Zika, global instability causing Canadians to rethink travel plans, buy more insurance

Zika, global instability causing Canadians to rethink travel plans, buy more insurance

Health concerns and global instability are causing Canadians to rethink their travel plans, according to a new survey.

According to the survey released by the Travel Health Insurance Association (THIA), 13% or respondents had altered their travel plans due to civil unrest or violence and 14% had changed plans due to Zika concerns. The survey also noted these reasons are also leading Canadians to buy more travel health insurance.

According to a Conference Board of Canada study, 78% of Canadians bought travel health insurance in 2015, up from 74% in 2014.

Alex Bittner, the former president of the Travel Health Insurance Association said in an email to Postmedia Network that despite the hike, misconceptions still exist when it comes to health insurance coverage.

“A common misconception is that our government will contribute a lot for us if we have an emergency outside of the country,” said Bittner. “This is wrong; our provincial healthcare plans contribute only roughly 6% of the bill. Another misconception is that travel insurance does not cover pre-existing medical conditions. This is also wrong. As long as the traveller is stable (as per policy definitions) then they will be covered even if they have an emergency for an illness that existed before they travelled.”

The survey also highlighted concerns for pregnant travellers. It’s interesting to point out that 90% of respondents to the survey didn’t know that travelling in the last nine-weeks of pregnancy does not cover the person insured and that a pre-term infant is also not covered, only the mother would be, according to THIA.

THIA president Will McAleer says “everyone deserves a carefree vacation” which is why the study’s findings are especially significant in today’s changing global climate.

“Canadians need to know their policies, know their health and know their trip before departing,” said McAleer. “An increase in cancelled trips highlights the importance of understanding one’s policy.”

The THIA has tips and recommendations about travel health insurance and concerns on its website, at thiaonline.com.

Get Your Boarding Pass Ready: Canadian Travel Trends For The Holidays

With the holidays just around the corner, tis’ the season for travel planning and vacation booking. To understand when, where and how Canadians will be handling the cold, today KAYAK shared a temperature check on top travel destinations and holiday habits for winter 2016/17.

As the world’s leading travel search engine, KAYAK has curated and analyzed Canadian holiday searches that foreshadow national travel trends for the festive season:

  • Canadians are living for more than just the weekend. 1
    • In fact, Canadians are taking an average of 10 vacation days –three days longer than fellow US and UK travelers.
    • A similar pattern to 2015/16, KAYAK anticipates Canadians will be taking this time between December 1, 2016 and January 9, 2017.
  • Bon voyage – International holiday destinations are on Canadians’ radar more than ever before.2
    • With a 50 per cent year-over-year growth in international versus domestic destination interest, Canadians are taking their travels further this winter.
    • Despite Fort Lauderdale taking an early lead as the most popular holiday destination, Canadians have less interest in keeping close to home with a yearly decrease in the number of US and Canadian cities found on Canada’s top winter destination list.
      • Compared to last year at this time, interest in US travel is down by 30 per cent while destinations like London are gaining significant momentum.
  • Canadians say no to coats this holiday! Sun-filled destinations are calling to Canucks like never before.2
    • Canadians are looking to catch more rays with new locations like Cancun and Honolulu making the list of top winter destinations in this holiday travel forecast; while cities like Las Vegas and New York are trailing in traveler traction.

“Last year, Canada proved to be a procrastination nation as KAYAK’s data revealed Canadians were a few weeks behind travelers in the US, France, Denmark and the UK,” said Debby Soo, KAYAK Travel Expert. “We always recommend planning in advance as starting earlier could save Canadians some extra cash – and headaches. Using tools like Price Alert can also help travelers stay within budget this season.”

To further paint predictions for this year’s holiday travel, KAYAK has unveiled city-specific insights into some of Canada’s major hubs2:

  • ALOHA VANCOUVER
    • Over the past three winters, Honolulu has taken the top of Vancouver’s holiday travel list, and is on its way to a four-year sweep, ahead of choice destinations like Hong Kong and Dubai.
  • EDMONTON HEADS TO ‘THE SIX’
    • While Hawaii once topped Edmonton’s holiday destination list, this year Toronto is leading the charge ahead of warm-weather cities like Cancun, LA and Orlando.
  • WINNIPEG LIKES ITS HOT
    • Winnipeg residents are seeking a break from their notoriously cold climate, with hot locations filling each spot on their top travel destination list so far including Fort Lauderdale, Honolulu and LA.
  • CALGARY LEAVES THE COUNTRY
    • Without one Canadian location found on their top destination list yet, Calgarians are seeking international adventure withHawaii as their choice destination for the fourth consecutive year, and with Tokyo finding its way back to its top 10 list.
  • OTTAWA HEADS SOUTH
    • So far it seems Ottawa residents are heading to the Sunshine Coast, with Fort Lauderdale (four years running!), Orlando, Tampaand Miami as their top winter travel destinations.
  • TORONTO SEEKS NEW SCENERY
    • With New Delhi and London (for the third year) topping their most popular destination list so far, Torontonians are seeking far-flung locations, including Hong Kong, Costa Rica and Paris.
  • MONTREAL LONGS FOR LOVE
    • Consistency is key for the belle province! Over the past four years, Paris has been the top choice for Montreal winter (l’hiver) travelers, with Fort Lauderdale consistently coming in at number two, followed by Costa Rica and Honolulu.

