PROTECT YOUR VACATION
Summer is rapidly approaching and with that comes warm weather
and a well-earned vacation. Most of us are dreaming of the
day we can escape the hectic schedules demanded by our profession.
My wife and I have looked at guidebooks from Tahiti, Hong
Kong and the Caribbean in search of the perfect vacation.
The last thing we want to worry about is a traveler supplier
who takes our money then declares bankruptcy or fails for
any reason to deliver the goods. So here's what we did to
protect ourselves from the less than honest travel provider/supplier
or those companies on the verge of insolvency.
Work with a reputable travel provider/supplier or travel
agent. To find out if an agent or provider is trustworthy,
check with the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) or
the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA). Both
organizations require a certain level of expertise and all
members must carry a $1 million bond to protect the consumer
in case the travel provider or agent goes out of business.
Also, check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any
complaints have been lodged against the company.
Use charge cards whenever possible. Not only does it give
you a transaction record or paper trail, many card issuers
can assist in recouping monies lost should the travel provider
go out of business.
Make sure you purchase travel insurance. That insurance should
failure. Also you want to purchase insurance from an independent
the travel supplier. Your travel agent should be able to recommend
good ones. Here's a partial list: Travel Guard International,
Travel Protection, American Express, Global Care, The Travelers,
Mutual of Omaha.
It's important to note the distinction between a travel insurance
such as those listed above and a travel providers policy.
If the travel
provider goes out of business and you purchased one of their
chances are you won't get your money back. By going through
insurance company, you can bet they've checked out the travel
made sure they are a viable and solvent company.
If you buy a travel package, wait a few days then call the
airline or cruise
line direct and make sure you are booked on the right dates,
cruise ship sailings. If not, contact the company or agent
that sold you the
package. If your concerns haven't been addressed call your
company or travel insurer immediately.
When purchasing travel insurance most companies require you
to purchase that
insurance within a week to ten days of when the initial down
payment for the
trip was made. For your own safety please adhere to this deadline
be at the mercy of the travel Gods.
When booking, ask the travel provider or supplier when you
can expect to
receive your tickets. Any delay or evasiveness on their part
should raise a
And lastly, always verify the cancellation policy, restrictions,
delivery method and total cost. If you've responded to an
rate for a cruise or some other travel package, that package
will come with
heavy restrictions, so make sure you read the fine print.
It's a good idea to
check with the travel agent, provider, airline, cruise line
and hotel once
you receive your tickets and again a week or so before you
leave to make sure
everything is still in order.