Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, February 2020 Issue
Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 877
Logan OH 43138
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright 2020
All Rights Reserved.
Editor: Nicki Chodnoff
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Sydney Opera House, Australia
1. South Africa Escape
|Tour operator Expat Explore reduces their 14 day South Africa Escape tour from $2,955 to $1,665 per person based on a twin share room.
A 10 percent deposit or $110 is required to secure your tour and there are no booking fees.
The tour starts in Cape Town and ends in Johannesburg. Highlights include the Western Cape visiting Cape Town, the winelands, Hermanus, Mossel Bay and Knysna; the Garden Route with a game drive and visit to an ostrich farm and a safari experience at Kruger National Park with three days of wildlife spotting.
The tour includes 13 nights' accommodation in three and four star hotels in twin rooms with private en-suite facilities. Single travelers can pay a single supplement for a private room. Transport is by air-conditioned coach with reclining seats and toilet onboard plus an internal flight from the Garden Route to Johannesburg. There are 13 breakfasts, two lunches, and 10 dinners. International flights and travel insurance are not included.
The $1,665 price is available on the Oct 10, and Nov. 21, 2020 departures.
Expat Explore or 855/980-6726.
2. Bora Bora w/Airfare $2,259
|Goway Tours offers an eight day trip to Bora Bora French Polynesia with airfare from $2,259 per person at Hotel Le Maitai Polynesia in a beach bungalow. Price is per person based on twin/double occupancy and is subject to availability. Book by Feb. 29, 2020 for travel in low season through May 31, 2020. Use Trip code: 401325 for US departures and 401382 for Canadian departures.
Tax of approx. $2 per person, per night, is not included in the price and payable in destination.
The price includes:
- Roundtrip airfare from North America to Tahiti on Air Tahiti Nui including all taxes
- Five nights’ accommodation in Bora Bora at various resorts
- Meet and greet upon arrival
- Inter-island flight to Bora Bora
- Airport hotel transfers
- Daily breakfast
- Shark & Ray Snorkelling Safari (surcharge may apply based on hotel pickup).
The price does not include:
- Travel insurance
- International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
- Visa fees if applicable
- Meals and beverages not mentioned
- Items of a personal nature.
Goway or 800/557-2841.
3. Free Guided Hikes, McDowell Conservancy
|The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, in Scottsdale, AZ, is home to many species of animals, plants and birds. The Preserve encompasses more than 30,500 acres of Sonoran Desert and more than 215 miles of trails to explore on foot, bike or horse. The Preserve is open from sunrise to sunset. There is no charge for parking or access to any of trailheads.
The Preserve is open sunrise to sunset. Stewards can point out things that you may not notice on your own. Guides explore all Preserve trails and share information about a variety of topics.
There are hikes for almost every interest and hiking level. Guides take their time, stop often to talk about what you see and admire the beauty of surroundings. Free guided hikes are scheduled through April. Only service dogs are permitted on guided hikes. Wear appropriate shoes and bring plenty of water.
Stewards provide information about the history of the area, unique cacti and desert vegetation and the unique adaptions of animals that make the desert their home. They also point out seasonal blooms, migratory birds and describe how those who settled this land thrived. Bring your camera and your curiosity.
Private Guided Interpretive Hikes for small to large groups range from one to two-hours, moderate nature walks to three hours as are challenging mountain hikes. Separate hikes are offered for families.
EDUCATIONAL HIKES - blend fun and learning for all ages. You hear stories about the ways native peoples used desert plants for food, shelter, rituals and medicine. Some learn how to identify animal tracks, while others participate in a treasure hunt for signs of wildlife.
FITNESS HIKES - get you out and moving. Enjoy amazing views and improve your sense of wellbeing. Many hikes are for beginning hikers.
McDowell Sonoran Conservancy 480/998-7971.
4. Victory Cruise Lines Great Lakes Sale
|Victory Cruise Lines (VCL), operated by American Queen Steamboat Company, offers a way to explore the Great Lakes as part of the Sail On To Victory Wave Season Campaign.
