As we come upon the busy Summer travel season, it’s important to keep in mind that travel, while fun and enlightening, can also bring about different issues of safety and liability, especially when traveling abroad. When booking travel, you should be aware of the entities involved, and how you can maximize your experiences by preparing and planning for situations that be more challenging to handle than they would be at home.
Booking your Trip with Travel Agencies
Modern day travel is easier, quicker and often cheaper when you book it yourself. There are countless websites available to assist you in planning your trip. However, if you book your arrangements through a travel agency you are able to obtain the expertise of a professional in the travel business.
Travel agents generally represent the providers of travel, such as an airline, cruise line, railroad, hotel, resort, and rental car companies. Agents can obtain good deals at little to no cost to you. In fact, you may even be able to get a better rate when using an experienced and qualified agent. You also have someone to rely upon to make sure that your plans are as ordered. In other words, you have someone who is liable and responsible for your vacation plans.
Although there is no national regulating body for travel agencies you can and should rely upon word of mouth and past experiences to select an agent that best suits your needs. Several agencies specialize in certain types of travel experiences (cruises, African Safaris or family outings). Ask for references, speak to people who have used the agent before and do your homework to verify the plans.
Travel agents can also offer you a variety of insurance coverages for your trip. The coverage ranges from emergency cancellations to a cancellation for any reason. Check with your agent or travel insurance company before selecting an appropriate coverage for you. Print a copy of any coverage that you purchase and bring it with you on your trip. Review the coverage prior to your departure and make sure that you understand the requirements for obtaining benefits.
Rental Cars and Liability
If you use your credit card to rent a car, most credit card companies cover liability insurance for a rental car, although the terms and locations that are covered vary by the individual credit card company. Make sure you check with your credit card company prior to travel to find out what kind of insurance you may have already by learning the details and limits of the coverage, and ensure that the destination where you will rent the car is covered by your card. Print out all necessary documents and take them with you to the rental car counter.
When traveling internationally, some of the terms and conditions of agreements may be more difficult to understand, and you want to make sure that you are covered in case of any situation where you may be liable for damages. Check with all of your credit card companies and even your own car insurance company before renting a car to see what kind of coverage exists and is available to you prior to renting a car.
General Travel Safety
It’s always a good idea to check the U.S. State Department’s website for information related to any travel advisories when planning for International travel. Not all International destinations are safe at all times, and it’s good to have due diligence in preparing for any issues that may arise overseas, especially when traveling with loved ones. It may also be a good idea to register your travel on the U.S. State Department website so that you can be easily contacted if there is a safety concern in your area of travel.
Enjoy your Travels
No matter where in the world you travel take the time to stop, look and listen. Pay attention to your surroundings. Get to know the local customs, cultures and people. Stay with the group if you are traveling in an obscure location and make sure that you know where you, where you are going and when you need to get back to your home base at all times. If you plan on being safe, take precautions and exercise caution your trip will be that much more enjoyable.
Travel Agents: Their Role & Liability. (n.d.). Retrieved April 11, 2017, from http://www.americanbar.org/publications/gp_solo/2013/may_june/travel_agents_their_role_and_liability.html
Linda Burbank, Special for USA TODAY. (2014, May 21). Overseas car insurance a minefield for travelers. Retrieved April 11, 2017, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/columnist/burbank/2014/05/14/rental-car-insurance/9075951/