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Activities/Tours ›

Can I book tours and activities after the initial reservation is booked? Yes, Tripmasters allows you to book tours up to as close as 3 days prior to departure. We send you a reminder email, 21 days before departure to start your researching. However, should you have something important planned on your TO DO list, we recommend booking it as early as possible as some things can sell out in high season.

In most large cities there are numerous tours to popular attractions, it is very important for you to read through the descriptions and select the ones that fit your interests best. Do not forget about fitness level as well! Some of these tours can include lots of walking and climbing of steps.

We do offer a large variety of tours from group activities to walking tours, private and more specific type interest tours for people interested in say culinary, art or music. There are plenty of “skip the line” tours which is more for convenience rather than the content. These will help avoid long waiting lines to “must see” attractions but can include different levels of guidance.

Pay attention to the type of guides and the size of the tour. Remember, small group tours will always be more personal. And also pay attention to the inclusions/substitutions (some museums/attractions are closed on certain days of the week and therefore another attraction may be substituted on the day you are there.)

Where do I meet the tour? The meeting point of the tour will be listed on your voucher. There are some tours with hotel pick up but most tours are to be met at a specific location. If you are in the city the day before, we suggest getting acquainted with the location of the tour meeting point beforehand. We always recommend being at the tour meeting point at least 15 minutes (if not 30) before the scheduled meeting time. Grab a coffee close by and head over just before the tour begins so the tour guide knows you have arrived.

Do I have to reconfirm my tour before arrival? Some tours will ask you to reconfirm at the destination. If you feel it is too confusing and do not have a working smartphone on hand, then contact the front desk at your hotel. Most front desk staff have no problem calling to reconfirm even in the local language, should you ask nicely for help.

What if my tour has been canceled? Unfortunately, some tours may be canceled due to unforeseen circumstances. Tours that are canceled last minute will receive a full refund. However, you can always ask the provider if they can suggest something similar for that day in exchange for the tour loss. A Lot of times they know of other great tours they can get you signed up for in exchange so you do not lose time exploring.

Why is it important that I give my name as it appears on my passport when booking air? Due to increased travel security around the world, it is now more important than ever that your airline ticket match your first and last name exactly as it reads on your passport. Additionally, any changes to your air booking, which include spelling, could be subject to a change fee, penalties or cancellation.

What are the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements? The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires full name (as it appears on a government-issued ID that passenger will be traveling with), date of birth and gender for all passengers. Failure to provide the required TSA information for your air reservation can result in delays at the airport during the check-in process and/or flights canceled prior to departure by the airline.

When will I be able to select my seats if I was unable to reserve during the booking process? Depending on the cabin you choose, you may be able to pre-select your seat during the booking process. Some airlines do not allow you to choose your seats in advance without paying a fee. If you do not have a seat assigned, we recommend that you do your online check-in directly with the airline, which may give you the option to select a seat. You can also purchase your seat selection directly from the airline prior to your flight departure.

Once confirmed, are airlines seats always guaranteed? In most cases, seat assignments are firm. However, airlines may sometimes re-assign seats for operational reasons. This often happens at the last moment, is controlled by airline staff, and Tripmasters is not notified. Passengers are encouraged to reconfirm their seat assignments and any other special requests directly with their airline prior to departure.

If I provide my frequent flier miles on airfares purchased through Tripmasters. Will they be applied? Tripmasters will be more than happy to pass on your frequent flier numbers to the airline. However, some discounted or promotional fares may not be eligible for mileage accrual. We also encourage you to offer these numbers upon check-in.

How do I make a special request for meals, wheelchair or assistance on my flight? During the booking process, you are able to notate any special request. There is a field for this, beneath where you input your payment information. Should you have missed this field when booking, we can take this special request via email or chat. However, if you are requesting a wheelchair, it may be a good idea to contact our customer service to provide additional information in regards to your limitations.

How do I know if baggage is included in my ticket price? When booking your reservation, you will notice a link next to each flight segment that will display flight details and baggage fees. These details are important to read carefully, as they will provide additional information regarding your flight itinerary. Although most international "over the water" flights allow for one piece of luggage up to a certain weight, you may have also booked regional flights between cities. These smaller flights may not allow for the same weight as the international flight. It is important to pack light, as the overweight fees can be hefty. Additionally, some small carriers may not allow for pre-purchased baggage. In these cases, they MUST be paid directly to the carrier. It is recommended to go to the airline website directly, as purchasing prior may result in a cheaper fee.

Why is my connection time so short? The airlines have a requirement for a time to get from point A to point B in each airport, these are called “Minimum Connection Times”. These are legal times the airline must adhere to and we cannot make a reservation if it does not meet this standard. Unfortunately, these times are not ideal. We strongly recommend checking these time frames in the booking process to select the connection you are most comfortable with. Remember the key to checking before booking is that once tickets are issued, we cannot change them without penalties incurred by the airline.

What should I do if the connection is missed? It is important to go directly to the nearest ticketing counter to be protected on the next available flight. In these cases, it is the responsibility of the airline to re-accommodate. After contact with the airline desk, we recommend you to advise Tripmasters, if possible, of your new scheduled flight as it may affect other services. The most convenient way to contact us at this point would be through our chat if located where the wifi connection is available.

Why can’t I upgrade my seat to a Premium or Business Class seat? Each airline has different classes of service that may have restrictions once the fare is ticketed. Some of the basic discounted fares may not be eligible for class upgrades after purchase.

How early should I arrive at the airport prior to my flight departure? Tripmasters recommends your plan to be there 3 hours prior to departure. This is a key factor for a successful trip. Keep in mind things happen like the following: accidents, missed directions to the airport, missed transfers and having to get alternate transportation, long check-in lines, long security lines. If you are not on time for check-in, this can result in having to purchase a new ticket.

Some regional airports within other countries may have long check-in wait time so it is important to keep this in mind even while en route getting to the following destination. If a segment is missed in your itinerary, this could result in no value of the consecutive segments. Airlines will charge you rebooking fees along with any fare increase from the original ticket price.

What should I do if my flight is delayed or canceled? Tripmasters recommends contacting the airline directly as soon as you know of the delay. If at the airport, check with the ticket counter. Should you be rerouted, we recommend calling the airline’s direct number first as there can be hold times. It will be important to find out how they can re-protect you on a future flight or give you an estimate on the delay. Once the accurate information is final, please contact us either by chat or call to let us know your new flight so we can notify any services that may be affected.

NOTE: Tripmasters is not responsible for delayed or canceled flights, portions of trips missed due to such issues, or additional expenses incurred due to unforeseen circumstances. This is a great reason to select insurance when purchasing the package.

Do you have any tips to help ensure a smooth check-in?

Arrive early: Make sure you have allotted ample time for your journey, including giving yourself plenty of time for getting to the airport, making your way through check-in and security, and making your way to the departure gate.

Check In: Keep in mind that many airport websites now provide real-time information on flight delays. Whether you check online or call the airline, stay informed.

Operating Carrier: You may be traveling with a different airline than the one listed on your ticket. At the airport, you will be checking in with the airline listed as operating carrier on your voucher.

Documentation: Make sure you have all your passport and visa information correct and valid for the departure dates you are traveling. Remember, your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond your return date.

What is the PreCheck program? The TSA`s PreCheck (see www.tsa.gov/precheck ), a trusted traveler program, has spread to more cities across the U.S. and is now available at more than 180 airports. Members of the program are prescreened and can jet through security without having to take off their shoes or remove laptops from cases. The U.S. Customs Department`s Global Entry program (see www.globalentry.gov ) is another shortcut for frequent international travelers, especially as the federal government immigration and customs lines get longer.

Car Rentals ›

What should I keep in mind when choosing a Car: Keep in mind the big differences between your typical American rental car and what you’ll get in Europe or other countries. Midrange foreign cars have less passenger room, trunk space is small, and manual transmissions are the norm. Automatics are more expensive (usually about 50 percent more) and may only be available if you upgrade to a bigger, pricier car. You may want to consider brushing up on your shifting skills, it will save you a lot of money.

What should I keep in mind when selecting a car: You will see that a few cars offered are American but most are European/foreign brands (Opel, Fiat, Citroën, Peugeot, Renault, Škoda, and Seat). Don’t waste time carefully choosing among models, since you’re not guaranteed to get the exact car you signed up for, just a “similar” model. If you opt for the smallest, least-expensive model, make sure that it is just you and a companion and pack very lightly! Remember these smaller models are more maneuverable on narrow, winding roads, but be prepared for a tight fit.

How do I go about choosing a Pick-Up (and Drop-Off) Place and Time We strongly recommend that you do not drive in the big cities, unless you have had previous experience driving there and know what you are getting yourself into. It’s best and less stressful to pick up your vehicle on the day that you are departing the city. Picking up a car at an airport usually costs more than picking it up downtown. But many central car-rental locations have shorter hours (and may close at midday) or are buried in a maze of narrow streets. Also consider traffic — it may be easier to drive away from an airport than a parking garage in the heart of the city. You may find that a train-station office is handier than a downtown one (though some station pickups come with airport-like fees). Fortunately, airport/train-station fees apply only to your pickup location, not your drop off. Cars are rented in 24-hour periods, so think carefully about selecting your pickup and drop-off times — if you pick up the car at 10 a.m. on the first day and drop it off at noon on the last day, you’ll be charged a whole day’s rental for just those two hours. Don’t book your pickup time for earlier than you really need the car. If you can, book a drop-off time that falls within that location’s office hours (rather than just leaving the keys in an after-hours drop box); it’s best to finalize and receive your paperwork in person.

  • local laws you might not be aware of (for example, whether headlights must be on at all times, where and how kids ride, etc.)
  • length of the grace period for drop-off, if any
  • how to use anything you can’t figure out, such as the wipers, alarm system, lights, radio, GPS, etc.
  • what type of fuel the car takes (diesel vs. unleaded), the local term for that fuel type, and how to release the gas cap
  • location of proof-of-insurance “green card” and other paperwork
  • whether your car has an unexpired toll-highway vignette (if needed)
  • info on making repairs and any included emergency roadside services
  • location of spare tire and directions for using it (if the car has no spare, ask for a different vehicle)
  • whether the car has a breath-testing kit for measuring alcohol levels (required in France, costs around $5)

What should I do when Dropping Off My Car? Be on time to drop off your car — you could be charged an extra day’s rent if you show up a little late Unless you’ve already prepaid for a tank of gas, top up your car before returning it — otherwise you may be charged for a full tank, no matter how much gas is actually left. Not only that, but you’ll likely be charged more than double what you would have paid at a nearby gas station...and they may pile on an additional “refueling fee” as well. There’s no need to wait until you’re almost at the rental office to fill up — fuel gauges are very forgiving, so start watching for a convenient gas station miles before you reach the rental office. Save your final gas receipt as proof that you filled the tank, and don’t toss it until you’ve seen your credit-card bill. Once you’re parked at the rental office, walk around the car with the attendant to be sure there are no new problems. Some drivers take pictures of the returned vehicle as proof of its condition (an especially good idea if you’re returning the car at an unstaffed after-hours drop-off point). Ask for a copy of the final condition report and keep it until you’ve seen your credit-card statement. Unexpected charges that show up on your credit-card statement are easier to dispute if you have good documentation on hand. If you must drop off a car when the office is closed. There is a drop box where you place your keys and instructions on where to park the car. In this situation, it is even more important that you take pictures of your car and have the status totally documented in case any problems arise.

What is a Drop box? Some destinations (especially downtown locations) open at certain times. Sometimes clients have to return cars when the office is closed. In these cases a Drop box has to be requested by our client upon car pickup. NOT ALL OFFICES HAVE A DROP BOX WE HAVE TO CHECK FOR EACH SPECIFIC CASE so please send us an email so that we can verify for you.

What is a “one way fee”? One way fees, otherwise known as “drop off fees”, are extra charges that are due in addition to the total rate you paid for your car rental. These fees can be incurred when picking up your rental car in one location and dropping it off in another.

What types of one way fees are there? There are two different types of one way fees: Domestic: Applicable when picking up and dropping off a car at two different locations within the same country. Domestic one way fees are less common and may or may not apply to your rental depending on your unique itinerary and reservation. International: Applicable when picking up a car in one country and dropping it off in another country. International one way fees always apply for pick ups and drop offs between two different countries.

Are there restrictions on where I can drive and drop off my rental car? All one way fees and travel restrictions are at the discretion of each individual rental car supplier. You can generally travel to and drop your car off in most Western European countries without issue, but Eastern European travel with a rental car will be subject to restrictions.

Why can’t I see my drop off charges upfront? One way fees vary based on everything from the supplier you rent from, to the type of car you choose, and everything in between. Since the fees vary so greatly, Our supplier has to calculate them on an individual basis to ensure you get an accurate quote and are properly informed once the reservation is confirmed.

Why aren’t one way fees automatically included in my rental rate? One way fees are incurred and collected by whichever one of TripMasters’ trusted car rental companies you choose to book with. TripMasters does not collect or profit from one way fees in any way.

When and how do I pay a one way fee? If your car rental requires a one way fee, the amount will be due upon pickup of your vehicle. One way fees are charged in the local currency for whichever country your rental originates in.

Why are one way fees not standardized? Each supplier determines their own fees independently. For the same given pick up and drop off location, one company may charge far less than another while some may not allow the desired travel at all. Every supplier has different offices and rental locations, enabling each provider to offer different options.

Do I need to obtain an international driver's license? It is becoming a more common practice for rental companies to request an International Driver’s licence, so we highly recommend heading over to your local AAA to secure the driver's license. Should the local supplier demand this be present and you do not have this with you it may negatively impact your trip and prevent you from picking up your car.

Can I use my debit card to pick up the car rental? We always advise that you have a valid credit card with the primary driver’s name. Otherwise you may be denied pick up without a valid credit card as most car rental agencies want a credit card not a debit card for protection reasons.

What kind of insurance is included on the car rental package price? Having collision and theft coverage are a necessity with any rental vehicle. Our cars include the inclusive rate which will include the Third Party Liability, Fire, Collision and Theft built in as part of the rental cost. Unfortunately, some locations do not allow the inclusive and it must be secured on site. This is mostly for Latin America countries. Be sure to read the fine print when selecting your car. Be aware that the deductible amounts can be rather high in some locations. You may be able to purchase additional coverage at the counter that will lower the deductible as well.

What is the difference between basic and Inclusive? If you select a basic rental rate your price will include value added tax (VAT), public liability insurance, fire insurance and unlimited miles. If the inclusive rate is selected it will include everything in the basic rate plus collision damage waiver (CDW) and theft protection for the rental vehicle.

