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2011 Holiday Travel Tips: Tough Going Ahead

November 9, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent

The 2011 holiday travel season is predicted to offer a more expensive flying experience thanks to a combination of airline fees for checking holiday bags, paying for pre-selected seats to keep a family together onboard, surcharges for flying on busiest travel dates and pre-paying for nonrefundable hotel nights to guarantee a reservation or obtain best rates. 

Travel Insured International also reports trimmer airline schedules with fewer departures this holiday season meaning that in many cities a flight cancelled late in the day or evening may not be followed by a next departure to your destination city until the morning after.

Travel Insured International, a provider of travel insurance for holiday travelers, offers its holiday tips for minimizing loss exposure when you must cancel a holiday trip due to an unforeseen covered reason, or face an extended and costly trip delay due to covered reasons such as inclement weather or other airline delays beyond your control.

Travel Insureds Tips:

Prepay Holiday Travel Fees

•  Several U.S. carriers are adding surcharges to their airfares for peak holiday season travel days ranging from $10 to $50 depending on the travel date. When surcharges are prepaid with airfares, the costs are protected when included in the overall trip cost and the insured traveler must cancel for a covered reason.
•  Several U.S. carriers allow passengers to select seats in advance, often with a fee added to the ticket purchase price. Use this service to obtain extra legroom, an exit row or a premium seat, or to ensure that your travel party can sit together, not separately, in flight. Remember to prepay this fee with your airfare, not at check-in, to have prepaid extras included in trip coverage if you must cancel for a covered reason.
•  Consider advantages of using a travel agent professional to book holiday trips. The agent can book and prepay premium seat selections. A call from the airport to one's travel agent on a cell phone is the fastest way to rebook an alternate flight or, if necessary, an airport hotel accommodation during a major delay.  Reaching an airline web site or online travel agency can be impossible when competing against many others for limited holiday season seats on this year's fewer, and fuller, alternate flights.

Insure Prepaid Hotel Rates and Guarantee Reservations

• Many hotels now offer attractive rate discounts tied to full pre-payment. Other hotels require a minimum first night's non-refundable rate as a deposit to guarantee a reservation. By including the cost of the hotel accommodation in the prepaid cost of the insured trip, travelers can protect this travel purchase if they must cancel their trip for a covered reason.
•  Beware that when online travel agencies advertise that they do not impose their own agency fees for canceling prepaid hotel rooms, the hotels themselves may still exercise their right to collect  a cancellation penalty under terms and conditions of their rate discount or reservation guarantee. Travel insurance can cover this.
•  Let your destination hotel know as soon as possible when a last-minute cancellation or unforeseen trip delay will result in a no-show for a first room night. Adverse weather, for example, creating a cancellation or delay may result in a hotel waiving its normal cancellation penalty fee.

Protect Against Longer Trip Delays Due to Fewer Flights

•  One recommendation for avoiding flight delays is to book the early morning flight. Often aircraft for early morning flights overnight at your boarding gate, providing a better chance for departure in inclement weather than a flight on an aircraft which must first arrive from another airport.
•  Several media reports say airlines have cut flights this year in anticipation of a predicted two percent drop in holiday passenger traffic. When a scheduled flight is cancelled late in the day, the next available flight to your destination may not be until the following day. Travel Insured International® Trip Delay coverage can reimburse unused trip costs, and expenses incurred for unforeseen meals and accommodations up to limits specified on your selected plan. Trip Delay coverage requires a continuous delay of  six or 12 hours, depending upon the selected plan, and this trigger will often be met when the traveler is delayed overnight awaiting the next available departure to the destination. Also: alternate flights may already be full.
•  Several Travel Insured plans under the Worldwide Trip Protector umbrella brand include family-friendly "Kids are Free" travel insurance coverage. Depending upon the selected plan, one or more children under age 18 may obtain the coverage when traveling with one or more related adults who are the primary insureds on the same plan

Surcharges, extra airline fees, hotel reservation guarantee penalties, and fewer airline departures have not made holiday travel any easier this year as travel suppliers seek profitability in a challenging economy. Obtaining the right travel insurance plan, however, will fill your holiday travel with peace of mind and allow your family to enjoy stress-free seasonal reunions, Travel Insured says.



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About the Author

George Dooley
George Dooley, Travel Agent’s senior contributing editor covering retail and technology, has a long-standing reputation as one of the top travel industry journalists. He notes...

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By George Dooley | November 9, 2011
Travel Insured predicts the 2011 holiday travel season is going to make flying more expensive.
Filed under : Trends-Research