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Different options to protect your travel purchase

image of a desk with passports and travel insurance form

Other than a non-prepaid rental car, pretty much every travel purchase has a cancellation penalty tied to it.  Even the most flexible hotel reservation typically asks for 24hours notice or risk losing one night or full stay. Most are much more restrictive. Some travel products like a custom-designed tour package or a cruise require an immediate non-refundable deposit.  There are different ways travel suppliers help us minimize losses, especially at these uncertain times in travel.  I want to briefly introduce you to them.

a desk with a few passports and a travel insurance application form

 

Cancellation Fee Waiver or Travel Protection Plan

These are usually plans that are provided by the tour company or the cruise line and they are the ones who offer you the protection and the administrator of them.  If you’ve reserved a Hawaii/Mexico package or a guided tour such as Tauck or most major cruises, they offer a policy where you can change your mind and get either a refund or a future travel credit.  Some allow you to do that up until a day before departure, some require you do that before you pay the final payment, which is usually 60 to 90 days out.

These plans are most flexible as they come with cancel for any reason benefit. Some offer money back refund, not just travel credits. And the cost of them is not based on age or other personal information.

Thus, they are usually quite reasonable in cost.  They do require you to buy at the time of your deposit payment. I love these plans the most. But the downside is that not all travel companies offer them.  In fact, very few do.  Since Covid, I’ve tried to use only tour companies that offer these plans, but most important is that they will offer a product that fits your travel wishes and need first.

 

Full travel insurance policy

These policies are underwritten by a real travel insurance company.  They not only provide you reimbursement for prepaid non-refundable expenses, but they also offer medical coverage during travel and assist with lost or delayed luggage, lost passport, or other personal belongings. The costs of these policies are based on the non-refundable trip cost and traveler’s age. Some policies offer children coverage for free. They only offer benefits or cover a claim if you have to cancel due to an emergency such as illness, injury, accidents, or extreme unforeseen events. Some do not even provide Covid-19 coverage.

While some offer policies where they call “Cancel for any Reason” or “Cancel Anytime” flexibility, they still have restrictions such as not covering international travel restrictions and fear of travel.

There are also many other nuances with these policies.  For example, there are pre-existing medical conditions exclusions or single supplement coverage exclusions.  Some policies offer you primary or secondary coverage, which then determines which insurance provider you file the claim with first if you have multiple insurances providing coverage such as your health insurance or homeowners policy.

Credit card insurance policies

You may also wonder whether the insurance policy that comes with your credit card offers sufficient coverage. It depends.  Some cards offer good policies. Some do not.  It does take efforts to evaluate all the options and weigh them as the best fit.  That’s what travel professionals can do for you! That’s what I do for you each trip. Everyone’s risk tolerance is different.  I will always try to answer your questions to the best of my ability.  It’s always a pleasure to serve you!  Click the Plan a Trip button to schedule a call today to talk about your travel needs!

Family Travel ideas for June or when you feel safe

view of pool at Club Med Florida all-inclusive resort

I know in the last few months, a lot of hotels and resorts have been using the time wisely to renovate, update their properties, and to train their staff in new cleaning protocols.   They’ve implemented changes from registration to dining to housekeeping.  All are eager to welcome back travelers.  As of 5/24/2020, I know Hawaii is still not ready for visitors and asking us to wait until at least July.  Mexico and Canada travel restrictions also in place until June 22 and may extend.  Caribbean islands are moving targets also.  Some like St. Lucia, Grenada, Turks & Caicos are the most active islands trying to reopen borders. However, some hotels still need to sort out the guidelines for reopening.  The wait continues.

A lot of US options though are available.  Want to share a few ideas for you, if you wish to travel cross country to new places or to cure your “just get me out of here!!!” syndrome.

Club Med, Sandpiper, Florida—this is THE ONLY ALL-INCLUSIVE resort in the USA.  They plan to reopen with reduced capacity on June 12. The property is known for the recreational facilities and amenities. You’ll love all the sports they offer—tennis academy, golf, pickleball, and watersports of all kinds. This is in a secluded spot and you will have their “beach” all to yourself. This Club Med is not on a beach, like most of their other resorts, but it is on a river and there is a beach area.  Here are a few pictures from my last visit in Nov of 2018.  Give me a call if you want to learn more this hidden gem.

Florida Keys are also reopening some resorts.  I miss the key lime popsicle and all the delicious lobster rolls found here.  You’ll have to fly to Miami to pick up a car and drive as service to Key West airport will be limited.  Breaking up the stay in Key Largo and Key West will give you a mix of tranquil escape and modern culture.  Ask me about another adults (15+) only hidden gem that gives you a feeling of a true island getaway. It’s only accessible by boat or seaplane. 4 acres of beach and luxuriously appointed beachfront bungalows that exudes a sense of tranquility.  You may feel like you’re in this idyllic island in the South Pacific.  Here’s a shot. Do you agree?

View of a terrace of a suite at Little Palm Bungalows Resort, Florida
Little Palm Bungalows Resort, Florida

Another area that offers great combo of beach and city will be South Carolina.  Spend a few days in Charleston, where you can learn much about the Revolutionary War and also enjoy a city with great food scene and golf. Then, tag on a few beach days at Myrtle Beach, or Hilton Head Island.  Some resorts have a real private beach just for their guests. I enjoyed my stay at the Westin on my last visit. There are a few other resorts I can recommend too.

I know some National Parks maybe reopening and is very popular. So, they may not get you away from the crowds.  Also, check if each city has restrictions for out of state residents and also if businesses like shops, restaurants and bars have resumed opening before you go.

Hope this inspires you and give you some ideas for when you feel like traveling again.  And of course, know that I’m always here to serve you and make it easy for you by not just figuring out the logistics, but giving you some local tips and recommendations for must see and do! Start Planning!

How travel will change because of the Covid-19 pandemic

Items needed for Travel during pandemic: mask, sanitizer, passport

So, the past few weeks, I’ve been getting a lot of emails from hotels, airlines, and cruise lines about their plans in cleaning and what they’re doing to reassure travelers so they can feel safe to travel again.

TSA security check points will enforce social distancing so we should allow more time for this clearance and arrive airport earlier for check in.  TSA is also allowing up to 12 oz of hand sanitizer in your carry on bags.  All other liquids, gels and aerosols should still be under 3.4oz or be in your checked baggage.

Airlines said they will be stepping up cleaning protocols with deeper and more thorough cleaning in between flights.  Some will temporarily block off the middle seat to give travelers more space.
Most airlines will require crew and passengers to wear a masks.  Delta Airline said they will now board passengers seated from the back to front. I always think that is a great idea and I hope it stays.  It’s just more efficient!

Marriott cleaning room with electrostatic sprayer

Hotels will have a “New Normal” too.  Marriott CEO said they will use new technologies like electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant to sanitize surfaces in guest rooms, lobbies, gyms and other public areas. The company is also testing ultraviolet light technology for sanitizing keys for guests.  Food service outlets continue to find new ways to implement safety measures.  We will likely not see a buffet for some time. They may also impose reduced capacity at restaurants and lounges to give guests more space.

Parks such as Disney and Universal Studios plan to reopen at 50% capacity.  There will be more sanitizers available for guests to use.  This might be true with many other attractions and museums.

Sometimes, change is good too. We always want a cleaner cabin, cleaner room, less crowds.