Following their inaugural season, Victory Cruise Lines offers savings on a nine-day cruise from Chicago to Niagara Falls (or reverse) of up to $2,000 off per stateroom ($1,000 per person) on select M/V Victory II sailings. These promotions offer savings of more than 50 percent.
This nine-day itinerary provides access to Chicago’s Navy Pier, the raw power of Niagara Falls, the charm of Mackinac Island and re-live the glory days of rock n’ roll at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
Victory Cruise Lines’ small-ships allow access to some of the Great Lakes’ small ports that larger ships cannot access. Ports of call on this itinerary include: Chicago, IL, Muskegon, MI, Green Bay, WI, Mackinac Island, Detroit, MI, Cleveland, OH and Niagara Falls.
Included shore excursions and optional experiences give an immersive and intimate look at some of America’s industrial cities and historic cultural sites.
Save $2,000 per stateroom ($1,000 per person) on the following Niagara Falls to Chicago VCL II (and reverse) sailings:
Niagara Falls to Chicago: May 6, 20, June 3, 17, July 1, 15, and Aug. 8 and 26, 2020. Chicago to Niagara Falls: May 13, 27, and Aug. 5, 2020. Single Supplement of 150 percent which is not combinable with other discounts.
Save $1000 per stateroom ($500 per person) on the following Niagara Falls to Chicago VCL II (and reverse) sailings:
Niagara Falls to Chicago: July 29, 2020 or Chicago to Niagara Falls: June 10, July 8 and 22, 2020. Single Supplement of 150 percent which is not combinable with other discounts.
Save $600 per stateroom ($300 per person) on the Chicago to Niagara Falls VCL II sailings on June 24,and Aug. 19, 2020. The single supplement is 200 percent.
Victory Cruise Lines or 888/907-2636.
5. IHRSA Provides Access to Gyms Worldwide
|Keeping fit while traveling can be a challenge. To solve this problem, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) created the IHRSA Passport Program. Now, IHRSA members can access more than 1,000 clubs worldwide when they travel.
Utilizing the user interface on the TrainAway mobile app, the IHRSA Passport Program provides a 25 percent discount off the guest pass fee at participating IHRSA facilities.
The TrainAway mobile app is free to download, and users can purchase guest passes at partner gyms in 44 countries. In addition to English, the TrainAway app is available in Portuguese, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Russian, with more languages on the way.
Members of gyms that are part of the IHRSA Passport program can use the TrainAway app to search for and purchase a discounted one-day pass at participating health clubs. Gym-goers can find a participating club and receive the 25 percent discount by activating their experience using an invitation code provided by their home club.
Members of gyms that are not part of the IHRSA Passport Program can still purchase one-day passes for TrainAway partner gyms at full price. Health club goers should ask their gym if it participates in the program. Download the TrainAway app on your Apple or Android device.
6. Flood Safety Advice
|With rain in the forecast in many parts of the U.S. nearly year-round, AAA urges motorists and homeowners to use caution when dealing with rising waters.
Crash risk increases in wet weather. Heavy rain reduces visibility and decreases vehicle traction. Conditions are most dangerous during the first 10 minutes of a heavy downpour as oil and debris first rise up and wash away. The following tips can keep drivers safe in wet conditions:
- Maintain tires: Tires are the main point of contact with the road. Adequate tire pressure and tread depth help the vehicle grip wet roads and prevent hydroplaning. Check tire pressure and tread depth regularly before driving.
- Improve visibility: Keep the windshield and headlights clean, and replace windshield wipers that leave streaks. Experts recommend replacing wipers every six months.
- Recognize a crisis: If rain is so heavy that you can’t see the edges of the road or other vehicles at a safe distance, it’s time to pull off and wait for the rain to ease up. It’s best to stop at a rest area or exit the freeway and go to a protected area. If that’s not an option, get as far off the road as possible and turn on vehicle hazards.
