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Travel Insurance Tips

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Travelling abroad need’to fill you with worry, but it’s important to be covered just in case the worst does come along. Flight cancellation and loss of baggage or passport are some of the more trivial things that could happen while your away, but you could also find yourself in a very sticky financial situation should you or one of your group become ill or suffer an accident. Outside the EU, medical expenses won’t be covered, while even inside the EU you may need to pay for transport home or private treatment. Taking out the correct travel insurance policy can cover you against all of these misdemeanours, and give you peace of mind while you’re away. If you’re looking for the best travel insurance deal for this summer, then take a read of this article for some tips for finding the best policy.

Travel Insurance Tips
Travel Insurance Tips
Check What You Already Have
If you’re a premium customer with a bank or credit card company, then chances are that you’ll already have travel insurance included. This is particularly likely if you’re paying a monthly fee for your banking. Make sure you check this out with your bank and read the small print of the deal – it might not be valid outside of the EU or if you have special circumstances, but a phone call should clear this up. If you don’t have a policy already, then it really pays to shop around. It’s easier to do now thanks to the web – all you really need to do is key ‘travel insurance’ into a search engine, flick a few of the results and enter your requirements. Price comparison websites are particularly useful, so if you filter through a couple of these then you’ll be on the right track.
Travel Insurance Tips
Travel Insurance Tips
Special Clauses
Anyone with special conditions can get quoted ludicrously high amounts from most traditional insurers. People with histories of serious illness or disability, and those who are pregnant or over sixty-five can all find themselves struggling to justify the cover price. Make sure you have an EHIC card (when travelling within Europe) and check out specialist insurers that may be able to give you a better deal. If you find the cover to still be unaffordable, then the price may drop if you ask the insurer to exclude pre-existing conditions; though it’s then your call on the risks of going abroad with limited cover. Also, the EHIC card won’t cover you for everything. In fact, it will only give you as much medical cover as a local citizen in your destination country – it won’t cover you for luggage loss or plane ticket cancellation.

Don’t Over Cover
When searching for a policy, it’s important to understand what kind of cover you need. If you just take the first policy you find, you’re likely to either be substantially over insuring yourself, or perhaps even under insuring. Be particularly wary of premium insurance deals offering extremely high amounts of cover when you don’t really need it. For instance, do you really need £50 million worth of medical insurance cover? The answer is almost certainly not. In fact, it’s probably best to go for something more towards the £2 million mark for maximum medical expenses cover, while you should go towards £1 million for personal liability. Flight cancellation is also worth considering too – no one wants to be in the nightmare scenario of not being able to go on holiday for whatever reason, but then having to stump up for it anyway.

Different Types Of Travel Agencies

Thursday, 12 June 2014

The main function of any travel agency is to, of course, act as an agent. This includes selling tickets and travel products, reservations, and so on, on behalf of one or several suppliers. Travel agents generally work with no charge to the traveler him or herself. Rather, the travel agent takes a small commission from the overall cost. Again, this isn't added on top of the sale or anything like that. Rather, their commission is taken out of the advertised price.

Different Types Of Travel Agencies
Different Types Of Travel Agencies
So why go through a travel agent? Well, besides the simplicity and convenience, the main draw is that travel agents receive tickets at significant discounts.

This is pretty much how travel agencies work the world over. However, there are a few different types of travel agents&

General Sales Agents for Foreign Travel Companies

A general sales agent is something like a tourism ambassador. A company with its headquarters located in, say, Japan, might set up travel agency offices all around the world to encourage tourism to the country where their headquarters is located. The travel agent will still seek to find better deals for their customers (as, after all, that's what turns a customer into a return customer), so they are not indebted to any one airline or hotel, but, they do tend to focus strictly on travel to, and within, the country where their headquarters is located.

Travel Agencies
Travel Agencies
Business and Commercial Travel Agencies

Most travel agencies have a department of business travel and a department of leisure travel. The needs for one traveler and the other tend to vary in a few significant ways, and so, splitting up the duties amongst a couple of departments can help to allow either department to specialize, finding better deals for business travelers on the one hand, and better deals for leisure travelers on the other. However, there are also travel agencies that specialize strictly in business and commercial travel. Incidentally, there aren't a whole lot of agencies that restrict themselves solely to leisure travel.

