Monthly Archives: September 2015

Should I Get Travel Insurance?

key-west-81664_1280No one like to think about insurance.  That is especially true for travel insurance.  Many travel agents today will not even ask their clients if they want insurance for fear of losing the deal.  Many people considered it a rip-off and not necessary.

This is not so true anymore.  People are realizing that they potentially have a lot to lose when traveling today.  Smart travelers are considering the right insurance an essential item when planning a trip.  Some even consider it downright irresponsible to leave home without it. So when you ask yourself “Should I get travel insurance?” think long and hard before you say no.

There are many reasons why you should have travel insurance.  Here are a few:

  1. Your flight can get cancelled and totally wreck your plans
  2. Your baggage can get lost
  3. Your passport or wallet can get stolen (You need emergency cash)
  4. You get sick
  5. You get injured
  6. Your cruise line, airline, or tour operator goes bankrupt
  7. You are forced to evacuate your hotel, cruise or resort due to storms or disasters (hurricanes, wildfires, etc.)
  8. Rental car accidents
  9. Trip cancellations
  10. Peace of mind (probably the most important)

I am sure there are other reasons but these are the ones that come to my mind.  Most of them are related to recovering your financial losses, but knowing you are cared for in an emergency situation can be priceless.

What should you look for when buying travel insurance?  The first thing to consider is what coverage you may already have.  Some credit cards offer varying degrees of protection if you use them to book your travel.  Some car insurances cover your rentals.  You may have adequate life insurance coverage and don’t need any extra.  Make sure you check all of these out before deciding what travel insurance you need.

So what are the types of travel insurance?  Here are some of the basics:

  • Medical – If you travel out of the country your health care insurance probably won’t cover you.  This includes foreign-flagged vessels such as most major cruise ships.  I would strongly consider getting this if that is you situation.
  • Trip Cancellation – Most booking d3eals you get today are non-refundable.  If you have a big investment in your trip you should get this insurance.  Less than $100, not so much.
  • Baggage – Damaged, stolen or lost it’s good to have some reimbursement to get those new clothes you have to buy when you arrive.
  • Evacuation – Natural disaster or civil unrest can be very unsettling.  And very expensive to relocate to safety.  This can cover those costs.
  • Death – Think regular life insurance.  For your loved ones in case the worst happens on your trip.

Should I Get Travel Insurance?

It is very hard to put a price tag on peace of mind.  Just remember to make sure you get what you need but only what you need.  Do your research so you can have peace of mind in knowing you are covered as well as not spending more than you had to.

Why Are Airline Tickets So Expensive?

If you were flying over the Christmas holidays from the West Coast to the midwest you may have seen an airfare for over $1,000.  This probably made you ask the questions ‘Why are airline tickets so expensive?’.  There may be several reasons why you may think so:

  • Planes are huge flying machines that are expensive to maintain
  • There are hundreds of people working at airports.  Think of the salaries!
  • Airports are expensive to build and keep up (they are huge!)
  • It’s Christmas and the airlines know you want to travel really bad
  • Look at the cost of jet fuel
  • They are greedy

Well, maybe these are all minor factors but if you examine them closely (fuel prices are down but not airfares) you will find that these are not the main reason.  Why are airline tickets so expensive?  Why do the airlines charge  for checked bags and many other incidentals that were once free?  Because they can.  And there is good reason they can.

This reason can be found in this article from Slate. It seems that many of the airlines share the same investors.  Here is an excerpt:

Although we think of airlines as independent companies, they are actually mostly owned by a small group of institutional investors. For example, United’s top five shareholders—all institutional investors—own 49.5 percent of the firm. Most of United’s largest shareholders also are the largest shareholders of Southwest, Delta, and other airlines. The authors show that airline prices are 3 percent to 11 percent higher than they would be if common ownership did not exist. That is money that goes from the pockets of consumers to the pockets of investors.

So you can see that it is not int the best interest of these companies to compete against themselves.  They want prices high across the board and a price war is the last thing on their minds.

To put it another way, what we have is collusion among the major airlines.  An article from The Jamaican Gleaner outlines this.  It says:

The United States government is investigating possible collusion among major airlines to limit available seats, which keeps airfares high, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.

The civil antitrust investigation by the Justice Department appears to focus on whether airlines illegally signaled to each other how quickly they would add new flights, routes and extra seats.

And it goes on to say:

Thanks to a series of mergers starting in 2008, America, Delta, Southwest and United now control more than 80 per cent of the seats in the domestic travel market. They have eliminated unprofitable flights, filled more seats on planes and made a very public effort to slow growth to command higher airfares.

So in other words there is really no competition between major airlines anymore, in effect creating a monopoly.  The same investors own all of the airlines and call the shots while the smaller airlines have gone out of business.  Only a few remain and offer deals but they are not major players.

