Thinking about booking a trip? We recommend you take the time to follow these easy pre-travel procedures.
Unfortunately, travelers often prepare to leave town without taking the appropriate steps and later find their plans hindered by unexpected circumstances.
This simple pre-travel checklist will ensure that you make the most out of your trip as well as maximizing the benefits of your coverage.
International Travel: Check Passport Expiration Date
Passports are the key to the world, and yet we seldom pick them up. A passport can spend most of its year stowed away in a drawer and only taken out days before travel.
Make sure you check your passport expiry date early on in your planning, as you will need at least 6 months of passport validity to enter another country.
The passport itself is valid right up until the expiration date, but the problem is on the other side – each country has different regulations regarding expiry time for foreigners. Seeing as the entry requirements vary per country, a 6 month limit is the safest recommendation regardless of destination.
Domestic Travel: You Need a Real ID
Gone are the days of easy domestic travel with a driver’s license. Since 9/11 the government has increased security around travel within the US. A Real ID works similarly to a driver’s license and is obtained through the DMV, however the screening process is more complex.
You will need to provide more documents to verify your identity and residence, such as a passport, birth certificate, and Social Security card. Long DMV turnaround times have increased the processing time required to receive a Real ID, so you should apply immediately.
The original Real ID deadline of October 1st 2020 has been extended since the Covid-19 pandemic, and the updated cutoff is yet to be announced.
Take note that after this deadline Americans will not be able to board a domestic flight without a Real ID or passport.
Update Modified Travel Plans Immediately
Given the current circumstances due to the coronavirus outbreak, many people’s travel plans have been disrupted. Your original plan may require adjusting to accommodate the ripple effect of the pandemic. Fortunately, your travel insurance has you covered.
Simply contact your insurer and request the changes you need. Travel insurance allows you to make the following adjustments, such as adding travelers to a policy, changing the dates of your travel, or adjusting your coverage to include a new travel plan. Especially with the latter, if you don’t remember to adjust your policy you may miss out on critical coverage.
For example, if you added a pre-paid side excursion to your cruise you would need to have that reflected in your cancellation coverage. Now that many people are being forced to cancel their travel plans due to coronavirus restrictions, even a “cancel for any reason” policy may not cover you fully if precise travel changes were not reported.
Take Multiple Copies of Travel Confirmations
Never embark on your trip without multiple copies of your travel arrangements and policy confirmation.
Once you’re in another country you may not have wifi to search online, or an international plan to call home for plan information. Important baggage may be lost with printed paperwork. We recommend securing three sources of your details: a printed copy, a digital copy that can be saved on the cloud, and a third copy that can be saved to your phone memory.
Policy information will have your insurance company contact details, including toll-free numbers for assistance and claims. Insurance is for unforeseen events, you don’t know when or where you’ll need it, so make sure you have these resources to hand in the case of the unexpected.
A few minutes of preparation can prevent days of stress and confusion.
Know Your Policy Coverage
Travel requires adapting to circumstances outside of your daily routine and comfort zone. The very factor that brings excitement and novelty can create unfortunate circumstances, and the nature of the unexpected is that you can’t prepare for situational details.
In the case of an unexpected event, remember you’re covered by insurance for any medical emergencies, baggage loss or theft and flight delays.
Without coverage these emergencies can run up a large bill, adding a financial burden to travel costs. With travel insurance you can rest assured that you only need to save receipts to be fully reimbursed after filing your claim.
Tag Baggage in Multiple Locations
One of the world’s leading air transport organizations (SITA), reported that about 25 million bags get lost or misdirected every year. There is no worse feeling than arriving to your destination only to find your luggage hasn’t arrived.
Certain carriers are finding ways to reduce loss, such as by using radio-frequency tags that wrap all the way around the suitcase handle. However the best prevention is to make sure your bags are clearly labeled.
ID your bag in multiple places, including the inside as well as the outside, utilizing all the different pockets and pouches. Make sure to include your name, address, and cell phone number.
Photograph your bag with the labels showing, to help airline workers locate and redirect your luggage in the event it gets misplaced.
If your baggage is ultimately lost these photos will also help to file a claim.
Alert Your Bank of Your Travel Plans
Call or update your online banking settings to let them know your dates of travel. Most cards will block any transactions in foreign countries because they assume fraud.
Make sure to mention any 24 hour layovers where you might need to use your card in a country other than your final destination. If your trip gets extended, make sure to update the travel dates with your bank to avoid cashflow impediments.
Often this can be done online to avoid the complication of international help numbers.
When calling your bank you can double up by inquiring about the foreign transaction fees in your destination country, so you can know which cards will work hardest for you.
Save Your 24/7 Assistance Line as a Contact
Save your 24/7 Policy Assistance phone number in your phone and print or write out a second physical copy to keep in your wallet or purse. You might find yourself in a travel crisis and unsure if travel insurance will be able to help you.
This international 24/7 assistance line will provide expert guidance for any questions and support for the steps that follow. We recommend you read up beforehand on your travel insurance rights, so you have previous orientation.
Please visit our related posts on how to proceed after an emergency, such as managing your review period, things to consider while traveling, and how to file a claim after your trip.
Remember, careful Pre-travel preparations will result in Post-travel celebrations! We wish you calm and safe travels from Travel Insurance Review.