What if the local supplier insists that you purchase additional insurance? Any local car rental company's employees are usually trusted with sales, so they will probably try to sell various company products to customers. With a few exceptions, all insurance products offered locally will be optional. The car rental company may offer insurance covering the car parts not normally covered by the package included in prepaid rates. Should this be the case, it is entirely up to you to decide whether they want to buy this additional insurance if you have not already.

What do I do in the Event of an Accident? If you are involved in an accident, no matter how minor, a valid police report is always required. Contact local authorities and then contact the number on your rental car keychain. We also recommend you document any damage with a digital camera if one is available. Be aware of what you are liable for by thoroughly inspecting and understanding your car rental voucher before you leave.

Do you recommend renting GPS? You have 3 options: 1. Renting a GPS from your car rental company You can either arrange to pick up a GPS from the local car rental company or, even better, you can save money and book a GPS with our vendor that is pre-loaded with maps, in English, and sent directly to your home! Call our Customer Service agent and request a quote. 2. You can take your own GPS:> On eBay and Amazon you can purchase refurbished portable devices with Europe and North America maps for as little as $50. Ease of Use: No need to learn how to setup and use an unfamiliar device. 100% Availability: Portable units rented in Europe are not allowed on international one-way rentals, and sometimes not on domestic one-ways. Many rental offices in smaller towns don’t even rent GPS. Unlimited Coverage: A good percentage of rental car factory-installed and portable GPS units cover only the country in which the car is rented. That’s not a problem when you bring your unit with the right maps. 3. GPS alternative: use a smartphone or tablet An increasing number of travelers don’t bother with GPS at all; they simply rely on Google Maps on a smartphone or tablet. That, of course, means if you want turn-by-turn live directions, you’ll have to have a data connection in the car, and that will involve cost. It may be worth it to you to purchase a data package from your phone’s service provider (AT&T, Verizon etc.). A less flexible but cheaper alternative is to create and download maps of your routes prior to getting in the car when you have access to WiFi. Even without a data connection you can use the maps you downloaded and your phone will track your location using satellites and cell towers. Apps, such as OffMaps for the iPhone, can store multiple downloaded maps. Finally, backup whatever navigation system you use with quality hard-copy maps scaled at 1:200,000 or 1:150,000 (preferred). The paper maps will provide perspective as well as identify scenic roadways and significant sights and towns along your route.

What additional Rental costs and fees could I be facing? Car Rental Equipment Appears on car rental contracts as: Car Rental Equipment (GPS, child seats, winter tires, etc.), Add-Ons, Extras (ALWAYS SHOWN IN VOUCHERS) You will always have the option of adding additional equipment to your rental depending on your unique needs or preferences. The most commonly available accessories include GPS units, child seats, snow chains, ski racks, and portable WiFi devices, but other options may be offered in different locations. Additional equipment is usually charged on a per-day basis, and prices will range depending on the supplier you are renting from; add-ons will always cost extra, to be paid for at the counter and subject to VAT, unless your quote or contract explicitly states them as "included". Be sure to take care of the accessories you add on, too, because you will have to pay a replacement fee for any loss, theft, or damages done to the items! Car Rental Fuel Policy Appears on car rental contracts as: Full to Full, Full to Empty Your car rental fuel policy will determine how you will pay for any existing fuel your rental car comes with when you pick it up. With a full to full policy, you will pay nothing up front but will be expected to return the vehicle with the same amount of fuel your car had when you picked it up (usually a full tank); you will be charged for any fuel missing when the vehicle is returned. If your rental includes a full to empty fuel policy, you will pre-pay a given amount for a full tank of fuel and can return the vehicle as close to empty as possible without incurring any additional fuel costs. Optional fuel policies are generally a matter of preference, but be aware that all rental companies will charge a premium for any type of fuel, usually based on the highest price per liter available in the area. To save on fuel charges, opt for a full to full policy when available, fill up the rental car right before you return it, and retain a copy of the receipt for your records. It may be a bit less convenient to have to make a fuel stop just before dropping off, but that little bit of extra work can save you some money on the premium rates you will have to pay for a tank of gas through a full to empty policy. Limited/Unlimited Mileage Car Rentals Appears on car rental contracts as: Limited Kilometers If your car rental includes unlimited mileage/kilometers, then you have no worries; you can cover as much ground as you'd like in your rental car without incurring any extra fees! Some rental rates, however, may be specified as "limited kilometers," in which case you will be charged extra if you drive the car farther than an allotted distance. Limited kilometer rentals usually come with 100 to 300 kilometers per day, after which you will have to pay an extra fee per additional kilometer driven. VAT Car Rental Tax Appears on car rental contracts as: VAT Tax, Value Added Tax Typically Costs: 15% to 30%, depending on country What you need to know: VAT (or Value Added Tax) is a standard European sales tax that varies among different nations in Europe. The minimum allowed VAT rate is 15%, but individual countries can set their rates higher, and some will charge up to 27%. You will have to pay VAT on your rental rate (whether or not it is prepaid), as well as any other extra equipment charges or local fees you are charged for at the rental desk, including one way fees, insurance costs, and location surcharges. Unlike VAT tax paid on goods, clothing, and souvenirs, which can be reclaimed at the airport upon your departure, you cannot reclaim any VAT taxes you pay on a car rental. Local Rental Car Taxes Appears on car rental contracts as: Road Tax, Vehicle License Fee, Environmental Fee/Eco Surcharge, Credit Card Processing Fee, Road Safety Fee What you need to know: Local rental car taxes may apply to your rental depending on the type of vehicle you rent, the location you rent it in, and which supplier you choose to rent from. While typically not very expensive, local taxes are often overlooked and have become prime suspects in the realm of dastardly "hidden" fees. They are not always included and rarely mentioned in your average rental quote, but you can almost count on having to pay a few extra Euros at the pick-up desk on any car rental for various location-specific taxes. Rental Car Location Surcharges Appears on car rental contracts as: Airport Surcharge, Rail Station Surcharge, Premium Location Surcharge, Parking Fees, Out of Hours Fees, Late Return Fees Location surcharges are typically applied when picking up your rental car at major transportation hubs throughout Europe, such as airports, rail stations, and cruise ports. The standard additional charge for picking a car up at one of these locations is €40, but the fee can vary from €20 to €80 in some cases. Depending on the locale, additional location-related charges may be applied, such as "parking fees," which are incurred in areas like Venice where parking space is very limited. Be sure to pay attention to the hours of operation for the offices where you plan on picking up and dropping off the vehicle, as well as the specific times you've arranged your rental for. Dropping off your car later than the agreed-upon time on your reservation can cost you a "late return fee" and, depending on the time of day you originally picked up the car, can also add an additional day onto your total rental rate.

  • Car rentals for 18 year olds are possible, and even though the minimum legal driving age in most European countries is younger than 18, each respective car rental company can choose who they will or will not rent to and can set their own rules and restrictions.
  • Car rental age limits are based on the terms and conditions from the country you rent in. The only car rental age restrictions that will apply to you will be detailed in the terms and conditions of your rental contract, but national laws will still apply if you plan on driving to different countries. Always be sure to read up on driving laws in any country you intend on visiting and give prior notice to TripMasters if you plan on driving a rental car internationally.
  • Young driver surcharges are incurred by rental suppliers and paid locally. If your age requires you to pay an additional fee according to the terms and conditions of your rental car contract, the additional amount will not be included in your prepaid rate with TripMasters and will need to be paid locally at the rental desk when you pick up your vehicle.
  • Rental car age restrictions may require you to purchase insurance. If you are a senior driver or younger driver, particularly those looking to rent a car under 21, you may be required to purchase an inclusive rate rather than opting for a basic rate or using insurance provided by a credit card.
  • Car rental age requirements may restrict you from renting certain vehicles. Many rental companies will set higher age limits for specialty and luxury vehicles. Vehicles in the economy and compact classes will always have the fewest age-related restrictions.

How do I add a child under 2 on my booking? IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please DO NOT book an itinerary for 2 adults (flights and land services) and call to ask for an infant to be added, this is not the correct procedure. It is important to call us BEFORE you book due to live availability request.

AIRLINES : DO consider a child under 2 years old as an infant. The infant will not have a seat on the plane and will be considered a lap baby. The fee to book a flight for an infant is typically 10 percent of the adult fare cost. If you are booking with an infant, you MUST contact us because ONLY an agent can create and process the itinerary.

FARES/PRICING : Notice that on our website, infant fare is not available. This is because we will need to manually check the availability and book it from there.

LAND PORTION : The infant needs to be priced as a 2-year old. This is so the hotels and other land services are aware that you are traveling with a child. This may prevent a possible additional collection when you are at the destination. You should request the proper sleeping arrangements at the time of booking for us to pass onto the hotel as there may not be crib style options. Some hotels do not allow more than a certain amount of people per room no matter age.

What should I keep in mind when booking a trip with children? Hotels: It is very important to remember room size, remember that hotel rooms tend to be much smaller than Americans are used to. Bed configurations tend to be 2 single beds or 1 double bed. When booking triples or quads, in many instances, this may just be a rollaway in the room or in some instances a pull-out sofa. Also, there will be a lot less availability to pick from when you request Triple or quad rooms as many hotels do not even offer these options. Depending on your children’s ages and how many of you are travelling, it may be a lot more convenient and comfortable to book 2 rooms and send us a request to forward to the hotel for either connecting or adjoining rooms. We are now also offering apartments in many cities which could provide more comfortable space with children. Amenities: We recommend doing your research and paying attention to child friendly amenities at the hotels such as pools or playgrounds, as they are not going to be found everywhere. Breakfast: Some hotels, despite listing breakfast as part of the room plan will only include it in the rate for the 1st two passengers. Tours: Pay special attention to descriptions when purchasing tours for the whole family. Some tours may not be age appropriate or interesting to children. In most cities, with some additional searching you may be able to find tours specifically put together around children’s interests.

Destination Guidance ›

Japan Rail Pass - Is It Worth It? If you’re visiting two or more cities, then the JR pass might be the best solution for you. The pass is very easy to use, it’s valid on all JR lines and covers the shinkansen (bullet train). Just keep in mind that the pass does not cover the Nozomi shinkansen (the very fastest class of bullet train) but it covers the Hikari shinkansen, which is nearly as fast. The speed difference between these trains is minimal: usually just a few minutes for the trip between Tokyo and Kyoto. Another advantage is that since you won’t need to buy train tickets, you can make any random side trip when you want to.

Are there situations where the pass isn’t good value? Absolutely! If you’re going to be in a single major city such as Tokyo or Kyoto, with a few local day trips near the city it will almost certainly not be money well spent.

Middle East

I noticed the note "Alcohol-Free Hotels" in the description for some hotels in Middle East cities. What does this mean? An alcohol-free or dry bar is a property that does not serve alcoholic beverages. This may be important to some travelers, so be aware of this when checking the hotel descriptions and time of travel.

Traveling To Middle East during Ramadan? The month of Ramadan can sometimes disrupt your daily routine as shops, bars, restaurants and tourist attractions will often have shorter daytime opening hours and some may close altogether, but if you’re fascinated by different cultures and religions it’s an exciting time to visit. The breaking of the fast at sundown is an electric experience as communities and families often meet up to eat together.

Ramadan means the month of dawn-to-dusk fasting. The exact dates of Ramadan change every year but it is mostly celebrated between May and July.

  • 6 May – 3 June 2019 (1440 AH)
  • 24 April – 23 May 2020 (1441 AH)
  • 13 April – 12 May 2021 (1442 AH)

Where do I pick up my tickets? Ferry tickets are by destination. Some will be waiting for you at your hotel prior to your departure or at the pier’s location. Some will be e-tickets which you can print with the rest of your vouchers. You will be notified of your particular circumstance by email. Carefully read your vouchers before departure so you are aware of which destination specific pickups are located.

Can I change the time of my ticket? Once the ferry ticket has been issued, we would need to contact the vendor to make sure the change can be made and it will be subject to vendor penalties. Remember that ferries are not frequent in most destinations, so you may have received a time that correlates with availability, hotel checkout times or even flight departure times.

Are there seat assignments on the ferry? Some ferries are booked with pre-assigned seats and some are not. When they come with seats, these are generated by the issuing office and cannot be requested. So, if a preferred seat is important to you make sure to get the pier with plenty of time for check-in. Remember there can be loads of people on your ferry so getting there early is key.

How early should I get to the port? Ports are very busy and crowded places. It is important that you get there early enough to orient yourself, find the ferry you will be using and line up to board. We recommend planning to get there around an hour before to not have to rush and get frustrated.

What about my luggage? You are responsible for your luggage throughout your trip. Different ferry companies have different rules. Please remember to pack light.

Future Travel Credit ›

  • Put your trip together at Tripmasters, and follow the prompts until you arrive at the payments screen.
  • Under Payment Options, choose the "PAY WITH TRAVEL CREDIT" button.
  • Enter your Original Booking Number and your Travel Credit Number.
  • Click "Verify Travel Credit."

How do I access my Future Travel Credit? The only way to access is through the email you received about “Your Future Travel Credit”.

How long is the Future Travel Credit valid? Forever! It will never expire.

What can a Future Travel Credit be used to purchase? It can be applied to any of our vacation packages you purchase.

Can I use my credit for multiple vacations? Yes, it can be used for multiple bookings until its total value is depleted.

  • If the balance of your Future Travel Credit is higher than the value of your reservation, the remaining balance can be used for future bookings
  • If the balance of your Future Travel Credit is less than the value of your reservation, you will only have to pay the difference with any of our payment methods.

Gift Certificates ›

  • Select the amount
  • Complete the payment information
  • Accept the Terms and Conditions
  • You need to put your trip together at Tripmasters, and follow the prompts until you arrive at the payments screen.
  • Then, under Payment Options, choose “Redeem Gift Cert/Credit
  • Complete the mandatory fields
  • Click on Verify Gift Cert/Credit

Do Travel Gift Certificates have an expiration date? No, it will never expire.

What can a travel gift certificate be used to purchase? TripMasters Travel Gift Certificates can be applied to any of our vacation packages.

Can I use my Gift Certificate for multiple vacations? Yes. A gift certificate can be used for multiple bookings until its total value is depleted.

