Travel Insurance Services Staff Spotlight: Patti Kirkpatrick
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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 www.travelinsure.com.


What You Need to Know to Study in the U.S. 6a01347fc1cb08970c015390c6a082970b-200wi

Are you planning to study in the U.S. from another country? We’ve compiled some helpful resources and tips below.

Visa Information for Students Coming to the U.S.

In order to study in the U.S., you’ll need to apply for a visa. There are several types of visas depending on what type of school you’ll be attending and if you have a sponsor. Learn about the different types of visas, and select the right one for you.

Making It Happen: Preparing for Your Study Abroad Experience

Before you embark on your journey, you’ll want to do your research and prepare as much as possible for your move. Visit the U.S. State Department website and learn about Your 5 Steps to U.S. Study. You can also learn on this site how to get ready for your trip.

Health Coverage for International Students

Once you select a school and secure your visa, you will have to consider how you will be covered for health insurance, as healthcare in the U.S. can be very expensive. Some schools and universities in the U.S. mandate that you take their health coverage. Others, however, allow you to select your own plan.

If you're looking for a trusted student health insurance plan that meets the requirements for most U.S. schools, check out Study USA-HealthCare, offering four plan levels to meet the diverse needs of international students. Thousands of international students across the U.S. rely on Study USA-HealthCare from Travel Insurance Services to provide coverage during their studies. You can enroll online and receive your waiver forms the next day.

Enroll now or call 1-800-937-1387 for more information.

(Are you a U.S. student planning to study abroad? Study USA-HealthCare is for you, too! Learn about the plan and benefits, and secure your health insurance today.)

 


Concerns about Terrorism in the Travel Industry

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The year of 2018 brings with it a remarkably positive outlook for the travel industry, with expected growth continuing throughout the year. According to tripinfo.com:

“This growth in travel isn’t about localized economies and domestic road trips via the family car anymore (although RV sales are expected to hit their highest level in four decades in 2017 according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association). With increasing globalization, international digital and social connectivity, and easily accessible methods of travel, it is easier than ever before for travelers to jet set to somewhere new… While we worry about the rise of nationalism in certain parts of the world, we expect local and national governments and other organizing bodies to maintain and strengthen accommodative policies that support tourism growth in a sustainable way in the long run. Policy uncertainty and geopolitical tensions can’t be ignored, but outside of any major shock, we expect travel to benefit from a solid year of macroeconomic growth in 2018.”

Lingering within this overall positive outlook are certain areas of concern within the industry, notably geopolitical stability, or lack thereof. In particular, travelers still express a level of apprehension for the potential of terrorism in their destination, be it international or domestic travel. With almost regular highly visible incidents of terrorism occurring lately, even in what were once thought of as “safe” or “stable” destinations, it’s no surprise that travelers may have concerns about it affecting their travels. How can you allay their concerns without actually having any control over the situation?

Travel insurance plans that cover terrorism as a named peril can go a long way toward easing the minds of travelers, and at the same time reflect positively on you as you offer a solution. Travel Insurance Services offers numerous trip cancellation plans that include terrorism coverage as a named peril.

Specifically, in both our Travel Insurance Select and Trip Care Complete plans, the Trip Cancellation benefit covers a terrorist incident that occurs within 30 days of your scheduled departure date in a city listed on the itinerary of your trip. This same city must not have experienced a terrorist incident within the 90 days prior to the terrorist incident that is causing your trip cancellation. Benefits are not provided if the Travel Supplier offers a substitute itinerary. This benefit also applies if a terrorist incident occurs during your trip in a city on your itinerary; that event would be covered under the Trip Interruption benefit.

The terrorism coverage is available on our Travel Insurance Select Plan, Trip Care Complete plan, and custom tour operator plans. Do keep in mind that not all travel insurance plans include coverage for terrorism, so be sure to understand the product thoroughly before offering it to your clients.

If you have any questions about the products offered by Travel Insurance Services, or would like to know how we can better help you and your clients, please contact us!

