- Italian health authorities are screening 6,000 passengers and 1,000 crew aboard Costa Smeralda. On 30 January 2020, the cruise ship was quarantined at Italy’s Civitavecchia port located north of Rome.
- Due to a large number of sick cruisers on board of AIDAperla ship, Saint Lucia and Dominica authorities have denied entry into their shores.
- Passenger improper behavior on the plane made the flight for 240 people miserable, caused cancellation of two flights, and affected their entire trips.
- Nightmare on board of three cruise ships in Asia with their journeys disrupted due to coronavirus.
Could travelers imagine their vacation like this? However, sometimes it happened and then a dream vacation can turn into a nightmare. As an experienced travel agent, I can tell you many similar stories about how some of my clients challenged with different issues while traveling.
There are a few valuable tips on how to enjoy your trip, save money, and have a stress-free vacation.
- Always buy travel insurance. It will protect your trip investment and save money in case of necessary illness treatment at hospitals abroad. Along with the Costa cruise line, numerous other companies canceled or made changes to their scheduled flights, cruises, and tours. Many travel suppliers gave full refunds for their services to travelers. Though, people who booked cruises or tours should also cancel their flights, excursions, and hotels for pre- or post-stay. Some airlines waived cancellation or change fees. Travelers can rebook their flights. But a difference in fare or special conditions may apply.
- Make sure you are covered. Travel insurance may include medical expenses coverage, trip cancellation and interruption, accident death, flight accident coverage, baggage loss, delays, and personal effect coverage. If you have an employer’s insurance benefit or a credit card insurance, read an insurance policy carefully to know exactly what you are covered for. It is highly recommended to have medical insurance because unexpected medical treatment abroad can be financially devastating. A medical bill can run in the five or six figures. If you have an employer’s insurance benefits or a credit card insurance, read an insurance policy carefully to understand coverage. To compare briefly credit cards’ insurance coverage, visit website https://travelandcards.com/ca
- Nowadays, digital tools are available for DIY trip reservation. However, each year thousands of new hotels and ships come on the scene, new itineraries and flight schedules, changing entry visa requirements, and travel providers going out of business make your research overwhelmed. In addition to that, political unrest, transit strikes, disease outbreaks, and natural disasters can cause your trip cancellation.
- Book with travel agents. They are your guard angels and advocates. They take care of all little details. If something will go wrong during your trip, you can rely on them. The experienced travel agents monitor and handle the situation. They will provide support 24/7 if you have any problems while traveling. Don't waist your time waiting in long lines with 200-300 passengers to rebook your flight at the terminal, or be on the phone with travel suppliers, waiting hours listening to music or message “all agents are currently busy". Give just a call to your travel agent. She/he will help you to reschedule the flight, cancel hotel, tours, and car rental reservations for you.
- Book your trip with trusted websites if you still want to DIY. According to the AHLA, 23% of victims reported being misled in some way by third-party booking sites in 2018. Online booking scams cost customers over $5.7 billion.
- Read written policies on cancellation and changes. Confirm them before booking. Pay attention to contact information on travel websites, especially if they provide a toll-free phone number. It is very important contact information if you have an emergency traveling abroad.
- Check company score on the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Look whether they are registered with the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO). Registered TICO agencies and websites provide additional customer protection. Book with a TICO registered travel agent or website.
- Register on travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration website. Registration of Canadians Abroad is a free service that allows the Government of Canada to notify you in case of an emergency abroad or a personal emergency at home.
- Be familiar with travel.gc.ca/assistance/emergency-assistance website where you can find contact information and resources that can assist you to manage emergency or crisis situations that may arise while you are abroad.
- Check https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories website before your trip, for updating destination-specific travel information.
- Check the latest update for international travel on the World Health Organization website https://www.who.int/ith/en/
- More information to check before you go: http://www.worldwellnesstravel.ca/helpful-links.html
Travel Abroad: 10 Things to Know for a Safe Travel