottomless bank accounts, and I know that investment is one worth protecting.

Choosing travel protection for your multigenerational travel group does not have to be a stressful experience. There are key things you should be looking for when purchasing travel protection. You do not want to get denied a claim because there was not a clear understanding of the products and plans available to you.

Often times, when travelers get an online quote for products, they bypass the heavy reading in hopes of saving themselves some time. This action can really cost you. One thing that our customer service department always stresses to travelers is to make sure they are reading their state specific certificate (it’s the paperwork that tells you every individual thing you are covered for). Boring, but necessary.

If you do not understand something in the certificate, give us a call and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have. You can even tweet @TravelSafeIns if you can’t or just don’t like making the phone call. It is better to reach out and clear the air than to assume you are receiving a benefit.

Something to always consider when you are booking your trip, and debating your travel insurance, is the 21 day window. When you  make your initial trip deposit (an initial trip deposit meaning the day you put money down and choose a set date for travel plans), you are eligible to receive a wider range in coverage if you purchase travel insurance within 21 days.

With multigenerational travel, it usually means a group is traveling with grandparents. While every traveler could potentially have a change in their health, those is older generations are more prone to sudden changes in health and medications. After 21 days of the initial trip deposit, travelers are no longer eligible for this benefit and that can be a real doozie. If Grandma gets ill 18 days before vacation, the doctor puts her on medication, she gets to her destination and realizes the medication is making her ill, her travel protection may not be able to cover that pre-existing condition. So, travelers should play it safe on that one and pay attention to the 21 day window.

Another benefit travelers are only eligible for 21 days within initial trip deposit is Cancel For Any Reason. Yes, you can only purchase Cancel For Any Reason if you purchase your travel protection 21 days from your initial trip deposit.

If you are purchasing Cancel for Any Reason, make sure you cover the entire cost of your trip. You only qualify for Cancel For Any Reason is only granted when you protect your entire travel investment.

Check into the kinds of activities you are going to be partaking in. While some travel protection may cover ziplining, it probably isn’t going to cover sky diving. Sorry grandma!

So don’t just do multigenerational travel, do multigenerational travel protection as well. Wow, what a tongue twister. Get a quick quote for travel protection here and don’t forget to follow us on twitter @TravelSafeIns.

Click here to learn how to do multigenerational travel like a boss and don’t forget to check out apps for hurricane season, especially if you’re traveling to the Caribbean this summer.

 

Handle Multigenerational Travel Like A Boss

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By Rikki’s Refuge

The thought is overwhelming; your parents, in-laws, children, sister, brother, nieces and nephews all want to travel together. Multigenerational travel is an opportunity to take time away from your busy schedules and bond over a truly worthy experience but many people feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting everyone in the same place for an extended period of time. You do not have to feel overwhelmed by multigenerational travel, and if you do, you’re doing it wrong.

Greg Benchwick wroteHow to Survive a Multi-Generational Family Vacation (without losing your mind),” and gives a few really great pointers as to how you can survive, and they mostly come from his own experiences.  As Greg says, “Not all destinations are created equal. For your ragtag crew, you’ll need to ID a destination that meets the needs of the kids, the partner, the dog, the goldfish, your Aunt Couie and the older generation. But don’t be surprised if grandpa really wants to go water skiing while your 25-year-old cousin is more interested in hanging out poolside.”

Flexibility in your travel arrangements and expectations is required with going on a multigenerational travel adventure.You don’t want to be rigid in assuming what everyone is going to want. What each individual is interested in experiencing while traveling may surprise you. Travel brings an opportunity for us to break our daily routine and come out of our shells. Sometimes, for those twenty-somethings  who are always moving, slowing down and allowing our bodies to rest is of great interest; but for those in retirement, who sip their tea slowly and relax daily, they may want to push the envelope and try something quite unexpected and relatively exciting.

Don't be surprised if Grandma wants to do something crazy

Don’t be surprised if Grandma wants to do something crazy

To make sure you’re multigenerational travel getaway is a successful one, it is also important to choose a destination with a lot of really great options. For instance, Hawaii is known to be a beautiful place where you can enjoy the beach by day and luau by night, but there is actually so much to do in Hawaii that it makes a great destination for multigenerational travel.You can go hiking, snorkeling, take a few surf lessons, hit the spas, and take the thrill seekers zip lining. If one person wants to skip all of that and stay by the beach, let them. As long as they are being safe, allowing them to enjoy their vacation – their way, is going to make for a happier group.