M – F, 9am – 7pm EST

(800) 937-1387

info@travelinsure.com

Source: https://www.tripinfo.com/ITM/Articles2017/ITM8156.html


Travel pic 15 Safety Tips for the Adventurous Traveler

by Kyla Stelling 

When you’re on a travel adventure, you don’t want unforeseen safety mishaps to interrupt or stifle your fun. From planning your trip to purchasing supplies, there are a number of ways you can ensure your safety while traveling to remote destinations. Here is a list of safety tips for those who are traveling to off-the-grid, exotic locations. 

Planning and Preparation

Before you book a flight, research the region you want to visit. It is important that you know as much as you can about your location so you can plan accordingly. For example, if you are traveling to a rainforest, you should know the weather conditions that you’ll encounter while there since they have frequent flooding during their rainy seasons. Plan around the anticipated or seasonal weather conditions, so you can enjoy the best parts of your beautiful, rugged location without unexpectedly finding yourself in the midst of a natural, weather-based disaster. Also, research the necessary vaccinations you may need whenever you plan to visit an exotic and off-the-beaten-path location. Use the State Department’s website to see if your exotic and remote location has been given any travel warnings related to natural disasters, political situations or health conditions.

Securing Things at Home

Once you’ve planned your trip, set up arrangements to secure things at home during your absence. You’ll want to ensure the safety of your home while you are off in distant lands. Make use of home security systems and monitoring devices, like Nest Secure, that will keep guard when you’re not home. You can monitor the state of your home through the Nest app, which is accessible by Wi-Fi and connects to Nest Cams for visual checks. In addition to your home, you’ll also want to protect your bank and personal information from theft while you’re away. Frequent travelers are at a higher risk of identity theft and may want to consider investing in an identity theft service. Find a service that provides a plan engineered just for you, which includes monitoring of personal info, identity misuse scanning, and services for identity theft restoration.

Traveler’s Insurance

When you’re in a remote place, you may be more susceptible to risky and dangerous situations. Protect yourself from the consequences of any unforeseen mishaps by insuring your travel. With travel insurance coverage, you can have access to some money and life-saving services. These services include coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, medical expenses and 24-hour access to emergency and travel assistance services. For information and quotes on travel insurance plans, visit http://www.travelinsure.com/.

Supplies

Before you set out to your remote and exotic destination, pack supplies that will aid any possible emergencies. Some staples include non-perishable food, such as jerky, trail mix or granola bars; a solar-charged flashlight; an emergency blanket, like an all-weather space blanket; a compass and a map of the area. You should also have a thoroughly stocked first aid kit to handle the aches, pains, and injuries that come with travel. Include in your first aid kit: a prescribed antibiotic, diarrhea medicine, laxative, liniment for muscle aches, ointment for insect bites, sunburn protection, sunburn medication, allergy and cold medicines, tweezers, nitrile gloves, moleskin patches, blister gel, thermometer, pain medication, nausea medication, triple antibiotic ointment, band-aids and bandages, alcohol, rubbing pads, hydrogen peroxide and elastic bandages for sprains. REI’s Smart Travel Adventure Medical Kit is fully equipped with all the essentials you need to stay in good health, though it must be transported in your checked luggage as it is not TSA-approved to carry-on.

Communication

When you’re in an off-the-grid spot, you’ll need a means to communicate with the rest of the world. Check in with your cell service provider to see if they serve the area you plan to visit. You may need to consider investing in a satellite phone or hotspot, which will give you the means to communicate in even some of the remotest areas of the world. The Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 Satellite Phone gives you GPS, Bluetooth and SMS coverage in all areas of the globe, except the poles. The phone’s design helps it work in the most rugged conditions, with casing that protects it from rain and dust storms, sub-zero temperatures, or tropic humidity. It has a long-lasting battery and operates over the Inmarsat global I-4 satellite network.

Traveling to your remote location will be an exhilarating and memorable experience, but could easily be interrupted by an unexpected safety incident. Embark on your travels with all safety concerns and risks tended to, so you can fully enjoy your exotic adventure. 

 

Kyla Stelling is enrolled in the Master in Teaching program at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Previous career roles have entailed everything from design and event planning to public relations and child care. In her spare time, Kyla hikes the Cascade Mountains, designs elaborate cakes, and writes alongside her cuddly cat, Wellington.


