Travel insights from Andrea Sedlacek, editor of The Compass

The Psychology of a Traveler

A vacation can be a really big deal and there are many things that can distract a traveler from the joys and relaxation a great vacation can bring. Maybe they are going to a destination they’ve never been to before, or maybe they’ve never taken a trip this long. Does their throat feel scratchy a few days before they’re scheduled to leave? They don’t want to be sick on their trip! Or maybe there’s been a recent event, making traveling to the destination a little uncertain. If a traveler feels apprehensive about something related to their trip before they go, it can be hard to shake that feeling and truly unwind, calm down and be present on their vacation.

As an agent, your empathy and understanding can go a long way into guiding your clients into the right mindset to travel. What can you do as an agent to understand your clients’ feelings and soothe their worries?

The Real Traveler Mindset

Even though they may be dreaming of their upcoming vacation, travelers can have some frightful thoughts running through their head of the bad things that could potentially happen on their trip.

“The world has become a very uncertain place and there are a lot of things that can impact travelers,” says Dan Durazo, director of communications for Allianz Global Assistance, a world leader in the travel insurance and assistance industry. “Travelers don’t want to encounter the unexpected or unpredictable.”

So where’s the first place an unexpected thing can happen to them? The airport.

“People really feel a loss of control at the airport. Are you going to make your connecting flight? Are you going to make it to the cruise port in time? Your clients shouldn’t feel like they’ve lost control of a situation,” Durazo says.

As their agent, you’re the one they’re looking to for preparation and guidance. You need to imagine the ideal mindset you want your clients to have, and prepare them as much as you can in order to help them attain that.

The Ideal Traveler Mindset

For the most part, everyone wants to feel relaxed and happy on vacation. No one wants to worry. If your clients are in Jamaica, you want them to fully embrace the laidback vibe. If they’re on a family vacation in Orlando, you want them to be mentally present there, completely engaged in the quality family time. You just want them to be in the moment.

But if something does end up happening, either before the trip or during it, you still don’t want them to worry. You want them to feel prepared and protected. You want to have their back.

Shifting the Real to the Ideal

Obviously it’s easy to say how you want your clients to feel. But what’s the reality in actually getting them to that ideal mindset? It lies in planning, preparation and protection.

Here are a few ways you can work with your clients to build their confidence when traveling.

  • Provide travel checklists to help your clients pack only what they need and leave behind what they don’t.
  • Recommend useful travel apps so they feel armed with the right resources.
    • Allianz’s Travel Smart app includes:
      • A one-touch button to reach them
      • A map to find the nearest hospital or U.S. embassy
      • A translation feature
      • The ability to download your insurance policy
  • Plan enough time in their itinerary to reduce their anxiety about missing connecting flights or getting to their cruise port in time.
  • Protect them with travel insurance, giving them a solution so they don’t feel worried that something’s going to happen.

“Travel insurance can give people the confidence to travel,” Durazo says. “It allows you to cancel your trip if your destination or even your home becomes uninhabitable,” meaning if your clients are about to leave for their trip and a storm floods their home, that reason for cancelling their trip is covered by travel insurance.

Travel insurance can be a lifesaver, literally, during the vacation too. If your clients get sick or injured abroad, it can be expensive and Allianz Global Assistance has a team to manage care and facilitate transportation to the nearest hospital. This is especially helpful since health care facilities in other countries sometimes want payment for care upfront, which can often be a lot of money. Travel insurance can cover that payment for travelers so they can start receiving medical care right away.

The reality of travelers is that they can easily have anxiety about many things. By understanding what worries them and giving them the right solutions to ease those feelings, your clients will have the confidence they need to go on their well-deserved vacation and be fully present in the experience.

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