10/31/2014

The Difference between Trip Cancellation and Cancel for Any Reason

Shutterstock_199552949_hand-w-travel-brochureOverlooking the unexpected events that occur in today’s travel world happens. Even the most carefully planned and well thought out trips can’t always avoid the surprises that life throws our way. We often don’t worry about serious emergencies, natural disasters, bankruptcy on a reputable cruise line, or loosing a job. Unfortunately, these events can and do happen and if your unprotected, your hard earned investment will suffer.

A common question that is asked when determining what type of travel insurance to purchase is, “What is the difference between trip cancellation and cancel for any reason?” We realize when selecting a travel insurance plan to cover your investment, these may seem similar or confusing. We will start with trip cancellation and the common reasons that reflect this coverage to be selected.

 

 Trip cancellation:

will reimburse, up to the plan maximum, the amount of forfeited, non-refundable, and unused payments or deposits that you paid for the covered trip if cancellation occurs before your scheduled departure date because of unforeseen circumstances. Examples of unforeseen circumstances are illness, injury, death, weather, and work related reasons such as layoff or termination. A Select plan will also reimburse additional costs incurred if the travel supplier cancels your trip and you elect to replace that travel supplier with a different travel supplier.

 Cancel for any reason coverage:

An option that can be added to your selected travel insurance plan. There are many common “what if’s” that may cause you to cancel your trip for a reason not covered under the plan. You can add this as part of your plan if you purchase coverage early and are concerned about cancelling your trip because you simply change your mind, encounter a work obligation, a change in weather occurs, your pet get’s sick, your visa is denied, or other life happenings that would fall into the “what if” category.

Travel Insurance Services is happy to assist you in:

1)Answering any questions that you may have.
2)Helping you identify coverage that will fit your needs.
3)Discussing optional benefits that will provide you with the most comprehenisve plans on the market.

Remember, whether it’s a trip of a lifetime, a yearly get-away, a special celebration, or a spur of the moment trip abroad, don’t put your trip at risk!

10/29/2014

10 Safety Tips for Students Traveling Abroad

Study Abroad

Studying abroad is often associated with excitement, independence, cultural awareness, and personal growth. Any trip requires careful planning but students should be aware that in some study abroad destinations, safety should be kept in mind and deemed important.


Below are 10 important steps you can take to prepare for a safe trip abroad.


1) Be aware of any travel alerts and warnings for your destination
The State Department issues travel warnings and alerts to recommend postponing travel to a country if dangerous conditions are present and or civil unrest, terrorist activity, etc.


2) Familiarize yourself with customs and local laws
In any country you are expected to obey the laws. By researching the areas that you plan to travel, you are better equipping yourself with understanding telecommunication, restrictions, dress standards, curfews, etc.


3) Protect your passport
Theft of American tourist passports is on the rise. It is recommended that you carry your passport in a hidden portion of your clothes or a front pants pocket.


4) Use only authorized taxis
Be aware of gypsy taxis. Gypsy taxis are illegal taxicab operations and can be marked taxi vehicles, speedy cabs, or personal vehicles used by an individual to offer unauthorized taxi-like services.


5) Do not carry large amounts of cash
Always deal with reputable currency exchange officials or you run the risk of receiving counterfeit currency.


6) Do not take unnecessary identification or credit cards
Take only what you need. Obtaining travelers checks is a good alternative.


7) Make copies of necessary documentation
Making copies of passports, driver’s license, and airplane tickets will help speed the replacement process if they are lost or stolen. Keep a copy at home; carry a second copy with you but keep separate from the original.


8) STEP
Enrol in STEP-The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program which is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and national traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By enrolling, you receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions, and help the U.S. Embassy and family get in touch with you in case of an emergency.


9)Travel Insurance
Many parents or students do not realize that they might not be covered by their health insurance when they travel abroad. Many do not cover emergency treatment outside of the country; should an emergency occur. Study USA Healthcare provides plans specifically geared toward students and can help you in selecting the right plan for your trip.

