Hotels offer cancellation waivers. If severe weather will keep you from arriving at your destination hotel, your hotel management is often quite accommodating by offering cancellation waivers to help you avoid no-show or late arrival fees. However, do notify your hotel as soon as possible if you will not be able to make it to your destination, or contact your travel advisor who can reach out to all of your reservations, from car rental to hotel or group tours to let them know.
Book a room early if you're facing an overnight delay. If it seems weather conditions will keep you from getting to your final destination that same day, it is important to make a room reservation for an overnight stay as soon as possible. A travel advisor who has built relationships with hotels should be able to help find you a room so that you're not sleeping on an airport cot with stranded travelers.
Sign up for travel insurance. For those instances where you may miss a flight because you were stuck in traffic or your ship sailed without you when your flight was canceled or delayed, travel insurance can be your saving grace to recoup all or part of your travel investment. Your Travel Consultant can help explain your various options for the different types of travel insurance.
Get travel advisories or weather alerts delivered to your phone. There are several apps that allow you to receive email or text message notifications from your airline about your flight's status. A weather.com app can keep you updated about conditions.
Stay on the main roads. If you're driving between destinations, stick to major highways or well-traveled roads to facilitate other people coming to your rescue easily should you need assistance. Travel also during daylight hours or when car repair shops or convenience stores are more likely to be open. If you're stranded in your vehicle for an extended period, run your engine for only a few minutes once or twice an hour to stay warm and conserve gas. While the car is running, be sure to slightly roll down a window to keep carbon monoxide from building up inside.
Pack an emergency travel kit. Whether you're driving, flying or traveling by rail, prepare for possible delays with a few essentials. Pack a small bag with an extra sweater, gloves or small throw, as well as water and high-energy or high-protein foods such as granola bars or beef jerky. You may also want to pack a toothbrush and toothpaste, a change of underwear and any needed prescription medications. Remember also a flashlight, extra batteries, or phone charger, a first aid kit and a good book.
Book with a travel advisor. Weather-related travel delays inevitably happen at times, from heavier traffic on the highways to delayed or canceled flights. However, the unexpected challenges need not stress out travelers with a little added planning and some advice from a seasoned travel agent. You travel advisors are trained to monitor situations like winter weather that may impact their clients' travel plans. As result, they can work on alternative travel plans and can likely have those in place with the airline, hotel or car and driver the moment the need arises.
Tips from Incentive Connection Travel
When winter weather hits, here are some top tips to help travelers get to their destinations safely.
Skip the first and last flights. If you're traveling during seasons with a high likelihood of inclement weather, you may want to avoid the first or last flight of the day since these flights have a higher frequency of being canceled, depending on the start and end time of the storm.
Reroute a connecting flight. There are times the weather in your departure city and at your destination is clear, but weather in your connecting city is less than desirable. If that happens, a travel advisor can help you reroute your connection flight through an airport with no delays.
Take advantage of travel waivers. Often airlines will issue travel waivers that allow you to rebook your ticket away from the affected dates at no additional charge. You should take advantage of these when they post. Your travel advisor monitors these, but you can, too. For the largest airlines, check here: Delta; United Airlines; American Airlines; British Airways; Virgin America Policies.
Avoid booking flights at the ticket counter. If you must buy a new ticket, avoid doing so at the airport ticket counter, or else you will likely pay a higher rate. Call a travel advisor to book you, even if you are standing in an airport.
Consider larger airports and travel light. If you suspect there may be severe weather threats during your time of travel, consider flying from a larger airport. Larger international airports will have a greater chance of more alternate flights, and they are also better equipped to clear runways faster or with de-icing of a plane.
Pack carry-on with necessities. If you travel with only a carry-on, you'll be in a better position to change flights quickly in the event of a cancellation. If you must check luggage, make sure your carry-on has essential necessities, such as all of your prescription medications and a couple of changes of clothes. If you're flying to a warm-weather destination, include your swim wear so you can relax by the pool or on the beach while the rest of your luggage catches up with you.
Tips from Incentive Connection Travel
With so many vacation travelers ‘letting go’ when they go away, what can cause a travel insurer to deny a claim if alcohol was involved?
Travelers love to kick back and enjoy alcohol on vacation, but what many individuals may not be aware of is that their drinking could nullify their insurance if they aren’t careful.
For most insurers, intoxication is an exclusion for all plans, from anything like injuries sustained in a personal fall after drinking, or being barred from a flight because a crewmember observes behavior they deem could endanger other passengers.
Many travelers do tend to drink alcohol while on vacation so we urge them to be careful and do their homework as to what their travel insurance does and doesn't cover.