Also remember that the airlines are corporations and are in business to make money.  They don’t care whether you can afford to fly or not as long as they are still packing the airplanes.  As Frank Werner, an associate professor of finance at Fordham University’s business school says:

“As for people who can’t afford to fly, the airlines really are not interested any more than Daimler-Benz is worried that many people cannot afford to purchase a Mercedes

What can we do?  Unfortunately not much.  We can refuse to fly but that is not practical.  We can call our congressman but the airline lobbies are some of the most powerful lobbies in Washington so it will be difficult to get them to listen to you.

It’s not hopeless though.  Fly the smaller guys if you can.  Talk to people and make them aware.  Start a social media campaign.  The more public awareness and outrage that happens the more the powers that be will notice.

And be smart when you fly.  This is the system we have today so try to work it the best you can by doing your research when you must fly. Technology can help travelers find the lowest available airfare.  Use it to your advantage.  Be flexible.  These can all help you save

However, if the airlines are in fact colluding with each other to keep fares high, they are certainly not making it easy for everyone to fly the friendly skies.

Things to do in Savannah GA – Southern Charm

There is no doubt about it, Savannah is one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the south.  With its stunning restored homes, great riverfront, historic squares and lovely oak tress it is an unforgettable city.  There are many nice restaurants there with plenty of Southern cooking as well as tasty seafood.  Quaint pubs and coffee shops can easily be found.  You can do the tourist thing or jump off the beaten path.  You can see that there are many things to do in Savannah GA.

things to do in savannah gaGrowing up in the Savannah area as a kid I never appreciated it’s beauty an history.  It seemed like a slow town with not much to do.  But going back in my later years I have come to view this city in a new light.  The city has done a wonderful job in promoting its assets so now you can enjoy a day on River Street,  drive or bike through the squares, tour the cemeteries (there are even ghost tours) and check out the restored mansions.

The beach was always nice at Tybee Island and on the way you can stop at historic Fort Pulaski for some more history.  You can also check out the town of Thunderbolt where my grandfather used to operate a  shrimp boat and we could go and watch them process the shrimp (and enjoy fresh shrimp cooked any number of ways).  Skidaway Island is lovely with it’s oak trees.  I could go on and on.

This article found in Travels A Dance Away captures the essence of things to do in Savannah Ga.  As you read this you can feel her passion for the city.  There are many wonderful photographs and the charm and beauty of the city can be seen and felt.  Enjoy!

Things to do in Savannah GA

Things to do in Savannah, Georgia in one day!

http://www.travelsadanceaway.com Thu, 04 Jun 2015 12:00:49 -0700

Instead of painting my house and getting it ready to sell, like I should be doing, I’m eating a macaron and writing this blogpost on a little city that has SO much charm and beauty… Savannah, Georgia! I wish I could bottle up the …

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Please be sure to visit this gorgeous city and check out not only the mani tourist sites, but take time to walk around and enjoy the ambiance of this laid back southern city.

Best Family Vacations – East Coast

If you are looking for a travel destination on the east coast you will find a wide variety of opportunities to have fun with your family.  From the tropical beaches of Florida to the rocky shores of Maine there are countless places for a week long vacation or a quick weekend getaway.

149246-850x565-Reheboth_DEIf you are headed north where you will find places like Cape Cod, the Hamptons, or one of Maine’s classic beaches.  Taking a more southerly route could take you tp places such as Virginia beach or Myrtle Beach.

So if you live in the East you should take advantage of some of these wonderful spots.  For family vacations east coast destinations can provide city beaches or more remote peaceful destinations.  The choice is yours.

The following article found in lovetoknow list 8 popular east coast vacation spots.  Each one had it’s unique properties so just from these 8 you could find a great place for your family vacations.  I’m sure you will find one right for you!

East Coast Vacation Spots – Travel – LoveToKnow

http://travel.lovetoknow.com Thu, 08 Mar 2012 20:52:30 -0800

The East Coast is a great destination for a family-friendly vacation or a romantic weekend getaway. Whether you looking for a feature-packed city beach destination to enjoy with the kids or if it is a quiet nature setting that you seek, there’s sure …

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Best Places to Travel in September

Fall is a wonderful time to travel.  The weather is starting to turn cooler and the crowds are usually thinner.  Many parts of the world have brilliant fall foliage.  There are festivals and fairs happening all across the globe.

If you are looking to take a trip this fall and want to know the best places to travelbest places to travel in september in September then you need to check out these destinations from Fodor’s.  They have listed 14 travel destinations from which you can choose when planning your fall vacation.

So if you haven’t taken a fall trip before now is a good time to start.  It is a totally different experience from the usual summer vacation and one which I am certain you will find enjoyable.

Happy travels!

14 Best Places to Go This Fall | Fodor’s Travel

http://www.fodors.com Thu, 29 Aug 2013 09:30:45 -0700

Why Go Now: A fall trip to Portland will feed your body and your mind. After culinary luminaries like Michelin-starred chef April Bloomfield and Chris Cosentino descend on the city for annual food fest Feast (September 19-22), …

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