Are you on the fence about whether you should or shouldn‚Äôt purchase travel insurance? One approach in gauging if you should buy the additional coverage is to think about the sum of money you are putting towards your travel plans, and decide how you would feel if you lost this entire investment. Life is unpredictable. There are quite a number of things that potentially could put a major damper on your vacation, and these circumstances are all likely to be beyond your control. There are three primary areas of coverage that travel insurance generally provides.
If your trip is delayed, interrupted or canceled, this safeguard has your back. Say you or someone who is traveling with you gets sick and you need to reschedule the flights. Without travel protection, this could cost you about $300-$600 per person. The weather can be another unreliable factor in your otherwise meticulously planned getaway. Perhaps uncommon, but tornadoes, blizzards, hurricanes and many other natural setbacks can and do occur.
You may be thinking ‚ÄúI have health insurance, so I don‚Äôt have to worry about this.‚Äù Most U.S. policies do not include benefits for international travel. Should you need medical care while abroad, whether or not you are covered is the last thing you want to worry about.
After watching the baggage carousel make its 20th rotation without a sighting of your much anticipated suitcase or worse, one by one you spot your mangled personal items (on full display for everyone to see) make their way towards you on the conveyer belt, panic sets in. First, take a deep breath, and then feel rest assured that you will be compensated for luggage delays over 24hrs, damaged articles, or suitcases that seemingly disappear off the face of the earth (in the U.S., they end up at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Alabama). However, if you don‚Äôt have this protection, the airline may recoup some of your loss, but the claims could take up to 6 months to process and restitution is based on the depreciated value of your belongings.
Peace of Mind
There are so many reasons to look forward to your future travel plans, and these should be your primary focus. Once you have the appropriate coverage for you trip, there is no need to dwell on all the what ifs. Do be sure to read through the entire protection plan so that you are familiar with what is covered and what is not. When the time arrives for you to reserve your cheap flights to Europe, ask your 1-800-Fly-Europe reservation agent to add the travel insurance to your purchase.
By 1800FlyEurope in Travel Tips | on February 28th, 2012
Our Flight Reservation Agents Divulge their Top Tips on how to Find the Best Airfare Rates
Recently I had a family member ask me for some tips on how to find the best priced, international airfare. Of course I said, “well call 1-800-Fly-Europe, and they‚Äôll help you with the quotes.” I quickly realized that this response wasn‚Äôt sufficient. I do blog for this site, so I should know these things. Right? Fortunately, I work on the same floor as our flight reservation agents, and I knew that they would be the best resource for my investigation. After all, they work incredibly hard to uncover the lowest airline ticket rates for our clients everyday. So I asked our 1-800-Fly-Europe team if they would be willing to share their secrets with me, and they were more than happy to give me their expert advice. Some of the suggestions may surprise you, and there are some common misconceptions people may have on how to go about striking the best deal.
Myth: Buy the ticket as soon as you are offered a great price, or you will lose the rate if you wait a day or even a couple of hours.
Request a Courtesy Hold
Paulsen recommended an option that you may not have heard of: take advantage of Fly-Europe‚Äôs Courtesy Hold. Do you need a few hours or perhaps a night to mull over your options before purchasing a ticket for an international flight? Our agents will gladly place a hold on your seat(s) for your desired itinerary. Now while the initial price of the flight and place on the plane are held, do be aware that the final rate can fluctuate a bit due to fuel costs, taxes, and/or currency exchange rates. Once you decide to finalize your airfare plans, payment will be needed and then your tickets will be issued.
Myth: Wait until a last minute sale to purchase your airfare. Aubry disclosed that ‚Äúmost airlines require at least 7 days advance notice for a booking. The closer you are to your departure date, the less availability there is, and the more expensive the ticket will be.‚Äù
‚ÄúIt is best to reserve your international flight as soon as you know your travel dates,‚Äù advises Marty.