  • If the balance of your Gift Certificate is higher than the value of your reservation, the remaining balance can be used for future bookings
  • If the balance of your Gift Certificate is less than the value of your reservation, you will only have to pay the difference with any of our payment methods.
  • Star Rating - Please note, that although this is the most common way people understand hotel classification, there is no universal star rating system. Each country has different requirements for awarding stars (a three-star rating in Washington, DC, is different from a three-star rating in Melbourne, Australia or Rome, Italy). So, keep in mind that a 3 star in most of Europe does not equate to a 3 star in the US. Please do not expect, for example, the Hilton Garden Inn room sizes and AC performance, service, amenities in Europe or elsewhere.
  • Reviews - We use a meta-review site which obtains hotel reviews from passengers worldwide to rate their hotel stays. We only choose hotels with a score of 80 or more, unless we need to lower the rating due to availability issues. Remember the higher the score, the better the quality.
  • Location - We strive to offer hotels that are centrally located in major cities. Within the booking process, you are able to sort hotels by zone and also, by selecting an attraction that you want to be close to. We also offer a map that allows you to further visualize the location before booking. Note: in certain small countryside towns and villages, the hotels may not be centrally located as these are offered in conjunction with a rent-a-car, allowing you the option of enjoying hotels in the countryside.

What do hotel stars indicate (in general)? One Star - These budget properties offer clean accommodations. Tripmasters does not offer these type of properties.

Two Stars - These budget properties offer clean accommodations and are slightly better than 1 stars. By American standards, this is not a recommended option. Tripmasters does not offer these type of properties unless they are located in a remote location with very limited availability.

Three Stars - The minimum comfort level for many travelers. This is a budget basic property. Rooms will be small and do not expect any extra amenities.

Four Stars - More comfortable and more of a traditional property. Be careful, as the range in 4-star properties can vary greatly in style and amenities. These hotels may offer a little more space and service.

Five Stars - These are hotels that offer a higher level of accommodations and services. The properties offer a high degree of personal service. But don’t let the 5 stars fool you, as some 5 stars are not at the level of an American 5-star property.

Do not use star rating as your sole decision maker, read descriptions, reviews, and our scores!

I noticed your site mentioned “Bed and breakfast” and then “Room only” in the booking process. What exactly does this mean? This refers to the meal plan included in the room type you have booked. Some rates include breakfast while others do not. This is based on what is available at the time of booking. Some people may prefer having breakfast right at the hotel while others may prefer to explore the cafes in their new city. Should you have inadvertently booked “room only” at the hotel you selected, we can always ask the hotel for the cost to include breakfast, if available.

  • Guesthouses
  • Ryokans (Japan)
  • Tent Style - (Amazon, Jungle)
  • Lodges - (Amazon, Jungle)
  • Condos (Hawaii)

What type of Room Categories are offered and what should I be on the lookout for? When selecting your hotel, it is very important to pay attention to the room category as well. Remember, the default, again, will be the least expensive available at that hotel. Normally, these tend to be the smallest rooms and with the least desirable location at the property. Upgrading to the next available category will usually secure a more desirable room. It is especially important to try to not select a category labeled “Economy or Annex”.

What about room-size? Unless you are booking an American Chain property which maintains its standards worldwide, chances are that your room is going to be a lot smaller than what you would encounter in the USA. Please keep this in mind, if you are selecting properties that are located in historical or central city locations.

This is a common misconception. For instance, in Europe A/C is not a common luxury. Many European hotels either do not have it or only run it a handful of days each year. Some cities take this even further and prohibit its use unless the external temperature reaches a certain point. That is much more common in Northern Europe than Southern, but most of our clients do not understand the lack of A/C.

In older properties, those housed in restored and historic buildings, or even apartment-style accommodations, A/C must be retrofit or the property will forgo it altogether. Even those newer hotels with A/C still choose to only run it during the very hottest times of the year, which is late summer. We always recommend talking to hotel management if discomfort is an issue. Most front desks at least have a fan that can be delivered to your room.

Some hotels even right here in the US that are located in our Hawaii offerings still maintain its plantation style look, which is unique to the islands as they were built to be able to ventilate and cool themselves naturally. These constructions were built prior to the post-war economic boom, when air conditioning installation became common practice. However, prior to this, it was almost non existent. High electricity costs are another reason for such limited offerings. In Kauai and Maui there are about 50% to 60% condo style properties that may not have air conditioning.

We endeavor to provide as accurate and detailed information as possible about hotels but remember it is up to local management whether or not to use A/C even if they have it. Europeans are accustomed to dealing without A/C and so they do not even consider this an issue.

What does a “Non-Refundable” hotel mean? Non-refundable means that if the hotel reservation is canceled, there is no refund. Non-refundable hotels are also non-amendable/changeable. This is one of the ways Tripmasters is able to pass down the savings to our customers so it’s important to review if the property is the right fit for you before finalizing. So, when choosing your hotels make sure you are confident with your selection and have read the policy of each property during the booking process.

Will I have additional charges at the hotels upon check out? Yes, unfortunately, there are a number of fees that can only be collected by the hotel directly upon check out. City Taxes: These are local taxes mandated by the city councils in each location. These are imposed for tourism and are applied to tourism infrastructure. We are not allowed to collect them prior to arrival. These fees can range from approximately 1 to 5 dollars a night depending on the star rating of the hotel. These are noted in the hotel voucher for your guidance. Resort Fees: hese are fees collected by the resort to maintain the grounds and the general facilities. These fees are usually charged by room per night and will be paid upon check out. These are noted on the hotel voucher for your guidance. Cleaning/Maintenance Fees: Some apartments and most condos will collect an additional service fee for cleaning your space before the next guest arrives. These fees can be a little more substantial and you should prepare for them ahead of time. We list this in the property description in the reservation process. This will also be located in your voucher as a reminder.

I checked my hotel reviews and want to change my hotel choice. How can I do this? Although Tripmasters does not charge change penalties, the suppliers may do so. Please contact Tripmasters to see if a change can be made and if so, what the cost could look like for this change.

I want to add a hotel night onto the end of my trip that is already booked. How can I do that? We can always add nights to your trip but remember the airlines impose large change fees and it may not be worth it to make this change after the booking has been finalized. So, please make sure you feel you picked the right number of nights before booking. Please feel free to call us and see what penalties will apply and to make the change if you still must.

I contacted the hotel and they said they do not have any reservation under my name. How is that possible? Tripmasters reserves the hotel for you in a blocked or allotted space and names are released to hotels a specific number of days before arrival as stipulated by the vendor. Should you want your name released earlier, just give us a shout out! We can advise the supplier. Keep in mind this may take 2 or 3 days to register with the hotel’s front desk.

Why do some hotels say “On Request”? The vast majority of our services are linked to our vendors that provide real-time availability and pricing. Unfortunately, there are some smaller hotels, located in more remote areas that we can only offer on a request basis. For these properties, we contact and confirm services as soon as your booking has been created. Normally, we are able to confirm them within 48 hours. On occasion, they may not be available, should that occur we contact you with alternate comparable properties for your approval.

I get into my destination early? Check in isn't until hours later. What can I do with my luggage? This is a common issue in most hotels across the world. So, hotels will allow you to store your luggage and go explore your new city at your leisure until your room is available for relaxing or freshening up. Keep in mind, this may cost a nominal fee but will be worth it to be free of the luggage you have been dragging around. Remember to keep your valuables with you though.

Insurance ›

Redpoint Travel Insurance - If purchased on/after October 1st, 2021

Travel Protection: Harbor With Cancel Anytime* Trip Cancellation & Interruption Beyond Covered Reasons This flexible cancellation plan offers: A. Up to 100% reimbursement if you cancel for a covered reason. B. Up to 75% reimbursement for just about any other reason not already covered or excluded from your plan. To be eligible for “Cancel for Anytime” benefits: Must be physically able to travel at time of purchase. Purchase within 15 days from the initial trip payments. In addition to the above Trip Cancelation benefits, the plan also includes protection for covered Trip interruption, Emergency Medical, baggage, natural and man-made disasters. Please see all exclusions under Terms, Conditions and exclusions.

Travel Protection: Harbor Without Cancel For Any Reason* Trip Cancellation & Interruption with limited Covered Reasons Travel Insurance can pay trip cancellation and interruption claims when you cancel or interrupt your trip due to certain covered situations. Exclusions and restrictions apply.

The plan includes protection for covered Trip interruption, Emergency Medical, baggage, natural and man-made disasters. Please see all exclusions under Terms, Conditions and exclusions.

* The plans are underwritten by State National Insurance Company, Inc. Univops Insurance Service LLC is the licensed producer. Plans only available to US residents and may not be available in all jurisdictions. Pricing may vary by state.

Why do Tripmasters recommend Travel Insurance strongly? Tripmasters strongly recommends travel insurance because it can help defray costs associated with unforeseen circumstances. Most of our clients find that because of the investment in their vacation, adding a nominal charge for insurance provides great peace of mind.

What are some key benefits Redpoint Travel Insurance offers? Plans include key benefits such as: Delays - If your flight is delayed by three hours or more, you’re eligible to receive reimbursement for additional accommodations and meals you require while you wait for your flight. Min of 3 hours delay $200 per day; Max $1,000 Cancellations - Trip cancellation coverage means you’re eligible to cancel your trip due to sickness and be reimbursed for trip expenses that would otherwise be non-refundable. Maximum coverage per person: up to 100% of trip cost (a doctor must impose restrictions at the time of loss preventing you from going on the covered trip.) Medical - Emergency Accident and Emergency Sickness Medical Expense benefits can reimburse costs incurred during your trip due to a covered medical emergency. Medical expense coverage through Redpoint is a reimbursement process. This means you pay for the medical expenses and then file a claim for reimbursement when you return home. Maximum coverage per person: (US) $100,000 Trip interruptions - Trip Interruption benefits can reimburse eligible costs due to a covered interruption. Up to 150% of Trip Cost Limit Luggage delay - If your luggage is delayed for 12 hours or more, you’re eligible for reimbursement for the expense of replacing necessary personal effects. Min of 12 hours delay; Daily Limit $100; Max Benefit $500

What is the difference in Redpoint plan options? The biggest difference is the added flexibility the Cancel For Any Reason add-on provides where you can receive 75% reimbursement if you cancel no later than 2 days prior to your trip departure date and for just about any reason not already covered by your plan. If you’d like to maximize your coverage for cancellation, we’d recommend upgrading your policy with this benefit.

Harbor With Cancel For Any Reason You can purchase Harbour WITH “cancel for any reason” up to 15 days from initial trip payment.

Harbor Without Cancel For Any Reason You can purchase Harbour WITHOUT “cancel for any reason” up to 48 hours prior to your trip departure date.

The sooner you purchase, the longer your protection window so it's a good idea to protect your investment as soon as you book.

Why do I need to pay an additional amount for the insurance when I am just adding my tours/transfers/changes? Any services that are added to your package after the first purchase makes the package price more and the insurance MUST be adjusted to updated to include the newly added services. Otherwise, these new services would not be covered by the original purchased plan. So, just double check when adding services later to the booking that this adjustment is made.

Local Transfers ›

Where will my arrival airport/hotel transfer be waiting for me? When purchasing a private transfer the representative typically waits for an hour after the flight touches down.They are usually holding a sign with your name just on the other side of immigration. We understand that these lines can be long in some cases. It is important to be ready when you depart the aircraft to have your passport/visa documents readily accessible and pick up luggage as quickly as possible to ensure a smooth transition to the transfer representative.

What happens if I miss my transfer? Transfers can be missed due to schedule changes and delays. Whenever you know you will not make the transfer time, please try and reach out to Tripmasters so we can cancel or try to rebook for another time. This is another great reason to have trip insurance as the unforeseen issue of missing a pre-scheduled transfer can happen. We recommend grabbing a taxi, train or another mode of transportation to your hotel and please keep the receipt for a potential claim upon returning home from your vacation.

What should I do if the driver didn’t show up? If you have access to call the supplier’s number, this is the first best thing to do. Should this not be an option, please contact Tripmasters via chat or our toll-free number to have one of our agents try to locate the representative. If for some reason they are unable to locate the driver, please take a taxi and keep the receipt and we will file the claim right away, once it has been reported to us for a refund

Mobile Applications ›

Why can’t I download the Tripmasters application yet? The Tripmasters application is meant to be used for customers while traveling. The email and password will be sent to you 7 days prior to departure in order to view your trips booked while on your trip.

Can I change my password on the TM application? Yes, you can change or update your password in the app.

Does the application have live updates while traveling? Yes, it does have updates. However, we always recommend double checking with airlines directly on schedule changes or last minute updates due to the dynamic nature.

Does the application work offline? Yes, this is one of the wonderful features of the application. So, if you cannot snooze on your plane ride, why not go over your itinerary to make sure those details are all still in order and the locations are as you remembered?

Can we contact you through the application when abroad? Yes, there is an option to chat. If the option is not coming up, it may be because there is not an agent available at that moment. If that occurs, please check back in a few minutes.

Does Tripmasters offer any payments plans and what payments are acceptable? Tripmasters accepts all major credit cards, as well as Amazon Pay, Paypal and Affirm. We also offer an option to pay for your reservation in staggered payments. For more information: https://www.tripmasters.com/payments

Can I finance a trip through tripmasters? Yes, we offer Paypal options and also financing through Affirm, to learn more please feel free to visit our payments page: https://www.tripmasters.com/payments

Can I use multiple credit cards for the booking? Yes, the last page of the booking process will give you the option to apply two credit cards.

Does Tripmasters accept payments from a person not traveling on the booking? We do, but the cardholder will need to fill out a form along with some identification confirmations matching the details in our form. This form is located on the payments page.

If I don’t have credit cards to pay my trip, can I pay through a fund transfer? Yes, this can be done. Please contact our customer service for details on this kind of transaction.

Can I make a payment online earlier than my due date for staggered payment? Tripmasters does not currently have this function available to do online but will in the near future. In the meantime, feel free to shoot us a chat or reach out by phone to complete the transaction.

My card has not yet been charged for the remaining balance? When will that happen? Our staggered payments have due dates that we run the cards on. In some cases, the bank does not immediately reflect the charge. We understand how frustrating this can be, but rest assured that your trip will be held and you will be notified if the card does not process properly. Once your charge has been processed, you will receive an email.

Do you charge single supplements on your packages? All of Tripmasters packages are based on per person charges. So, if single traveler wants to book a room, they pay only for the rate of a single room, no extra charges are tacked on. All services are priced based on the number of people travelling.

