Travel Insurance

SOURCE: TravelPulse

Nearly half of Americans did not know whether their domestic health insurance plans would cover any emergency doctor or hospital visits while traveling abroad, according to a survey conducted by InsureMyTrip, a leading travel insurance comparison site.

“Travelers should know about any limitations of domestic health insurance policies while out of the country,” the company said.

“In most cases, there are gaps in coverage. Some gaps are significant. Travel insurance is recommended because it can act as supplemental or primary coverage.”

Travel advisors couldn’t agree more.

“I always recommend travel insurance to my clients, especially when traveling internationally,” said Amy Daniel, owner of Custom Design Travel.

“I let them know that many private insurance companies do not cover you while traveling abroad. Sometimes a minor medical issue while traveling can turn into a catastrophe without proper insurance. Travel insurance provides an added layer of protection for you as you travel.”

Daniel noted that it’s also important that clients have a policy that offers both cancellation for covered medical reasons as well as medical coverage and emergency services.

“I never travel without it personally,” she said. “If clients seem hesitant, I tell them real stories of things that I have had happen to clients over the last 25 years.

“They always respond with ‘Gosh I never thought about that.’

And although the pandemic is ebbing, it is clearly not over.

“When you add COVID into the mix – and the COVID testing requirement to return to the US – travel insurance is a must,” VIP Vacations President Jennifer Doncsez said.

“VIP Vacations primarily recommends Travel Insured, which has quarantine coverage at a specific reimbursement rate per day should anyone test Doncsecz positive prior to returning home,” she said.

“If our clients are solely interested in the medical coverage while abroad and the quarantine allowance in destination, we highlight that through Travel Insured. They can purchase a policy that provides for both of these items without purchasing a full policy that covers pretravel cancellation.”

Doncsecz said this is especially recommended for “clients are close to their travel dates and are getting nervous.”

“When we send our clients their documents and have notated that they declined purchasing insurance from the onset, we gently suggest adding the medical/quarantine insurance and more often than not, it is purchased before they travel.”

Another compelling reason why travelers should opt for insurance is trip delays, said Tammy Levent of Elite Travel. “With all the airline delays these days, my clients are opting for this more and more.”

There are also an excellent reasons why older travelers in particular should opt for travel insurance.

“My clientele tends to be a bit older, so one of the first things that I let them know is that if they have Medicare, they will not have medical coverage outside of the US,” said Trish Gastineau, owner of Simply Customized Travel. “It’s something that they have not thought about.”

Gastineau said that one of her current selling points is “a travel policy I offer with a $200 per person, per day coverage in the event the clients get quarantined if they test positive overseas for COVID.”

The per diem benefit is in effect for 10 days, which therefore provides travelers with “a benefit for hotel meals and transportation of about to $2000 per covered passenger,” Gastineau said.

“Given COVID times, the lack of certainty regarding air schedules, and the US government’s insistence on a 10-day waiting period before those who test positive may return to the States, everyone traveling with us must carry travel insurance,” said Churchill & Turen Managing Director.

“It is a “travel IQ” thing. If you’re not smart enough to want proper insurance you’re not smart enough to be a Churchill & Turen guest,” he added.

“The new reality is that to be insured or not insured is no longer a question. The only question is whether or not the guest will/should supplement travel insurance with emergency medical evacuation coverage such as that offered by Med-Jet.

Turen’s advice?

Look at the medical evacuation line of the insurance policy. “If it is less than half a million dollars – move on to the next policy,” he said.

These days, many travel advisors are insisting that their clients sign waivers. “They are theoretically absolving the advisor from legal responsibility,” Turen said.

“So what? I don’t care about the legal ramifications. I care about the guests and their welfare. Too stupid to insure – visit Disneyland instead of Tuscany.”

In the end, err on the side of caution.

“Emergencies are just that – emergencies!” said Grant of Custom Design Travel.

“Nobody plans for one, but you want to be protected should it happen to you.”

SOURCE: TravelPulse


The ubiquity of technology combined with the lasting impact of the pandemic has formed a perfect storm of confusion for consumers – which is why it’s absolutely crucial that they book their trips with travel advisors.

“Living in a world where endless information is at our fingertips, planning a vacation has gone from being independent and booking it online yourself, to ‘I am so overwhelmed with all of the options out there,’” said JoAnne Weeks, vacation division director at Acendas Travel.

“We are finding even the savviest travelers are now seeking out a travel advisor. What consumers are coming to realize is what they see online is not as unsettling as what they don’t see. That’s where a travel advisor comes in.”