 

10) Keep track of all local emergency numbers
Store emergency contacts into your phone while abroad such as-the nearest US Consulate or Embassy, local police and fire stations, a local authorized cab company, you’re hotel, and any other numbers you may need in a pinch.

10/24/2014

How To Pack a Suitcase More Efficiently

Suitcase OverflowingWe have all been there-trying to squeeze as many of our belongings into one bag and hoping the zipper won’t bust. With almost every airline charging $25+ for you first checked bag and $50+ for overweight bags each way, it’s now more important than ever to pack efficiently.

Whether it’s for unexpected weather, a flight delay or cancellation, or deciding to extend your stay by a couple days The answer isn’t telling you to pack less because let’s face it-you want to have wardrobe options when you travel.

Here are 5 packing tips and ideas to help maximize space in your suitcase more efficiently:

1) Roll your clothes

 A common packing technique and the best way to fit the most into your suitcase. Rolling your clothes not only provides more space but rolled clothes tend to wrinkle less than folded clothes.

2) Utilize your shoes

 Shoes take up a lot of space inside a suitcase. Utilize them by stuffing socks, underwear, jewelry, and other small items to help maximize space.

3) Shrink heavy articles

Travel Space Bags are a great option to shrinking down bulky and heavy articles of clothing. You do not need a vacuum to operate and these bags will keep your clothes wrinkle free and protected.

4) Invest in travel gear

Grooming accessories and hygiene products are bulky and take up space. The good news is, most are available in travel sizes. You can also buy a mini brush and comb, travel-sized toothpaste and toothbrush, a mini hair dryer, travel-sized bottles for shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc.

5) Pack awkward items first

Pack items such as shoes, purses, and blow dryers around the outer perimeter, and then work your way in. Use the odd-shaped cracks between items to tuck in your socks, bathing suits, and belts.

Share with us!

Do you have any helpful packing tips or secrets that save you space while traveling?

10/20/2014

How to Balance Your Personal Life and Business Travel

 

Work Life Balance

The hustle and bustle of today’s Corporate America employees have many feeling overwhelmed. The balancing act of productivity and personal time can be a challenge for all business travelers. The number-one sacrifice that business travelers make is spending personal time away from family and friends, and fighting with a healthy work-life balance. So, that leaves the question of, How do you  manage a work-life balance in today’s hectic, fast-paced, business world?

According to the Travel Effect, the U.S. Travel Association’s research-driven initiative, 40% of American workers will leave paid vacation days unused. Does that statistic shock you? The four reasons cited the most are; the dread of returning from a vacation to piles of work, the belief that no one will be able to step in and do their job for them while they’re gone, not being able to afford it, and the fear of being replaceable. Not taking time off from work comes at an expense of our health and performance. It’s important that business travelers, and America’s workforce prioritize and recharge. This doesn’t have to mean going on an elaborate vacation and spending money that takes months to save for. You can get-away and travel right at home. You’ve earned it, take it!

Balancing business travel and the day-to-day work-life balance can be challenging, but besides using your paid time off, here are three key tips for a helpful work-life balance.

1)Technology-Turn it off
Often times we head home from traveling or the workplace and we find it hard to turn our brains off. From texts coming through, to emails chiming in, to late-day phone calls, it can seem that our work is never done. Therefore, our brains never rest. Ask yourself these questions, Do I need to look at it right now? What will happen if I don’t. Listen for the answer and see what happens when you re-engage without your 3D world.

2)Eliminate stress
From paying bills, to housecleaning, food shopping, to laundry, American’s have a list of to-do’s that can pile up. Many of the above are noted as pre-trip stress’s. According to The World Bank research, business travelers not only have  pre-trip stress but also on the road stress, and returning home stress which included separation from loved ones, guilt about leaving, missing family events, and living in hotels among the top. Managing your time efficiently can be easier said than done but running errands in batches, doing a load of laundry a day, placing family events on a weekly calendar, and spacing out your to-do list over the course of the week rather than just the weekend will help eliminate the demands of feeling overwhelmed and instead leave more time for relaxation and down time.