Travel article

Pro Tips for Your First Trip Abroad

by Sara Parker

You’ve been bitten by the travel bug, and you finally have the time, money and means to take your first trip abroad. But where do you start? There are so many places to go, people to meet, things to eat and cultures to experience. Lucky for you, there are plenty of resources available to help you decide where to go and plan your entire trip. The following are just a few tips to get you started:

Decide Where to Go

All you know is that you want to travel out of the country, but aren’t sure where to go first. Begin your journey with research. Ask your friends about their favorite trips abroad, conduct online searches of some of the most popular destinations or go to your local bookstore to browse the travel section. You also should start narrowing down what type of trip you want to take, such as a remote, outdoors trek, major city tour or a cruise. Think about what you want out of your first time abroad to help decide what kind of excursion you want. As you start narrowing down your options, you also should narrow down your search parameters. For example, only look for the best locations to go backpacking or the best places with art history museums. The lists, books, and websites you’ll find will help you pick the best destination.

Get Your Documents

Once you know where you're going, you need to get going on your paperwork as soon as possible. If you don't have a passport or need to update an old one, do this immediately because it can take several weeks (and sometimes months) to complete. According to the U.S. Department of State, your passport needs to be valid at least six months after your return and have at least two blank pages that can be stamped by customs. Depending on the country you've chosen and the duration of your visit, you also may need to get a visa. Each country has different rules and regulations for visas and you usually have to send your passport and documentation to that country to be granted a visa (which is why you should do it immediately). The Department of State has information broken down by country that gives you directions on how to apply for a visa.

Book Your Flights

There are several points you need to consider before booking your flights online: dates, location, and price. If you are set on a certain time of year for your trip, the first thing you need to do is make sure flights are available during this time. From there, you can narrow down your options by what airport you want to fly out of from your home and into for your destination. Be very careful when you're conducting your research because many websites will tell you they are close to major tourist destinations even if they aren't (it's all relative after all). Do your due diligence by checking how far the airport is from your hotel so you don't end up with a large taxi bill. Now you can start looking at various airlines and prices. Although you may be excited, you may not want to book your flight too far in advance, according to CheapAir.com. According to their study, you should book your flight two to four months in advance of your trip to get the best prices. They have each region of the world broken down by the best time to book flights for more information.

Reserve a Place to Stay

Just like with your flights, you need to do some research on where you'll stay during your trip abroad. Whether you make a reservation at a hotel, hostel, Airbnb or couch-surfing option, you should look into how far it is from the major attractions and destination in the city. Use Google Maps on your smartphone to input addresses and locations to see if you can walk or take public transportation to all the places you want to go or if you'll need a car or taxi to get around. Keep in mind that the cost of cab rides adds up quickly.

Your accommodations also greatly depend on your budget for the trip. If you're pinching pennies, hostels are a great option. They usually are in the heart of major cities and can be booked for affordable prices (especially if you're planning an extended trip). Hostels also provide you with the opportunity to meet new people, talk to the locals and have a more authentic experience. Hotels and Airbnb may be more expensive options, but offer more privacy, services, and luxury. Be sure to look at pictures of the hotels or homes on their website, and read reviews and comments on websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp. Take advantage of the power of a smartphone like the LG G6 to compare all of your options and do as much research as possible. Your phone not only lets you look at websites, but also take screenshots and save information for later use in case something goes wrong.

As you plan your trip, be sure to include the major tourist attractions as well as some local activities on your itinerary. Give yourself plenty of time to explore, try new things and soak in a new culture. With a little research and planning, you'll have an amazing trip and be itching to plan the next one.

Purchase Travel Insurance

Getting travel insurance is prudent with any vacation, but it’s especially important when you’re traveling abroad. Protect your investment in your trip, and also ensure you’re covered in case of sickness or an accident while traveling (after all, many U.S. healthcare plans don’t cover you outside the U.S. Check with your individual plan). USI Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of travel protection plans, so you can find the right plan for you:

Visit http://www.travelinsure.com/ to view all of our plans and learn more.

 

Sara Parker has a passion for travel and travel writing. She lived and studied in Segovia, Spain, for six weeks, has traveled throughout Western Europe, Peru, Costa Rica and the United States. She hopes to hit every continent and share her journeys through her writing.