While flexibility is important, so is some form of structure. This made sound confusing at first but let me explain. I am not looking for you to have a daily itinerary where you have breakfast 8:00-8:30, followed by the beach from 9:00-1:00 and zip lining from 2:00-3:30. While that may work and be fun for some, others will enjoy having the option to fly by the seat of their pants. If you have younger kids, ask them one day what they would like to do so they feel a sense of pride alongside of their excitement.

Greg also mentions the positive impact family dinners had on the group. The dinners were a great time to talk about the excitement of their day and plan the adventures of the next. So maybe a great idea is to come to an agreement in which dinner is the same time every evening, and everyone goes. This will act as a hub for your day and everyone can decide what groups want to go where to make everyone happy. Don’t stress when is comes to multigenerational travel. After all, the experience is supposed to be just, an experience. Most memories will be happy ones, but for those few tiffs and headbutts, hopefully your group can look back and laugh as you plant your next multigenerational trip.

Learn more about why Hawaii is a great travel destination for multigenerational travel here and don’t forget to look at 2015’s Best Travel Accessories to help you travel efficiently and chic through the season!

 

Legal U.S. Travel Options To Cuba

Legal U.S. Travel Options To Cuba – Insure your Travel with TravelSafe

Photo by Magdalena Roeseler

While the U.S. Government is easing up on the travel restrictions to Cuba don’t forget to protect your wallet with Travel Insurance from TravelSafe.  There are still a lot you cannot do while legally traveling to the mysterious island of Cuba.

Travelers interested in working on their tan on the beaches of Cuba need not fly as the U.S. Government states visits to sea and sand resorts are off limits. Although learning about the various kinds of sand on the beaches of Cuba is not allowed, there are still parts of the Cuban culture travelers will not be disappointed in learning about when partaking.

Cuba hosts rum tastings to educate your palate on the various levels of the distilling process. Start with some of the youngest rums and work your way up the ladder to more complex varieties where you can potentially develop true appreciation for distillery art.

Don’t stop there. Be sure to take a class on rolling Cuban cigars. Maybe you can even leave knowing how to roll the complex Culebras which deserves an A in our cigar book. Just remember, you are only allowed to bring back up to $100 worth of those highly sought after Cuban Cigars.

Check Out the 12 Legal Reasons for Traveling to Cuba 

Best Travel Accessories – 2015

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Frequent Flyers and Road-Junkies are always looking for the best travel accessories that help make traveling more convenient. Here at TravelSafe we understand traveling can be tough with long lines at airports and overly packed cars are not glamorous but traveling efficiently and chic is.  Here is a list of 2015’s Best Travel Accessories.

August Smart Lock

Have you ever left for vacation only to realize you forgot to leave the spare key under the mat? With August Smart Lock (compatible with iPhone and Android devices); you never have to worry about making spare keys again. Through August’s App, you can grant (even revoke) access to those you rely on while away.

Best Helpful Travel Apps 2015 – Protect your Vacation Expense with Travel Insurance

A lock that’s as smart as, well, your smart phone.

 

Ostrich Pillow

Napping and traveling go hand and hand. If it were only as easy and relaxing as it should be. With the Ostrich Pillow, you can nap in what would normally be an uncomfortable space with a real sense of privacy. Even better, you won’t wake up with the pesky neck cramp from resting your head on the cabin window inside of the plane!

When traveling, bury your head like an ostrich and snooze on.

Reservoir by Dark Energy

This Utah based company brings a portable charger to the market that is both sleek and compact. Able to charge most phones for up to one week, this accessory is a must have for those travel moments that keep you moving. Never again worry about your phone or tablet dying while taking a photo on your cruise or while touring Europe. For the more rugged travelers, keep your eye out for its sister product The Poseidon (available for pre-order now).

not sure you can beat this type of charge anywhere

Unisex Leather Cabin Bag by Vintage Child

Traveling with style and purpose, the Unisex Leather Cabin Bags by Vintage Child are at the top of the list in their category. This quality bag has enough room for a weekend’s worth of necessities while having the ability to hold it’s integrity and protect your items from the airport bustle. For those who only travel with a carry on, this is a must have.

be chic and efficient with this vintage cabin bag

iPad Air 2 by Apple

With an ultra-thin, lightweight design this is the perfect fit for your carry on items. You can choose up to 128 GB of storage, allowing you take your favorite movies, music, and books along with you on your travels. No more carrying around your chunky laptop, the iPad Air 2 can edit high quality photos and video, manage your business tasks, and keep you connected to the world around you.

no more pulling a bulky laptop out during your plane ride

 

There’s an Elephant in the Room

& We Are Happy to Announce it’s Us

Elephant's Tea Party, Robur Tea Room, 03/24/1939 by Sam Hood and the State Library of New South Wales

Elephant’s Tea Party, Robur Tea Room, 03/24/1939 by Sam Hood and the State Library of New South Wales

There isn’t much in this world that emanates freedom and excitement like travel. The positive vibes surrounding travel fill the halls of the industry and the hearts of those who work in it, but even with all of the positivity the industry has to offer, there is still an elephant in the room, and it isn’t what you think.