‚ÄúInternational airfare pricing is generally based on a standard supply and demand system: as the plane fills up, the prices are going to increase (depending on the flight class that is requested).‚Äù Be aware that if you plan to travel during the summer or a major holiday (know beforehand events that are occurring in the country you wish to visit) the tickets may be priced differently (higher) based on the high flight sales.
Marty also sheds some light on these last minute sales that are rumored, and said that ‚Äúmost carriers have several classes of service that they offer, and as flights start to fill up, the airlines will close the sales of lower classes of service. They then sell the same seats at a higher price. For flights that aren’t selling fast, they will open up vacancy of lower class tickets until the plane begins filling up, and in turn, airlines close the cheaper seat rates to sell the same flight space at a higher price.‚Äù So, yes, while these rumored sales do exist, they are extremely short lived. If you like to gamble, this may be the option for you.
Is there a particular time of day that is better to reserve a flight?
Yes there is! Virgil recommends to ‚Äúshop early in the morning for airfare, as the availability of seats refreshes overnight.‚Äù The airlines assess and reset their ticket prices at midnight (the time zone is dependent on the location of the carriers‚Äô headquarters). As flights begin to fill up throughout a day, the rates go up.
Are there any particular days that are cheaper to fly?
Shelley suggests choosing weekdays when making your travel arrangements and arranging your schedule (if possible) to include a stay through a Saturday. The more flexibility that you have when planning your trip, the better chances you have of scoring lower airfare. Our reservation agents will help you to search ticket rates for varying days, times, airlines, and even airport locations. You don‚Äôt have to keep all of these options open. For example, just changing the day you fly in or out of a location (Monday-Thursday are generally the lower cost days to book) could make a huge difference on the price quote.
Should you buy travel insurance?
The general consensus of our reservation agents is that it is highly recommended that you purchase travel insurance. How does spending approximately $45-$65 (4% of the travel cost) per round trip save you money? If something comes up and you need to cancel or reschedule your flight, you either stand the chance of losing the funds spent on a trip you didn‚Äôt take, or you risk the possibility of having to pay a $350 change fee to reschedule your travel plans. Circumstances beyond your control can pop up while you are abroad, and with this extra coverage comes the peace of mind that you are protected for matters such as injury/illness and lost luggage.
I love to travel. I feel lucky to have such knowledgeable coworkers who know the ins and outs to booking low cost airfare, and now I am sharing their tips with you. Let one of our reservation agents work their magic for you to book flights to Nice, Munich, Barcelona, and many more destinations.
By 1800FlyEurope in Travel Tips | on January 26th, 2012
So you were a good Do-Bee and showed up to board your flight the recommended two hours prior to scheduled departure (or three hours if it is an international flight), you flew through airport security and now you find yourself at the boarding gate staring at the minute hand on your watch. What to do? Myself, I have a little preflight ritual that helps pass the time that I quite enjoy. I hit the shops! No, I am not advising you to go on a shopping spree. These days where the only real estate in the country being snatched up is the space in the overhead compartment above your seat, this kind of move could be detrimental to your in-flight well being. Once fellow passengers catch you stuffing bags into their storage territory, um, you‚Äôre on your own. (Many shops will assist you in arranging for bulky items to be delivered to a destination or to be collected from a designated kiosk upon returning from your trip, but to err on the side of simplicity, I‚Äôm going to list smaller and more essential airport buys.)
When the aircraft reaches a cruising altitude of about 35,000 feet, your ears will thank you for this purchase. You will also feel confident striking up a conversation with those seated next to you because your breath smells minty fresh. (If you typically experience ear pain due to air pressure changes when flying, consult your doctor for other alternatives that aid in alleviating this type of discomfort before you travel.)
Books & Magazines
A trip to the airport bookstore is an absolute must for me. I look forward to this shopping experience, and I do not worry about which books are supposedly on a best sellers list beforehand. The shops already stock their shelves with top reads, and I like to take a bit of time perusing the book jacket blurbs in search of a novel that piques my interest. For good measure, I normally pick up a magazine as well. Oh, and when everyone else is being instructed to turn off their electronic devices, this good old paper standby won‚Äôt let you down.