How early should I get to the train station? Give yourself a little time to breathe and plan to be at the train station an hour or so before departure. Remember that you need to look for the city that you are going to on the “Arrivals/Departures Board” (sometimes these are not posted until 30 minutes before departure). It will be listed in the local language. Once you identify the track your train will depart from, you need to make your way there, with your luggage in tow. Some large stations can be confusing. Most often there will be someone there (especially at the customer service desk) who can help you. So the more time that you give yourself the better.

How will I know which train to take? Once you are on the platform, check your train ticket, your Coach number will be listed on it.

Do I have to go through Security at the train station? You will only have to go through ticket control and security if you are riding on one of the high-speed trains. On some train stations, you may have to pass your luggage through a luggage scanner. Small regional train stations do not have any security measures.

What do I do with my luggage? You are responsible for your luggage throughout your journey. Should your bags be on the smaller side, you will be able to store them above your seat. If they are larger, there normally is a luggage rack at the entry points to your coach. Remember to pack light as loading/unloading and hauling from one train to another can get exasperating.

What happens if I need to connect at a train station? Connecting from one train to another is not terribly complicated. But remember that you will have to take your luggage with you. In some small towns, this may mean going down a set of steps to cross the tracks underneath and climbing up on the other side. Sometimes, you may need to switch to another platform as well. Whenever possible, look at the connection time when booking your train reservation. As with flights, the connections are always legal, but some people may need more time than others.

Can I change my train time? In some instances, you can change this should the ticket not be issued yet. If the ticket has been issued, then the change fee fares located on the back of the ticket will apply. Should you receive a paper ticket via mail prior to departure, you may need to send this ticket back for change along with the associated fees the suppliers have set forth. There are also non-refundable tickets where changes may not be allowed to that particular routing.

Can I change my seat? Most of the time, you will be holding a ticket with a seat reservation included. If this is the case, your train tickets are issued in conjunction with your seat reservations. Some train routes allow for open seating. This will be indicated when you receive your train documents. If your ticket has been issued and you would like to change the seat, the best option would be to change it at the train station and it will involve a fee. There are fares that are non-refundable where amendments cannot be made to these fare types.

My ticket says “coach” but I booked first class? The “Coach” mentioned on your train ticket refers to the Coach (car) number that you are to board. Normally the First Class Coach cars tend to be in the front of the train and will have the type of class listed on the side of the entry.

Visa and Travel Requirements ›

1. How long does my passport need to be valid for traveling? The TSA requirements for passports says that all passports expiration dates MUST be valid for at least 6 months from your date of departure.

2. Do I need a Visa to travel to my destination? This depends on your citizenship or what country you may be entering. We suggest checking this at our prefered link: https://visacentral.com/?login=Tripmasters It is always the customers responsibility to make sure that these documents have been properly be obtained. Remember that Visa rules are based on your nationality, not your residency. So the fact that you are holding a green card does not mean that you can apply as an American would. Make sure that all your travel companions verify their Visa needs as well.

3. What are the entry and health requirements for the destinations I am visiting? Find out more about the latest information on travel documents and health requirements, plus local government COVID-19 vaccination policies here . Destination-specific general vaccination requirements can be found under the Medical and Health Information of each trip’s Essential Trip Information. As guidelines are constantly changing and evolving, this information is updated multiple times a day, so we encourage you to check back frequently. IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to check your connecting cities. Some countries exempt transit passengers from their entry restrictions and requirements, others don’t. This means that even for a connection, it’s exactly the same as if you were entering the country.

4. What risks do I face if I do not have the proper documentation for travel? a) If you, either prior to or during travel, do not have all the required forms for the destination(s) you are visiting, your trip may be negatively affected. --The negative impact could include but is not limited to: Denied entry (to destinations), denial of services, cancellation penalties, financial losses (related to the denial of refund requests), and costly change fees or penalties. --The WHO and CDC consider COVID-19 a foreseeable event, therefore service providers are defaulting to their pre-COVID cancellation and refund policies. --Keep in mind, Tripmasters does not charge cancellation or change fees, but we must adhere to all our vendors’ cancellation or change fee schedules.

Where and when can I view my vouchers? Vouchers can be viewed when logging into manage bookings link on our website https://www.tripmasters.com/booking_confirmation

When will I have access to my vouchers? Once your reservation has been paid in full, you may view the itinerary details along with the vouchers. However, Tripmasters recommends not actually printing these documents until closer to your travel date due to airline time changes, meeting point changes or any updated information that may be pertinent to your trip. We will send you a reminder email 7 days before departure for when we recommend that you print your vouchers. At that time, it is important that you match all your documents to your services purchased, as on occasion you may have purchased a service which still requires paper documents (such as some trains) and it is important that you make sure that you take these with you, as you will not be able to replace them once on your trip.

What are the advantages of your website? We have worked really hard at making it easy for you to create a trip ideally suited to your interests and way of travelling. We have put together suggested itineraries with the recommended order of cities and means of transportation between each, as well as a recommended minimum number of nights. Each of these elements is completely flexible. The initial default view of the booking process will display the most economical option of each service (air/hotel/transportation). Once there, you are able to sort through each to select the best option based on your needs or preferences. You are, then, also, able to add additional services, such as local transfers and tours/activities. For the more experienced or adventurous, you can also Build your Own Itinerary from our main calendar. There you can select cities in any order, (up to 12) as well as change the transportation between them to whatever you desire. Please note, that we always give you as default the preferred option based on time/expense.

Why can I not complete my booking from my Saved Itinerary? All of our prices are very dynamic in nature. Air and hotel prices and space are subject to availability at the point in which you are pricing them. If you wait too long before completing the purchase, the components that you were looking at, may no longer be available to confirm.

What if I want to know more information about a city or area? Please go to the top of the browser and click on View Destinations to select the city or area that you are interested in. We are constantly adding relevant information specific to each destination to our pages as well as more suggested itineraries showing you ways to combine with other cities.

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11 Best Travel Insurance Companies in July 2024

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Many, or all, of the products featured on this page are from our advertising partners who compensate us when you take certain actions on our website or click to take an action on their website. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

If the past few years have shown us anything, it’s that travelers need to be prepared for the unexpected — from a pandemic to flight troubles to the crowded airport terminals so many of us have encountered.

If you don't have sufficient travel insurance coverage via your credit card , you can supplement your policies with third-party plans.

Whether you’re looking for an international travel insurance plan, emergency medical care or a policy that includes extreme sports, these are the best travel insurance providers to get you covered.

How we found the best travel insurance

We looked at quotes from various companies for a 10-day trip to Mexico in September 2024. The traveler was a 55-year-old woman from Florida who spent $3,000 total on the trip, including airfare.

On average, the price of each company’s most basic coverage plan was $126.53. The costs displayed below do not include optional add-ons, such as Cancel For Any Reason coverage or pre-existing medical condition coverage.

Read our full analysis about the average cost of travel insurance so you can budget better for your next trip.

However, depending on the plan, you may be able to customize at an added cost.

As we continue to evaluate more travel insurance companies and receive fresh market data, this collection of best travel insurance companies is likely to change. See our full methodology for more details.

Best insurance companies

Types of travel insurance

What does travel insurance cover, what’s not covered, how much does it cost, do i need travel insurance, how to choose the best travel insurance policy, what are the top travel destinations in 2024, more resources for travel insurance shoppers.

Top credit cards with travel insurance

Methodology

Best travel insurance overall: berkshire hathaway travel protection.

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Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection

  • ExactCare Value (basic) plan is among the least expensive we surveyed.
  • Speciality plans available for road trips, luxury travel, adventure activities, flights and cruises.
  • Company may reimburse claimants faster than average, including possible same-day compensation.
  • Multiple "Trip Delay" coverage types might make claims confusing.
  • Cheapest plan only includes fixed amounts for its coverage.

Under the direction of chair and CEO Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection has been around since 2014. Its plans provide numerous opportunities for travelers to customize coverage to their needs.

At $135 for our sample trip, the ExactCare Value (basic) plan from Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection offers protection roughly $10 above the average price.

Want something cheaper? Air travelers looking for inexpensive, less comprehensive protections might opt for a basic AirCare plan that includes fixed amounts for its coverage .

Read our full review of Berkshire Hathaway .

What else makes Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection great:

Pre-existing medical condition exclusion waivers available at nearly all plan levels. 

Plans available for travelers going on a cruise, participating in extreme sports or taking a luxury trip.

ExactCare Value (basic) plan was among the least expensive we surveyed.

Best for emergency medical coverage: Allianz Global Assistance

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Annual or single-trip policies are available.

  • Multiple types of insurance available.
  • All plans include access to a 24/7 assistance hotline.
  • More expensive than average.
  • CFAR upgrades are not available.
  • Rental car protection is only available by adding the One Trip Rental Car protector to your plan or by purchasing a standalone rental car plan.

Allianz Global Assistance is a reputable travel insurance company offering plans for over 25 years. Customers can choose from a variety of single and annual policies to fit their needs. On top of comprehensive coverage, some travelers might opt for the more affordable OneTrip Cancellation Plus, which is geared toward domestic travelers looking for trip protections but don’t need post-departure benefits like emergency medical or baggage lost.

For our test trip, Allianz Global Assistance’s basic coverage cost $149, about $22 above average.

What else makes Allianz Global Assistance great:

Annual and single-trip plans.

Plans are available for international and domestic trips.

Stand-alone and add-on rental car damage product available.

Read our full review of Allianz Global Assistance .

Best for travelers with pre-existing medical conditions: Travel Guard by AIG

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Travel Guard by AIG

  • Offers last-minute coverage.
  • Pre-Existing Medical Conditions Exclusion Waiver available at all plan levels.
  • Plan available for business travelers.
  • Cancel For Any reason coverage only available for higher-level plans, and only reimburses up to 50% of the trip cost.
  • Trip interruption coverage doesn't apply to trips paid for with points and miles.

Travel Guard by AIG offers a variety of plans and coverages to fit travelers’ needs. On top of more standard trip protections like trip cancellation, interruption, baggage and medical coverage, the Cancel For Any Reason upgrade is available on certain Travel Guard plans, which allows you to cancel a trip for any reason and get 50% of your nonrefundable deposit back as long as the trip is canceled at least two days before the scheduled departure date.

At $107 for our sample trip, the Essential plan was below average, saving roughly $20.

What else makes Travel Guard by AIG great:

Three comprehensive plans and a Pack N' Go plan for last-minute travelers who don't need cancellation benefits.

Flight protection, car rental, and medical evacuation coverage, as well as annual plans available.

Pre-existing medical conditions exclusion waiver available on all plan levels, as long as it's purchased within 15 days.

Read our full review of Travel Guard by AIG .

Best for those who pack expensive equipment: Travel Insured International

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Travel Insured International

  • Higher-level plan include optional add-ons for event tickets and for electronic equipment
  • Rental car protection add-on for just $8 per day, even on lower-level plan.
  • Many of the customizations are only available on the higher-tier plan.
  • Coverage cost comes in above average in our latest analysis.

Travel Insured International offers several customization options. For instance, those going to see a show may want to add on event ticket registration fee protection. Traveling with expensive gear?Consider adding on coverage for electronic equipment for up to $2,000 in coverage.

Be sure to check which policies are available in your state. You will need to input your destination, residence, trip dates and the number of travelers to get a quote and see coverages.

What else makes Travel Insured International great:

Comprehensive plans include medical expense reimbursement accidents, sickness, evacuation and pre-existing conditions, depending on the plan.

Flight plans include coverage for missed and canceled flights and lost or stolen baggage.

Read our full review of Travel Insured International .

Best for adventurous travelers: World Nomads

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World Nomads

  • Travelers can extend coverage mid-trip.
  • The standard plan covers up to $300,000 in emergency evacuation costs.
  • Plans automatically cover 200+ adventurous activities.
  • No Cancel For Any Reason upgrades are available.
  • No pre-existing medical condition waivers are available.

Many travel insurance plans contain exclusions for adventure sports activities. If you plan to ski, bungee jump, windsurf or parasail, this might be a plan to consider.

Note that the Standard plan ($72 for our sample trip), while the most affordable, provides less coverage than other plans. But it can be a good choice for travelers who are satisfied with trip cancellation and interruption coverage of $2,500 or less, do not need rental car damage protection, find the limits to be sufficient and do not need coverage for certain more adventurous activities.

What else makes World Nomads great:

Comprehensive international travel insurance plans.

Coverage available for adventure activities, such as trekking, mountain biking and scuba diving.

Read our full review of World Nomads .

Best for medical coverage: Travelex Insurance Services

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Travelex Insurance Services

  • Top-tier plan doesn’t break the bank and provides more customization opportunities.
  • Offers a plan specifically for domestic travel.
  • Sells a post-departure medical coverage plan.
  • Fewer customization opportunities on the Basic plan.
  • Though perhaps a plus for domestic travelers, keep in mind the Travel America plan only covers domestic trips.

For starters, basic coverage from Travelex Insurance Services came in at $125, almost exactly average for our sample trip.

Travelex’s plans focus heavily on providing protections that are personalized to your travel style and trip type.

While the company does offer comprehensive plans that include medical benefits, you can also choose between cheaper plans that don’t provide cancellation coverage but do offer protections during your travels.

Read our full review of Travelex Insurance Services .

What else makes Travelex Insurance Services great:

Three comprehensive plans available, two of which cover international trips.

Offers a post-departure plan geared exclusively toward disruptions after you leave home.

Two flight insurance plans available.

Best if you have travel credit card coverage: Seven Corners

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Seven Corners

  • Annual, medical-only and backpacker plans are available.
  • Cancel For Any Reason upgrade is available for the cheapest plan.
  • Cheapest plan also features a much less costly Interruption for Any Reason add-on.
  • Offers only one annual policy option.

Each Seven Corners plan offers several optional add-ons. Among the more unique is a Trip Interruption for Any Reason, which allows you to interrupt a trip 48 hours after the scheduled departure date (for any reason) and receive a refund of up to 75% of your unused nonrefundable deposits.

» Jump to the best cards with travel insurance

The basic coverage plan for our trip to Mexico costs $124 — right around the average.

What else makes Seven Corners great:

Comprehensive plans for U.S. residents and foreigners, including travelers visiting the U.S.

Cheap add-ons for rental car damage, sporting equipment rental or trip interruption for any reason.

Read our full review of Seven Corners .

Best for long-term travelers: IMG

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  • Coverage available for adventure travelers.
  • Offers direct billing.
  • Claim approval can be lengthy.

While some travel insurance companies offer just a handful of plans, with IMG, you’ll really have your pick. Though this requires a bit more research, it allows you to search for coverage that fits your travel needs.

