Do We Really Need Travel Insurance?

BY: - 26 Aug '14 | Travel

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As a traveler and a travel writer/blogger, that’s a question I am asked a lot.  My answer is always conditional. (lol)  If you can afford it, yes! I’m not trying to get in anyone’s pocket, but in today’s economy I think it’s a valid question.  Even though travel insurance is a fraction of your trips’ cost, it’s an added expense.

One in three travelers buy travel insurance (according to the US Travel Association) and the main reason they purchase it…is peace of mind!  Comprehensive travel insurance provides the traveler with ultimate peace of mind that any emergency is covered.  Before you hop online and purchase that policy, there’s a little research needed and a few things to consider.

Medical coverage.  If you currently have medical coverage, check with your provider to see if you’re covered while traveling abroad.  If you are, print and make a note on your phone of the covered providers/hospitals in your vacation destination.

Travel protection.  The most important coverage in any travel policy.  Offers re-imbursement in the event your trip is cancelled, interrupted or delayed.  You may not need this coverage if you purchased your vacation on a credit card.  Some credit card companies offer this coverage, so check with your credit card company to avoid double coverage and wasting money.

Baggage protection.  This is an option you can avoid when purchasing travel insurance.  Most airlines offer reimbursement if your luggage is lost or seriously delayed.  Like travel protection, your credit card may also offer this coverage.

Other factors to consider when purchasing travel insurance:

  • If you’re nervous or ‘worry a lot’ when you travel, purchase travel insurance to give yourself some peace of mind.
  • If you’re the adventurer in the group or engage in high-risk activities while vacationing, travel insurance is for YOU!  (lol)
  • If you’re spending $5,000 or more on your vacation, it’s considered an investment that you should protect.  I believe… if the trip is any amount you can’t stomach losing, buy travel insurance to eliminate that risk.
  • What’s going on in the family?  If anyone in your family is dealing with a health issue, purchase travel insurance so that you can get your money (or a portion depending on the policy) back if you have to cancel the trip at a moment’s notice.

Purchase your travel insurance as soon as you book your trip to avoid any lapses in coverage.

If you are planning a vacation and want to purchase travel/trip insurance, check these providers www.WorldNomads.com and www.InsureMyTrip.com for great rates.

About the author

Kirstin Fuller wrote 285 articles on this blog.

Kirstin N. Fuller aka The Travelin Diva is a DC based travel journalist bringing fellow travelers the best deals on family vacations, couples retreats, spa getaways, the best travel gadgets and more in BMWK's exclusive Travel Tuesday & Weekend Travel Guide columns. Check out her new travel blog daily for more deals & destinations www.passenger156.com.

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How to Avoid Hidden Hotel Fees

BY: - 2 Sep '14 | Travel

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Airlines made the change years ago and started charging for amenities that we all were used to receiving for free on each flight. Items like pillows, blankets, earbuds, and meals now come with a nice little fee that has earned the airlines an additional steady stream of income. Hotels have taken a page out of that revised business plan and started charging for amenities and services that were all once free or shall we say included in the nightly rate. Hotels made $2.5 billion in 2013 with these hidden fees.

A hotel that has a great reasonable/low rate more than likely is going to recoup some of that loss with these hidden fees. For example if you want to store your passport or jewelry in the in-room safe that’s now $1- $3 per night. Checking out at noon and need to store your luggage at the hotel? Well, that’s now a fee called ‘luggage handling’ and it is $1- $5 per bag. If you want to check-in early or check out late, some hotels are now charging $30 for that luxury.

And then there are the ‘mandatory resort fees!’ I started noticing these hidden hotel fees at a lot of family resorts and chain hotels lately. These fees can include: daily newspapers, local free calls, and use of the gym/business center, use of beach umbrellas & lounge chairs, and towels from the pool, especially if you take them back to your room. The main culprit is the ‘internet usage fee.’ They don’t point this out most of the time so you can pay for it again in your room. Double check and ask is wifi included in your mandatory resort fee. There’s no set fee for these and they range anywhere from $20 – $70 per hotel and yes this is a per night fee! BTW, you pay these whether you use the services or not.  (Insert side eye here…lol)

Business travelers they didn’t forget you, they have special fees for you (lol). If you need to ship a package or presentation materials/supplies before you arrive, that’s anywhere between $10 and $70 per package. Need to print that revised presentation before your meeting that fee can be as much as $7.95 per page.

Tips to avoid hidden hotel fees…

  • Do a little research, before you reserve a room at your favorite budget hotel. Visit their website or call and ask for disclosure of what’s exactly included in those ‘mandatory resort fees.’ Make a note of the person you talked to just in case you run into a problem.
  • Know your rights!  All fees must be disclosed at the time of check-in in the ‘reservation agreement.’ Read it carefully and if you discover that you’ve been billed a fee for something that is not in the agreement, bring it to the front desk clerks attention and ask for it to be removed.
  • When in doubt, ask! “Is there a fee for this service?” Remember anything can be removed if you ask nicely.
  • Prepare and pack! Make a list, check it twice and print extra copies of documents or presentations. Stop at a Walgreen’s or Walmart and get your snacks and drinks and avoid the mini bar restock fee.
  • Discover what’s around you! Use your favorite app or ask the front desk clerk for a list of stores and service providers near the hotel. You never know how much you can save yourself by simply walking next door.

The best traveler is an informed traveler, know before you go!

Happy Travels.

About the author

Kirstin Fuller wrote 285 articles on this blog.

Kirstin N. Fuller aka The Travelin Diva is a DC based travel journalist bringing fellow travelers the best deals on family vacations, couples retreats, spa getaways, the best travel gadgets and more in BMWK's exclusive Travel Tuesday & Weekend Travel Guide columns. Check out her new travel blog daily for more deals & destinations www.passenger156.com.

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