- Avoid cruise control: Cruise control is designed for dry road conditions and doesn’t know when the pavement is wet. You’re more likely to hydroplane when using cruise control, because you’re not really in complete control of your vehicle. With some cars the wheels actually spin faster when cruise control is engaged and the vehicle hits a slick spot.
- Never drive through high water: A car can lose control in just a few inches of water. Six inches of water will reach the undercarriage of most vehicles and can damage vehicle components or even stall a car’s engine. Just a couple feet of water can carry away most vehicles.
Just one inch of water can cause more than $20,000 in damage, according to FEMA, but floods can bring waves of water many feet high.
The right insurance can help save motorists and homeowners thousands of dollars in the event of a flood, but it’s important to understand which type of insurance is needed to cover various types of flood damage. AAA Ohio Auto Club Insurance Agency offers the following advice:
Flood Insurance: Federal law requires flood insurance for federally financed loans for those who live in high-risk flood zones. Lenders may also require flood insurance for moderate risk zones. Unless it’s due to the new purchase of a home, there is a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance to provide coverage so you must plan ahead. If you wait until the storm is on the way, you’ve likely waited too long.
Homeowners Insurance: Flooding can also occur due to clogged drains or pipes, sewer backup or sump pump failure. Flood insurance does not typically cover sewer backup or sump pump failure. In these cases, homeowners insurance can help cover the costs. Often this coverage is added to the policy as an endorsement.
Comprehensive Auto Insurance: A comprehensive auto insurance policy is needed to cover the costs of a vehicle damaged by flood waters.
More than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside of flood plains, according to FEMA. The National Flood Insurance Program helps homeowners determine their flood risk and help them learn about safeguarding their property. For more information, visit floodsmart.gov.
An up-to-date home inventory can help flood victims get their insurance claim settled faster. It also helps people purchase the right amount of insurance, so they’re protected from loss. The most effective way to take inventory of a home is to shoot video of the entire home.
7. Ski Swim Stay Package
|In Glenwood Springs, CO, hit the slopes at Sunlight Mountain Resort for the day and then soak tired muscles and stay overnight at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort (GHSR) through the Ski Swim Stay package.
All adults registered at GHSR through Ski Swim Stay receive Sunlight Mountain Resort lift tickets and free transportation to and from the mountain, with the shuttle picking up guests at the front door of Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge. The package includes breakfast poolside at the Grill and unlimited access to Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, which is open until 10 p.m. The Glenwood Hot Springs Pool is the world’s largest hot springs pool with 15 minerals in the water to re-energize.
One child (age 12 and under) per paying adult receives a free lift ticket. The Ski Swim Stay package is available through Apr. 5, 2020; the price varies depending on dates.
Another option is the Soak & Slope 4-Pack featuring four days of skiing at Sunlight Mountain Resort and four days of soaking at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort for $279. The 4-Pack can be used throughout the 2019/2020 ski season, except lift tickets through the promotion won’t be available during Feb. 15 to 17, 2020.
Glenwood Hot Springs Resort Ski Swim Stay package or 800/537-7946.
8. Intro Rates at Bungalows Key Largo
|To celebrate its grand opening, the adults-only Bungalows Key Largo offers a limited time "Grand Opening" escape to the first all-inclusive resort in the Florida Keys. The introductory rates are available through April 2020, where you save more when you stay more. Book four nights or more and save 20 to 30 percent with rates from $995 per night.
Private bungalow-style accommodations offer a veranda, oversized alfresco soaking tub and garden shower. Throughout the stay, you can take part in morning yoga on Coconut Beach, interactive activities, and happy hour while watching a Florida sunset. The property offers snorkeling gear, kayaks and paddleboards. You can explore the white sand walking paths on one of the two cruiser bikes provided with each bungalow to explore the 12-acre property.
Nightly rates include dining at three on-site restaurants, and premium beverages poolside, beachside or at two on-property bars. The menus change to coincide with the seasons and availability of ingredients. The resort launched a "Chefs in Residence" program, where chefs from different countries and regions are invited to participate and take-up a short-term, rotating residency while preparing their own specialties and recipes.