Added Churchill & Turen Managing Director Richard Turen: “You cannot use the Internet to find the world’s top-rated cruise line. You cannot use the Internet to obtain a professionally written hotel inspection report. You cannot find a caring personal travel health advocate on Twitter. For that and so much more you need a travel truthteller who represents you and you alone.”

Turen said he likes to think of a great travel advisor as a trusted physician who knows their clients well.

“The trip ‘diagnosis and recommendation’ should never be placed in the hands of a commissioned call center robot working out of Miami, Mumbai or Manila.”

Then there are the issues of time.

“Clients call us frustrated that they have long hold times,” Elite Travel Management Group CEO Tammy Levent said while being on hold for two hours with a cruise line.

“I have so many people calling me saying, ‘I booked online and need to change my ticket,’” she said.

“If it’s an airline issue, the client has to wait on hold for hours at a time, and then there’s the change fee for third-party bookings. So, at the end of the day, it costs clients both money and time.”

“There have been so many last-minute changes due to COVID and our clients were spared the endless hours on the phones with the airlines or hoteliers,” said VIP Vacations President Jennifer Doncsecz. “Having a travel advisor on speed dial is the best travel hack out there!”

There are also the myriad issues relating to protocols, travel advisories and red tape stemming from the pandemic.

“I can’t tell you how many times in the past year VIP Vacations has helped our clients with getting their passports or having to walk them off the ledge when they were confused with online forms that needed to be completed before arrival in a destination,” Doncsecz said.

“We thoroughly detail travel insurance options to meet their very specific needs so they protect their investment.”

For his part, Turen believes it would be helpful for every advisor to keep a carefully designed list of the multiple functions they perform – virtually all of them complimentary.

“We help interpret dreams, we operationalize them and then we become advocates of strength for the clients who entrust the best moments of their lives to our care,” he said.

“In defining what we do we must explain to clients that if they book directly with a supplier call center they are likely entitled to a refund of the entire travel advisor’s commission.

“If we don’t do this, suppliers will continue this massive consumer rip-off in which naive consumers who do not use a professional travel advisor are charged the advisor commission anyway.

“Travelers deserve to be covered by consumer protection laws.”

In the final analysis, the value of using travel advisors boils down to their formidable knowledge and experience.

“The value of providing first-hand destination experience, having personal relationships with preferred vendors – which goes a very long way in today’s world of travel challenges – and being up to date with any and all COVID requirements is priceless,” said Weeks.

“We’ve been a trusted resource long before Google and we know the correct answers,” said Sarah Kline, president of Time for Travel.

“I don’t do my own taxes, cut my own hair or change my oil. I use someone who specializes in these services who I trust.

“Without a travel agent, you are on your own!”

SOURCE: ABC Action News

TAMPA BAY — St. Petersburg retirees Alan and Jessica Kapell have traveled around the world for the last three decades. The avid cruisers say they never leave home without travel insurance.

“We’ve never taken a cruise without having insurance because everything and anything can happen,” Alan told ABC Action News.

And for 30 years they’ve never had an issue with a claim, until their planned trip was canceled and they tried to get reimbursed.

The couple had purchased a week-long cruise around the Caribbean last fall and were set to sail out of Port Canaveral the day after Christmas.

But in December Alan suffered a debilitating back problem and his doctor grounded him from the trip. Alan said the condition prevents him from walking without pain.

By January, the Kapells said they’d filed everything needed to process the insurance claim. Then they waited. January came and went and so did February. Alan said he tried calling and emailing the customer service number for Nationwide but received nothing more than an email stating the company was experiencing a very high volume of claims.

Tammy Levent, President of Elite Travel in Clearwater, understands travel insurers are busy as travel hits post pandemic highs. She advises checking out online reviews before choosing a travel protection plan. “You have to research before you book with anyone to make sure they pay claims,” Levent said.

After two months of waiting on his insurance money, the Kapells made a call for action to Jackie Callaway, who in turn reached out to Nationwide.

Alan Kapell said that’s when he got a call telling him everything had been finalized.”

In this email to the Kappels a Nationwide travel claims customer service staffer stated: “We sincerely apologize for the delayed response and for the email that you received in error on February 10, 2022. Your claim was not approved at that time however, your review was completed today and payment was approved in the amount of $2074.07.”

Two checks totaling just over $2,070 – the cost of the cruise – arrived in the Kapells mailbox in late March.

