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Record Breaking Holiday Travel for 2023
Record Breaking Holiday Travel for 2023

The upcoming 2023 holiday season is anticipated to witness a surge in travel, with almost half of Americans expressing their intention to embark on trips. Compared to the previous year, concerns related to health and finances are proving to be less of an issue for travelers this season. Although some worries about flight disruptions persist, fewer individuals cite them as reasons to avoid travel completely. The 2023 Deloitte holiday survey states a notable increase in travel intent across all age and income groups, with a particular uptick in the share of travelers planning to stay in hotels, reaching 56%. This survey also highlights the resurgence of baby boomers in travel, constituting close to one-third of the traveling public during the upcoming holiday season, a significant increase from the previous year.

This year's Thanksgiving holiday defied expectations as it set remarkable travel records across the United States. On Sunday alone, a staggering 2,907,378 individuals passed through security at U.S. airports, marking an unprecedented milestone, according to data from the Transportation Security Administration. This impressive number occurred despite the challenges posed by a cross-country storm, which blanketed busy airports like Chicago O'Hare International with snow and caused delays for over 900 flights. Remarkably, only three flights were canceled at O'Hare on this exceptionally busy travel day, showcasing the resilience of the transportation system in the face of adverse weather conditions.

Now, as we approach the winter holidays, including Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year's, concerns may arise among travelers regarding potential challenges such as airport delays, flight cancellations, and issues like inclement weather that could disrupt travel plans to driving destinations. It’s always a good idea to have a travel insurance plan in your back pocket. A Trip Cancellation plan with Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) coverage from Trawick International is the safest option, as it has comprehensive coverage for trip cancellations, trip interruptions, travel delays, and allows for any cancellation reason, even if it is not otherwise covered by your travel insurance plan.

Related: Which Popular Travel Insurance is Right for Your Holiday Trip?

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Avoid Travel Scams This Holiday Season
Avoid Travel Scams This Holiday Season

While Black Friday dominates discussions during the post-Thanksgiving commercial holiday period, savvy travelers set their eyes on Travel Tuesday, falling on November 28 this year, to secure some of the year's most enticing deals for future adventures. As the final day for the majority of promotions launched during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Cyber Week by hotel corporations, cruise lines, airlines, tour operators, and other travel entities, Travel Tuesday offered a last chance to capitalize on substantial savings. However, amid the excitement of potential savings for vacations in 2024, consumers need to be vigilant, as scammers are seizing the opportunity to exploit unsuspecting travelers.

The holiday season, marked by increased consumer spending, provides a ripe environment for fraudsters, and online retailers like Amazon acknowledge the heightened activity of scammers during this period. The utilization of generative artificial intelligence tools by bad actors is contributing to the development of more sophisticated scams. To stay safe, experts highlight four prevalent scams, including vacation rental scams, fraudulent deals via text and email, airline ticketing scams, and rideshare scams.

Vacation rental scams involve the creation of fake travel agencies or imitation of trusted booking sites, enticing consumers with seemingly legitimate short-term stay options. Scammers deceive individuals into paying a fake "rental deposit," only to disappear afterward. Warning signs of illegitimate booking sites include payment requests through gift cards or wire transfers, immediate booking pressure, and prices that seem too good to be true. Additionally, caution is advised regarding deals received via text and email during the holiday shopping period, as fraudsters may exploit the surge in promotions to deliver deceptive messages. Consumers are urged to verify sender email addresses and be wary of offers that seem unusually enticing. Airline ticketing scams and rideshare scams further emphasize the need for travelers to exercise caution, ensuring that flight bookings are made through reputable websites and remaining vigilant against unexpected payment requests or questionable charges.

Venice Day-Tripper Fee for Tourism to Begin in January
Venice Day-Tripper Fee for Tourism to Begin in January

Venice authorities have introduced a groundbreaking pilot program aimed at managing over-tourism and preserving the city's delicate ecosystem. Beginning next year, day-trippers entering the city on peak weekends will be required to pay a nominal fee of 5 euros ($5.45). The initiative, termed a "contribution" rather than a tax, seeks to encourage longer visits, reduce crowds, and enhance the quality of life for residents. With 29 selected days from April to mid-July, including most weekends, subject to the day-tripper fee during peak hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the program intends to incentivize visitors to choose off-peak times. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro emphasized the city's commitment to creating a more livable environment, emphasizing that the fee is not a revenue-generating measure but an innovative experiment to regulate tourist flows.

Starting January 16, a dedicated website will allow visitors to reserve their day in Venice, paying the fee and receiving a QR code for entry. Exemptions include residents, Venetian-born visitors, students, workers, and tourists with lodging reservations. The move comes in response to UNESCO's concerns about placing Venice on the danger list due to over-tourism, prompting the city to take proactive measures to strike a balance between tourism and environmental sustainability. With the city's tourism industry grappling with the aftermath of COVID-19 lockdowns, Venice aims to reshape its relationship with visitors, encouraging a more sustainable approach while bolstering the city's appeal to long-term tourists who tend to contribute more to the local economy.

Learn More on the City of Venice Website

Iceland's Volcanic Eruption Threat - Is it Safe to Travel?
Iceland's Volcanic Eruption Threat - Is it Safe to Travel?

Iceland continues to face the lingering threat of a volcanic eruption, with concerns heightened two weeks ago when seismic activity and magma movement beneath the southwest region suggested an imminent eruption. Although the Icelandic Met Office reports a recent decrease in seismic activity, with around 500 earthquakes daily, the threat remains, particularly in the area between Hagafell and Sýlingarfell. The probability of an "imminent" eruption is gradually diminishing as time passes, attributed to the ongoing decrease in seismicity and magma inflow.

Despite the continued volcanic threat, Iceland's Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management has shifted from an Emergency Phase to an Alert Phase, indicating a heightened risk rather than an ongoing event. The area near Grindavík, which was evacuated earlier, remains under surveillance, and the Blue Lagoon, a popular tourist site, has been closed since November 9, with a reassessment planned for at least December 7. Visit Iceland assures travelers that flights are operating normally and are unlikely to be affected unless there is a significant eruption. IcelandAir, the country's flag carrier, confirms that all flights remain on schedule, emphasizing readiness to welcome travelers, while the Icelandic government advises that only those planning to stay in the vicinity of Grindavík should remain on alert, with the rest of the country's hotels and attractions operating normally.

Travelers are encouraged to stay informed through their carriers for the latest information or by visiting Iceland's Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management website

U.S. Department of State Still Recommends Travel Insurance
U.S. Department of State Still Recommends Travel Insurance

The U.S. Department of State strongly encourages travelers to consider purchasing travel insurance for comprehensive protection during their journeys. Recognizing the unpredictable nature of travel, the department emphasizes that travel insurance can provide coverage for a range of unforeseen circumstances, including trip cancellations, medical emergencies, and lost or stolen belongings.

By obtaining travel insurance, individuals can mitigate financial risks and ensure they have access to necessary support in the event of unexpected challenges while abroad. The Department of State advises travelers to carefully review insurance policies to understand the extent of coverage and choose plans that best suit their needs, promoting a more secure and worry-free travel experience.

The U.S. government is very clear in their statement that they do not and will not provide insurance for U.S. citizens overseas, and they will not pay medical bills or unexpected costs that may arise while you are out of your home country. Utilize their Traveler’s Checklist to make sure you have everything you need before embarking on your next journey.

Our 24/7 customer service team is always available to help walk you through exactly what plan is right for your next trip. Contact us today!

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