The negative implications normally associated with travel insurance are worth mention. When Travel Agents enter the booking process, our elephant stands in the far corner with its presence looming while the agent waits for the proper moment to say the words, “Would you like to purchase travel insurance?”

The thing is, insurance would not exist if unfortunate events never occurred. Yes, travel protection was invented because someone decided to stare calamity square in the eyes and attempt to limit its effect. No, we cannot stop a hurricane from knocking on any destination’s door and we can’t predict the future. What we can do is try, to the best of our ability, protecting your traveler’s investments and their future.

While there are travel agents who swear by travel protection, there are still those who continue to misunderstand its purpose. We are in the business of protecting. We protect an industry that creates irreplaceable happiness and experience. Safeguarding travel investments is about more than just the traveler; it encompasses the travel industry as a whole. And while we are not always perfect, we continuously strive to improve ourselves and the products we offer.

As a travel protection provider, we plan for the unexpected. We work together to prepare for events we all hope never happen. We should approach the future with practicality and realism. So remember, when you are sitting with your clients planning their next vacation, the elephant who sits in the corner does not represent negativity but, instead, represents preservation of the industry you love. Travel protection is the elephant in the room. For the industry, we are wearing steel armor.

 

Beers Of Ireland – Not Just Guinness


 


When you think of a good Irish beer the first one that comes to mind is Guinness Beer. Well, Guinness is good but, what if you discovered other favorite beers the Irish locals were keeping secret and that you have really been missing out? Here are four Irish beers that you must try. But, don’t forget to pack your Traveling Insurance from TravelSafe.

 Murphy’s Irish Stout (Cork, Ireland) 

Murphy’s  brew is considered outstanding amongst the beer snobs of Ireland and the United States alike. With an ABV of 4% this creamy stout gives a smooth, chocolate flavor to your palette.

Beamish Irish Stout by Heineken (Cork, Ireland)

This light, dry stout has an ABV of 4.1% with a flavor that delivers. There is a creamy head to top it off with light bitterness and cinnamon undertones, this beer is sure to put a smile on your face.

Smithwick’s Superior Irish Ale (Kilkenny, Ireland)

An earthy beer with an ABV of 4.5% and, it’s crisp and clean. This full-bodied beer takes it easy on the hops. So for those of you who like a crisp beer, this is the one with no bitter aftertaste of a more hoppy beer, this is for you!

Kilkenny’s Irish Cream Ale (Guinness Brewing Co., Dublin, Ireland)

This Irish Ale is of the Red Ale variety with an ABV of 4.3%. With strong legs and a creamy head, this beer delivers floral spices with a hint of fruit. It has a sweet scent but a crisp taste. For those who love red ale, this is a Irish must have.

The Truth About St. Patrick’s Day


Sometimes, only after our college years, do we begin to wonder the exact origin of St. Patrick’s Day. The true traditions and meaning behind the holiday come to the front of our minds as the need to heavily celebrate dulls. Chances are, if you are reading this, it is because you have already asked yourself the question, “What is St. Patrick’s Day really?” Well, you’re in luck (pun intended). Here are the truths of St. Patrick’s Day.

Saint Patrick was not from Ireland.

St. Patrick was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland in 387. Then, his family moved to Britain to care for Roman colonies. Around the age of sixteen, St. Patrick was kidnapped from his family’s estate in Britain during a raid conducted by Irishmen. He was later sold as a slave to herd sheep in Ireland.

Then how did St. Patrick become, well, a saint?

Although St. Patrick spent many years living with the “pagans” of Ireland, he strengethed his faith in Christianity. He prayed often. During prayer, he had a vision that it was time for him to escape Ireland. Fleeing to the docks, St. Patrick was able to escape to France where later he was reunited with his family in Britain.

St. Patrick felt as though his calling was to study Christianity. He spent just over 14 years studying Roman Catholicism. During a dream, St. Patrick heard the very people who captured and enslaved him calling him to walk amongst them once more. He had taken this as a sign to fill the people of Ireland’s hearts and minds with the love and knowledge of Christianity. After being ordained Bishop, St. Patrick went back to Ireland where he successfully built churches and spread the religion for 30 years until his death in the 5th century. He was believed to die on March 17th, which is why St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated this time every year.