3)Nurture yourself
After examining 13,000 medical records in a corporate wellness plan, Columbia University researchers in 2013 tied excessive business travel to poor health. Fitting in exercise, eating well, and getting a good night’s rest can be an overwhelming task for anyone-and if you throw business travel in the mix, it may feel impossible. Sleeping in a different environment, late nights or changes in time zones, increased stress, and dining out eating fattening foods can take a toll on your body more than you think. Plan ahead and commit to self-care by packing healthy snack options, fitting in 20-30 minutes of physical activity, and drinking plenty of water. Staying healthy while traveling may be challenging, but it’s possible. You’re body and business will thank you.

Tell us-how do you manage a healthy work life balance?

09/17/2014

Travel Smart-Insure your Luggage

Suitcase2Whether it’s your vacation, your luggage, or your health, travel insurance has and is continuing to be a key item for smart travelers. Have you ever spent your travel day waiting for your luggage?

Losing luggage is certainly not a situation that anyone wants to be in. Especially, if you have meaningful items in your bag, or items that cost a pretty penny. You may have the mindset of “that won’t happen to me, my luggage has never been lost!” Travel Insurance Services advises you to think again, because unfortunately, it can happen.


Anytime you are traveling with items of value to you, the items should be insured. Many times, people are unaware that cruise lines and hotels offer little to no coverage for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage. Most airlines provide only limited protection for checked baggage as well, and do not cover your carry on items.


According to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, a recent survey showed that people are more likely to buy travel insurance when there are more factors out of their control, such as traveling overseas and needing multiple pieces of luggage. If you have the common mindset of so many others who think they could never lose their luggage, you should begin to view those “what if” traveling circumstances a little different than before. Travel Insurance Services can help mitigate these common travel hiccups, such as losing your luggage. Consider a Travel Insurance Select plan today!

09/09/2014

Insure Your Travel Day

Delay“Attention in the terminal, Gate B8, your flight is now delayed by 1 hour.” “I just spent my Travel Day waiting hours for my flight, only to learn it was cancelled!” Does that sound familiar? You made the reservation months ago with anticipation of arriving at the airport to depart on time. Unfortunately, even the most well thought out and planned trips can be interrupted by circumstances that you can’t control. This is a common travel problem that I’m sure most people have experienced, and if you haven’t, there’s a first for everything. So, what can you do when your travel day is de-railed?

 First off, don’t allow the mad dash and scramble to the customer service counter alarm you. I know it’s easier said than done, but if your flight is cancelled, take a deep breath and make logical decisions to continue on with your trip. It’s important to reschedule your flight as quickly as possible by calling the airline.

If you experience a trip interruption, it’s important to understand the difference between an interruption and cancellation. A trip interruption that slows down travel plans causing you to miss a large portion and or significant amount of your trip is indeed, considered a trip interruption, not a cancellation. A trip cancellation is defined by absolutely no portion of the trip being taken.

Travel Insurance Select provides coverage for both trip interruption and trip cancellation cases. Coverage for trip interruption can recover up to 150% of your trip costs depending on the coverage level you select. Trip cancellation coverage reimburses up to 100% of the pre-paid expenses toward  your trip.

Is your investment covered? Travel Insurance Services provides excellent coverage with a broad range of benefits to help protect your precious memories while traveling. Life is unpredictable. Protect your investment and travel smart with Travel Insurance Select.

08/25/2014

Instead of ________, I save for Travel

How important is travel in your life? Are you an occasional traveler, or the type of person who makes traveling a priority? If you’re a hard core traveler, what other things in life are you willing to give up or compromise on in order to increase your travel budget?


From cars to coffee, take a look at this article for some ideas on how to save for your big trip(s).

