When you’re planning a trip and dreaming about all of the wonderful memories you’re going to make with your cherished loved ones, the last thing on your mind is a pandemic. No one wants to think about emergency situations before, during, or after travel, but they’re a reality that every traveler should prepare for.
When something goes awry, that’s when travel advisors are really there to help.
We’re here for you throughout your planning process, of course, but we are your number one advocates and fighters when something does not go according to plan. We are the experts and we vow to use our industry knowledge to assist our clients in any way that we can. We handle everything from the easier (but nonetheless jarring) quandaries like missed flights, all the way to entirely rerouted itineraries and insurance company struggles.
So, before (and potentially after) your plans get turned upside down, how does a travel advisor assist?
Planning for Emergency Situations
Planning ahead for sticky situations is always better than reacting to them after they happen. One of the best ways to ensure that your travel investment is protected is through travel insurance. As a Virtuoso travel advisor, I require that my clients have travel insurance. They can choose not to, but we strongly recommend against that.
Travel advisors can help you sort through your insurance options and explain anything that is unfamiliar. Much like insurance for anything else, travel insurance coverage can vary widely, so it is important to read the contracts thoroughly and decide from there. We can offer suggestions for insurance providers and provide tips for contract language to look out for.
After the Unthinkable Happens...What Next?
If Your Trip Hasn’t Started Yet...
If you have purchased travel insurance and you’re not currently on your trip, you have a decision to make: to cancel, to postpone, or to go on the trip anyway. That decision is ultimately up to you, but we can be a sounding board for your ideas and we can ensure that you are aware of what effects each decision will bring, from a travel insurance standpoint.
We aren’t here to judge what decisions you make, but if you ask us for our opinions, we will be honest with you. We’re here to support you through this process.
If Your Trip Is Underway…
If something comes up that forces you to cancel the rest of your trip, save all receipts. To get the maximum reimbursement from your insurance policy, you need to have records of everything you spent in the process of getting back home. Your travel advisor should have records for any parts of the trip that you have not yet completed, but you need to keep track of the interval expenses so that we can assist you more when you return.
Your travel advisor will also connect you to the insurance company’s emergency team, if that is necessary. That team will then walk you through the process of documentation and approvals. Be sure that you follow their instructions exactly, as incomplete paperwork may result in your claims being denied.
If you didn’t purchase travel insurance, you still may be able to recoup some of your losses. Some banks will refund services that you paid for in advance but did not use.
Whether your trip is in progress or months away, your travel advisor will have up-to-date information on airline, hotel, and service provider cancellation/flight change policies. If information is still developing, they can point you in the direction of updates.
This isn’t the first time that travel schedules have been affected en masse and it will not be the last. I know this is an uncomfortable time. Travel advisors can’t control it all, but I promise you we are all doing as much as we can to ease the strain, while still taking care of our loved ones as well.
What can we do? We can anticipate, plan, evaluate, plan again, and move forward.
If you’re in need of travel assistance, do not hesitate to reach out.
Author: Debra Harris
As founder of Life’s Journey Travel, I’m deeply passionate about creating custom travel experiences that allow my clients to truly savor the journey.