Travel e-Scapes: May 26, 2015

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DESTINATION & DEAL OF THE DAY:
Travel e-Scapes: May 26, 2015

Round-trip from Atlanta:
$692 Beijing
Add $25 per direction for Friday-Sunday travel
Depart August 19-December 1
Stay at least any three days or up to three months
Purchase today, May 26
Valid on American(+Fees $) via Dallas-Ft. Worth or Chicago


TRAVEL TIPS & TIDBITS

Trip Insurance Abroad
A surprising number of Americans are unclear whether their health insurance works outside the US, according to a new InsureMyTrip survey. Over twenty-five percent polled were not sure whether their domestic health insurance plan would cover any doctor or hospital visits while traveling outside the country. Thirty-nine percent said their domestic health insurance would provide coverage, while thirty-four percent believed their insurance plan would offer no coverage. Twenty-six percent of those surveyed weren’t sure. Depending on your domestic healthcare provider, specific plan and area of travel, medical coverage can vary widely:

  • ‘In Network’ coverage from some providers and plans in certain areas overseas
  • Limited coverage for other providers, regardless of where you are traveling
  • No coverage at all

Coverage gaps and deficiencies can be addressed with the purchase of travel insurance. Travelers should also be aware of the following:

  • Deductibles: the amount a patient must pay for covered services before insurance will kick in
  • Co-insurance: the amount a patient is responsible of a covered healthcare service
  • Co-payments: a set amount owed for a covered healthcare service
  • Emergency medical evacuations: According to the US State Department, very few domestic health insurance companies will pay for a medical evacuation back to the United States, which can easily cost up to $100,000, or even more, depending on the condition and location of patient.

Most travel insurance providers offer two different types of insurance plans that provide emergency medical coverage outside the US:
Comprehensive travel insurance offers the most protection for travelers. It provides a variety of benefits including trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical evacuation, emergency medical coverage, 24/7 emergency assistance, and baggage protection.
Example: For a $5,000 two week vacation to Aruba, a comprehensive travel insurance plan will cost a couple in their 50s around $200. This includes a $50,000 medical limit, $250,000 for medical evacuation in addition to trip cancellation coverage.
Travel medical insurance provides emergency medical coverage, 24/7 emergency assistance, and emergency medical evacuation coverage. Trip cancellation is typically not included.
Example: For the same trip to Aruba, a travel medical insurance plan will cost a couple in their 50s around $80. This includes a $50,000 medical limit with a $250 deductible and $500,000 medical evacuation.

Both comprehensive and travel medical insurance plans are a valued supplement while traveling overseas, offsetting possible coverage gaps evident in some domestic health insurance plans including:

  • Emergency medical care: when a traveler requires a doctor or hospital visit when traveling abroad.
  • Emergency evacuation: when a traveler requires transportation to another medical facility or back home for further care.
  • 24/7 emergency assistance: when a traveler needs help with a medical-or-safety-related issue, needs to find a doctor or hospital, or requires translation services.

Some travel insurance policies also cover pre-existing medical conditions.  And, Medicare does not cover medical care for travelers outside the US. There are supplemental plans such as Medicare Advantage and Medigap that can provide limited additional coverage. 

InsureMyTrip is an online company that compares travel insurance products from the most trusted providers in the industry with its unbiased plan comparison engine and thousands of traveler reviews.

Dangerous Waters
Florida’s sunny beaches are among the most popular destinations during Memorial Day Weekend. Unfortunately, powerful rip currents in off of the state’s east coast were the story over the holiday weekend, with lifeguards in Flagler, Volusia and Brevard Counties combining to rescue more than 500 beachgoers in a 24-hour span from Sunday to Monday. Three people died as a result of the rough surf over the weekend. Lifeguards in Volusia County were busiest on Monday and rescued more than 340 people from the water. Compounding the surf conditions, more than two dozen jellyfish stings were reported in Volusia County. Flagler Beach officials said they rescued 23 people from the ocean on Monday, while 18 others were assisted out of the water in nearby Brevard County. Red flags were seen flying along Florida’s east coast over the weekend, with lifeguards and rescue officials warning beachgoers of the dangerous conditions.
Rip currents, also known as riptides or undertows, are long, narrow bands of water that can pull any objects caught in them away from shore and out to sea. Rip currents are dangerous, and it’s best to learn how to identify and stay out of them. If, however, you get caught in a rip current, it’s relatively easy to escape if you know what to do.

  • Keeping your feet firmly on the lake or sea floor will help you to avoid being swept out to sea by a rip current.
  • Remain calm if a rip current begins to pull you away from shore. If you get caught in a rip current, your first instinct will likely be to panic. Keep calm. Understand that a rip current will probably not pull you underwater; it will only pull you away from the shore.
  • Being caught in a rip current is like being stuck on a treadmill that you can’t turn off. Rip currents are rarely over 100 feet. Rather than swim against the current toward shore, swim parallel to the shore. As you do so, the rip current will carry you further away from shore, but don’t panic. Continue swimming parallel to the shore until you are clear of the current down the beach from the point where you entered the water.
  • Where possible, swim at lifeguard attended beaches.

SPECIAL DOMESTIC & INTERNATIONAL OFFERS

Airfare offers – ones with a ticket-by date – and deals with our suggestion to ‘Hurry!’ can expire at anytime.   Heed Clark’s advice: Buy that great airfare deal – and then figure out a reason to go there! Eventually you’ll see the world at a fraction of the normal price!

