Welcome to the March edition of TRAVEL GUARD UPDATE, a monthly review designed to provide you with up-to-date information on the latest travel trends. This month, we polled travel agents to learn more about their clients who book solo travel. We’ll also touch upon a handy tip to ensure those traveling alone prepare for the worst and how Travel Guard came to the rescue when a trip took a turn for the worst.
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In this month's issue: PULSE POLL: SOLO TRAVEL TRENDSTRAVEL TIP: SAFETY FIRST EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: HAZARDS IN HAWAIIFlying Solo: Traveling alone has become commonplace, with more than half (59%) of agents polled noting that they’ve seen more of their clients are traveling by themselves now compared to 10 years ago. This trend can be attributed to travelers’ life changes, as 43% of agents polled reported that the majority of clients traveling alone are doing so because they are now widowed or divorced.
Other reasons for traveling alone include travelers’ desire to follow their own schedule (17%), because they have more time to travel than their friends or family members (15%) or because they are traveling to pursue a specific interest (14%). Despite how solo travel has been romanticized in pop culture, very few agents reported clients traveling on their own in order to visit an unusual or emerging destination (6%) or to reconnect with themselves (4%). Battle of the Sexes: Agents reported that it’s much more common for woman to travel alone than men, with 73% of agents polled noting that more female travelers embark on solo trips than their male counterparts. Golden Years: According to 44% of agents polled, most of their clients taking solo trips are 55 years of age or older, followed by those 45-55 (29%), 35-45 (18%), 25-34 (9%) and 18-24 years of age (0.4%).Across the Pond: Nearly half (45 %) of agents polled noted Europe as the most popular destination for clients booking solo travel, followed closely by Mexico / Caribbean (33%) and the United States / Canada (15%). Surprisingly, more exotic destinations like Africa, Asia, Central or South America and the South Pacific ( all 2%) were cited as destinations less traveled. Agents reported the most common types of accommodations for solo travelers are resorts or full service hotels (46%) and cruises (40%), with limited service hotels (10%) hostels or guest houses (3%) and apartment or room rental direct from owner (2%) being much less common. Budget Friendly: When booking travel alone, the majority of agents polled (82%) noted that their clients spend less than $4,999 on travel, with 16% of agents citing their clients have a larger budget of $5,000 - $9,999. A mere 2% of agents saw clients spend more than $10,000 on the average solo trip. Play it Safe: When traveling alone, it’s no surprise that nearly half of agents polled (47%) noted a traveler’s greatest concern as encountering a dangerous situation without a travel companion to help. Additional concerns include medical emergencies (23%), potential flight delays or cancellations (24%), lost or stolen travel documents (4%) and lost luggage (3%).
Given these concerns, it’s not surprising that the majority of agents (87%) reported that their clients typically purchase a travel insurance policy when embarking on a trip alone.TRAVEL TIP: SAFETY FIRST
Whether it’s taking a career break, a trip to reconnect with oneself or traveling to an emerging destination, any number of things can go wrong while traveling alone. For solo travelers, it’s important to consider all the “what if’s” before embarking on a trip and understanding how a travel insurance policy can help, especially when there is no traveling companion around to do so.
Travel Guard’s comprehensive policies come with 24-hour service, making representatives readily available to help prepare for a vacation or assist should the unexpected occur. Coverage typically includes medical expenses, emergency medical transportation, trip interruption, trip cancellation, and baggage loss, delay and damage. Travel Guard also offers a Cancel for Any Reason add-on that may cover travelers’ last minute trip changes.
The My Travel Guard plan even lets solo travelers customize and build their own plan tailored to each individual trip so that their trip investment is covered and their worries can be put to rest.
For the complete line of travel insurance and assistance service plans, visit www.TravelGuard.com.EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: HAZARDS IN HAWAII
Mora J. set off to a sustainability and wellness retreat center in Hawaii to help locals and learn about the Hawaiian culture and green practices in the community. She spent months planning her solo journey, but a few days into her trip, the unexpected happened. While surfing, she felt a sharp pain in her lower abdomen. At first, she shrugged it off, thinking that she had pulled a groin muscle. By early afternoon, after trying to tend to the pain, she was doubled over and showing signs of early shock. She was quickly taken to the hospital where she stayed overnight while the hospital staff assessed her situation.
Thankfully, Mora had purchased a travel insurance plan through Travel Guard and her medical expenses were covered. Travel Guard also routinely followed up with her while she was in the hospital.
“It was reassuring to know that Travel Guard was there right from the beginning and that there was communication with hospital,” said Mora. “I am a very healthy young woman and live an active lifestyle complete with daily exercise, good food and meditation. But even then, you never know what is going to happen. It is important to insure yourself. Travel Guard provided me with very personalized service versus some of the companies I have purchased a plan with in the past.”1 Based on a Travel Guard pulse poll to Travel Guard agency partners in March 2013.
Travel Guard is the marketing name for Travel Guard Worldwide, Inc. Travel Guard, a member of American International Group, Inc. (“AIG”), is a worldwide leader in travel insurance solutions and assistance, including emergency assistance, for millions of leisure and business travelers around the globe. American International Group, Inc. (AIG ) is a leading international insurance organization serving customers in more than 130 countries. AIG companies serve commercial, institutional, and individual customers through one of the most extensive worldwide property-casualty networks of any insurer. In addition, AIG companies are leading providers of life insurance and retirement services in the United States. AIG common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
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AIG is the marketing name for the worldwide property-casualty, life and retirement, and general insurance operations of American International Group, Inc. For additional information, please visit our website at www.aig.com. All products and services are written or provided by subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group, Inc. Products or services may not be available in all countries, and coverage is subject to actual policy language. Non-insurance products and services may be provided by independent third parties. Certain property-casualty coverages may be provided by a surplus lines insurer. Surplus lines insurers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds, and insureds are therefore not protected by such funds.
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