When Travel Plans Go Awry

Sometimes, you can do all the planning in the world, you can take every little possible mishap into account, and still, you may find yourself surprised. But not in a good way. This post addresses the biggest problems that can occur in your travels and how we can solve them.

Travel Insurance

All travel insurances do the same thing: they cover medical expenses, trip cancellation, lost luggage, flight accidents and other losses or accidents that occur while traveling. So, if they all offer the same things, what difference does it make choosing one over another?

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Well, the first criteria on which traveling insurances can be differentiated is type of coverage:

The most common situations most policies cover are:

  • Medical expenses ( per occurrence/ maximum limit)
  • Emergency evacuation
  • Repatriation of remains, accidental death, injury or disablement benefit
  • Trip cancellation or interruption
  • Visitor health insurance
  • Lost, stolen, damaged or delayed baggage and other personal effects or even travel documents
  • Hijacking, flight delays, basically, anything that can get in the way of you reaching your destination

All the policies above are related to accidents happening to you. You are not guilty of any of these, hence not responsible. However, there are some optional coverage policies that provide special cover for additional costs. If you suffer from pre-existing conditions or are voluntarily practising high-risk sports or you travel to high risk countries you should consider personalizing your plan according to your needs.

So, what type of plan do you need?

Once you grasp the difference between these types of insurances, researching and buying a plan that will suit you best will be easier than you would have ever imagined.

#1 Trip Cancellation

If you want coverage for cancellation, you need to do your research. Travel insurance package plans deliver coverage for cancellations, interruptions, natural disasters or medical emergencies. You should keep in mind that there are no plans that only cover trip cancellation, so always look for a bundle package.

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True, trip cancellation insurances are a bit more expensive, but you never know what can happen. The kind of policy that deals with cancellation, interruption, delay is based mostly on the cost of the trip. Of course, this plan can easily turn into a small fortune.

So, to make things straight: what qualifies as a legit cancellation?

  1. Injury or illness: of you, destination host, one of your travelling companions, be it a family member or not.
  2. Weather or a natural disaster, hurricane: a natural occurrence that destroys your destination or your own home
  3. Schedule conflicts: jury duty, court summons, school year extension
  4. Traffic accidents: you are directly involved
  5. Property damage: your business, destination accommodations or your own home are wither vandalized, burglarized or damaged in any other way.
  6. Terrorism or mandatory evacuations/ assaults
  7. Bankruptcy or financial default
  8. Labor strikes
  9. Theft or loss of traveling documents ( passport or visa)

So, to remember it more easily: anything that happens and affects you in a bad manner, and was completely unforeseen qualifies as a legit cancellation reason.

Some people invoke these as reasons for cancellation. They are not accepted anywhere and refund is not granted.

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-Canceling a trip because the weather is not favorable.

-Canceling because you have jitters. You chose your destination; no one else has to pay for your decisions.

-Canceling a trip due to pregnancy, child birth or an elective abortion.

-Canceling a trip due to alcohol or substance abuse

-Canceling a trip due to an intentionally self-inflicted injury or attempted suicide. Also, you will not be covered if you suffer from mental illnesses, panic attacks, mental or psychological disorders, anxiety or depression.

However, if you check the ‘cancel for any reason’ option on your insurance plan, chances are you will be allowed to cancel and still benefit from the insurance.

So, to conclude this chapter, the reason for cancellation must be listed in the policy for cancellation. Also, coverage provides full reimbursement.

Do not cancel unless you have a valid reason.

And now, we have an even more serious issue to address.

What happens when you get stranded somewhere?

In the unfortunate case where you get stranded somewhere because of a delayed flight, most airports will give you overnight accommodation and a voucher for food. The airline is contractually obliged to provide passengers with food, water, housing and transportation if there is a mechanical problem, a detour, a hijack, or anything at all that would cause the plane to not reach its destination.

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It sounds perfect in theory, only the reality is a bit different. More often than not, passengers must fend for themselves as the airlines will not pay for meals or hotels, although many airlines will give you a discount. Airlines use well known hotel chains that are close to the airport to host their stranded customers.

But when an airline will fail to accommodate you, do it yourself. Find one room by searching them all. When you are stuck away from home, go online to search for a room. It is fast and effective. There are many of websites that help stranded passengers in times of need. Try http://www.expedia.com/, http://www.getaroom.com, or http://www.orbitz.com. If you do not have Internet Access, go to the baggage-claim area and check the hotel board. Information will always be there.

Do not panic, do not get frustrated or show that you are angry. The airline knows you are angry, as well as the other 400 passengers, but there is nothing they can do about it.

For you to sleep safe, you should know that you can get coverage for situations like this. Usually, when booking a plane ticket, there is an option for this exact scenario for which you have to pay extra, but at least, if it does happen, you will get your money back. If that option does not exist, you could always file a complaint to the airline.

Reimbursements

Getting reimbursed always seems like a lot of trouble. It always seems as if the company is avoiding to make the payment. It is annoying and can get frustrating, of course.

Depending on the agreement with the vendor, reimbursement of your travel expenses may be at rates no higher than the ones allowed the Federal Travel Regulation. According to ssa.gov, it is important the vendor is aware of the expenses allowed for reimbursement and invoice accordingly.

Get informed first. You do not wish to find yourself in the situation where you do not know whom to blame. Because it will usually no one else but you. You are responsible of your own actions, so act accordingly.

Travel wise!

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