An international vacation can be as equally exciting as it is nerve-wracking. What if you miss your plane? What if you do everything you possibly can to prepare – you pack your bags, you remember your passport, you lock all the doors and you get to the airport two hours early – only to find out that your flight has been cancelled. Your charming vision of walking Parisian streets and snapping pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower has now turned in to a fury of frustration, one that ends with you sleeping at the gate until a new plane arrives.
Try and think of more; it’s pretty easy. What about a medical issue? What if your bags are delayed but you have a connecting flight? Or worse, what if the airplane loses your luggage? These are just a few of many mishaps that your clients can encounter when taking an international vacation – but no worries, there are ways to ensure smooth travel even when you can’t be with them every step of the way. That being said, let’s talk travel insurance.
Beth Godlin, President of Aon Affinity, says that travel insurance can put travelers at ease because “From the moment they start their trip, they have coverage.” This means that travelers will be covered from beginning to end. So, what about those lost bags? Travelers with insurance shouldn’t worry about a thing. Travel insurance plans have baggage protection built in, which guarantees that travelers will be reimbursed if their luggage is damaged, lost, or stolen.
Not only do travelers get to purchase the items they need, but Godlin makes another point, stating that this “minimizes stress and allows them to enjoy the vacation.”
But, we get it. We know that travel insurance is an added fee and maybe your clients are already dishing out thousands to travel internationally. But, because lost bags are among some of the more minor accidents that can happen, travelers have to think about their total trip investment, compared to the minimal cost to protect it.
Godlin tells a heartbreaking story about a young traveler who benefited greatly from having travel insurance. The traveler was a “33 year old guest on a trip to Cozumel who suddenly suffered a stroke. The local medical facility could not adequately treat the patient, so an Air Ambulance was called in to bring the patient to Florida.” The price of the transport? $15,000. All of which the travel protection plan covered.
As sad as that story is, it serves to remind us that anything can happen -- no matter where you are. But, not many travelers think of all these possibilities before taking their trip. In fact, Godlin says that travel insurance is “often an overlooked investment until the unexpected happens.”
And really, who can blame travelers for not thinking to buy travel insurance if they aren’t in the know about it? No one wants to focus on the daunting risks of travel while daydreaming about their ideal vacation. So, it’s up to you as a travel agent and professional in the travel industry to inform your clients of all of the options that can enhance their end-to-end experience. Like Godlin says, travel insurance “offers benefits and services designed to give travelers some peace of mind.”
And, when traveling internationally, there’s nothing more important than that (other than making sure you get the perfect Instagram shot).
Now you’re probably thinking, “How do I even recommend travel insurance?” Godlin states that you shouldn’t “make any assumptions.” Instead, you should direct clients to the travel insurance provider, and advise them to “ask plenty of questions and read the policy thoroughly to ensure the investment in the plan is appropriate for both the trip and the traveler.”
As a travel agent, part of the value that you bring to your clients is in your knowledge, not just of resorts and destinations, but in travel protection. Your help clients go on once in a lifetime vacations, and as important as it is to help them prepare by picking out that picturesque location, it’s just as important to inform them of risks and the ways that they can protect themselves when going abroad.