08/15/2014

Concert Etiquette – The DOs And DON'Ts Of Going To A Live Performance

It’s a great thrill to see one of your musical idols perform a live show. Whether your genre is rock, pop, hip-hop, or country, there is an established standard of behavior that you should adhere to if you want to make nice with your fellow concertgoers. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:


DO:
--Arrive early. When you arrive late and have to push through people to get to your seat, you're disturbing someone else’s enjoyment of the show. Arriving early also gives you the opportunity to visit the restroom, get your refreshments for the night, and stop by the souvenir stand (none of which you will want to do after the show when crowds are craziest).


--Keep your feet on the floor. If you want to upset people quickly, stand on your seat or sit on someone’s shoulders. Both of these behaviors prevent people behind you from seeing the stage, and they’ll probably let you know that in no uncertain way.


--Stay at your seat as much as possible during the performance. Obviously, nature can call at some pretty random times, but don’t leave your seat because you’re bored or just want to walk around. People are generally okay with moving out of your way for an entrance/exit once or twice, but any more than that and you’re pushing your luck.


DON’T:
--Break the rules regarding smoking, drinking, and drug use. Any illicit activity can not only upset those around you, it can get you tossed out or even arrested.


--Talk loudly during the opening act. Some people may actually be there to see that band perform instead of the headliner, so be respectful and keep conversation to a minimum.


--Sing along. Seriously, please don’t—even if you have a great voice. There are exceptions, of course. Piano Man, Hey Jude, and anything by Bruce Springsteen. But in all honesty, if you’re singing along loudly to every song, there’s probably somebody nearby who wants to throw something at you.

Are you traveling to see a concert? Share with us where you're traveling to and your own do's and don'ts of going to a concert! 

08/04/2014

Dark Tourism – Going Where Bad Things Happened

Some say it’s morbid. It's admittedly a bit voyeuristic. But like drivers slowing to gawk at a horrible accident, the fundamental human urge to get a first-hand perspective leads some tourists toward a profound need to personally witness the aftermath of disaster and tragedy. This form of travel, known as "dark tourism", involves traveling to sites associated with death.

From Katrina's destructive wake in New Orleans to the Texas School Book Depository Building in Dallas, to the Dakota in New York City, witnessing places where loss of life took place has become, for many people, an integral part of experiencing a destination. Perhaps the most prominent current example of the drawing power of disaster sites is ground zero in lower Manhattan.

By the end of 2011, just over three months after its public debut, the 9/11 Memorial had already welcomed over one million visitors, according to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, the nonprofit organization in charge of operation of the memorial and museum at the World Trade Center.

In the weeks and months immediately after the September 11 attacks, large crowds would flock to the site, gazing in silent disbelief as they witnessed the destruction and cleanup efforts. For more than a decade afterwards, visitors continued to respectfully observe as a gigantic hole, in the ground and in the hearts of people around the world, was slowly transformed by concrete and builders.

In the world of dark tourism, what may seem respectful or acceptable to some might be appalling to others. For example, a Milwaukee company's plan for tours inspired by serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was met with charges of insensitivity.

Dark tourism can sometimes skate perilously close to the line separating mere tourism and disrespecting the dead. Cemetery ghost tours are an example of this. Many people, especially families of the deceased, often don't believe anybody should have fun at the expense of death.

Keeping in mind the sensitivity this type of tourism requires, dark tourism can and should be executed respectfully and educationally, not in any way that trivializes or makes light of the loss of life that occurred.

Is a destination on your travel list this year  considered dark tourism? If so, let us know your travel plans and why you have chosen it by leaving comments below. 

07/25/2014

These Boards Are Made For Walkin'

What says summer more than a stroll on the boardwalk? As a child, my yearly visit to Wildwood, NJ and its incredibly vibrant boardwalk was a highlight of my summer that has continued decades later. Whether it’s the value-packed (sometimes gaudy) stores, the never-ending parade of junk food, or the piers of carnival rides and attractions, there’s an incredible draw to boardwalks. The folks at Budget Travel have compiled a convenient list of America’s most awesome boardwalks from both coasts…and a few places in between. 

Did your favorite boardwalk not make the list? Tell us more about your favorite boardwalks by leaving us a comment below!