If you run into trouble with any insurance claim the state of Florida has a helpline run by Florida’s Department of Financial Services.

While its completely understandable that so many people are concerned about traveling due to the coronavirus outbreak, I feel it’s really important to put everything in perspective. Even though there’s no one-size-fits all answer to this current predicament that’s literally affecting the entire world now, using a common sense approach is essential, as it’s too easy for some to let fear and/or their emotions get in the way of their ability to think clearly during this particular time in traveling history.

I want everyone to know that there are still many places they can travel to, as many places are still considered to be safe. So for those who want or need to travel at this time, it’s really just a matter of figuring out what places are still safe to travel to. This requires travelers to keep on top of all travel news related to the virus, making it essential that they educate themselves well. This is simple to do, as those who still want to go on with their travel plans at this time just need to keep on top of all travel advisories, as they can change at any given moment.

How to Protect Oneself

There are a few things travelers can do to protect themselves, as it’s necessary to avoid being exposed to the virus in order to prevent one from getting ill. The best ways travelers can protect themselves from getting the virus is to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, not touch their face, wear a mask if it makes them feel safer, and maintain at least 3 feet in between them and anyone who is exhibiting any signs of the virus, like coughing and sneezing.

The CDC has posted the following questions for travelers, which will help them make a final decision on whether or not they should travel during this outbreak.

  • Is COVID-19 spreading where you’re going?
  • Will you or your travel companion(s) be in close contact with others during your trip?
  • Are you or your travel companion(s) at higher risk of severe illness if you do get COVID-19?
  • Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you get exposed to, or are sick with, COVID-19?
  • Do you live with someone who is older or has a severe chronic health condition?
  • Is COVID-19 spreading where you live?

Important Coronavirus Facts

Because I feel it’s so important for travelers to understand everything they need to know at this time, I thought it would be beneficial to make a list of facts to help travelers determine what they should do regarding traveling at this particular time. While all travel-related facilities are indeed taking great measures to reduce the risk of anyone getting diagnosed with the virus, it’s still necessary for all travelers to take matters into their own hands by doing everything possible to protect themselves from the virus, as there is no vaccine as of yet.

The list of facts below are beneficial for any traveler, as there’s so much information on the Internet and on the news nowadays, it can be difficult for travelers to understand what is fact and what is fiction.


  • FACT: The State Department has issued a Global Level 3 health advisory, which means that those who live within the United States are encouraged to reconsider any travels to other countries that have confirmed cases of the coronavirus. A Global Level 4 advisory, which has not happened yet, is the level that prevents travelers from taking part in any type of travel. So traveling is still an option.


  • FACT: Transportation facilities are taking extreme measures to clean high-touch areas often throughout the day, minimizing the risk of someone getting the virus when traveling by bus, train and airplane. Special attention is also being placed on cleaning areas where staff work, like check-in counters. They have also provided travelers with more hand sanitizing locations, encouraging travelers to use them often.


  • FACT: It’s an option for travelers to check in for their transportation travels using their cell phone. This is a good idea, as it means they don’t have to touch any self-service kiosks in order to check in for their reservation. And instead of handing over their phone to one of the agents or baggage handlers for identification purposes, they can simply hold on to their phone and show them the information.


  • FACT: Hotels are also responding to the outbreak, as they’re increasing the frequency of how often the clean any public areas. They’re also training employees on new ways to clean, helping to minimize the chances of any hotel guests being diagnosed. This includes cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting all areas of a hotel, including any food areas.

 Bottom Line

It’s up to travelers whether or not they want to travel during this current outbreak. The above facts should help travelers make the right decision, as these factual pieces of information are in place in order to help travelers make the right decision. All travelers are definitely encouraged to use a common sense approach when making their decisions, vs. letting their fear or emotions take over. If the decision to travel has been made, then it’s essential for all travelers to buy a travel insurance policy.

Elite Travel Management Group, Inc

The Responsible Traveler

by JuJuB

What responsibilities does a traveler have when booking a trip? While many people associate responsible travelers as those who are mindful of their carbon footprint, respect the culture and customs of the places they’re visiting, and will take the time to learn about a place before choosing to travel to that location, there are other ways that travelers need to be responsible. Ready to learn more?

The Responsible Traveler

Anytime a traveler uses a travel agent to book their next trip, both the traveler and the travel agent must be sure to pay very close attention to their individual responsibilities. The responsibility of the travel agent is to plan the trip in a way that meets all of the travelers wants and needs. This includes doing things like making travel reservations, hotel accommodations, tour reservations, entertainment reservations, and selling them necessary travel insurance.


