MOMtravelchat: When Vacations Go Wrong
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At this month’s MOMtravelchat party we took on the icky subject of travel problems. We discussed the many ways vacations go wrong, how to prevent some of them or plough through when you can’t, when to give up, and how travel insurance can save the day either way.
Tweets about @Allianz: 1,695 Guests mentioning @Allianz: 139 Links and Retweets about @Allianz: 655 Reach for @Allianz: 4.7 million timelines
Our sponsor, Allianz Global Assistance, insures 16 million customers from offices in 34 countries; its workers speak 58 languages. And its chief tweeter is a mom. So it’s the perfect source for a discussion on how to keep things from going wrong when you travel and what to do when mishaps occur anyway.
Here’s what we learned from each other.
How Vacations Go Wrong
Parents reported that, especially during holiday travel, it’s not unusual for the adults or kids to start coming down with an illness just before a trip or even in transit. Because of the expense and anticipation of the trip, most try to make it work anyway. “I pack every medicine I can think of. My kids always seem to get sick over the holidays,” said one mom.
People who have had to cancel trips most often cited sick family members or weather delays to sever to make rescheduling possible.
Several parents pointed out that one travel problem can often create others. For example car trouble on the way to airport caused a few families to miss their flight. “There can be a domino effect. Flight delayed, hotel overbooked so they give away your room when you’re late, etc.,” a parent noted.
Perhaps this is why Allianz tells us consumers are more likely to file a claim for travel situations than any other insurance they purchase.
What We Want to Protect Most
After their personal health and safety, parents were most concerned when they travel about protecting their money, credit cards and ID, luggage, electronics and the home they leave behind. “We have a checklist to make sure home is protected when we are away,” said one dad. They also worry more about identity theft while traveling.
Sarah Fouts, a mom, who was tweeting for Allianz, said she tries to keep her mind on managing, “The overall experience. If there’s snafus, I want ways to make it better so that we still have a good time.”
Another mom says that if you can salvage at least part of the trip when a vacation goes wrong it’s, “A way to protect my investment. If we have a change of plans I don’t want to lose all my money!”
An Ounce of Prevention…
To prevent vacations from going wrong in the first place, parents think about health and safety leading up to a trip. They check the car’s maintenance; download airline and traffic apps to anticipate delays; and do what they can do boost their family’s health with vitamins, extra rest and a little more exercise. Some will research a destination to learn about safe and potentially unsafe areas. One mom says she goes over relevant safety information with her kids, too. Though it’s hard, they try to delay social media posts about their travel until they’re back home.
How To Save The Day When Vacations Go Wrong
Sarah at Allianz asked if a travel concierge would be valuable when things go wrong. Most agreed it would, especially since so few parents use travel agents these days, and so are on their own when things go wrong.
“It’s hard finding resources I need when I’m not at home and things have gone wrong,” said one mom. Another parent said she really values, “A 1-800 number I can call where they will take care of everything!” Another mom liked the idea of turning to a person who has handled her problem before and so had ready answers for her.
Of course, the conversation turned to travel insurance and how it can help when things go wrong. We had some parents who buy it for every vacation—often because they had an uninsured vacation go wrong—and others who were not familiar with it but saw its potential value.
The biggest question around travel insurance was what type of trips to insure (International travel, cruises, vacations booked months in advance or with a big-ticket item like theme park tickets or a house rental). Parents wanted to know what would be included (policies vary) and where to buy it (directly from an insurer or through an insurance comparison site like InsuremyTrip).
No one said they would stop traveling beause of mishaps; quite the contrary. Most try to “keep on going” no matter what. As one daad said, “Live fully, take risks and cover your backside with insurance.”
Thanks to Elizabeth Bean at Burbs2Abroad for our Feature photo