The waterfront resort 63 miles south of Miami sits within a botanical garden edged by the Gulf of Mexico. Resort amenities include two pools and two jacuzzi tubs, 1,000-feet of shoreline with beach cabanas, a variety of watersports, a fleet of boats featuring the 56-foot "Lady B" catamaran, Zen Garden Spa, and Fitness Tiki Hut.
Bungalows Key Largo or 866/801-0195.
9. Insight Vacations Anniversary Savings
|To celebrate The Travel Corporation's (TTC) 100 years of service, Insight Vacations offers anniversary savings.
Gather savings in 2020 with Insights' extended air offer and early payment discount. Until Feb. 27, 2020, save up to $300 per couple on economy air on departures to Europe, Eastern Mediterranean, Egypt and Morocco for travel through May 31, 2020, and Sep. 1, 2020 to Nov. 15, 2020.
Choose flights with American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair and Iberia, and save $150 off per person on Economy, $200 off per person on Premium Economy or $300 off per person on Business Class.
Book and pay in full by Feb. 27, 2020 and receive a savings of 7.5 percent on trips to Europe and Britain, and the USA and Canada.
Insight Vacations or 800/582-8380.
10. Sonoma Valley Savings
|Known as the birthplace of wine in California, Sonoma Valley is a destination for wine, food, arts, culture and lifestyle. There are 100 plus wineries, farm-to-table restaurants, historical landmarks, spas, and regional and state parks for outdoor adventure. During cooler months, there are lodging, winery and tour specials. Here are a few.
Kenwood Inn & Spa Stay One Night, Second Night Free – through Mar. 5, 2020.
El Pueblo Inn 35 percent off weekday getaway package.
Gaige House, A Four Sisters Inn, Glen Ellen serenity & second night free, through Mar. 5, 2020.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa 20 percent off dining and spa through Feb. 27, 2020.
Active Wine Adventures Winter season special: 10 percent off private tours through Mar. 20, 2020.
Sonoma Valley or 707/996-1090.
11. Seaside FL Extends Winter Rates
|Cottage Rental Agency, a property management company in Seaside, FL., extends it's winter promotion with rates from $109 for guests booking stays until Feb. 13, 2020 at any eligible home or cottage in Seaside, Watercolor and Highway 30A in South Walton, FL.
The Cottage Rental Agency winter promotion is available for participating cottages only and applies to stays booked through Feb. 13, 2020. Use promo code WLOW.
Along with the special, CRA offers two-bedroom stays for $209, three bedrooms for $309 and four bedrooms for $409 with a three-night minimum stay.
Northwest Florida offers many events and milder temperatures to lure guests without the summertime crowds.
Outdoor recreation options include biking the 19-miles along Highway 30A on the Timpoochee bike trail, hiking through longleaf pine forests in Point Washington, Grayton Beach State Park, Deer Lake State Park or Topsail Hill Preserve State Park.
Cottage Rental Agency winter offer or Cottage Rental Agency 866/966-2565.
12. Florida Residents Disney Ticket
|Florida residents can enjoy the Walt Disney World theme parks with the special Discover Disney Ticket, offered just for them.
Florida residents can purchase a three-day Discover Disney Ticket for $175 (plus tax) or $59 per day (plus tax), valid for admission to one Walt Disney World theme park per day, any day through June 30, 2020. For an additional $20 (plus tax), Florida residents can add a fourth day to experience more. Proof of Florida residency is required. All tickets and options are nontransferable and nonrefundable and exclude activities/events separately priced.
Here are the details for this special offer:
- The Florida Resident Discover Disney Ticket includes admission to any of the four Walt Disney World theme parks (one theme park per day). Tickets are available for purchase through June 27, 2020, and can be used any three or four days (depending on ticket purchased) through June 30, 2020.