Healthy Meal To Go
Yes, you could pack a little something from home to eat in flight, but beware of liquid regulations and be prepared to potentially slow down the line at the security check point. Short flights may not offer their passengers anything more than ¬Ω an ounce of peanuts or sell an expensive box of junk food. I like to grab a sandwich to munch on during the flight. (If flying internationally, do know that you may not be permitted to bring certain foods into another country. You may have to part with produce, meat, and other possible edibles at the customs counter). I would not suggest buying a large beverage prior to boarding either. Most airlines will serve a complementary small drink, and do you really want to squeeze past the person seated by your side to use the phone booth sized restroom mid-flight?
I actually look forward spending some time meandering through the terminal in search of these things before boarding an aircraft. For me, this makes having to arrive at the airport early worth the slight inconvenience. These items are relatively inexpensive and will not take up much space in your carry-on. While waiting to board your next flights to Paris or Amsterdam, add a little shopping to your pre-departure routine.
Traveling internationally with our furry friends in tow is becoming more common practice these days, but it is vital that you do all your research well in advance before planning a trip with an animal. You need to be sure that you have all the required documents in order, your pet has all of the country specific vaccinations, you know the regulations of the individual country (or countries) that you are visiting, and that your copilot is prepared physically and psychologically for such an adventure.
Call your Pet‚Äôs Veterinarian
The first person you need to talk to, before even considering taking Fluffy out of the country, is her veterinarian. There are many important travel scenarios that need to be discussed with a professional, and there are uncertainties that can make or break your plans. Certain factors, such as the time of year you wish to fly, can play a big part on Fluffy’s comfort and health. For example, if it is summer time, is the cargo area of the plane air conditioned? Or, if it is winter, is the area heated? You need to ask lots of questions to find out if the transit may be too much for your pet to handle.
Research Individual Airline Regulations
Each air carrier has their own policies on pet travel, and prior to booking your flight, you should do some investigation on what various airlines do and don‚Äôt permit. For example, a smaller pet may be allowed to fly with you in the cabin, but it is up to each carrier to determine this. Do be sure to read up on pet carrier specifications for the air service you plan on utilizing as well.
Contact the Country¬†(or Countries) Consulate/Embassy
Before you purchase an airline ticket, be sure to that you have talked to someone from the consulate/embassy of the country (or countries)you plan on visiting to find out what their rules on animal import/export entail. Some countries require pets to be quarantined for a designated period of time before they are free to roam internationally, and it is possible that upon returning from abroad, your four-legged bud may require to be isolated before being permitted to run free in their homeland again. If you only plan on being away for a couple weeks, depending on country specific laws on international pet travel, it may be best to leave Fido with a care provider.
Health Certificate from APHIS Accredited Veterinarian
The official health documents needed to enter another country have to be filled out by an accredited veterinarian from APHIS (the United States Department of Agriculture‚Äôs Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service). Contact your state appointed¬†Veterinary Service Office to discuss your travel plans and necessary paperwork. The USDA has put together a very helpful list of commonly asked questions to explain this process in more detail. Many European nations require your pet to have a microchip implanted or to be tattooed for identification purposes; this is all information that your state Veterinary Service Office will be able to provide.
This post is only intended to be used as a starting point in planning your trip abroad with your fuzzy pal. Many pet travel regulations differ greatly depending on individual country and airline policies. These can change, so it is important that you check back for revisions that may have been made on animal transport procedures before every trip you take. I would like to suggest that you make a list of questions to ask your pet‚Äôs vet, APHIS, and the consulate/embassy of the country¬†(or countries) to which you are traveling. Do not be afraid to voice your concerns when speaking to any of these agencies, as they may assume that you already know pertinent details. Bottom line, do what is best for your pet. I have a 13 year old Labrador Retriever whom I would love to have by my side on my flights to Germany or to Italy, but I know that a trip like this would be too stressful on my old pup.