Question and Answers: Part 1

Over the last 2 months I have enjoyed many conversations as a result of our weekly Travel Column in the Mint Hill Times. I thought it was a good opportunity to share some of those questions with you for the next 3 issues;

What recent changes with the government TSA agency will affect my flights? First and foremost is the revised Trusted Traveler Program. Those who enroll and receive affirmation will get special expedited treatment at the airports, such as not taking electronics out. This one change has already decreased wait times by 10% at most airports. The acronym “Pre-Check” is often used to describe this program, and it is available online at the TSA website. I will be glad to forward anyone that information.

Can I travel to Cuba, and what can I do there? YES, is the short answer. As of today, there are airlines approved for flights to Cuba, as well as 2 cruise lines, and several tour operators. Briefly, you cannot just fly to Cuba and stay in a hotel. You MUST have an approved “People to People” itinerary, and obtain a Visa. Although the experience is well worth it, you should work with a knowledgeable vendor, or you may be sent right back home upon arrival.

What is Trip / Travel Insurance? Basically, there are 2 types of insurance. The first is trip cancellation insurance. Almost every Cruise Line, Airline, and Tour Company offers this coverage. It will reimburse you for your out of pocket expenses (minus a deductible), if you have to cancel for any of the reasons specified. You may purchase “Cancel for any Reason” protection with this policy from some companies.

The second type is Travel Insurance. This will also protect you as Trip Cancellation does, but also provides coverage for such situations as Delay in arrival, flight changes, sickness during travel, baggage damage or loss, and extraordinary expenses such as emergency medical evacuation and Body Repatriation. Those expenses alone can rise to the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

All certified Travel Consultants encourage the purchase of insurance.