- 3-day Discover Disney Ticket for $175, plus tax ($59 per day, plus tax)
- 4-day Discover Disney Ticket for $195, plus tax ($49 per day, plus tax)
- Park Hopper and Park Hopper Plus options available.
This special ticket can be used any days through June 30, 2020, and has no block-out dates through in 2020.
Florida residents can purchase Discover Disney Ticket here.
13. Elite Havens 25% Off Promotion
|Elite Havens makes it easier to go to Bali and Lombok with their Plan and Save 25 percent Promotion.
Bali has bars, cafes, temples and rolling rice fields lining the road, plus surf and sunsets.
A short ferry ride away, Lombok has a slower pace with ocean views and sandy beaches without the tourist crowds.
It's never been easier to get to Bali and Lombok with Elite Havens' Plan and Save 25 percent Promotion. Book by Feb. 29, 2020, at least 90 days ahead of your stay and get a 25 discount discount. The offer is valid for stays until June 25, 2020, excluding high season dates.
Residences range from studios and one-bedroom to seven-bedroom villas. Some of the properties include Villa Sapi, a contemporary six-bedroom villa on Lombok's beach. There is a daybed in an open-sided pavilion bordered by a garden. Champagne and snacks prepared by the villa chef are served by villa staff. A pool rounds out this oasis.
The hilltop location of Selong Selo Resort & Residences in Lombok gives you a bird's eye view of the bay below. View sunsets from your villa’s pool deck while having a barbecue.
The Balinese Villa Malaathina is a seven-bedroom villa surrounded by rice fields a short drive from the action in Seminyak.
Elite Havens' Plan and Save Promotion.
14. UnCruise Adventures Savings on 2020 sailings
|UnCruise Adventures offers up to $1,000 per couple in savings in Alaska, Mexico, Costa Rica & Panama, Belize & Guatemala, Colombia & Panama and Hawaii. A suite deal offers groups savings on larger suites.
Ships carry 22 to 86 guests and cruises focus on nature and wildlife. Adventure activities are included in every UnCruise including kayaking, hiking, beachcombing, paddle boarding, snorkeling, skiff excursions and wildlife searches.
Offers are on new reservations for select 2020 departures booked by Feb. 28, 2020. Mention a savings code to receive the offer.
Save up to $1,000 per couple on weeklong Alaska adventures aboard the 84-guest Safari Endeavour and the 86-guest Legacy when booking a commander cabin or higher category. The Safari Endeavour sails from Juneau and Sitka and the Legacy sails from Juneau and Ketchikan. Mention code WAVE1000AK.
Save up to $500 per couple on weeklong Alaska adventure cruises aboard the 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer and 74-guest Wilderness Explorer when booking a trailblazer cabin or higher category. Both ships sail from Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan. Mention code WAVE500AK.
With few or no port calls, every Alaska cruise includes daily adventure activities in remote wilderness. Flexible itineraries and the small group size facilitate unimpeded exploration and time to search for and watch wildlife.
In celebration of its first year of year-round Hawaii sailings, a savings offer of $700 per couple is offered on weeklong Hawaii cruises departing Mar. 7 to Sep. 5, 2020. The 36-guest Safari Explorer yacht visits Hawai’i, Molokai, Lanai and Maui. Cultural heritage is a key component of the experience with a full day spent with locals on Molokai. Mention code 700HI20.
The 66-guest Safari Voyager sails in Latin America. Belize and Colombia itineraries are new in fall 2020. Save $800 per couple on seven-night Costa Rica & Panama, Belize & Guatemala, and Colombia & Panama cruises departing Apr. 20 to Dec. 5, 2020. Mention code 800LAM20. Save $1,000 per couple on 10-night Costa Rica & Panama cruises departing through Mar. 29, 2020. Mention code 1000CRP10N.