By Class

In the United States, there are several main types of travel agencies: corporate-owned national chains, national/international franchises, membership associations -- such as AAA -- and independent, locally owned travel agencies with no brand or corporate affiliation. National chains will have the most consistent policies and pricing not matter where you go, and often the best international "hotline" customer service, but not always. Big-name franchises offer similar perks but different local owners can opt out of certain promotions and pricing specials. Membership-based associations are often less commission-focused since they rely on member fees. Independent agencies tend to cater to niche markets, such as assisting sports teams, church and school groups looking for inexpensive travel, and large group options.

Cargo Travel Agencies

A few travel agencies specialize in shipping cargo. Of course& that's not entirely relevant if you're looking to fly for business or personal reasons. Still, this should go to show how many different areas an individual agency can specialize in.

Online Travel Agencies

One of the real boons to the travel agency industry has been the use of the internet to allow travel agents to let their travelers compare a wide variety of options for hotels and airline tickets. Ironically, there was some fear for a period of time that, by selling tickets directly to travellers, the travel agencies would go out of business. However, a handful of travel agencies have proven that, even if you can find good deals yourself, there are still instances where a travel agency can find you an even better one. Many traditional bricks-and-mortar travel agencies now have full-service web sites so that you can get the best of both worlds: convenience of self-serve online booking with the benefit of talking to a real person when you need it.

Multi-Destination and Niche Agencies

If you want to split it up into just two types of travel agency, you have multi-destination and niche. Multi-destination out-bound travel agencies are usually larger, offering flights to just about anywhere. Niche agencies are usually independent, and focus on one specific part of the world. If you're flying to say, Greece, you might find a niche agent who knows the area very, very well. Most of these niche agencies cater mainly to people with family in that country, or who do business there on a regular basis.

Consider your individual needs, preferences, and trip objectives when choosing your travel agent. Different types of agencies provide different levels and types of services. If you are a frequent globe trotter, you may want to use a large corporate travel agency with many branches in countries all over the world. Or you may view travelling as a treasure hunt or puzzle, where researching and finding the most off-the-map places is half of the fun. If this is the case, a niche operator may be just the right travel partner for you.

European Travel Packages Might Be Good For You

Thursday, 29 May 2014

It's funny, the attitude some people have towards travel. They can't seem to find any good reason to leave their own backyard. It's a bit of a mystery to me. I rather enjoy being in different places, seeing different cultures, different sites, and meeting people with different views. Those with an aversion to travel aren't necessarily xenophobic. I think, they're just a little too settled in their own ways. They should try some European travel packages.

European Travel Packages
European Travel Packages
I have to wonder though, if more people go out and saw the world, we'd all be a little more sympathetic to the plights of our global neighbors. I'm sure the world would be a better place. Unfortunately however, due to many reasons (sometimes financial), it's just not feasible. But for those who do have the means, there are plenty of good reasons to travel to a continent like Europe for instance.

For me culture has to be one of the biggest reasons to go somewhere else. I'm the type who's easily bored with my job, my career, and my lifestyle. So for me, being in a country that's totally foreign to mine is invigorating. It's like my senses become heightened, and I'm more aware of events, people, and things around me. It's kind of like being a kid again. It can be a learning experience as well. We've all been brought up with certain beliefs and customs that we often never question. Being exposed to other people and their views, can change that, and broaden your thinking. Assuming of course, that you're open to that kind of thing.

European Travel Packages
European Travel Packages
Another big benefit for me was traveling, is a sense of adventure. With a little bit of danger thrown in. Strange surroundings and all, make me more acutely aware of my environment. It's a great feeling. In my mind, there's nothing better to defeat the feeling of being in a rut, or of a dull life. Europe's a great place for this kind of adventure. While you may sense a slight feeling of danger being in a strange place, there's really nothing to fear. Contrary to what some North Americans may believe, Europe is actually very civilized, in an old world sort of way. Of course, they probably say the same about us :-)
Traveling to Europe can also be an incredibly relaxing vacation as well. It's not just Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean that has beautiful beaches. Southern Spain or France for that matter also have some great sandy spots.