One-way from Atlanta, each way:
$49 Akron, Orlando
$94 New Orleans
$99 Washington DC-Reagan
$109 Columbus, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Raleigh, Richmond, St. Louis, Tampa, W. Palm Beach
$110 Denver
$114 Austin, Philadelphia
$124 Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh
$139 Boston, Minneapolis, New York-LaGuardia, Oklahoma City, San Antonio
$172 Phoenix
$175 Las Vegas
$185 Los Angeles
$205 San Francisco
$223 San Diego
$252 Seattle
A 21-day advance purchase required
Valid Tuesday, Wednesday only
Start travel on or after June 16
Complete travel on or before August 19
Blackout dates: July 7
Purchase by May 28
Valid on Southwest(+Fees $), nonstop

One-way from Atlanta, each way:
$127 Lubbock, Texas
A 21-day advance purchase required
Valid Tuesday, Wednesday only
Complete travel on or before August 19
Purchase by May 28
Valid on American(+Fees $) via Dallas

HURRY! One-way from Atlanta, each way:
$192 Seattle
A 21-day advance purchase required
Travel any available day
Complete travel on or before September 15
Valid on United via Houston

Round-trip from Atlanta:
$202 Richmond
$216 St. Louis
$228 Detroit or Kansas City
$256 New York-LaGuardia
$266 Ontario
$308 Orange County-Santa Ana
$320 Oakland
$356 Boise
$360 Des Moines
$365 Reno-Tahoe
$383 Spokane
$404 Albuquerque
$406 Tucson
Start travel on or after August 25
Stay a Saturday night or up to 30 days
Complete travel on or before December 16
Blackout dates: September 3, 4, 7; November 24, 25, 28-30
Purchase by May 28
Valid on Delta(+Fees $); most routes nonstop from ATL
Note: Where matching with Southwest, Delta may restrict sale rates to specific flights

Round-trip from Atlanta:
$436 Seattle
A 14-day advance purchase required
Travel any available day
Complete travel on or before June 30
Purchase by June 1
Valid on Delta(+Fees $), nonstop

Airline fees can and often do exceed the cost of your ticket!
+Fees $$$ = Carry-on Bags: $10-$75; Checked Bags: $15-$100; Seats: $3-$199; additional fees vary by carrier
+Fees $ = Checked Bags: $24-$125; Select/Preferred Seats: $9-$99


SPECIAL HOTEL & RESORT OFFERS

Save in the UK
Hotels giant Travelodge is offering hotel rooms for £29 (about $44.50 USD) or less in their annual spring sale – including stays in central London at rates from £49 (about $75). The offer, valid on 80,000 rooms nationwide, runs through June 30. To make your money go even further, Travelodge hotels that have a Bar Café offer an ‘eat as much as you like’ breakfast buffet for £7.65 per guest and for each paying adult, two children under the age of 16 eat for free. https://www.travelodge.co.uk/search_and_book/saver_rooms?utm_source=onsite&utm_medium=hero2&utm_campaign=autumndealsept14

Hotel Shopping Websites
Here’s a look at travel websites that can score the best prices on a traditional hotel stay:

  • HotelTonight.com: This mobile-only app uses location technology to display a curated selection of nearby hotels with available rooms, many with discounted rates for a stay that same day. However, HotelTonight now accepts reservations up to a week in advance.
  • Stayful.com: Stayful lets travelers bid on or book boutique hotels in several major U.S. cities for trips within the next month, allowing hotels to fill unsold rooms at less than their published rate. If the hotel accepts your bid price and you confirm, you can’t modify or cancel the reservation and receive a refund, but you can modify or cancel a room using the booking feature. Stayful offers a longer lead time than HotelTonight, but uber-planners may want to book further in advance.
  • HotelQuickly.com: An app for last-minute hotel deals (up to 50% off) in 15 countries, including Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam. HotelQuickly gives users a referral code they can use for first-time bookings and credits $15 to the referrers account.
  • BiddingTraveler.com: If you’re planning to bid for hotels on Priceline but are unsure if you’re bidding too high or too low, BiddingTraveler.com can help demystify the process. For instance, a recent visit to BiddingTraveler.com revealed that the Westin Orlando Universal Boulevard has a retail price of $219, but a Priceline bidder scored a room with a bid of $72. Of course, you don’t see what date the bidder used, so your bid of $300 might still get rejected, but it can be a useful benchmark.
  • DreamCheaper.com: If the price of your hotel room drops, it rebooks your reservation automatically and cancels your original one. You then pay whatever portion of the savings you deem appropriate. DreamCheaper works with hotels around the world, but only if your original booking offers free cancellations. The website claims to save 15 percent, and up to 60 percent. Forward your hotel booking email to [email protected] to start the process.
  • Hotels.com: A new program called Secret Prices offers customers a greater selection of competitive hotel deals, most of which are not available on comparison sites. Secret Prices offers thousands of specially negotiated rates and subscriber-only deals on hotels in top destinations around the world. To gain access to Secret Prices, subscribe to Hotels.com emails, download the Hotels.com mobile booking app and/or sign up for the free loyalty program rebranded Hotels.com Rewards.

Travel e-Scapes is brought to you by Clara Bosonetto, Team Clark Travel Editor. Follow Clara on Twitter.


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