Save $700 per couple on Sea of Cortés cruises departing through Apr. 4, 2020 when booking a commander cabin or higher category. The 84-guest Safari Endeavour explores the marine life rich waters of Baja, on weeklong adventures roundtrip from San Jose del Cabo. Activities include snorkeling with sea lions at Los Islotes, whale and marine life searches, desert hikes and remote beach explorations, a mule ride with local rancheros, and close up encounters with gray whales and calves at Magdalena Bay during calving season. Mention code 700MEX20.
Families and groups booking four or more cabins aboard the Legacy, Safari Voyager or Safari Endeavour on select 2020 Latin America or Alaska adventure cruises can save on a larger suite as the fourth cabin. Suites provide a private gathering and party space for small groups. Mention code SUITE2020.
Cruises start at $3,995 (before savings) and include meals; all beverages, including alcohol; adventure activities and transfers day of cruise. Port taxes and fees are additional. The offers are combinable with UnCruise’s Loyalty, Referral and Family Discoveries savings programs. To
UnCruise Adventures or 888/862-8881.
15. Windstar's "Pick Your Perk" Savings
|Windstar Cruises makes cruising more enticing with its "Pick Your Perk" savings that includes a choice of the following:
Up to $1,000 onboard spending for shore excursions or spa treatments
Up to $300 airfare credit
Unlimited WiFi (up to $70/day).
Guests booking a Premium Suite have an additional perk option: Windstar's All-In Package with unlimited Wi-Fi access, unlimited laundry service, hotel and beverage gratuities, and the Captain's Exclusive beverage package featuring all wines by the glass, all beer selections, all mini-bar beverages, and an assortment of cocktails (a value of $89 per person, per day).
Plus, you receive free wine (up to two bottles per cabin); up to 20 percent savings on Star Collector Voyages (cruises that are 14 days or more); reduced rates for solo travelers; and reduced deposits from $50 per guest. Book by Feb. 28, 2020 to qualify for the Pick Your Perk savings.
Savings and perks are available on Windstar cruises in Australia and New Zealand, Alaska and Canada, or Caribbean, Costa Rica and Panama Canal cruise.
Windstar Cruises or .
16. Amawaterways Triples The Savings
|AmaWaterways offers Triple Savings for 2020 vacations. Book select Europe and Mekong sailings through Mar. 31, 2020 and receive up to $2,000 off per stateroom, free stateroom upgrade (pre-paid gratuities for Mekong) and $100 onboard credit. In addition, Triple Savings offers are combinable with AmaWaterways Past Passenger Privilege Rewards and Future Cruise Benefit Program.
Offers are valid on selected sailings on new bookings made through Mar. 31, 2020. Solo Traveler Savings offer is not combinable with Triple Savings offers.
The offers apply to more than 200 selected sailings including:
- Europe Triple Savings – Europe cruises are available with up to $2,000 in savings per stateroom, $100 onboard credit per stateroom and a free stateroom upgrade.
- Holiday Triple Savings – Up to $2,000 in savings per stateroom, $100 onboard credit per stateroom and a free stateroom upgrade for Europe’s Christmas Markets.
- Mekong Triple Savings – Receive up to $2,000 in savings per stateroom, $100 onboard credit per stateroom and pre-paid gratuities.
- Solo Traveler Savings – As an alternative to the Triple Savings offers, AmaWaterways offers a 25 percent single supplement on all balcony staterooms and select suites for solo travelers.
AmaWaterways Triple Savings offers or 800/626-0126.
17. Hotel Commonwealth Discounted Rooms
|Hotel Commonwealth, the official hotel of the Boston Red Sox, introduces its special deal this winter when you book direct.
Upon arrival, “Show Us Your Ticket” to any Boston professional sports game, concert, or theater event and receive 15 percent off your stay. The ticket must be in conjunction with the nights of stay.
Additionally, included in the package is 15 percent off valet parking, a $25 gift card to The Hawthorne inside Hotel Commonwealth for a “pre-game” before the night out. The “Show Us Your Ticket” promotion is valid through Mar. 31, 2020 based on availability.
Top Boston events this spring include all major sporting and musical events at TD Garden or House of Blues.