While it's great to go away, it's always nice to come home. There's no doubt living in the Western world, we enjoy many advantages that are unknown to Europeans, or the rest of the world. When we come home, we may be a little more worldly, and a little more humble. What I'm trying to say here is, going away may actually instill in us an appreciation for the gifts we already have.

Antarctica 2013: Speed Attempt Round 2 Underway And Blue Ice On Beardmore

Friday, 6 December 2013

The very active week in the Antarctic continues today with teams making slow, but steady, progress across the frozen continent. Everyone seems to be falling into a rhythm now and even the weather seems to have improved. But, as with all extreme environments, that can change quickly and no one seems to be getting too complacent with the current conditions.

As expected, Richard Parks relaunched his bid to set a new speed record for skiing from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole yesterday. He reports that he faced a strong headwind for most of the day, and of course he is skiing up hill at the moment. Still, Parks managed to cover 31.5 km (19 miles), which is a solid start for his speed attempt. He'll need to pick up the pace in the days ahead, but for now he seems content with his progress. Just 1118.5 km (696 miles) to go and the clock continues to tick.

Jumping over to the Beardmore Glacier, the Scott Expedition has been forced to abandon their skis for now and don crampons instead. They've hit a large expanse of blue ice, which is incredibly hard and smooth, leaving no traction for the skis. It has made pulling the sleds a lot easier, as they effortlessly glide across the ice at the moment. The team started at along the coast at 43 meters (141 ft) above sea level, but have now climbed up to 1014 meters (3326 ft) as they continue to make their way up to the Antarctic Plateau. They've now been out on the ice for 43 days and still have about 2092 km (1300 miles) to go on their round-trip journey to the South Pole and back to the coast.

Aussie Geoff Wilson was dismayed to discover the promised winds have not appeared as predicted. You may recall that he is kite skiing to the South Pole and had hoped to be making great progress on that journey, but unpredictable winds have stymied his attempts so far, leaving him no choice but to ski along like everyone else. The doldrums continued today with practically no wind to assist him, which is disheartening for Wilson, who may not reach his goal if the winds don't turn in his favor. Sadly, the forecast doesn't look great in that regard for the next few days either. Geoff also reports that he had a call on his sat phone from Faysal Hanneche, who was also attempting to kite to the Pole. It turns out Faysal has injured his knee in a fall during the high winds of a few days back and won't be able to continue his expedition. Details are scarce at the moment, but it seems he'll be evacuated from the ice as soon as possible.

The three teams racing in the 2013 South Pole Allied Challenge get a much needed break today. This is their first mandatory rest day in which all teams must take 24 hours off before resuming their race to the South Pole. This is day 5 of the expedition and they still have 10 or 11 days to go before they are done. They happen to be well ahead of all of the other skiers because they started their journey at the 87th degree, rather than along the coast. Still, they are making good time and progress has been steady, if exhausting, for the skiers so far.

South Pole cyclist Daniel Burton continues to struggle. Yesterday he was battered by katabatic winds that made it nearly impossible for him to make much progress. With that in mind, he set up camp early and tried to stay out of those winds as best he could. Later in the day, when they had died down, he resumed his ride, albeit at a painfully slow pace. Once he hits the plateau, things should improve somewhat, but until then it is an uphill battle.

Finally, 16-year old Lewis Clarke has been making steady progress on his attempt to become the youngest person to ever ski the full length to the Pole. He and his guide, Carl Alvey wont' be setting any speed records, but they are putting in the miles they need to complete the journey in a reasonable time. So far they've been covering 21 km (13 miles) per day as they struggle up to the plateau as well. They should pick up the pace nicely once they reach that point and again as they get closer to their destination. Good weather has been on their side so far though and we all know that won't last for long in Antarctica.

That's all from the frozen continent for today. I'll update again next week as the news merits it.

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