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Trip-Planning Advice for New Travelers

Take these tips from our own Patti Kirkpatrick, USI VIP Travel Insurance Specialist, seasoned travel professional and experienced traveler herself. Check out her Travel Insurance Services Staff Spotlight here.

 As an avid traveler myself, my best advice for new travelers would be:

  • Set a realistic budget. It’s easy to get carried away when planning, but set a final number and stick to it. There are so many options today to meet any budget.
  • Research the destination that you want to visit. Develop a list of a few must-see sites and must-do activities, then keep an additional list of some other options that you can take with you for inspiration.
  • If it’s a complex trip, or you feel overwhelmed by all the information on the web, work with a travel advisor/travel agent. (I prefer the title “travel advisor” because we do much more than just sell a trip). We can tell you about the destination that you are visiting (especially unique facts that you may not be able to find on your own). Often, we can find better prices or additional amenities. Most important of all, is that we “have your back” should anything go wrong.
  • Of course, I strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. It’s seldom a question of whether you should purchase insurance – it’s more often a question of what type. It’s not always the best option to buy according to the price of the policy.

All the policies we sell include medical insurance for while you are traveling. If you are traveling domestically, we can offer you a policy that has less medical coverage because your own (home-based) health insurance will provide primary coverage. With less medical coverage, the price of your policy will be less. Conversely, if you are traveling some place “exotic” or “off the beaten path,” I recommend one of the more comprehensive policies. Medical treatments and/or medical evacuation from remote destinations can be very expensive.” 


To learn more about Travel Insurance Services and the many protection options we offer for domestic and international travel, contact us at 1-800-937-1387 or visit our website.

Travel Insurance Services Staff Spotlight: Patti Kirkpatrick

Travel Insurance Services is more than a set of select travel insurance products. We take pride in having experienced world travelers working with us to guide our customers through choosing the perfect coverage options for them. We sat down with our very own Patti Kirkpatrick, USI VIP Travel Insurance Specialist, to hear about her experience in the travel industry as well as her passion for a jet set lifestyle.

  • Tell us a little about yourself and your experience in the travel industry.

“I primarily assist people traveling on National Geographic Private Jet trips and their Expeditions as well as people traveling with Academic Arrangements Abroad.  I’ve been in the travel industry for 35 years, the last two of them selling travel insurance as well as being a travel advisor.”

  • Where have you yourself traveled?

“One of the biggest blessings of working in the travel industry has been my opportunity to see the world. I love to brag that I’ve been to every continent except Antarctica. (It’s still on my bucket list!) My most recent trip was to the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador!”

  • Any unique/interesting/favorite stories from your travels?

“When visiting Rome a few years ago, I reserved a tour of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel before it opened to the public. It was a thrill of a lifetime for someone who went through 12 years of Catholic schools and who studied Italian Renaissance Art in college.  I felt as giddy as a school girl when I walked into the Vatican immediately on the footsteps of the Swiss Guard as he opened the doors for the day.  Just thinking about it again brings a big smile to my face and raises the hair on the back of my neck.”

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What’s your favorite travel story? Create new stories on your next vacation, but don’t forget to pack your travel insurance! Learn more about our products at