Hotel Commonwealth or 617/933-5000.
18. Free Perks w/Rocky Mountaineer's 30th Anniversary
|Rocky Mountaineer kicks off its 30th Anniversary with a promotion. Through Feb. 7, 2020, you will receive free perks with the 30th Anniversary Promotion .
When you book rail packages of eight days or more you will receive up to three free perks, including: one additional hotel night, one airport transfer, and one dinner, worth up to $800 CAD in added value, per couple.
One of the packages eligible for this offer is the First Passage to the West at Leisure, where two days onboard Rocky Mountaineer are combined with overnight stays in Lake Louise, Banff and Calgary.
The 30th Anniversary Promotion is available on qualifying 2020 packages of eight days or more. The offer must be requested at the time of booking and has no cash value and other restrictions may apply.
30th Anniversary Promotion or 877/460-3200.
19. Do You Need Medical Evacuation Coverage By Christopher Elliott
|Igor Natanzon had long dreamed of visiting Antarctica. But his photographic expedition to the South Pole turned into a nightmare after a rogue wave slammed into his ship and he required a medical evacuation.
The wave hit the vessel as Natanzon, a software engineer from Hallandale Beach, FL., was descending a flight of stairs on the lower deck. He lost his grip on the handrail and tumbled down the stairway, fracturing his lower leg.
“I had medical evacuation insurance,” he recalls. “But I never thought I’d have to use it.”
Natanzon was lucky. Airlifting sick or injured passengers from the Antarctic can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’ve spoken with travelers who had to tap their retirement savings to cover a medical evacuation bill. So when do you need medical evacuation coverage — and when can you do without it?
“Even if you’re in good health, accidents can happen anywhere,” says Tom Bochnowski, the vice president of marketing for Redpoint travel insurance, which covered Natanzon’s medical evacuation through his travel company, Muench Workshops. “Being able to get home for treatment by your own doctors in your own home country is invaluable.”
To find out what kind of coverage you need, you must review the coverage you already have. Credit cards or health or travel insurance policies may cover emergency medical evacuations, but consumers should read the fine print to be sure.
Only high-end credit cards marketed to frequent travelers offer emergency medical evacuation coverage. It most often covers transportation to the “nearest acceptable facility” rather than all the way home. The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige credit cards cover medical evacuations up to $100,0000. The American Express Platinum Card has no limit on its emergency medical evacuation coverage.
Health insurance policies generally don’t provide coverage for travel outside the country. For example, Blue Cross/Blue Shield may cover some medical expenses overseas — coverage varies by state — but the company recommends an additional product called GeoBlue. GeoBlue’s basic “Voyager” product covers medical evacuations up to $500,000.
Travelers should review coverage limits, warns James Walloga, executive vice president for accident & health at Chubb North America. “Some policies have as low as $5,000 for medical expenses and $10,000 for emergency transportation,” he says. “That may not provide enough coverage, depending on where you’re traveling.”
Some travelers buy an annual membership in Global Rescue or Medjet to supplement their travel insurance. An annual membership in Global Rescue, which costs $329, covers evacuation from your location to your hospital of choice and round-the-clock medical advisory services supported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Medjet has a global network of aircraft to get you to a hospital of your choosing and also handles security and crisis response under some annual memberships, which start at $99.
Do you need all of that? It depends on your circumstances and where you’re traveling. Here’s a checklist.
If you’re leaving the country: Don’t rely on health insurance or your credit card for medical evacuation coverage outside the country, experts say. “I always recommend getting medical evacuation and catastrophic injury coverage whenever a person travels out of the country,” says Chris Goodnow, a partner at Goodnow McKay, a Phoenix law firm that often deals with insurance and medical evacuations.
If you’re taking a cruise: If Natanzon’s story isn’t enough to make you consider a medical evacuation policy, then consider Fred Claussen’s. He suffered a massive heart attack on a cruise and found himself stranded in St. Kitts for a week. Cruise infirmaries can handle only basic emergencies, and modern medical facilities are often hundreds or thousands of miles away.
