Holiday Travel Tips – Stay Safe and Sane
Holiday Travel Tips
The holidays are a fun time of the year. But the travel congestion they create can be enough to turn the jolliest optimist into a cheerless pessimist.
AARDY Travel Insurance Marketplace has a few tips for surviving travel around the holidays.
Set Realistic Expectations
When traveling during the holidays, you can expect:
- Busy airports
- Flight delays
- Baggage claim lines
- Seasonal illness
- Complications of snow and ice
What can you do in the face of holiday travel chaos? Take a deep breath. Expect the unexpected, be patient, and give yourself a little extra time.
Tip 1: Give Yourself Extra Time
Millions of people visit family during the winter holidays. Busy roads and airports mean something is bound to go wrong somewhere and jam up the system. We recommend being patient.
Pay close attention to the weather and plan ahead. Give yourself extra time to check-in, get through security, and arrive at your destination.
If something happens, such as ice and snow delaying your takeoff, take a deep breath. Of course, the situation is not ideal, but none of us, including airport employees, can control the weather.
Tip 2: Make Your Luggage Easy to Identify and Return
With increased traffic comes an increased chance for error. Put something on your luggage that makes it easy to identify. You could use colorful duct tape or an obnoxiously bright ribbon tied around the handle. Alternatively, some travelers use colorful luggage belts or luggage covers.
Always make sure your name, address, phone, and email address are attached to the bag.
Try Our Luggage Return Hack
It's easy to help your luggage find its way home to you.
Have you ever had a luggage tag break off? Make sure your name is inside your bag, not just on the outside.
Use a business card or write your name and contact information on an index card. Place it inside each piece of luggage in case the tag breaks off. Then, if your bag gets lost, it is more likely to find its way back.
You can also include your travel insurance policy number and the travel assistance phone number. If your bag is found and you are unreachable, the travel assistance service can help get your bag to you.
Tip 3: Pack Gifts in a Carry-On
If you're traveling with gifts, bring them in a carry-on bag or case.
Since carry-on bags stay with you for the entire trip, it reduces the chance the baggage could be lost or damaged. When you carry gifts, it's even more critical to avoid potential baggage delays or catastrophes.
You can monitor gifts that are fragile or expensive. Keeping them with you at all times is the safest plan.
This won't work in all situations, but many gifts can be safely stored in a carry-on sized bag and stay with you at all times while you are traveling.
Tip 4: Save Receipts for Gifts
Baggage Insurance can't stop your luggage from being delayed or lost. But it can help you if something happens to your luggage.
If something goes wrong, make sure that you have receipts for gifts you have. You will need them to recoup the value of damaged presents.
Also, take pictures of your luggage as you pack. Different images of your items laid out and in your open suitcase can be useful to identify what you were traveling with in the event of a claim.
How Can Travel Insurance Help Me?
Travel Insurance can alleviate some of the headaches that come with holiday travel.
Comprehensive travel insurance includes Trip Cancellation, Baggage Insurance, Baggage Delay, Travel Delay, and Travel Assistance. Some policies offer Cancel For Any Reason.
If your baggage is lost or damaged by a common carrier (airline, cruise line, bus line, train, ferry, etc.), travel insurance can compensate you. Each policy covers your personal belongings for $500 to $2,500 per person, depending on the plan.
Reimbursement depends on the value of the property. Typically, personal items have a per-item dollar limit. Also, valuable items like jewelry, watches, furs, and electronics have a combined limit.
For example, if you are planning to check four expensive TVs on your flight, consider a different shipping method. Travel insurance caps what you can recover in losses.
Travel Delay Insurance
Trip insurance can provide compensation for Travel Delays in addition to Baggage Insurance. Usually, it applies to travel on a common carrier: plane, train, bus, ship, or anything else that runs on a schedule for which you buy a ticket. In some cases, it covers delays if you are involved in a traffic accident en route to the destination. However, it does not cover road traffic delays.
A few examples of covered travel delays:
- An ice storm in Charlotte delays your flight, grounding all planes for 8 hours
- It's sunny and warm Miami, and have a connecting flight through Chicago, but a blizzard shut down travel operations for 12 hours
- Mechanical delays that cause you to wait for repairs or another aircraft
- Thief steals your bag with boarding passes while you are eating breakfast at a restaurant
- Earthquake at your destination halts incoming flights for 24 hours
Travel Delay insurance kicks in after you have been delayed for the minimum time specified in the policy, often six hours or more. The airline or similar entity must certify the delay so you can submit it to claims.
Travel Delay benefits reimburse you for the cost of meals, hotels, local transportation, and phone calls. The coverage works on a per person per day basis.
Let's build on the blizzard example and say that your flight was delayed until the following morning. You and your family end up stranded at the airport for more than twelve hours. Eventually, you need to get something to eat, and you can get a hotel room for the night.
You could end up with extra expenses totaling a few hundred dollars. Travel Delay insurance can help you with those expenses.
Every comprehensive travel insurance plan includes Travel Assistance services
During your trip, you can get help from Travel Assistance if:
- You need help booking new flights
- Passport, visa, or travel documents lost or stolen
- The common carrier lost your baggage
- Medical or legal referral
- Hospital admission
- Medical evacuation arrangement
- Replacement eyeglasses or prescriptions
These are just a few of the services Travel Assistance can provide. Check the policy certificate, as it can vary between companies.
Reimbursement for Covered Cancellations
If you become ill or injured, Trip Cancellation insurance can reimburse your prepaid and non-refundable trip costs, such as plane tickets. Whether you catch a seasonal bug or fall on some ice and can't travel, you are covered if a physician says you're not fit to travel.
Trip Cancellation can also protect you if:
- Family member or traveling companion is sick, injured, or dies
- Inclement weather or natural disaster making your destination uninhabitable or inaccessible
- In a car accident en route to departure
Some policies have dozens of cancellation reasons, like Cancel For Work Reasons and a common carrier's bankruptcy.
Consider Cancel For Any Reason Insurance
Some policies go a step further and offer Cancel For Any Reason coverage. This means that you can cancel your trip and receive most of your money back, even if your reason is outside of the covered reasons listed in your policy.
However, there are a couple rules to take advantage of the Cancel For Any Reason benefit:
- Buy the policy within 10-21 days of Initial Trip Payment
- Insure 100% of prepaid and non-refundable trip costs
- Be medically fit to travel when you purchase
- Cancel 2 days or more before your departure date
When all 4 conditions are met, a CFAR policy can reimburse you 50%-75% of the trip costs.
It is worth considering CFAR travel insurance if you are uncertain how your travel plans will unfold. Suppose you are going to a wedding or have a family member with mental health conditions. In those situations, you can call off the trip and receive some of your money back.
Don't Forget Travel Insurance This Holiday Season
AARDY will help you find the best Trip Insurance policy for your trip. We offer you up to 30 different policy options and let you compare and contrast coverage. We have your back if your trip does not go as planned.
Whatever your are concerned about, let AARDY do the shopping for you before committing to the first travel insurance policy you see from the airline or travel website. Stop by and chat with us, send an email, or give us a call at 650-492-6298. Our licensed agents can answer your questions and help you build a quote.
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