Planning travel is fun, and it even gives us a mental health boost by giving us the pleasant anticipation of experiences we love. As the world begins to open again, it’s easy to lose ourselves in the inspiration, novelty, beauty, charm, and excitement of looking forward to travel.
The last year has taught us a couple of things about planning travel.
First, work with a trusted travel advisor, a real human being who is an expert in navigating the in’s and out’s of travel, and who can be contacted, unlike an impersonal web site that takes your payment but provides no service or real support.
Second, take a page from the Scout notebook and ‘be prepared.’ Because sometimes in travel - as in life - things can go wrong.
In recent years, travel has become so easy-breezy that many travelers stopped bothering to plan ahead for unexpected changes to our travel plans. The pandemic certainly showed us how quickly borders can be shut down, and flights canceled. But such things can happen at any time for many reasons, and natural disasters or other emergencies, even our own personal health crises, can create situations abroad when we need a Plan B.
We can’t wait to travel again. But in addition to all the fun parts of planning travel, here’s my...
Ready Cash: Some people worry about carrying larger sums of currency. Still, it’s smart to make sure you have enough cash on hand for a crisis in case you don’t have access to money through a bank machine or electronic payment methods aren’t available. Even if your crisis is a must-have souvenir in a market that only accepts currency. Or a taxi back to your hotel or cruise ship if you get separated from your group.
Hard Copies: I love all the apps and digital conveniences, but all it takes is a broken or lost or dropped-in-the-pool mobile phone or WiFi going down to make vital information impossible to access and problems quickly escalate. So I always take an old school back up of printed travel documentation, reservations, tickets, travel insurance policy information and contacts including my emergency contacts at home, travel advisor, travel providers, and travel insurance.
Travel Health/Medical Insurance: too many travelers have had medical emergencies abroad and ended up in a financial crisis as a result. The Travel Health Insurance Association (THIA) says it’s more important than ever to understand and have the necessary coverage. It recommends travelers: know your coverage, including for COVID; know your health and make sure you’re covered; know your trip and make sure your policy applies for the duration and activities of your vacation; and know your rights and responsibilities as a policy holder.
CFAR Travel Insurance: Many people had never heard of Cancel-For-Any-Reason travel insurance until the early days of the pandemic, when it gained notice for saving the day for policy-holders when travel was so uncertain and before insurers and travel companies created COVID-specific cancellation policies. ‘Plain vanilla’ travel insurance policies don’t provide cancellation coverage if you’re hesitant to travel or under other circumstances when things are changing quickly. Cancel For Any Reason is exactly what’s it says it is.
One online insurance aggregator reports there’s been a big spike in CFAR insurance policies this year as people start booking travel again, saying more than double the number of travelers are opting into CFAR’s upgraded coverage for both domestic and international travel.
As we get back into the travel saddle and travel guidance continues to evolve at home and around the world, CFAR allows travelers to better prepared for the unexpected.
And as always, your trusted travel professional can help advise you about CFAR policies and the travel insurance coverage that meets your specific needs.
By: Lynn Elmhirst, producer/host, BestTrip TV
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