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3 trip-saving tips to share with international travelers

Scott Fleming, February 27, 2020

Travel suppliers can help their customers not only book international travel, but also understand passport rules, security considerations and trip insurance.

two women taking a selfie

Millennials, projected to overtake baby boomers as America’s largest adult generation in 2019, are helping to fuel international travel like never before. These trend-setters tend to view travel less as a luxury than a necessity, one that’s more vital to happiness than car or home ownership. Many millennials are now parents, toting children on overseas adventures with them.

Overall, growth in international tourism around the world hit a 7-year high in 2017. Millennial families were one group that planned to invest more in travel in 2018, according to the MMGY 2018-2019 Portrait of American Travelers, while older travelers in the study planned to invest the most in vacations.

As Americans of all ages expand their horizons, U.S. travel suppliers have an opportunity to build greater loyalty with customers. One way is to help customers manage new risks that come with new territory. Here are three simple steps travel suppliers can share with customers planning international travel:

  1. Verify that your passport is valid, and not just for the anticipated dates of your trip. Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months past the dates of your trip. Some airlines won’t allow you to board if it isn’t.

    Check the U.S. State Department’s travel website for guidelines on applying for or renewing a U.S. passport, as well as for expediting the process. Allow at least six weeks for standard processing.

    Parents planning to travel overseas with children are sometimes surprised to learn that a child under age 16 must apply for a passport in person, with evidence of parental consent. That generally means both parents appear with the child. Child passports are valid for only five years.
  2. Review health, safety and security conditions in the destinations you’re considering. The State Department provides information on a country-by-country basis, updated regularly with crime and security tips, visa and vaccine requirements, and more. Volunteers, older travelers, LGBTI travelers and others can find guidance tailored to their concerns. This site is a worthwhile stop during your international travel planning.
  3. Review your insurance policies and consult your providers if you aren’t sure whether your existing medical coverage will be impacted by your trip parameters, such as length of stay, higher-risk activities or pre-existing health conditions. Checking insurance is one of the most overlooked steps in international travel planning, and skipping it can leave you and your family members vulnerable.

The value of travel insurance

As people travel more and spend more per trip, travel insurance has become more widely available, often offered at point of booking from online travel agents, airlines, cruise lines and other travel suppliers. Yet, many people still don’t understand the value of coverage.

Zurich works with travel suppliers to provide information that helps their customers decide whether travel insurance is right for them. Two factors to consider:

  • The U.S. State Department recommends U.S. citizens purchase supplemental medical insurance for travel overseas. Employer or government-provided health coverages, including Medicare, may not cover costs or be able to respond immediately if you become ill or are injured while traveling abroad. Many overseas medical providers require payment before treatment.
  • Leisure travelers sometimes assume they have trip insurance through credit cards. Depending on the company and the coverage offered, credit card issuers may compensate you for some nonrefundable travel costs, but not for all losses and expenses.

A report from AAA suggests travelers are beginning to understand the value in travel insurance. Travelers in their survey who planned to purchase travel insurance for future international trips said that getting their money back, if they have to cancel a trip, is their top motivation. Health reasons are second.

Travel suppliers who want to offer customers a protection plan should consider a reputable company that is a member of the U.S. Travel Insurance Association (USTiA), as Zurich is.

If flexibility in plan design is important, Zurich Travel Protection allows travel suppliers to customize coverages for their customers’ needs. Zurich Travel Protection offers coverages for trip cancellation, accident or illness, flight delays, stolen luggage, evacuation and more. Options include Zurich Travel Assist for 24/7 emergency assistance, with a customer-friendly mobile app for travel alerts and information.

At Zurich, we know simplicity is key, not only for travelers but for travel suppliers offering the coverage. Zurich’s global footprint in more than 210 countries and territories can help travel suppliers obtain reliable, compliant coverage for customers who reside outside the U.S. Our sales optimization and customization platform can be integrated into existing e-platforms, leveraging advanced analytics to help fine-tune the offering to the customer’s preferences.

Whatever the generation or destination, American travelers are more diverse than the old stereotype of the tourist in white gym shoes. That’s why Zurich offers travel suppliers versatile, holistic solutions. We like contributing to a wider world of opportunity.


Learn more about Zurich Travel Protection