Last week we were shocked and saddened to hear about the latest terrorist acts in the Paris area. Luckily, we did not have any clients traveling in the area at the time, but we do have tour operators and friends that we desperately wanted to hear were OK. Thankfully, they were safe.
When I heard of the steps our tour operators were taking, I was so proud to be associated with such great on-site travel professionals. I will share with you as well, and I'm sure you feel like me that it feels so good to have a working relationship with a travel consultant as opposed to a booking engine. Our tour providers publish an 800 Global Assist number, but they acted proactively, and with the help of other travel professionals, called every hotel that their clients were registered and confirmed the travelers were safe and accounted for. I LOVE that they cared so much to reach out instead of waiting for the phones to ring.
Our phones began ringing with questions about future travel. We are engaged in many travel networks and the consensus of respected travel professionals is that we encourage travel to show solidarity. The heightened security should deter the terrorist attacks, however, you should always do your research, and trust your instinct. Travel to and from France continues as normal. We have been in touch with friends in Paris today and they have assured us that they feel safe. We believe that Paris will remain one of the most visited cities in the world for all of its character and charm, and for now will continue praying for everyone in Paris.
What they hope doesn't happen is that tourists will feel they are trespassing or not showing respect for the grief of this city in mourning. Our friends in Paris assure us that anyone arriving in Paris today and coming weeks and months will be given a huge welcome by the locals and thanked for their support.
Travel insurance has been a huge concern for many this week. It's one of those things you hope you never need, but when you do you are so relieved to have it.
It is so hard to wrap my head around this unexplainable hatred. However, I do believe this is still an amazing world that is unfortunately also a scary place at times. Personally, I refuse to let the terrorists win, I choose to focus on the fascinating people that make up the majority of it and I will continue to explore the world around me. Tourism allows us to meet and know others. As I've met people around the country, I know that I certaily seek to learn and appreciate their culture and in doing so find common ground and appreciate each other. Just recently while attending a trade show in Washington DC, Tammy and I met many friends from around the globe. Sissia of China and Lisa of United Kingdom shared these snapshots with us after the trip. My life has been more enriched each time I have traveled, and I can't live in fear or let the terrorists win.
A few quick tips when you travel:
- Work with a travel professional travel consultant, they have copies of your reservations and can do some ground work for you in making adjustments;
- Leave your Travel Itinerary with your family - it helps that they know at a glance where you are if phone coverage is weak.
- Purchase Travel Insurance - most will cover Terrorist Acts, Travel Delay and interruption; and depending on your travel policy purchased, it may cover you if the act occurs within 30 days. As well as emergency medical expenses and emergency evacuation. Be sure to carry the travel insurance card you are provided so you can get help promptly.
- Use social media to let others know you are safe and look for up to the minute information from your travel consultant.
- Enroll in STEP Program (The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) - it allows you to enroll your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy.
- Practice good judgment and safe practices when in foreign places as you would at home. Always ask the concierge at your hotel if there are any areas you should refrain from going for safety reasons.
In closing, I would like to extend our condolences to all of those affected in that county and around the world who have been affected by terrorist attacks. Our hearts and prayers go out to all who are touched by these senseless, tragic events.