However, travelers will want to be aware that IMG’s iTravelInsured Travel Lite is expensive. Coming in at $149.85, it’s the costliest plan on our list.

Read our full review of IMG .

What else makes IMG great:

More affordable than average.

Many plans to choose from to fit your needs.

Best for travelers with unpredictable work demands: Tin Leg

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  • In addition Cancel For Any Reason, some plans offer cancel for work reason coverage.
  • Adventure sports-specific coverage is available.
  • Plans have overlap that can be hard to distinguish.
  • Only one plan includes Rental Car Damage coverage available as an add-on.

Tin Leg’s Basic plan came in at $134 for our sample trip, adding about $8 onto the average basic policy cost. Note that you’ll pay a lot more if you shop for the most comprehensive coverage, and there are eight plans to choose from for trips abroad.

The multitude of plans can help you find coverage that fits your needs, but with so many to choose from, deciding can be daunting.

The only real way to figure out your ideal plan is to compare them all, look at the plan details and decide which features and coverage suit you and your travel style best.

Read our full Tin Leg review .

Best for booking travel with points and miles: TravelSafe

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  • Covers up to $300 redepositing points and miles on eligible canceled award flights.
  • Optional add-on protection for business equipment or sports rentals.
  • Multi-trip or year-long plans aren’t available.

Selecting your travel insurance plan with TravelSafe is a fairly straightforward process. The company’s website also makes it easy to visualize how optional add-on elements influence the total cost, displaying the final price as soon as you click the coverage.

However, at $136, the Basic plan was among the more expensive for our trip to Mexico.

What else makes TravelSafe great:

Rental car damage coverage add-on is available on both plans.

Cancel For Any Reason coverage available on the TravelSafe Classic plan.

Read our full TravelSafe review .

Best for group travel insurance: HTH Insurance

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HTH Travel Insurance

  • Covers travelers up to 95 years old.
  • Includes direct pay option so members can avoid having to pay up front for services.
  • A 24-hour delay is required for baggage delay coverage on the TripProtector Economy plan.
  • No waivers for pre-existing conditions on the lower-level plan.

HTH offers single-trip and multitrip medical insurance coverage as well as trip protection plans.

At around $125, the Trip Protector Economy policy is at the average mark for plans we reviewed.

You can choose to insure group trips for educators, crew, religious missionaries and corporate travelers.

What else makes HTH Insurance great:

Medical-only coverage and trip protection coverage.

Lots of options for group travelers.

Read our full review of HTH Insurance .

As you shop for travel insurance, you’ll find many of the same coverage categories across numerous plans.

Trip cancellation

This covers the prepaid costs you make for your trip in cases when you need to cancel for a covered reason. This coverage helps you recoup upfront costs paid for flights and nonrefundable hotel reservations.

Trip interruption

Trip interruption benefits generally involve disruptions after you depart. It helps reimburse costs incurred for flight delays, cancellations and plenty of other covered disruptions you might encounter during your travels.

This coverage can cover the costs for you to return home or reimburse unexpected expenses like an extra hotel stay, meals and ground transportation.

Trip delay coverage helps cover unexpected costs when your trip is delayed. This is another coverage that helps offset the costs of flight trouble or other travel disruptions.

Note that many policies have a total amount a traveler can claim, with caps on per diem benefits, too.

Cancel For Any Reason

Cancel For Any Reason coverage allows you to recoup some of the upfront costs you paid for a trip even if you’re canceling for a reason not otherwise covered by your standard travel insurance policy.

Typically, adding this protection to your plan costs extra.

Baggage delay

This coverage helps cover the costs of essential items you might need when your luggage is delayed. Think toiletries, clothing and other immediate items you might need if your luggage didn’t make it on your flight.

Many travel insurance plans with baggage delay protection will specify how long (six, 12, 24 hours, etc.) your luggage must be delayed before you can make a claim.

Lost baggage

Used for travelers whose luggage is lost or stolen, this helps recoup the lost value of the items in your bag.

You’ll want to make sure you closely follow the correct procedures for your plan. Many plans include a maximum total amount you can claim under this coverage and a per-item cap.

Travel medical insurance

This covers out-of-pocket medical costs when travelers run into an emergency.

Because many travelers’ health insurance plans don’t cover medical care overseas, travel medical insurance can help offset out-of-pocket health care costs.

In addition to emergency medical coverage, many plans have medical evacuation or repatriation coverage for costs incurred when you must be taken to a hospital or return to your home country because of a medical situation.

Most travel insurance plans cover many trip protections that can help you be prepared for unexpected travel disruptions and expenses.

These coverages are generally aimed at protecting the money you put into your trip, expenses you incur because of travel trouble and costs incurred if you have a medical emergency overseas.

On top of core coverages like trip cancellation and interruption and travel medical coverage, some plans offer add-on options like waivers for pre-existing conditions, rental car collision damage waivers or adventure sports riders. These usually cost extra or must be added within a specified timeframe.

Typical travel insurance policies offer coverage for many unforeseen events, but as you research to select a plan, consider your needs. Though every plan differs, there are some commonly excluded coverages.

For instance, you typically can’t get coverage for a named storm if you bought the coverage after the storm was named. In other words, if you have a trip to the Caribbean booked for Sept. 25 and on Sept. 20 a hurricane develops and is named, you generally won’t be able to buy a travel insurance plan Sept. 21 in hopes of getting your money back.

Many plans also don’t cover activities performed under the influence of drugs or alcohol or any extreme sports. If the latter applies to you, you might want to consider a plan with specific coverages for adventure-seekers.

For numerous plans, a few other situations don’t qualify as an acceptable reason to cancel and make a claim, such as fear of travel, medical tourism or pregnancies (unless you booked a trip and bought insurance before you became pregnant or there are complications with the pregnancy). This is where a Cancel For Any Reason add-on to your coverage can be helpful.

You can also run into trouble if you give up on a trip too soon: a minor (or even multihour) flight delay likely isn’t sufficient to cancel your entire trip and get reimbursed through your plan. Be sure to review what requirements your specific plan has when it comes to canceling a trip, claiming trip interruption, etc.

Travel insurance costs vary widely. The final price of your plan will fluctuate based on your age, length of trip and destination.

It will also depend on how much coverage you need, whether you add on specialized policies (like Cancel For Any Reason or pre-existing conditions coverage), whether you plan to participate in extreme sports and other factors.

In our examples above, for instance, the 35-year-old traveler taking a $2,000 trip to Italy would have spent an average $76 for a basic plan to get coverage for things like trip cancellation and interruption, baggage protection, etc. That’s a little less than 4% of the total trip cost — lower than average.

If there were multiple members in a traveling party or if they were going on, say, a rock-climbing or bungee-jumping excursion, the costs would go up.

On average, travel insurance comes to about 5% to 10% of the trip cost. However, considering many of the plans reimburse up to 100% of the trip cost (or more) for disruptions like trip cancellation or interruption, it can be a worthwhile expense if something goes wrong.

It depends. Consider the following factors that might affect your decision: You’re young and healthy, all your bookings are refundable or cancelable without a penalty, your flights are nonstop, you’re not checking bags and a credit card you carry offers some travel protections . In that case, travel insurance might not be necessary.

On the other hand, if you prepaid a large chunk of money for a nonrefundable African safari, you’re going on a Caribbean cruise in the middle of a hurricane season or you’re going somewhere where the cost of health care is high, it’s not a bad idea to buy a travel insurance plan. Here’s how to find the best travel insurance coverage for you.

If you’re thinking of booking a trip and not planning to buy travel insurance, you may want to consider at least booking refundable airfare and not prepaying for hotel, rental car and activity reservations. That way, if something goes wrong, you can cancel without losing any money.

Selecting the best travel insurance policy comes down to your needs, concerns, preferences and budget.

As you book, take a few minutes to consider what most concerns you. Is it getting stranded because of flight trouble? Having the ability to cancel for any reason you see fit without losing money? Getting sick or injured right before departure and needing to postpone the trip? Injuring yourself or falling ill while overseas?

Ultimately, you want a plan that protects you, your money and the large investment in your trip — but doesn’t cost too much, either.

Medical coverage. If your priority is having adequate medical coverage abroad, you might want to look for plans with high limits for medical emergencies and medical evacuation.

Complex travel itinerary. If your itinerary has lots of flight connections, prepaid hotels and deposits for activities you can’t get back, prioritizing a plan with the best coverage for trip cancellations or interruptions may land at the top of your list.

Travel uncertainty. If you’re on the fence about a trip and have nonrefundable reservations, you may want to select a plan with a Cancel For Any Reason coverage option, which can help you recoup about 50% to 75% of the costs. This helps provide peace of mind, placing the decision on whether to travel entirely in your hands.

Car rentals. If you’re renting a car, a collision damage waiver is often worth looking into.

The following destinations are the top insured destinations in 2024, according to Squaremouth (a NerdWallet partner).

The Bahamas.

Costa Rica.

Antarctica.

In 2022, travelers spent about 25.53% more on trips than they did before the pandemic.

As of December, NerdWallet analysis determined travel prices are 10% higher than pre-pandemic. Each statistic makes a strong case for protecting your travel investment as you plan your next trip.

Bookmark these resources to help you make smart money moves as you shop for travel insurance.

What is travel insurance?

CFAR explained.

Is travel insurance worth getting?

10 credit cards that provide travel insurance.

We used the following factors to choose insurance providers to highlight:

Breadth of coverage: We looked at how many plans each company offered plus the range of their standard plans. 

Depth of coverage: We considered two data points to get a sense of how much each company pays out for common travel issues — the maximum caps for trip cancellation and trip interruption claims.

Cost: By looking at the costs for basic coverage across multiple companies, we determined an average cost for shoppers to benchmark plan prices against.

Customizability: While standard plans can cover a lot of ground, sometimes you need something a little more personal.

Customer satisfaction. Using data from Squaremouth when available, and Google Reviews as a backup, we can give kudos to companies with better track records from their clients.

No, it doesn’t necessarily get more expensive the longer you wait to purchase. However, as you put off buying insurance, you may lose access to potential plans and coverage options.

In general, buying travel insurance within a few days to two weeks of prepaying or making an initial deposit for your trip is your best bet. Assuming you’re not booking last-minute, this will provide you with access to the widest possible range of coverage options. It also helps prevent any medical conditions or storms that pop up between booking and buying a plan from ending up as excluded situations, which won’t be covered by your plan.

But, generally, many plans do allow you to buy coverage quite close to your departure date.

To get the most out of your travel insurance plan, buy it soon after making your initial prepayment or deposit to ensure you have access to the biggest menu of plans possible.

Select a plan that’s comprehensive enough to cover the travel scenarios you’re most concerned about or likely to encounter but not too expensive or laden with protections you’d never likely need.

Whatever your coverage, thoroughly review the plan so you understand what’s covered and what’s not, plus how to adhere to the plan’s rules for making a claim.

Travelers frequently use phrases like “trip insurance” and “travel insurance,” as well as “trip protection,” interchangeably, but they do mean different things, according to Stan Sandberg, founder of insurance comparison site TravelInsurance.com.

Trip insurance, or trip protection, generally refers to predeparture (or preevent) coverage if you need to cancel. You may see these plans sold by airlines, online travel agencies or even ticketed event sellers.

“You could refer to it as the portion that protects the investment in the trip,” Sandberg says.

A travel insurance plan typically includes that — plus more comprehensive benefits to protect you during your trip, from medical coverage to trip delay and lost baggage protections, and many more elements, depending on the plan.

Though travel insurance is typically not required for international trips, your personal circumstances will play a key role in whether it’s a good investment.

For instance, young, healthy travelers with few prepaid trip expenses embarking on a relatively risk-free trip may not see a need to buy a plan.

Older travelers with complicated itineraries who are visiting destinations where they could potentially fall ill or get injured — or who could encounter bad weather or some other disrupting factor along the way — may want to buy coverage.

Consider a few key questions:

How well would your health insurance plan cover you if you needed to visit a hospital overseas?

How much did you prepay for a hotel or rental car?

How much money would you be out if weather or some other flight issue derailed your itinerary?

Could you afford an unexpected night in a city where you have a connecting flight?

Do you already have a credit card that provides some travel protections?

Your answers to these questions can help you decide whether you need travel insurance for your international trip.

In general, buying travel insurance

within a few days to two weeks of prepaying or making an initial deposit

for your trip is your best bet. Assuming you’re not booking last-minute, this will provide you with access to the widest possible range of coverage options. It also helps prevent any medical conditions or storms that pop up between booking and buying a plan from ending up as excluded situations, which won’t be covered by your plan.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024 :

Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

IHG® One Rewards Premier Credit Card

Earn 5 free nights at an IHG property after $4k in spend (each night valued at up to 60k points).

tripmasters travel insurance

Tripmasters Travel

All about air travel

Air travel is efficient but can be unpredictable and stressful. Uncertainties like long check-in lines, flight delays, and security checks can add to the hassle. Being prepared with IDs and luggage can streamline your airport experience. Familiarize yourself with air travel components such as IDs, fees, check-in policies, and seat assignments. Be prepared for potential delays or cancellations. Your best point of contact for issues is the airline, but TripMasters is also available to assist and advocate for a smooth travel experience.

tripmasters travel insurance

Checking in

It’s crucial to check in online 24 hours before each leg of your flight via the airline’s website. There, you can confirm itineraries, select seats, and submit passport information. You can also opt-in for automatic airline alerts. Don’t forget to print your boarding passes. To manage your booking at any time, visit www.tripmasters.com/Booking_Confirmation.aspx and enter your Tripmasters booking number and the email used. If you’ve chosen staggered payments or can’t find the reservation code, email [email protected].

Locate your airline reference code on your airline voucher. Note: This will differ by operating carrier. Visit the website of the airline you are flying on (operating carrier). There should be a tab that says either Manage Reservation, My Trips, or My Trips/Check-In. Each airline will have a different name for this tab, but it should be easy to locate. Click on the tab applicable to you. Type in your airline reference code and your name. Look for a confirmation screen. You should see your flight information, including the number of travelers, departure and arrival times and cities. Look at the additional information that comes after your flight status. Check the options for ordering meals, checking luggage and choosing your seats. You can also check luggage requirements and pay (if required) for them in advance. Keep in mind that checked and carry-on luggage is often more expensive in the 24 hours leading up to the flight than in the days and weeks before. Make sure to pay all baggage fees well in advance.

tripmasters travel insurance

Schedule Changes

What is a schedule change?

