Safe Travel Tips and Travel Insurance

Some of the things you should consider are, your health, the health of close relatives, employment, weather related problems, just to mention a few. In short, think of the things that could go wrong that could cause you to cancel a vacation.

So, you decided to get Travel Insurance. That was the easy part. Since 9/11 the insurance industry has seen a boom in people wanting to get travel insurance. Because of this, there are a lot of choices; which insurer to pick and what type of coverage is best. From trip interruption… to policies that include multiple components, such as baggage coverage, medical, and collision damage insurance; all must be considered.

Don’t assume just because you have travel insurance you will be covered. You need to do a lot of research. Just asking questions of your travel agent or insurance agent isn’t enough. You have to read the policy completely – including the small print. You may think you were covered, only to find out that your claim was rejected. Your situation may not have met all the requirements to get a refund. If this does happen, you have the right to appeal the decision.

Time wise, when should you book your travel insurance? The sooner you decide, the better. If something happens after you booked your trip, but before you added travel insurance you are SOL! So, the only way to know if the policy you pick is right, is to research and ask questions.

There is a lot to consider in travel safety. Some is out of your hands, but there is a lot you can do to keep your vacation safe. The most important is being aware. This sounds easy, but don’t be fooled; it’s some thing you have to work at. Research where you are going so you know more of what to expect. If the cab driver tells you this is your destination you will know if it is the right place. Educate yourself to know approximate distances, so you are not taken advantage of by cab drivers.

When you are out and about, enjoy yourself, but stay aware of your surroundings. Look around; are you going into an area that doesn’t look right? Is there som one watching you, is there a group of people who look out-of-place? Don’t listen to your MP3 player. You need to hear what’s happening around you. Let someone know where you will be going.

If something doesn’t look or sound right, chances are it isn’t. So you need to know what you should do to correct your situation. There are a lot of things you can get or do to make your travel safer; money belts, locks, etc. I will cover many of these in a future travel blog. Unless you learn to be aware of what’s happening around you, your vacation could end badly.

With these few simple rules, you can do as much as possible to keep you and your traveling companions out of harms way. Simply put, always be aware of your surroundings; unless you can afford to hire a body-guard to do it for you! Watch for my next blog on safe travel.

Becoming a Home Based Travel Agent – Today!

If you’re looking for a flexible new career, why not learn how to become a travel agent?

You could take a 6-to-12-week travel agent course at a community college to learn the basics of how to become a travel agent, or you could find yourself a host agency and start today!

A host travel agency will let you work for them, from home, you will be an independent contractor for the host agency and be able to run your business using your host agency’s industry information, access etc. so if your own home travel business, and working from home sounds good to you then you can start earning commissions today.

Almost anyone can make a good income as a home based travel agent if you set your mind to it, you will want to be as computer literate as possible. You will be booking travel with suppliers for your clients online, and I bet you have already done this for your family and friends.

Check with your state’s Department of Commerce for any registration or certification requirements for travel agents. Then you will want to decide what type of travel you want to sell. What kind of travel agent you want to be. If you’re not sure, start with a vacation that you would like to go on with your family or friends. This will keep you focused and motivated.

Where do you want to go? Dream a little! Most of the great achievements in life started out simply as a dream. Before you know it you will be planning the perfect vacation, honeymoon or weekend escape for your clients.

The following are some questions you should ask before joining up with any host agency:
What is it going to cost? Yes there is always a cost when starting your own home business. Host agencies can charge as little as 125.00 up to several thousands. Is there a monthly or yearly fee? These will vary with each agency as well. When will you get paid? What percent will you the home based agent receive? This amount can range from 30 to 90%. Does the host agency offer training? Most of them do. How long is the contract? Yes you should be looking for an independent contract agreement with your host agency and if they do not have one, you may want to find one that does. Another question you will want answered; do you need your own insurance? Some will require you to get your own, some will include you on theirs, and this is called E & O insurance.

Find yourself a good host agency; you will be working for yourself and not by yourself. You will be working under your host agency’s licensing and numbers with suppliers. What else will you need? A simple home office, with phone, computer and an Internet connection, that’s it! When you are able to turn your dreams into goals, and your goals into actions, amazing things will happen, that is how to become a travel agent from home today!

Tips For Booking a Cruise Through Online Travel Agents

Working with an online travel agency to book a cruise can be daunting, since you are not actually face-to-face with a representative. Still, by working with an online travel agent, you can often save a lot of money. If you decide to book your cruise using an online agent, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Tip #1: Book through a reputable company that has representatives willing to work with you over the phone.

It is unfortunately not difficult for anyone to set up what looks like a travel agency. In reality, though, these scammers take your money but never book your trip. You do not want to get to the airport only to find out that there had never been any reservations made in your name. Make sure that the company you are working with has a good reputation in the travel industry. If the name is not well known, contact the Better Business Bureau to make sure that complaints have been laid against them. One easy test you can do is to call their phone number to talk to a representative. Phony sites usually have fake numbers, phone numbers that never lead to a real person, answering services, or no numbers at all. A real travel agency will be more than willing to help you book your cruise over the phone.