If you’re engaging in a high-risk activity: Travel insurance often excludes high-risk activities such as mountain climbing or scuba diving. “If your policy doesn’t cover injury sustained on a moped — many deem them motorcycles and, therefore, disallow coverage — or doesn’t cover adventure travel, they’re not going to cover an evacuation,” says John Gobbels, the chief operating officer of Medjet. Gobbels still recommends travel insurance, noting that a membership in a medical air transport program is a supplement to insurance, not a replacement.
Personal preference is a factor. For example, if you’re a nervous traveler, you might feel better with both a travel insurance policy that has a generous medical evacuation benefit and an annual membership in a medical transport program, even if you’re just taking a hiking trip out west. But if you aren’t afraid of taking risks, a garden-variety travel insurance program might feel fine for your next European vacation.
As for Natanzon, the ship dropped him off on King George Island, near the Antarctic Peninsula. He flew to a hospital in Chile on a plane and then home to Florida on a private jet. Medical insurance covered all of his costs. “I have been to some dangerous parts of the world, and came out okay, so I guess I grew a bit complacent about the possibility of an injury,” he says.
But the experience didn’t deter him from further adventures. In fact, he’s returning to Antarctica this month to finish his photo expedition.
“I’ll make sure I’m covered,” he says.
Christopher Elliott's latest book is “How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler” (National Geographic). This column originally appeared in the Washington Post.
20. Disneyland Tickets for So. Cal. Residents
|Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA offers families limited-time ticket and hotel offers at the resort's two theme parks and three hotels in Southern California. You can book and save on visits to new shows and attractions, festivals and entertainment at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, along with Disney-themed accommodations at the resort's on-property hotels.
Southern California residents can visit the Disneyland Resort theme parks for $67 per day with the purchase of a three-day, one-park per day ticket. Park Hopper options are available. The tickets are available through May 18, 2020. The tickets are valid for Southern California residents within ZIP codes 90000-93599 and Northern Baja California residents within ZIP codes 21000-22999; proof of eligible residency, including valid government-issued photo ID, is required for purchase and admission.
Eligible guests may purchase up to five tickets per person, per day, and prices are the same for adults and children. This special ticket also includes one Magic Morning, with admission to select attractions on select days at Disneyland park one hour before the park opens to the general public. These special tickets may be purchased here or through a travel agent. Southern California residents may redeem their tickets on any three separate days through May 21, 2020.
For families from outside of Southern California, there's a special value for kids. Save on Disneyland Resort park tickets for children ages three to nine for $67 per day with the purchase of a three-day, one-park per day ticket. Park Hopper options are available. Tickets are available for purchase through May 18, 2020. Guests may purchase up to eight tickets per person, per day and this ticket includes one Magic Morning, with admission to select attractions on select days at Disneyland park one hour before the park opens to the general public. These special tickets may be purchased here or through a travel agent. This three-day ticket expires 13 days after first use or on May 21, 2020, whichever occurs first.
If you wish to stay and play, there are savings with room offers at the hotels of the Disneyland Resort. You can save up to 25 percent off select rooms, Sunday to Thursday nights, based upon availability through Apr. 16, 2020. You can save up to 20 percent on standard rooms and 25 percent on premium rooms at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa; up to 20 percent on standard rooms and 25 percent on premium rooms at Disneyland Hotel, and up to 10 percent on standard and premium rooms at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel. These room offers may be reserved for stays through April 16, 2020, when booked by Mar. 16, 2020.
The Hotels of the Disneyland Resort offer convenient access to both parks.
Enchanted experiences available at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort include character dining, character wake-up calls by request and themed room elements. Hotel guests can make the most of their time with the Extra Magic Hour, with their valid theme park ticket. Extra Magic Hour offers park admission to a designated theme park one hour earlier than the general public and is only available for guests who stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel.
Disneyland Resort or 866/43-DISNEY.
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