Air travel is efficient but can be fraught with uncertainties such as delays and long check-in lines. Being well-prepared with IDs and luggage can help streamline your experience. It’s important to familiarize yourself with various travel components like fees, check-in policies, and seat assignments. Always be prepared for potential delays or cancellations. For any issues, your primary contact should be the airline, but TripMasters is also available to assist and advocate for a smooth travel experience.

You can find out more about your rights as a passenger by reading the contract of carriage . You will see that, other than isolated cases covered by national or worldwide agreements, all of your rights are determined by the airlines, and that areas detailing schedule changes may not be so detailed at all. In many cases, you will learn that the schedule is not part of the airline contract, therefore the airline will not be liable for failure to operate. You may view the schedule as a core part of your journey, but in legalese, the airlines disagree.

What to Know

There may be numerous changes to your schedule if it was booked months in advance. In the time between your booking and your departure, TripMasters will notify you of changes, but only if they are major and require action from you. Examples of major changes include drastic changes in schedule, routing changes, or other similar modifications. In these situations, we will contact you by e-mail. If we need to discuss flight alternatives with you, we will notify you via telephone. If there is only a minor schedule change, we will notify you a few weeks before departure. You will also find that any schedule changes will be reflected in your voucher, which you can see by going to www.tripmasters.com and clicking on Manage Bookings. Print out your travel documents approximately a week before departure, so all the final papers, such as the itinerary, will be up to date. Any schedule changes that occur in the ten days before departure will be sent to you via e-mail (specifically, the address provided at the time of booking). Finally, check in online with your airline 24 hours before departure so you are completely up-to-date.

How to Resolve a Schedule Change While in Transit

Deal with the airline directly. If the change was last-minute, you will get the best results by talking to the airline representatives at the airport. They will have the most up-to-date information about your flight, and they will be working to assist your fellow travelers too. You can always call TripMasters and we will work with the airline to resolve all of your changes in a manner that is agreeable to you. We will help provide solutions so you can get to your destination in a stress-free manner. After all, we are your advocate!

The airlines are obligated to provide various forms of assistance, typically, when the schedule change is the fault of the airline. These forms of assistance can mean vouchers for meals, accommodations, and more. You have a cut-and-dried choice if your flight is delayed by acts of God , inclement weather, or similar factors: a flight or a refund (cash or voucher).

What happens if I cannot be given a satisfactory option to get me to my destination?

At this point, TripMasters will try their best to get the airlines in question to re-protect you, the customer. In the end, the response of the airline is key: if they are unable to re-protect you, we will ask for a refund on your behalf.

We sympathize with regard to schedule changes. Nobody likes them, and we know you may very well have scheduled plans at your destination that are very important. We will do whatever is in our power to make the entire traveling process as comfortable and easy as possible.

tripmasters travel insurance

Baggage Basics

Airlines have increasingly turned to baggage fees as an additional source of revenue, with each carrier implementing its own distinct policy. This diversity often leaves travelers navigating a maze of confusing and intimidating rules. Fees are typically assessed for each bag and each leg of the journey—a one-way flight results in a single fee, whereas a round trip doubles the charge. For those on connecting flights, luggage is generally transferred without extra costs, although this can vary if the involved airlines lack interline baggage agreements. Travelers with separate tickets for different segments of their trip face further complications, as they must retrieve and re-check their baggage, undergoing security and check-in processes once more.

Currently, international (over the water and/or long-haul) flights will allow for one piece of luggage per person, up to a certain size and weight (varies by carrier) free of charge. Domestic flights within the US (unless they are feeding into a long-haul flight on the same itinerary) will charge you for any checked-in luggage. A lot of short-haul, point to point, inter-city flights within Europe, Asia, etc are following the domestic flight model and will now charge for any checked luggage.

Do remember that these charges are set by the airline, and you won`t find a difference in price whether you purchase your ticket online, over the phone, through the airline at the airport, or through TripMasters. The bag charge will be the same regardless.

Most airlines will not charge bag fees for the following groups of people: frequent flyers (or those with elite status with the airline); first and business-class ticketholders; ticketholders who purchase refundable fares; U.S. military active-duty members (and sometimes their dependents); and, in many cases, even card holders of the airline`s credit card.

Baggage fees are based on weight, size, and the number of pieces checked. Bags over 50 pounds are usually considered oversized and will incur an extra fee. Extra fees will also occur if the bag checked exceeds the dimensions set forth by the airline, or if you have more than one bag to check.

Important!!!

In order to make your trip as easy and painless as possible, TripMasters will purchase seats for you on airlines that charge extra fees for seats on short-haul, point to point fares. Unfortunately, the airlines are very dynamic and are constantly changing their policies, so the possibility of us being unable to purchase seats for you ahead of time is a real one. Take some time to look at your airline voucher; when we have purchased a seat for you, you will usually find that it clearly indicates 1ST CHECKED BAGGAGE PAID UP TO 23kg. For the few flights that will not include such a comment in your voucher, we strongly recommend that you visit the website for the airline in question (as you would do for checking in) a couple of days before your flight. While there, check to see if you need to pay for baggage. Many times, it is cheaper to prepay online than to wait and pay at the check-in counter at the airport.

Carry-on Bags

Nowadays, many travelers bring their bags on board with them to avoid bag fees. Usually, that is a good idea, since nearly every airline allows for one free carry-on bag based on size and weight constraints (typically fewer than 45 linear inches and less than 30 pounds). Keep in mind that a few airlines (such as Spirit and Allegiant) will actually charge you for your carry-on at a price even higher than a checked bag. All airlines, including Spirit and Allegiant, do allow you to bring a `personal item` on board such as a purse or a laptop for free, however.

Baggage Issues

Airlines are amenable to paying for reasonable expenses until your baggage is found, should the pieces be lost for whatever reason when you reach your destination. The amount must be negotiated and you may have to be quite assertive to get your share. If your bags are not recovered, you can file a claim, and that will take a little while to process. Depending on the airline, you can wait weeks, even months, for reimbursement. Take note of deadlines as well: If you missed the check-in deadline at your home airport, the airline will not have to reimburse you if your bag is delayed or lost. International treaties spell out liability limitations for airlines if bags are delayed or lost overseas.

Delayed Baggage

The first thing to remember is not to panic if your bags end up delayed. The airlines can track most lost bags, and those tracked bags will eventually be returned. If your bags end up on the next flight out, that means you will only be separated from them for a few hours. A serious mix-up would involve the bags being sent off to a different airport, in which case it may take days for you to be reunited with your luggage. File your claim right at the airport as soon as you notice your bags are not on the carousel. Give the attendant a valid address and phone number so you can be reached in the event that your bags are eventually returned to you.

It is very rare that the airlines will ask you to pick your luggage up from the airport; they will usually return it directly to you. Also, many airlines will reimburse you for any last-minute expenses accrued by the temporary loss of your luggage. Keep your receipts handy!

Jot down a reference number before you leave the airport so you have it to follow up on your claim. You will also use this number to check on the status of your bags. Some airlines offer a telephone-centric system and others allow you to check the bags` status online.

According to a recent FAA reauthorization bill, you will be entitled to a refund of any checked baggage fee you paid if your bag or bags are lost longer than 12 hours after reaching your destination (15 hours for international flights).

Lost Baggage

File a written claim for damages if your airline loses your bags. This form may be different than the `missing luggage` form, so inquire. This form can be filled out directly at the airport or it can be filled out later and mailed.

$3,500 is the largest amount an airline will pay to cover lost bags and their contents on domestic flights in the U.S. A varying rate per passenger is used for bags lost on international flights, based on amounts pre-determined in the Warsaw Convention or the Montreal Convention. In the U.S., if you paid to check your bags with an airline and they are lost, the airline must refund that fee to you. Go to the airline`s website to read more information about their baggage regulations.

In some cases, the value of certain items in the suitcase may be called into question and in these cases you may be asked to prove the item`s price; if you have any receipts handy, keep these in the event that you are asked for them. (The airline will then decide on a depreciated amount to pay you — you won`t get retail prices for used items.) `Excess valuation` protection is available if the items in your checked baggage are quite valuable, but only purchase this protection if the items aren`t already covered by your home or travel insurance. TripMasters` trip insurance covers lost and delayed baggage.

The airlines usually have a specific list of items for which they will not be held liable in the case of lost or stolen baggage. Money, heirlooms, and jewelry are usually on every airline`s list. Pack these items in your carry-on and consider leaving as many as possible at home.

Stolen Bags

To minimize the amount of time in which your bag can be snatched by an unscrupulous passerby, head to the baggage carousel as soon as you get off the plane. Most airlines keep records of bags as they are processed and then sent to baggage claim. If the airport finds that the bag was stolen after it was checked in at the airport, you must now file a claim with the police as the airline is no longer liable. Consider purchasing travel insurance; home insurance may cover stolen baggage but it doesn’t always.

Damaged Baggage

Check your bags for damage, tampering or other issues as soon as you grab them off the carousel. Make sure you report any damage before you leave the airport. Airline employees will want to take a cursory inspection of the damaged bags in question. Minor wear and tear will not be covered by most airlines. Ask the baggage claim attendant which repairs are covered and not covered by the airline; you will need to save your repair receipts to get compensation.

How to Prevent Lost Luggage

1. Write your name, address and phone number on two labels. Place one inside your bag and one on the bag or tied to the bag handle. Also something to consider is the option of placing your itinerary inside your bags, so the airline will have an easy time locating you.

2. Late check-ins and tight connections are the two biggest reasons bags end up arriving late or not at all. Avoid both of these factors at all costs.

3. All valuable items, such as passports, money, jewelry, heirlooms, etc. should be packed inside your carry-on bags, NEVER your checked luggage.

4. Make a list of everything you packed before you travel. Airlines will want to know what all was lost in your bags should they need to reimburse you.

5. Double-check your bags and make sure the destination tickets on your bags match the airport at your destination. Get a claim ticket for each bag.

6. If your checked bag is delayed, you will be so thankful that you did this: Pack a change of clothes in one of your carry-on bags. If you are traveling with a significant other, consider swapping some of your clothing to your partner`s bag, and vice versa, so you have at least a limited wardrobe should one of your checked bags be delayed or lost.

7. Buy travel insurance. If you lose anything, having purchased travel insurance will turn out to be very important, especially when it comes time to file for reimbursement.

8. Services such as ReboundTAG or SuperSmartTag offer luggage tags which are printed with serial numbers. These numbers are registered on an online database, and if a bag is lost, the owner can be found with a simple database search. The services will contact you as soon as your items are found and reported.

Also, check out UnclaimedBaggage.com…the final resting place for many lost bags!

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Connecting Flights

You will likely encounter the need to connect from one flight to another, unless you are strictly flying between two large airports (e.g. LaGuardia-Heathrow, Kennedy-De Gaulle). The hub and spoke model that most big airlines practice is based on the idea that the airline will serve all but the busiest routes with connecting flights. For example, flying with Delta means you will most likely fly through its hub, Atlanta. Connecting flights allow one-stop service from almost anywhere to almost anywhere else, but that process also puts you at risk of missing your connection. You may not be able to eliminate such a risk but you can take steps to minimize it.

Minimum Connection Time

Know the minimum connection time (MCT) required at your airport; every commercial airport has one. The minimum connection time is the absolute least amount of time that a person of good physical stature can connect to a second flight in the same airport.

What’s a legal connection?

`Legal` may not be the precise term; perhaps `feasible` or `acceptable` would be better. The MCT for each airport varies based on the following factors: •Whether the connecting flight is domestic-domestic, domestic-international, international-domestic or international-international. On international flights, immigration may be an issue and the airports allot time for that. •Whether a change in terminals is necessary to catch the connecting flight. •A trek to make your connecting flight can be arduous but the MCT is valid specifically for flights that arrive and depart on time.

An airline typically will not sell you a ticket that doesn’t meet the MCT, and TripMasters won`t do it either. The systems the airlines use takes into account airlines, travel within the airport, and the possibility of having to change terminals.

So how do you find the minimum connection time for an airport or airline? You can Google it; in fact, many airport websites offer this information freely, although it isn`t universal. If your schedule changes and your itinerary no longer meets the minimum connection time for any leg of your trip, the airline you are flying on must either change your flight to give you more connection time, or they must issue you a refund.

Tips to Ensure a Smooth Connection

Here are some helpful hints that you may want to keep in mind if you have a connecting flight in your itinerary.

Fly on a single ticket when you need to connect two flights.

For the most part, a connecting itinerary that you arrange, or a third party arranges, on a single ticket must take the minimum connection time into account. This also includes two flights on different airlines, so long as they have inter-airline agreements. Booking on one ticket ensures that you will have a much lower chance of missing your connecting flight than if you booked both portions of your trip separately. Single tickets also ensure your checked bags make it from Point A to Point B without any extra effort on your part.

Stick to one airline or airline alliance when connecting flights.

Try to book connecting flights on the same airline or airlines that are in the same alliance. Typically, at hub airports like Atlanta, Charlotte, Heathrow, De Gaulle, etc., airlines try to position their gates close to one another. If such an arrangement isn’t possible, the airlines provide inside-security people-movers or shuttles to any gates they use.

You will find that even if you hold a valid interline ticket, at some big hub airports it is necessary for you to leave one terminal to catch a connecting flight, and go through security regulations all over again at the new terminal. At a few airports, two different terminals may be in use by a single airline. Airlines are expected to accommodate passengers who must switch terminals to make their connecting flights.

Try not to buy two separate tickets when connecting your flights.

If you can do so, we strongly recommend not booking two separate tickets on two different airlines. The concept of a `minimum connecting time` only exists with through-tickets on the same airline. Booking two separate tickets on two different airlines can very well trigger a scenario which sees the first flight delayed and the second flight taking off. As the second airline has no way to know to expect you, you are marked as a `no show`. Once at your second airport, you may be forced to buy another ticket to get to your destination. There are a few times in which persuasion can get you on your connecting flight with no problems or penalties, but keep in mind that it is very rare and be thankful if this happens!

Also keep in mind that you will need a lot of time to claim and process luggage, as you will have to pick up your luggage at arrivals at the second airport, re-process it on the second airline at departures (which may be in another terminal), and then go through the security process at the new terminal.

Give yourself ample time for everything.

If you miss your connection while flying on a single ticket, the airlines have an obligation to put you on the next available flight. The airlines find, however, that just putting a passenger on a flight isn’t always the best solution.

