The Travel Factory Blog
We had a program on this topic several months ago, last March to be specific, but in light of some recent events in the past week, I thought it would be a good idea to visit that topic again.
A recent study of the U. S. Travel Insurance Association reported that in 2018, Americans spent almost $4 billion on all types of travel protection, and that was an increase of over 40% from 2016. Those policies were purchased through travel insurance providers, through travel agents, as well as on-line suppliers.
They reported that almost 90% of travel protection purchased by American consumers in 2018 included benefits for trip cancellation and interruption while approximately 6.3% of the sales covered medical and medical evacuation benefits.
Surely you have heard of the business collapse of Thomas Cook, a 178 year-old British travel company specializing in packaged vacations and they also had interest in an airline, hotels, and other travel related operations. By closing their doors, it was reported that approximately 50,000 travelers were stranded in Greece, up to 30,000 were stranded in the Canary Island in Spain, while 21,000 vacationers were left in Turkey and another 15,000 in Cyprus. Additionally it was estimated that approximately 1 million travelers had future travel plans booked with them. I just read today that over 500 hotels in Spain were closing their doors and locking up because of the lost business from Thomas Cook. In my opinion the fallout will continue to be felt a couple of years down the road. So....the question is, how can a traveler be prepared for something like this? Well, there are a couple of ways to protect yourself.
One way is to pay for your travel product with a credit card; that's a credit card, not a debit card. Many of the card companies automatically carry some type of travel insurance and protection to provide compensation if your trip is disrupted. Credit card purchases are protected under the federal Fair Credit Billing Act which grants consumers the right to dispute a charge when service is not provided. The traveler would have around 60 days to file a complaint and request returned compensation, but it would probably take considerably longer. The bottom line is that the consumer would get their money back if paid with a credit card because the bank would then have to deal with the tour operator or airline for justified compensation.
Another protection for your travel investment is to consider purchasing a comprehensive travel insurance protection. Most tour operators and cruise lines have contracted with travel insurance companies and have policies that protect the individual if they have to cancel for covered reasons. Covered reasons are sickness, accident, or death of the traveler, companion, or immediate family.
Travel agencies have travel insurance companies that they have dealt with over the years who have proven to be helpful with good coverage as well as good, prompt service. The company we have employed for many years is Travel Guard. Their benefit coverage includes trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, missed connection, baggage and personal effects loss, baggage delay, medical expense, emergency evacuation, and accidental death.
Travel safely, and that includes planning for unplanned contingencies by considering to purchase a travel protection policy. The experienced travel counselors at The Travel Factory will be more than happy to guide you through this process. We are at 4150 Southwest Drive or you can call us at 698-1421. Website is www.thetravelfactoryabilene.com. We exist to serve our traveling friends!!!