Dan Durazo, USA communications director, Allianz Global Assistance, said “very few clients” are denied a claim due to the use or abuse of alcohol – “maybe a couple per year, which is a tiny percentage of the thousands of claims we receive.”
While that may be true, travel insurers and other experts affirmed that travelers need to be mindful that any indication that alcohol is involved in an incident could reject their claim.
Exclusions are listed in the policy certificate. Alcohol is an exclusion for any loss but is often also named as an exclusion within the certificate specifically pertaining to medical coverage as well as rental car coverage.
Some certificates will simply list 'alcohol or substance abuse' as an exclusion under these benefits while some others will include more specific language. An example from a Travel Insured International policy states exclusions for: "any loss as the result of or attributed to driving the rental vehicle: while under the influence of alcohol or any illegal substance or the abuse of a legal substance; while using any medication which recommends abstinence from driving; in a speed competition; for compensation for hire; for illegal trade purposes, or transporting contraband."
Many policies will also define “intoxicated” as “a blood alcohol level that equals or exceeds the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle in the state or jurisdiction where you are located at the time of an incident.”
Most (probably all) policies carry an ‘alcohol exclusion so, if you get injured due to being intoxicated, the claim can be denied. We have seen a few rare cases when insurance will kick in to help pay for a traveler's hospital bill after taking an alcohol-related tumble — but no two cases are the same.
So, how do travel insurance companies find out about alcohol use? Typically, the doctor will mention the use of alcohol in a medical report. That report is then required during the claims process.
And general exclusions aren't just for medical issues, either. Any illegal drug or alcohol use is listed as an exclusion for all other benefits in a policy as well, like trip cancellation and trip delay. So, you can't cancel a trip because you got too intoxicated to get on a flight. Bottom line, limit the booze and read the exclusion section of your policy's certificate.
In the event a claim is denied, every insured has the right to appeal the decision. With any appeal, they should provide the reason they are appealing the decision and additional documentation that supports the reason. A doctor’s statement or additional medical records would apply” in the event of suspected alcohol use or abuse.
Durazo at Allianz noted that “travel agent clients may not realize that travel insurance does not cover events directly or indirectly caused by alcohol. It's important for travel agents to relay this to their customers, since many may indulge while on vacation.”
When it comes to imbibing alcohol, Allianz recommends travelers:
1. Drink in moderation/limit alcohol usage.
2. Insist on watching your drink being made.
3. If you are suspicious of the color, then trust your instincts and do not drink it.
4. Bottled or can beer may be a safer option than a prepared drink.
5. Insist that the beer is opened in your presence.
6. Buy your own alcohol at "duty free" and only drink what you brought, even if you are required to pay a "cork fee."
7. Never leave your drink unattended.
8. Be observant and aware of your surroundings.
9. If you do feel ill, seek attention immediately.
10. Call your travel insurance provider if you need help finding medical care or if you are admitted to a hospital.
Be prepared when traveling. Here are a few tips to make sure your trip is enjoyable and memorable.
Take a jacket. Airplanes, restaurants, and many inside attractions get cold. And remember nights get chilly.
Always have an extra USB charger. Batteries die. Your good mood shouldn’t.
Take pictures of your luggage and clothes. If your bag gets lost, this will help identify it more easily and speed up the process of having your travel insurance reimburse you.
Get travel insurance. Travel insurance is the most important thing you get that you never want to use. It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. It will be there if you get robbed, flights get cancelled, you get sick or injured, or have to be sent home. It’s comprehensive and, for just a few dollars a day, one of the best investments you can get for a trip.
Take photos of and with people. True memories are what we are going for here. Lots of photos. Years from now, you’ll want to look back on those photos and the memories you made with the people who made them memorable.
Pack light - It’s OK to wear the same t-shirt a few days in a row. Take half the clothes you think you will need…you won’t need as much as you think. Roll each piece of clothing to keep it as light as possible. Write down a list of essentials, cut it in half, and then only pack that!
Always pack a towel - You never know when you will need it, whether it’s at the beach, on a picnic, or just to dry off. While many hotels offer towels, you never know and carrying a small towel won’t add that much weight to your bag.
But take extra socks and underwear - Mama always said to pack extras because you never know if your trip is extended or you get stranded. I only take a few more than I need. Nothing beats a fresh pair of socks or underwear!
Always get behind business travelers when in security lines - They move fast since they are usually in a rush and travel light. They know the drill. Line up behind them as much as possible. You’ll speed through the line!
Never get behind families - They take forever. It’s not their fault. They just have a lot of stuff because of the kids. Try to avoid getting in lines with lots of kids. It’s going to take awhile.
With these travel tips and more to come, it’s time to put them into practice with a specially designed trip from True Memories Travel. Let’s make true memories that last for a lifetime.