The list below includes the many different ways that travelers need to be responsible when booking their next trip, whether they use a travel agent or not.

  • Make sure all documents are printed and taken with you on your trip. Making 2 copies and keeping them in separate places is recommended, as well as leaving copies with trusted friends and/or family members.
  • Make sure any travel company you want to do business with is legit. Simply performing some detailed research will give you the information you need.
  • Be sure to get every person’s name you’re dealing with. This supports your ability to have a trail when it’s necessary to contact these people for any reason.
  • Make sure your passport will not expire in the next 6 months. Most countries won’t let travelers enter unless their passport expires at least 6 months after their last day of travel.
  • Know where you are and who to contact in case of an emergency. This is one of the first things you should do when staying in a new location.
  • Take out travel insurance, for you and all who are traveling with you. You never know when something will happen, like an injury, or someone back home gets sick. The current Coronavirus crises is a perfect example of why you need travel insurance, as it’s not the responsibility of the hotel, airline, or travel agent if something happens to you during your travels. When buying travel insurance, be sure to read all the fine print, and find out what the cancellation policy requires you to do.


Have a Great Time, Responsible Traveler!

Elite Travel Management Group, Inc

Thinking about traveling Solo? More and more people are deciding to travel solo nowadays. There are many different reasons why someone would book a solo trip, with a few of the more popular reasons being they can follow their own schedule, they don’t have to wait for anyone else, they can travel at their own pace and they can spend as much time as they want to in any particular location.

How to be Safe When Traveling Alone

Solo travelers need to understand how to be safe when traveling alone. While it’s unfortunate that there is a need for solo travelers to take special precautions, it’s necessary in today’s world. Travelers who choose to go it alone must recognize how they can prevent problems from happening in the first place, which requires them to always be very aware of their surroundings. If problems do happen to arise during their travels, then they need to have the knowledge and skills necessary to safely handle the problem.

A Few Traveling Solo Safety Tips

The following is a list of some beneficial safety tips for those who choose to travel alone.


  • Thoroughly research the area before taking the trip. Safe solo traveling starts before leaving one’s house. This makes it necessary for solo travelers to perform a lot of research on the area their traveling to, as well as nearby areas. Checking the latest news articles is a good idea, as this can get a lot of details on what’s happening in the area.
  • Always keep your valuables on your person when traveling from one place to another. The best place to keep valuables when traveling solo includes using a money belt, backpack, fanny pack and/or in one’s bra.
  • Don’t be too quick to give someone your trust. Just because someone is ‘nice’ doesn’t mean that they are trustworthy.
  • Try not to make yourself stand out too much, as this increases your chances of becoming a target. Criminals know how to spot an easy target, so don’t make yourself one. Wear modest clothing, simple jewelry and don’t count your money in public.
  • Buy travel insurance before you go. Travel insurance is a necessary expense as it gives you peace of mind.
  • Register with your government when traveling for two weeks or more. Registering as a citizen who is traveling solo and abroad for at least two weeks with the government is always a good idea, just in case.

Elite Travel Management Group, Inc

What Happens When a Resort Closes?

by JuJuB

So what do you do when a resort closes due to an emergency situation?

It’s always a good idea to have a plan in place so you’re able to handle any type of emergency situation that may arise. This is one of the reasons why I always work with a tour operator, as you never know what’s going to happen!

Knowing exactly how to handle a travel emergency can help you be seen as a better travel agent. Travel agents are expected to handle every single aspect when booking travel arrangements for their clients, and if you can learn how to properly deal with any travel emergencies that come your way then you’re definitely on the right path.

I recently got an email from one of my clients who saw a Facebook post that said somewhere in the Caribbean Islands a resort was shutting down. They announced they would be temporarily closing starting the very next month and wouldn’t be opening up again until for a few more months, at least.

Unfortunately, not everyone is personally advised when a resort is going to be shutting down. So you can only imagine how people would be scrambling in order to find a new resort location due to such short notice that was given! These types of quick shut downs can really make for bad business.

And it’s the clients  who pay the price, as they have to scramble when on their vacation. Now they are on the hook for finding another resort to stay at, and with very little time to do so. Not a good situation to be in!

When resorts shut down they do often offer choices – relocate and stay at another resort, reschedule the client’s vacation, or cancel the booking and receive a full refund. None of these options are ideal. Especially if the client wants to cancel because the resort states that they have no control over airline bookings and therefore can’t offer them any refunds for airfare. So what happens to their airfare if they cancel?