Tip #2: Read the fine print of your contract carefully and ask questions.

Like with every contract, there will be fine print. Online, it can be easy to miss certain clauses that can end up being extremely important. For example, what happens if you cancel your trip? What happens if the cruise company cancels or goes out of business? Will you have to pay interest if you do not pay for the entire trip upfront? Do you have flexibility to change your dates or flight times?

It is also important to understand exactly what is included in your cruise. When you book online, there is no one sitting in front of you to tell you these things, so read about it and, if your questions are still unanswered, call the tour company before you book the cruise.

Tip #3: Don’t enter your credit card information until you’re ready to book the trip for sure.

You should not have to enter your credit card information just to get a price quote or read information about the cruise that interests you. By entering your credit card information, you might be entering into a contract. The site in question might not require you to book a cruise, but you might be paying for a site membership or confirming that you will book a cruise with the company within a certain timeframe. Make an attempt to not enter any personal payment information until you are 100% sure that you are ready to book the cruise.

Tip #4: Shop around when looking for travel insurance.

Most online travel companies automatically add a travel insurance policy to your vacation unless you manually ask for it to be removed. This can be a good thing – travel insurance is important – but if you shop around, you can likely find a better policy through a third party. Look for a policy that protects you medically and financially when traveling, as well as a policy that will make sure you get a refund in case you cannot go on the trip, for whatever reason. Even if your cruise is domestic, never leaving United States waters, it is important to have an insurance policy covering you.

Tip #5: Ask for information via mail on your destination of choice.

Before you make any decisions, call or email the company and ask them to send you information about the cruises available. Sometimes, having the literature in front of you makes the decision process much easier, since you are not going back and forth between pages online. Hard copies of the information can also make it easier for you to understand exactly what kind of cruise you are booking, and for most people, it is visually easier to understand what to expect when you have the ship information. Asking for a hard copy also helps legitimize the business, making it easy for you to spot scammers.

Booking a cruise online is usually not as easy as booking one at a brick and mortar business, but the plus side is that you can save money. You also usually have more options, and with the Internet, you can shop for your next vacation anytime day or night. If you are going to work with an online company, just make sure that you use the tips listed above so that you get the vacation that you really want.

Are You Overpaying by Using a Travel Agent?

Generally in life, if we want a job doing well, we call in a professional. If there is a leak, we call a plumber and if the car stops, we call a mechanic. However, the current trend has been to cut out the professionally trained and qualified travel agent, and to do the job ourselves. It is true that with the huge amount of information available on the internet, and a host of booking websites offering discounts, almost anyone can book a hotel, flight or vacation, but do they really get the best deal?

An experienced travel professional has unrivaled experience in the world of travel, working 40 hours a week for many years. A professional travel agent or broker will have access to a huge choice of services from contracted suppliers and can see the whole picture, not just choosing the first option that ticks all the boxes. For example, an agent may see that a flight is a few dollars more, but saves you hours of travelling time. They can view all the possible connections and combinations and can spend time trawling through the options with their sophisticated Travel Agent’s Reservations System, as that is their job.

The current reluctance to use a travel agent stems from the belief that we are saving money if we book ourselves. However, you the customer are not being charged a penny by the travel agent. They do not add a fee to your booking. Instead, companies make their hotels, flights etc. available to brokers at preferential rates, as travel agents generally are going to be much better clients than individuals to deal with. It is the suppliers who pay the brokers a commission for their business, not the customer.

The advantages of using a travel agent are many. Their sophisticated browsers and software can sift through thousands of combinations and fares. They do not just throw up the cheapest fares but they also look for the best schedules for you. In the International arena, travel agents still provide the most business to airlines and consequently have the best inventory and prices from them. Agents can also watch potential bookings on your behalf and monitor the sales of a particular flight to get you the very best deal using their professional knowledge of the industry. Furthermore, international flights offer a mind-blowing number of possibilities, with a huge combination of airlines and flight connections which a home-based computer and a small booking company cannot possibly hope to compete with.

The key to getting the most from your travel agent is to build up a rapport as a long-standing customer with them. That way, you can request perks such as free parking in hotels, cabin upgrades and maybe an additional hotel night free. You will be the first to be notified of special deals. In the end, these perks are worth cash in your pocket and are hidden benefits which, although not immediately apparent, do save you money.

Choosing the right travel agent is part of this process. Look for an agency registered in the state you live in. Ask if they are members of international travel organizations such as IATA (International Air Transport Association), ARC (Airline Reporting Corporation) or ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents). Make sure they are bonded and insured so that your booking is guaranteed should an airline cease trading. It is much easier to get recompense through a travel agent, than if you have made the booking yourself through an unknown internet booking company who has no position of strength for negotiating recompense. In the current economic climate, when even the largest companies are struggling, it makes sense to use a professional. Should problems arise travel agents are worth their weight in gold as they do the job they are trained and specialized in.