A 30-minute connection may look great on paper, but the process of actually getting off the plane, followed by hustling it over to the next gate, getting checked in and then seated on the next plane can easily gobble up all your time. Many travelers decide to give themselves ample time for everything by choosing a longer connection at a hub on purpose. By allotting yourselves two, three, and even four hours, you can comfortably make your connection even taking into account excessive travel lengths in the airport, or delays on the first flight. Many times, an extended layover is easy to book, but there are also times when a close connection is unavoidable.

On a two-ticket journey, allot at least three or four hours` time, which should be ample enough for decent comfort while in transit.

Don’t pick the last connection of the day.

This travel tip is well-known, and it`s as true today as it was when it was first popularized over five decades ago. The airline will get you on the next flight out, but that means waiting until the first flight of the morning, and not arriving at your destination until the next day. A lesser-known tip advises travelers to book flights early in the morning, so, in the event anything goes wrong, there are more chances of arriving at your destination on the day you had intended.

Make sure your destination is well-served by an efficient ‘hub’ airport.

When purchasing your ticket, you sometimes have the choice of a number of hub airports to use as your connection to your final destination. Some of them are more prone to delays than others, so you know to be wary of some airports over others. Recent data shows that the hubs most prone to delays are O`Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, JFK, Newark and San Francisco. Hubs in the Sun Belt (Atlanta, Charlotte, etc.) are generally better.

The hub airports in Europe that many have been advised to avoid at all costs are De Gaulle, Heathrow and Frankfurt. Munich (Star Alliance hub airport) and Amsterdam (Sky Team hub airport) have earned higher customer satisfaction ratings. Brussels, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Madrid, Rome and Zurich also rate highly with travelers.

When connecting flights, make a plan for your luggage.

Unfortunately, there is no one standard way to deal with luggage when flying on connecting flights. If you check your bag, it can get lost in the system due to a tight connection or other issues such as inclement weather. On the other hand, if you choose to travel with a carry-on as your primary bag, it can weigh you down having to lug it across a big terminal. Before you leave, decide which plan is best for your trip.

When you`re in a time crunch, your seat location is important.

Think about getting a seat closer to the front of the aircraft if you know your minimum connecting time is going to be tight. Even if there is a fee incurred for reserving a seat in the front of the aircraft, it may be worth it if you can get a five to ten-minute head start on making it to your next departure gate.

Check out a few useful apps.

You can stop by your app store and look at a few apps that will help you along on your journey, whether you want to know about travel delays or departure information. AirportMaps will allow you to plan your walk through the terminal, and you can see which shops or restaurants are along your way if you have time to stop. Weatherbug can tell you if there are any airport delays across the country and worldwide. GateGuru will be able to tell you the most up-to-date gate information, so even if your gate number changes, you`ll be covered.

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International (over the water) Flight Tips

For a first-time long-haul flyer, the entire experience can be overwhelming. First there’s the time you spend on board the aircraft, which may seem like it’s never ending. Then there’s the choice of seats, which may prove bothersome to you. Finally there’s the research you have to do about each airline after all, you don`t want to be in the air for 6, 8, 10, or even 12 hours on a flight where you are miserable. The long-haul flight can be pretty draining, and that’s not just taking into account the actual travel. The booking process can be difficult too — but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some tips that will help you have a relaxing flight.

Don’t judge the final price tag too harshly. Think of the experience by how much you are offered in the time you are traveling to your destination. Does your 6 or 8 hour flight offer great food and wonderful entertainment options, or is the flight cramped with next to no entertainment, and when there is, the films are all outdated? Consider all that long-haul flights offer and pick the one that best suits your needs.

Making your connection is crucial. On long-haul flights, unless your final destination is a large hub such as Tokyo, London, Paris, etc., you will have to connect to another flight overseas to reach your destination. Connections overseas can run you down, so here’s what you should know: Pay attention to the connection time you are given. A connection may be classified as ‘legal’ but it may not be feasible for you specifically. Click on ‘Flight Schedule’ in the air display in the booking process and note how much time you have to connect to your next flight. Give yourself ample time for everything you need to accomplish, from check-in to boarding. A worst case scenario may see you rushing off the plane, picking up your bags at baggage claim, clearing customs, checking in for your new flight, re-checking your bags, going through customs and security again, and proceeding to your connecting flight’s gate. That’s a lot to do! Make sure you have the time you need.

It would be in your best interest to check to see if you are getting some sort of frequent flier benefit, whether it be miles or some other reward, for flying such a long flight and paying a lot of money to do so. You may want to select an airline with which you already have a frequent flier account, or an airline that belongs in the same alliance as the airline you frequently fly.

Dress comfortably. Keep in mind that you will want to fall asleep, take off your shoes, walk around, or stretch on a long flight. Dressing in stretchy, loose clothes and sneakers or slip-on shoes will be most comfortable.

Consider either bringing along your own tablet, buying one before your trip, or borrowing one from a friend. On the tablet, make sure you have a few of your favorite movies loaded so you have lots of things to keep you engaged not just on the flight over, but also on the flight back. Consider downloading a few books on tape, some episodes of your favorite TV show, and definitely a few hours worth of your favorite music. Download e-copies of your favorite magazines as well, so you have lots of variety to choose from.

Important !!!

Not all airlines are the same or offer the same amenities. In fact, you’ll find that there are perhaps the most discrepancies when it comes to how airlines handle long-haul travel. Here are three things that will definitely vary by airline on long haul flights:

Nearly every long-haul flight offers a succession of meals, usually interspersed with light snacks. If you are concerned about the variety of food offered, or if you have a dietary restriction, it pays to research the long-haul flight menus for each airline you are considering. The airlines usually make this information public on their website; the website www.airlinemeals.net also details the food options from airlines across the world. In the end, it can`t hurt to pack some familiar snacks — things you would munch on while at home or at work. If you would have a granola bar at work, take some with you on the plane.

Entertainment

After you take some time to research your food options, take some time to look at the entertainment offered on your flight. After all, you will be spending a good amount of time in the air. Narrow down which choices are the best for entertainment and keep those airlines in mind. Also, choose seat-back screens instead of overhead monitors. Your neck will thank you, as you wont have to crane it upward for hours to view a film. Also, seat-back screens allow you to watch what you want, so you aren’t forced into watching a specific movie with the rest of the plane that you may not even like. .

Speaking of SeatGuru, check out the configurations of each long-haul aircraft that flies your desired route. That way you can figure out which seats and which aircraft will be most comfortable for your journey. A 3-5-3 configuration of seats may be better than a 3-3 configuration, simply because a 3-5-3 will offer two aisles, extra lavatories, less waiting while the flight attendants come around for meal or drink service, etc. Plus, on long-haul flights it is recommended to walk around every so often, and a flight that offers more room to move around will be more comfortable for you. Also consider whether or not the seats recline, if there is enough room for your feet and legs, and if you will be seated in an area where lots of passengers will walk, like closer to the lavatories. Making the right decisions will ensure your comfort when flying overseas. What Makes a Great Seat?

The best seats are usually considered to be the aisle seats, the window seats, seats on an exit row, and seats close to the front of the plane. For example, on a short flight, an aisle seat near the front may be best so you can get off the plane and to your destination as quickly as possible. On a red-eye flight, a window seat may be more ideal so you can fall asleep and rest your head on the window. People afraid of turbulence may like the seats over the wing, as they are not shaken up as much by turbulent wind patterns. Exit rows offer more legroom, but if you are traveling as a family, this would not be a feasible option. Children and infants are not allowed to sit in exit rows (infants are actually not allowed to sit in the rows behind or in front of the exit row either).

Another favorite seat assignment is the bulkhead seat, which is the very first row of seats after a barrier such as a wall or a curtain. No seats are in front of this row, so extra legroom is to be expected. Be careful, though, because on some flights the bulkhead row may not offer lots of space.

Make a note of the seat pitch; this is particularly important for taller travelers. A seat pitch is the measure of how much space there is between a seat and the one right behind it or in front of it. The higher the number means more legroom for you.

The middle seat is typically undesirable regardless of aircraft. Seats near the flight attendants or the lavatories will experience more foot traffic and you may find it is more difficult to fall asleep in those seats. Likewise, seats closer to the overhead screens may impede your path to rest.

Then there is the big question: If something bad happens, which seats are the safest? There is no clear answer to that question. TIME Magazine recently found that sitting in the rear of the aircraft will give you a higher chance of survival in case of a plane crash. Greenwich University found, however, that the safest place for passengers is toward the front of the plane, sitting within five rows of an emergency exit.

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Preparing for your Trip

Before You Leave Home Keep a checklist to make your travels easy, safe, and enjoyable. Use online check-in to print boarding passes and verify seat assignments. Monitor your flight status through text alerts or apps like Flight Stats and Trip It. Store essential items like ID, credit card, and boarding pass in an easily accessible bag compartment.

Pack non-essential items out of sight until needed on the plane. Plan your parking in advance to avoid stress. Be aware of parking availability, especially during high travel seasons and holidays. Consider budget-friendly off-airport parking options. Reserve your parking spot in advance if possible. Research your destination airport beforehand. Download terminal maps and locate hotel shuttles and rental car counters. This research helps if someone is picking you up. Know where to meet your pick-up person for convenience. Being prepared minimizes stress and ensures a smooth trip. Overall, preparation is key to a successful and enjoyable journey.

At the Airport – Before Check In

Make sure you remember the spot where you hid your identification, your boarding passes, and other important documents, because you will need to present these items at various points throughout the airport. Remembering your hiding place means smooth sailing for you and for airport workers accommodating you. Take note of your luggage and make sure each piece is secured (aka zipped up). Note that you cannot lock your baggage. Do not pack medicine or other important items into your checked baggage in the unlikely event that your luggage does not make it to your destination with you. Instead pack such items in your carry-on bags. Before checking in, double-check the weight of your bags; many airlines charge an extra fee for bags over 50 pounds. You can make necessary adjustments at the curbside drop-off at many airports, or simply do so at home before leaving. Customize your luggage in some manner (for example, sewing a patch onto your suitcase) so you can distinctly identify it as your own. •Small bags are fine to be carried on, but make sure all size requirements set by the airline have been met, or else the bag you planned on carrying on may have to be checked.

Checking In

Remember to be at the airport at least two hours in advance if you are checking baggage onto a domestic flight. If all you have are carry-on bags, arrive 90 minutes in advance. Allow for two or three hours` advance arrival at the airport if you are traveling internationally or to Alaska, Hawaii or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Also consider adding a half-hour to an hour during peak travel season in your area. There are many different ways to make the checking in process easier and faster. First, you can check in via the airline`s website up to 24 hours before your scheduled departure. Second, there are unmanned self-service kiosks in the airport that will allow you to check in at your pace. If you check in using either of these services, a boarding pass will be printed out for you, e-mailed to you for you to print out, or available for download to your smartphone. By doing this, it means you will also have the best seat selection available to you, if you need another reason to take advantage of early check-in! Do keep in mind that an airline can cancel your reservation if you are not waiting at the departure gate when the flight is scheduled to depart. Your seat may be given to another customer even if you have a boarding pass. Also, if you are late checking your baggage, there is no guarantee it will arrive on time with you at your destination.

Between Check-In and Airport Security

Stow everything except your boarding pass and your identification in your carry-on bag. This will allow you to go through security as smoothly as possible. Make a mental checklist of the things you will need to do when you get to the front of the security screening line. Make sure you know all the things that need to be removed before screening, and what needs to be taken out of your carry-on bag (for example, many types of laptop computers). Once there, you will be prepared and getting through security will be a breeze.

On the Other Side of Security

Take a look at the departures board again. Unless you arrived very early, you will get a better idea of what delays your flight may have, if any. You`ll also see if your flight is scheduled to depart out of a different gate so you can plan accordingly. Even though the departures board will be of great help, go straight to your gate for any extra information. They will be privy to ‘breaking news’ about your flight before the departures board will have a chance to update. Plus, by heading to your gate first, you can make a mental note of how full your flight will be, and where the closest bathrooms, convenience stores or restaurants are compared to where your gate is. Look up your airline`s toll-free number and program it into your phone. If, for whatever reason, your flight is delayed and your itinerary does not proceed as planned, you will need the number to call and figure out what your next step should be. If you have the phone numbers of all the flights that fly your specific route in your phone, you will find a solution a lot faster than if you did not save those numbers.

What to Expect at Airport Security

If you haven’t flown in the past few years, you will find that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has updated its screening process to include full-body scanners and ‘enhanced’ pat-down techniques. Metal detectors are still in wide use across the country, but full-body scans are becoming more and more prevalent. These scans use millimeter wave or back-scatter technology to create an image of a person`s body on a screen, similar in execution to an X-ray. You may refuse to be screened using the full-body scanner, but that means you will receive an ‘enhanced’ pat-down by a security guard who is the same gender as you. The palms of the officer`s hands pat down the entire body, including the groin and the chest. You are also allowed to request that your pat-down be conducted away from the public and the eyes of all in the security line. At all U.S. airports, you will need to remove your shoes, jackets, belts and anything in your pockets before going through the security process. Laptops will need to be removed from their carry-on bags and placed in a bin to be processed on a mini-conveyor belt. Tablets, phones, cameras and other electronic devices of smaller size than laptops can be left in the carry-on bag and do not need to be removed and placed in a new bin. Keep in mind that toothpaste, shampoo, and other liquids, gels and aerosols will not be allowed for travelers to carry in carry-on bags unless the bottles are all individual-size and each weigh in at 3.4 ounces or under. All of these little containers need to be placed in a clear quart-sized plastic bag. Anything larger will need to be placed in checked luggage.

Amenities at the Airport

Amenities can vary depending on the airport. At large international airports, you can find many food options, duty-free shops, spas, Internet access, gardens, art installations, and even swimming pools. At smaller airports, a few shops and a couple of food choices may very well be all that`s on offer. Visit your airport`s website to see what amenities are available to you when you fly.

Delays and Cancellations

Make sure your flight is leaving as scheduled before you make your way to the airport. You can do that by going to the airline`s website directly; if you don`t want to check the website again, airlines will offer the choice of text alerts that will be sent to your cell phone in the event of a delay. Airlines are not required to give compensation to passengers for flights that end up being delayed or canceled. Each carrier has a different policy, and no federal requirements are in place requiring an airline to compensate travelers who have had their flights abruptly canceled. Most airlines will seat you on the next flight to your intended destination. Others may give you vouchers for meals and accommodations if your flight is delayed overnight or in excess of 6-8 hours. You won’t know what arrangements your airline has in mind until you ask. If the delay is caused by bad weather, or other conditions beyond their control, some airlines will not offer amenities. Compensation is only required if a flight is oversold (more on that in the next subsection). Many airlines are now informing passengers about the factors which caused delays in their flights, although they are not obligated to do so.

How to Avoid Being Bumped on a Flight

Arrive as early as possible to the airport and check in before leaving the house. The people who tend to be bumped involuntarily from flights are usually the last ones to arrive at the gate. If you are one of the first passengers at the gate, you will most likely not be bumped in the case of an overbooking. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, involuntary `bumps` account for just one out of every 10,000 airline passenger experiences. This probability will be higher during peak travel seasons, but in most cases, over bookings are solved by the request of volunteers to fly on later flights.

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Passenger Rights

Even if you plan and plan for your trip, things can go wrong because not everything in travel is in your control. Whether it`s lost luggage or a weather delay, bumps in the travel process can occur at any time. It`s important to know your rights as a traveler. Where do your turn in complaints? What happens if you`re bumped from a flight? What happens if an airline loses your suitcase? Finally, which papers do you need to fill out?

Reservations

If you have a confirmed reservation, you are indeed confirmed on the flight — even if the airline`s computer system says there is no record of your reservation. An agent cannot deny you a chance to board your flight if you have your ticket or a confirmed reservation print-out (unless you canceled the reservation either by actively initiating the cancellation or missing a confirmation deadline). If the day of the flight comes and goes without you in the seat, and you didn`t cancel your reservation, the airline will note you as a `no-show` and will cancel the rest of your itinerary.

Remember these general rules, which tend to be the same across carriers, although the full list of refund guidelines will vary depending on the airline used for the journey. If you have to cancel a ticket classified as a non-refundable fare, you might be allowed to apply the cost of the fare to a future flight, after cancellation fees and price changes are taken into account. If your ticket is refundable and you must cancel it for whatever reason, the refund will be processed and credited to the same credit card used to reserve the tickets.

Check-In Times

It’s important to know that an airline can cancel your reservation if you are not present at the departure gate at the time of boarding, even if you`ve already checked in online or at the airport. Your seat may be given to someone else even if you arrive with enough time to spare to reach the gate before your flight leaves.

Also, if you do not check your bags in with enough time for them to be loaded onto the plane, the airline cannot be held responsible for the delay in your baggage arriving at your destination. Even if you have already checked in for your flight, an airline can cancel your reservation if you are not at the departure gate on time. Arrive at least two hours before your departure (earlier if you are flying at peak tourist season, during holidays, or internationally). Identification

All travelers over the age of 18 must present photo identification when checking in and boarding the aircraft. (Many minors do not have to present identification for domestic travel, but the rule varies by airline, so try to bring identification if possible.) Make sure the name on your identification matches the name on the ticket exactly.

Delays and/or Cancellations

Each carrier’s rules are different, but it is important to know that airlines do not have to compensate travelers if their flights are delayed or canceled. Most airlines will book you on the next available flight. With delayed flights, airlines may pay for meals or a hotel; this may not be publicized, so asking may be the key to getting. The only times airlines are required by U.S. law to compensate you is if you were `bumped` off an oversold flight.

You do have the right to compensation if you are traveling in the European Union and your flight is canceled or delayed — but only under specific circumstances, aka `extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken`. This means you are out of luck if security, weather, political rallies, strikes, etc. delay or cancel your flight. Visit the European Union`s website for more information regarding cancellations and compensation.

There are no federal requirements that govern delay times while passengers are waiting in the airport terminal, but there are indeed requirements which limit how long travelers can sit on the airplane while awaiting takeoff. No plane must be kept on the tarmac for more than three hours and if any plane passes the two-hour mark, drinking water and some sort of food option must be provided to passengers. The bathrooms must be functional while the plane is on the tarmac. If security is at stake, either inside the airport or as a result of the aircraft returning to the gate, the three-hour requirement can be waived. The longest delay an international flight on the tarmac can endure is a wait of four hours. If airlines do not comply with these regulations, they can face fines.

Overbooking/Bumping

To account for no-shows, airlines can, and often do, oversell flights (meaning they sell tickets to more people than can fit on the aircraft). If, in the event that every ticket holder shows up for the plane, some passengers will be asked to give up their seats, to be placed on a later flight. Those who agree to be moved to a later flight may receive perks such as future airline travel vouchers, accommodation vouchers, and cash money. These perks are negotiated with the airline before and after exiting the aircraft.

In the event that you are `bumped` — aka involuntarily taken off an oversold flight — the airline will explain your passenger rights in a written document. You will be allowed to keep your ticket to use on another flight to the same destination. You can be refunded for the price of the ticket (an `involuntary refund`) if you decide to make your own arrangements to get to your destination. The carrier does not have to compensate you if they can prove they can get you to your destination airport within an hour of the original aircraft. If a plane is swapped out for a smaller one, thus pushing a number of people off the scheduled flight, airlines do not have to compensate passengers in this event.

Delayed, Lost or Damaged Luggage

File a claim with your airline at the airport the moment you find that your baggage has not arrived like it`s supposed to. Airlines will typically agree to compensate `reasonably` until the luggage is found. This amount is negotiable and it may take some finesse on your part to get your fair share.

A second claim will be needed if your bags are not found. This claim will take a while to process (weeks or even months). In the U.S., airlines are limited to paying out $3,500 per person in the event of lost or stolen luggage. The liability limit may vary on international flights due to the terms set forth by the Montreal Conventions. The airline must refund the baggage fee if the bag ends up lost or stolen. Every check-in deadline must be met throughout the booking and boarding process, or you will find the airline is not responsible for the bag or the value of the items inside.

If bags arrive with you, but they (or its contents) are damaged, airlines may be able to compensate you. Fragile items may be excluded, as will heirlooms, money, and other important items that should have been packed in your carry-on.

Conditions of Carriage

Your rights may be referred to on the airline websites as the `Conditions of Carriage`, or the `Contract of Carriage`. You may have trouble finding it, but each airline is legally obligated to post such a statement somewhere on their website. If you want to know what you are entitled to as a paying customer, and what you`re not entitled to, these rights statements will spell everything out for you.

Disabled Passengers

According to the Department of Transportation and the Air Carrier Access Act, disabled passengers may not be denied the right to board an aircraft on the basis of their disability, nor must they have an attendant or medical documentation unless the circumstances are particularly unique. Also, airlines must provide free of charge:

1. Help with getting on and off planes and making connections, whether this means a wheelchair, a person, both, or other means

2. TTY devices in airport terminals and airline reservation centers

3. `Timely access` for any visually or hearing-impaired passengers to information on gate assignments, security and other publicly announced information

4. Access to the plane`s cabin for any necessary service animals (as long as they don`t block aisles or escape routes)

5. Permission to include wheelchairs as checked baggage without liability waivers (except for pre-existing damage)

The Airlines Rights

The most important thing to remember is that an airline is not necessarily indebted to you in the event of a flight delay or cancellation. Bad weather, ‘acts of God’ (extraordinary circumstances outside the airline’s control) and other factors may absolve the airline of responsibility. In many events, the airlines may refund your ticket (even if it is bought under a `non-refundable fare`), but will not take responsibility of your journey after that.

The following is a partial list of situations in which an airline may legally deny you boarding or remove you from a flight on which you are confirmed.

1. If the airline must comply with any government regulation or request for emergency transportation in connection with national defense.

2. If there is inclement weather or other conditions beyond the airline`s control.

3. If you refuse to be searched for explosives or concealed weapons.

4. If you refuse to provide positive identification or don`t have proper documentation for travel across international boundaries.

5. If your conduct is disorderly, abusive or violent, or if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

6. If you are barefoot or clothed in a way that might be offensive to others.

7. If you attempt to interfere with any member of the flight crew or jeopardize the safety of the plane. Filing a Complaint

Call or write the airline’s consumer office if you cannot resolve your problem while at the airport. Reaching out via social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) also helps to obtain a speedy response.

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FAQ’S

My name is misspelled on my itinerary. Will this affect my airline tickets?

Yes. As soon as you get your confirmation letter, double-check the spelling of your name as it is listed on the reservation. Make sure the name you provide to us matches the name on your passport exactly. If there are any issues that are not cleared up before your flight, you may not be able to fly on those specific tickets. Checking the spelling now can save you some potential heartache later.

NOTE:  Any applicable charges imposed by our vendors will be your responsibility. Name changes are considered traveler substitutions, which are subject to cancellation fees.

Can I request seats in advance?

In many cases, yes, but not always. Some airlines don`t assign seats in advance. Tripmasters will forward your request of preferred seating to the airline and you can check for confirmation on the Air Itinerary page. Note that you do have a confirmed reservation even if there is no seat assignment on the itinerary. If the airline is available to accommodate you, your seat assignment will be indicated in the itinerary. If, for whatever reason, you cannot reserve your seat of choice, check in early at the airport and see if there isn’t any way the counter staff can help you snag your desired spot.

NOTE:  Seating on the bulkhead or emergency exit rows cannot be assigned before boarding; the airlines must qualify such passengers upon check-in. If you want a seat in either of these rows, it is advisable that you check in early.

What should I do if my flight is delayed or canceled?

Try to work with your airline and see if they will rebook your flight. Call us immediately afterward. Tripmasters is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you with your travel needs, including those caused by flight delays or cancellations. After you rebook your flight with your airline, call us with your updated flight information.

NOTE:  Tripmasters is not responsible for flights delayed or cancelled, portions of trips missed due to such issues, or additional expenses incurred prior to joining your trip.

Do you have any tips to help ensure a smooth check-in?

Expect the unexpected:  All of us want our trip to go smoothly, but expect that surprises may occur at any time throughout your time in transit.

Arrive early:  Make sure you have allotted ample time for your journey, including giving yourself plenty of time for getting to the airport, making your way through check-in and security, and making your way to the departure gate.

Check your check-in times:  Keep in mind that many airport websites now provide real-time information on flight delays. Whether you check online or call the airline, stay informed.

Know who your operating carrier is:  You may be traveling with a different airline than the one listed on your ticket. At the airport, you will be checking in with the airline listed as your operating carrier.

How can I be sure that I have enough connection time between flights?

When a flight is booked, there is a `minimum connection time` that is set by the airlines; with the new booking, the airline must adhere to the minimum connection time that corresponds with the flights booked. These connection times may be shorter or longer than what you desired. Pay attention to the flight itinerary when booking, as we do recommend that you give yourself ample time to transfer flights in a calm and collected manner.

Can I earn Frequent Flyer miles on my Tripmasters flights?

How Frequent Flyer miles are earned varies from airline to airline. TripMasters has contracted special rates in order to give you the best value, but sometimes that means mileage accural can be prohibited. You can always check with the airline directly by adding your information directly on the airline`s website when you check in. If you are eligible to accrue Frequent Flyer miles, you may be able to receive them after check-in, depending on airline.

Will I receive a complimentary meal on my flight? If so, will the airline accommodate special dietary requests?

Only the international long-haul over-the-water flights include meals nowadays. Short-haul flights will not serve a meal. If you have special dietary concerns, please add all the concerns and requests to the special requests field during the booking process. If you have already filled out your booking, you can submit your request via e-mail to [email protected] and we will make the request on your behalf. You can also make the request directly with the airline by visiting their website.

Do I need to reconfirm my flights before I depart?

We recommend very strongly that you check in online, 24 hours before departure. When checking in, provide your cell phone number, so they can notify you of any changes. Typically airlines give the option for the traveler to be warned of upcoming changes either by a phone call or a text message.

Is there anything that should be done with my bags?

Set your bags apart from the others by tying a colorful ribbon, stitching a unique patch or affixing a large sticker onto each bag. As a result, you will see your bags as soon as they enter the carousel area, and people will know not to grab your bags in an attempt to find their own.

Do I need to remember my flight number?

Yes. Always. This may seem obvious, but keeping your flight number at the forefront of your mind will make things easier in smaller airports, or ones overseas, which may only list arrivals and departures by flight number and not city.

What is the Pre-Check program?

It`s very important and you should consider signing up for it. The TSA’s PreCheck ( www.tsa.gov/precheck ), a trusted traveler program, has spread to more cities across the U.S. and is now available at more than 180 airports. Members of the program are prescreened and can jet through security without having to take off their shoes or remove laptops from cases. The U.S. Customs Department’s Global Entry program (see  www.globalentry.gov ) is another shortcut for frequent international travelers, especially as the federal government immigration and customs lines get longer.

How can I get in touch with my airline?

You can give their toll-free customer hotline a call, or you can visit their website. Select airline information can be found below.

  • Aer Lingus    www.aerlingus.com
  • Aeroflot    www.aeroflot.com/ru-en
  • Air Canada    www.aircanada.com
  • Air China   www.airchina.us
  • Air   www.airfrance.us
  • Air In dia   www.airindia.in
  • Air New Zealand    www.airnewzealand.com
  • Alaska Airlines    www.alaskaair.com
  • Alitalia    www.alitalia.com
  • American Airlines     www.aa.com
  • Austrian Airlines    www.austrian.com
  • Avianca    www.avianca.com/us/en.html
  • Virgin Atlantic    www.virginatlantic.com
  • British Airways    www.britishairways.com
  • Cathay Pacific Airways    cathaypacific.com/cx/en_US.html
  • China Airlines    www.china-airlines.com/us/en
  • Copa Airlines    www.copaair.com
  • Delta Airlines    www.delta.com
  • Emirates    www.emirates.com/us/english
  • Finnair    www.finnair.com
  • Iberia Airlines    www.iberia.com/us
  • Icelandair  800-223-5500  www.icelandair.us
  • JetAirways  877-835-9538  www.jetairways.com
  • Japan Airlines  800-525-3663  www.jal.com
  • United Airlines    www.united.com
  • JetBlue  800-538-2583  www.jetblue.com
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines    www.klm.com
  • Korean Air Lines    www.koreanair.com
  • LATAM    www.latam.com
  • Lufthansa German Airlines   www.lufthansa-usa.com
  • Qantas Airways    www.qantas.com
  • South African Airways    www.flysaa.com
  • Swiss Air    www.swissair.com
  • Taca International Airlines    taca.alternativeairlines.com
  • TAP-Air Portugal    www.flytap.com/en-us
  • Thai Airways    www.thaiairways.com
  • Turkish Airlines    www.turkishairlines.com

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COMMENTS

  1. Coronavirus FAQ with Sherpa Link

    Tripmasters strongly recommends travel insurance because it can help defray costs associated with unforeseen circumstances. Most of our clients find that because of the investment in their vacation, adding a nominal charge for insurance provides great peace of mind.

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