Yes, a resort closing last minute can really throw everyone for a loop! I definitely recommend having a tour operator on your side that you can trust and work with on an ongoing basis to help you out when these types of situations come up.

Elite Travel Management Group, Inc

image source: Copyright: <a href=’’>parilovv / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

eliteincentivetravelMany businesses have realized that good travel incentive programs for their employees usually pay for themselves. The workers will compensate all the expenses that a company incurs for arranging the trip in term of increased performance. Even your employer may be offering you and some other employees an incentive travel program after meeting a particular target or after a specified amount of time. However, it can be a challenge for you to leave your spouse/partner or children behind during the trip. Although your employer may not be willing to pay for your guest, here’s what you should do to bring a guest with you.

First, contact the travel agency that is handling the travel accommodations. Let them know the situation and ask them what the fees would be to bring someone along. In the event you can’t pay the fees up front you may need to inquire about how long you have to use your travel voucher. Of course, you’ll also need to go back to your employer and found out when you can take your time off.

Next, get to work coming up with the funds to bring your travel companion. Try not to use a credit card for the expense as you will end up dealing with interest charges making the trip even more expensive. Perhaps your travel companion can work a few extra shifts to pay their way or maybe there are a few things around the house you’ve been meaning to sell at a garage sale or on consignment anyway that could pay for the trip. Where there is a will there is a way!

If worse comes to worst it might be time to see if you can use your voucher for a cheaper trip. Ask your travel agent what options are available to you.


eliteincentivetravelAsk anyone why they work and odds are their answer will be either “because they have to” or “for the money.” Employees who work for the money are more likely to work harder if given the opportunity to earn additional incentives. Incentives motivate employees to work harder because they equate their pay to the amount of effort they put in. So, when employees feel as though they are being rewarded for their efforts they will naturally work harder.

A travel incentive feels more valuable than money because a dream trip is something many people wouldn’t ordinarily buy. Research shows that although cash bonuses are always an attractive reward, travel gifts top the list of most desired employee rewards. Cash can be spent, or even squandered in a heartbeat but an all-expense paid trip is something that people fear they can rarely afford, let alone have the time to take.

Several companies choose not to offer travel incentives to their employees because they find it difficult to justify adding vacations for their staff to the budget, but the truth is the companies that do offer travel incentives are better at recruiting and keeping productive employees that maintain higher levels of motivation.

Want to learn more about incentive programs for your business? Start here:

  1. Incentive Travel programs don’t cost you anything until the quotas you set are met. Read more about how your program comes with zero risk to you and your company.
  2. How to launch a travel incentive program, step-by-step.
  3. Where should you send your employees? Read this to decide between domestic and international travel.

Also see the best destinations article here.

  1. Your incentive program could be completely tax deductible. Read this to learn more!
  2. Learn how to budget for your travel incentive program here.

Still not convinced that a travel incentive program is right for you? Call Elite Travel and we can answer any additional questions you may have.


eliteincentivetravelRegardless of whether you are going abroad or simply across the United States, if you will be flying to a destination for your incentive trip, non-stop flights are better than those that require stops and layovers. Though the trip may be cheaper if you have multiple stops, let’s take a look at why you’re far better off going the non-stop route.

1. The chances of baggage being lost is reduced because there is only one stop. Even if you go through customs, your baggage won’t change hands nearly as many times as it would with multiple stops.

2. Chances for delays are minimized. You’ll reach your meeting in one swift flight. Consider this for a moment- what happens if your flight gets delayed? Heading there it will mean missing out on some of your vacation. But, what about on your way back? If your flight is delayed, or heaven forbid, canceled, will your boss understand you not making it into work? This was a vacation after all. Odds are the absence or tardiness resulting from your delay won’t be excused. On another note, risks of delays is one reason why it’s a good idea to fly home a full day ahead of the time you’re expected back to work for any vacation you take.

3. You’ll save a lot of time and get to your vacation destination much faster. If a straight shot flight is 12 hours, but multiple stops force your travel time to take double or triple that you’re losing valuable vacation moments.

4. Taking off and landing will be a one time thing on the way there and once on the way back. This may seem trivial to you, but for people who get nervous during those moments of flying one way flights are a God send.

So, for your next flight, especially for one that is for an incentive trip from your boss, make sure it’s a non-stop flight. You’ll be glad you did!


Newer Posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept