Sunday, June 14, 2009

Stay Safe and Prevent Mishaps on Your Summer Cruise Vacation

Everyone has an image of the perfect vacation and, for many of us, that is a cruise. However, perfection is difficult to achieve. CSA Travel Protection, a company dedicated to providing travel insurance and emergency assistance services, offers important travel safety reminders to ensure smooth sailing—or driving, flying, hiking, or scuba diving, for that matter—when taking the "Great American" summer vacation.

According to a recent survey by the U.S. Travel Association, more than half (54%) of American households plan to take at least one leisure trip this summer. While many experienced travelers know the ins and outs of safe travel, CSA offers the following tips for everyone to help keep them safe and protected from mishaps on their next trip.

1. Create a meeting schedule, and a Plan B. When traveling with family members or in a group, make sure everyone agrees on a meeting place at a designated time before and after outings. If, in the event, someone becomes separated, agree to always meet at a "base camp."
2. Your camera is your friend. In many ways. Your camera isn't just a tool for creating memories of your trip. It is also the perfect device for helping you if lost and to document conditions around you. Take a picture of your ship's landmarks to help you later if you run astray.
3. Back up everything, and make it accessible from anywhere. Copy, scan or take pictures of important documents—such as your driver's license, passport, credit cards, travel insurance policy and other travel documents—and email the images to your web-based email account. This way you can access them from anywhere in case of loss or theft.
4. How's the weather out there? Besides having to worry about what kind of clothes to pack, review the weather forecast for your destination often. Also, understand that area's propensity for hurricanes, wildfires, flooding or other natural disaster so you are prepared before leaving.
5. Use your travel insurance provider's assistance hotline, and keep the number with you at all times. Nearly all travel insurance plans include 24-hour, worldwide emergency assistance services. If something happens, you're not alone. These experts can help with just about any situation, from finding a dentist in Venice in the middle of the night, to helping replace a lost passport, to assisting with travel arrangements if you miss your flight or ship.
6. Avoid carrying excessive amounts of money and multiple credit cards. Also keep a back-up credit card in case you are a victim of theft or lose your card.
7. Put a vacation hold through the U.S. Postal Service. Your mail can be held at your local post office until you can pick it up or are home to receive it. Not only will you help thwart potential burglars, but you may also protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft.
8. Don't let your guard down when you are in your pre-cruise hotel or aboard your cruise ship. Take advantage of in-room or front-desk safes by locking up passports, credit cards, and other important documents.
9. Read your cruise ship's inspection report before booking. The Vessel Sanitation Program at the Centers for Disease Control and others regularly inspect ships for cleanliness, repair, food preparation and storage, water quality, hygiene, and pest management, for example. Read your ship's report ahead of time to make sure it has a healthy track record.
10. It's Hurricane Season; be prepared. Check with your pre-cruise hotel or cruise line before booking to determine what their policy is in the event of a storm. Also check the National Hurricane Center for the latest on approaching storms.

Travel insurance provides an added layer of protection against unforeseen events such as medical emergencies, natural disasters and theft. It also safeguards against trip cancellations such as job loss and health-related incidents of non-traveling family members. Even the best-planned vacations can be turned upside down by unforeseen circumstances. Vacationers ready to take that trip this summer can find out more about the benefits of travel insurance from their travel agent. You'll also find details about CSA Travel Protection at Insure My Trip.

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