Is the Shamrock Legend true?

One of the most well-known legends of St. Patrick is that of the shamrock. As a missionary, St. Patrick was known to explain The Trinity as the leaves of Ireland’s clover, the shamrock. While the leaves all look separate. Each having a strong individual presence, the closer you get to the stem, they are all one. Much like the Trinity, while all seen as different entities, they are all part of God. This held a lot of meaning to pagan Ireland as they were said to have many traditions and beliefs based around the number three (St. Patrick must have been a very smart man). However popular this story may be, there is little documentation to pose it as a fact. The first real mention is in 1675 where St. Patrick is depicted in the detail of a stained glass window holding a shamrock clover.

What about the legend of the snakes?

Another legend says that St. Patrick drove all of the snakes out of Ireland. Well, Ireland never really had many snakes and he had nothing to do with their snake-free status. Although, it could quite possibly have been a metaphor for his successful mission of spreading Christianity throughout Ireland and driving the “evil pagan” religions and beliefs out.

Well, why does anyone celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

St. Patrick’s Day was originally celebrated as the Feast of Saint Patrick in 17th century Ireland. It was a religious holiday that occurred during the Christian season of Lent. In the morning, Christians attended church to honor the saint. The afternoons were spent feasting, drinking, and celebrating. A free pass was given during the Feast of Saint Patrick and traditional Irish bacon and cabbage was a popular meal.

In 1762 Colonial NY hosted its first St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Irish immigrants who were part of the British colonial army marched down the streets of New York to honor the patron saint of Ireland.  Since then, it has been the US’s oldest, and most watched parade. Most identify St. Patrick’s Day as a drinking holiday. Many people did not know that until the 1960s, pubs in Ireland were closed on St. Patrick’s Day! Drinking all day and night would have been too sinful.

What’s with all the green?

Well, Ireland (also known as the Emerald Island), is associated with the shamrock, thanks to St. Patrick. What most people don’t know is that the pagan beliefs around the color green were very different than how we view them today. It used to be considered bad luck to wear green. It was the color of the faeries and if your children wore too much green, it was believed that the faeries would take you away.

As time progressed, Christianity debunked this theory and people began to associate the symbol with the luck of the Irish. In the 19th century Ireland even declared green as a symbol of Ireland (it was originally blue). Oh, and if you forget to wear green, expect to get pinched! It is now tradition for children to pinch those who forget to wear this lucky color on St. Patrick’s Day.

So there you have it, a quick look into the true history of St. Patrick’s Day and how it came to be. Now that you have done your research, you may go enjoy a Guinness or maybe one of those green beers they are serving these days.

Hotel Travel Safety – Six Security Tips

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Hotel Safety Tips – Traveling Smart – TravelSafe InsuranceAre you concerned about safety on your next vacation? TravelSafe Travel Insurance Agency suggests the following Safety Traveling Tips. Wondering what you can do to prevent theft? While most hotels are safe and secure, it is important to be mindful of your surroundings and take the proper steps to protect yourself.

Here are 6 quick tips to keep you safe before and during your holiday travels:

1. Do your homework before you book your hotel room. You want to make sure your hotel is located in a safe area and takes the proper security measures. In addition to looking at rates and amenities, it’s important to ask the hotel management key security questions. For example, is the hotel in an upscale neighborhood or business district? Is there a police station nearby? Do they have a doorman or security guard? Is their front desk staffed 24 hours a day? These are questions that hotel should be happy to answer.

2. Don’t take a room on the ground floor. These rooms are more likely to be burglarized. This is especially important if the doors and windows of the room are open to the outside.

3. Keep your door locked at all time. This may sound like a “gimme”, but stay diligent about locking the door behind you. It’s also important to lock the deadbolt.

4. When entering or leaving the hotel at night, make sure to use the front entrance. The front entrance is usually the most well-lit and usually under surveillance.

5. Don’t leave valuables in your car. If you must leave items in your car, cover them with a blanket or put them in your trunk.

6. Include travel insurance in your vacations plans. Unfortunately, we can’t predict the future. We don’t know whether our flight will be delayed or if we need to seek medical attention while traveling. Travel insurance can provide protection if your belongings are lost, damaged or stolen. To find out everything that travel insurance covers, click here.

Tell us, what steps do you take to stay safe while traveling? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us to share your suggestions with other travelers.

Read also…
8 Travel Predictions for 2014
How To Avoid Theft While Traveling
10 Tips for Solo Travelers