Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Art of Travel: Part 1 - Thinking About Going Away

Downtown Denver - Clock Tower
You look outside of your window and see the brewing of a hellacious storm. While you aren't against storms, you are tired of them. You don't want to see anymore rain, sleet or snow. Visions of a nice beach start wafting through your mind, or perhaps you envision yourself wandering aimlessly in the South of France, sipping on wine and enjoying the leisurely life of doing - nothing.

It used to happen to me a lot when I worked in the "Corporate" world. I'd find myself daydreaming about an escape and thinking to myself, "Hmmm, where do I just need to go?" I liken this period as the "outline." Just like a lot of artist out there, they will outline or draft what they want to paint, draw, or even write. This is the period of time where there isn't too much invested in it, and it may just turn out to be a passing fancy, and just fizzles out. But for those who are serious about getting away the process may look something like this:

  • Rummaging through old photos and thinking about how much fun you had on your last vacation
  • Scanning through your friends' Facebook pages and looking at their photos to gather some ideas
  • Visiting some online visitor bureaus for some destinations you've been thinking about visiting over the years
  • Pulling out your "bucket" list
  • Spinning the globe and stabbing a finger at an unknown destination (I actually knew someone who did this)
  • Checking your work account to see just how many vacation days you have available
It may start with initial daydreaming, but as you can see, a bit of work starts to take place as you decide if, in fact, you can escape get away on a nice vacation.

The next installment will be on selecting your destination. How do you decide where you want to go?

*Photo provided by That Chick Té

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Art of Travel

I have a love for travel, and despite some of the less than attractive aspects of traveling (in this new day and age), I am still excited when I travel. 
The art of travel comes into play from the first moment you think about getting away. While there may be multiple sub categories, the main categories in preparing for travel typically look like this:

  • Thinking about going away
  • Selecting a destination
  • Planning or working with someone to set your itinerary
  • Paying for your travel
  • Gearing up for your future trip
  • Departing on your travel
  • Arriving to your destination
  • Enjoying your time away
  • Your return
In the next few weeks, I will address each of these components. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, each of the above-referenced aspects come into play. Artfully utilizing the strategies I will outline in the coming weeks, you can almost guarantee yourself happy travels!

*photo provided by That Chick Té 


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Travel Insurance Myths!

Travel Insurance Myths!

I worked in the insurance industry for many years (in various capacities), and during that time, there was an expression that all of my colleagues and I would chant sometimes as our mantra (paraphrasing), "Insurance is something you don't want to think about until you need it!" 

In this installment, I've also included the link to Travel Guard's "10 Reasons to Purchase Travel Insurance." (Ihttp://www.travelguard.com/whybuy/whytravelguard.asp?intcmp=clc-001-Nav-3-10Reasons ).

I can go on for hours with horrifyingly TRUE stories that have occurred because an individual chose not to purchase travel insurance; however, I will list just a few that seem to come up over and over again:

  • Myth #1 - I don't need travel insurance because I'm only traveling domestically. - The reality is that if you are traveling and there is an amount that you can't afford to lose and/or cover, then you need travel insurance. Example (which actually happened to me on a trip to San Diego) - the weather is fine where you are; however there is a snow storm/electrical storm, or some other natural disaster that causes your flight to be cancelled; thus causing you to have to either a. spend the night (or nights) in the airport, or b. go stay at a hotel. Well, if you are like quite a few travelers out there, most people can ill afford to have to pay out-of-pocket to stay in a hotel in another city for an indefinite amount of time. Some will say, "Well, isn't the airline responsible to put me up?" The short answer is, "No." 
  • Myth #2 - I'm young, healthy and in good shape, so I don't need travel insurance.  - Regardless of age, anything can happen to anybody at anytime. The strangest flukes can occur to the youngest, healthiest, most able bodied individuals. 
  • Myth #3 - Travel Insurance is a waste of money. - Again, it depends on what you are willing to risk. If you have no problem eating a $1000 - $1500 airline ticket to Europe, and any non-refundable hotel deposits, because you or a family member falls ill right before your trip, then no, you don't need it, but again, most people do not have the means to eat an expensive airline ticket and non-refundable deposits for hotels and excursions; especially since most airlines (with the current exception of Southwest airlines) charge hefty change/cancellation, etc, fees.
  • Myth #4 - I have health insurance through my employer so I don't need additional medical insurance while traveling in another country. - Again, the short response to this is, "It probably won't be covered." This is something that obviously is a case-by-case situation, and depends on your insurance coverage and/or provider. And, incidentally, travel insurance for business is handled differently than leisure travel, so keep that in mind. I had a heart-breaking situation when I worked in personal lines insurance. A ladies brother was involved in an automobile accident in Mexico (many years ago), and his health insurance, nor his auto insurance covered the loss because he drove his personal vehicle into another country and did not have proper insurance on his automobile, and his employer's health insurance did not cover any of his medical bills or transport back from Mexico to the United States. He was in a coma for over two weeks, and his sister was distraught because she had no money or means to get him back to the United States.
Needless to say, purchasing travel insurance is a personal decision, and far be it from me to tell anybody what they should do, but the reality is that a trip is an investment and protecting that investment should be of utmost importance and concern for the traveler.