In addition to discovering best flights, hotels, rental cars and vacation packages on KAYAK.com, Canadian travelers can turn to Price Alerts that signal cost drops and KAYAK Explore that helps plan on a budget. For more tips on where, when and how to best travel this winter, visit KAYAK.com.

ABOUT KAYAK
KAYAK is the world’s leading travel search engine. The company’s websites and mobile apps allow people to easily search hundreds of travel sites at once for flights, hotels, rental cars and vacation packages. KAYAK processes 1.5 billion annual searches for travel information and operates more than 40 international sites in 20 languages. KAYAK is an independently managed subsidiary of The Priceline Group.

1 Methodology: Search dates are from June 1, 2013August 28, 2016 YTD for each corresponding year. All Travel dates: December 1, 2013  – January 9, 2016 for each corresponding year.
2 Methodology: Search dates are March 1, 2016September 1, 2016 with travel dates December 1, 2016January 9, 2017.

SOURCE KAYAK

Airlines cancel hundreds of flights as hurricane hits US

Airlines cancel hundreds of flights as hurricane hits US

Airlines cancelled hundreds of flights for Thursday and again Friday as Hurricane Matthew pelted the Florida coast with high winds and heavy rain.

The Fort Lauderdale airport shut down on Thursday morning, and further north the Orlando airport expected to do the same by nighttime.

Before 2 p.m. Eastern time, flight-tracking service FlightAware.com reported that 1,500 Thursday flights within the U.S. had been scrapped, with the largest numbers at Fort Lauderdale and Miami. American Airlines, which has a major hub in Miami, was the hardest-hit carrier, followed by Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways.

FlightAware said airlines had already cancelled 1,300 more flights scheduled for Friday. Delta Air Lines said cancellations were likely to spread to coastal Georgia and South Carolina on Saturday.

Airlines often cancel flights before storms hit to prevent passengers from being stranded at airports and to keep their planes in position to recover after the bad weather passes.

Many airlines were letting passengers alter their plans and delay travel for a few days without incurring the usual fee for changing a ticket, which can be $200 for domestic flights. Some, including United Airlines, JetBlue and Spirit Airlines, also said they would waive the fare difference for the new ticket.

At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Thursday, the last flight out was a Southwest jet to Baltimore, which just beat the 10:30 a.m. curtain.

Orlando International Airport officials tweeted that they expected the airport to close to commercial traffic by 8 p.m. and not reopen until Saturday. As the storm closed in, workers tied down jet bridges, lowered cranes in a construction area, and put away vehicles and other equipment.

While airport closings and flight cancellations made it hard to reach Florida, coastal residents from Florida to South Carolina headed north and inland to escape the Hotels in Charlotte, North Carolina, reported brisk business.

Amtrak suspended passenger rail service through Friday between Miami and New York and the auto train between Lorton, Virginia, and Sanford, Florida. A line that normally runs from New York to Savannah, Georgia, only went as far south as Washington.

Earlier in the week, several airports in the Caribbean closed, forcing airlines to cancel flights there.

Cruise lines rerouted ships this week to avoid the storm, which in some cases will mean more days at sea or skipping some Caribbean ports.

 

Travellers in US change plans ahead of Hurricane Matthew

NEW YORK _ Travellers along the East Coast are preparing for delays and cancellations as Hurricane Matthew heads toward the U.S.

Airlines are preparing to suspend flights from Florida up through Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, depending on where the hurricane strikes. Cruise lines are shuffling ship itineraries and many frantic vacationers are looking at insurance policies to see if they are covered.

Most airlines are letting fliers change to a later flight without penalty. In some cases, the passenger would have to cover a difference in fare.

As for hotels, most rooms can be cancelled without penalty up to 24 hours in advance. Car rentals typically don’t have any cancellation penalties

Cruise lines aren’t cancelling sailings but are re-routing many ships to avoid the storm.

canada-press

Why trip cancellation insurance may not cover you

Why trip cancellation insurance may not cover you

Excerpted article was written By  | Global News

A good number of Canadian consumers who buy trip cancellation insurance may be in for a nasty surprise when they try to make a claim.

“You’re basically gambling with a slot machine that in many instances has been engineered to never pay out,” Vancouver-based lawyer Scott Stanley from Murphy Battista said.

Stanley acts for victims and their families with claims against insurance companies.
“Most people will find themselves without coverage because they have innocently bought insurance not knowing that they will never have coverage because of their pre-existing health conditions or those of their family,” he said. They just simply don’t make the association.”

That was the case for Tracey Plevy. In August 2015, Plevy and her husband booked a $10,000 cruise to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. She made sure to buy travel cancellation insurance for an additional $350. The day after purchasing that insurance, Plevy says her mom went to hospital for a swollen leg. Plevy’s mom was diagnosed with cancer, but it was unclear just how serious the cancer was since more testing had to be done.

Plevy decided to go on the cruise, but five days into the trip, the Chilliwack resident received devastating news.

“My mother had a rapid form of lung cancer,” she said.

Plevy cut her cruise short and rushed home. When she submitted a trip interruption claim for over $7,000, it was denied. She appealed, but was denied a second time. Plevy says her mother’s medical records were reviewed between May 30 to August 29, 2015 and the swollen leg was seen as a pre-existing condition.

The insurance company, Travel Guard Canada, stated:

“The policy purchased excludes conditions that do not meet the policy definition of stable and controlled. Unfortunately, as this condition was present with symptoms prompting further testing/treatment prior to the risk date of August 29, 2015 we remain unable to extend coverage for your loss.”

Plevy disagrees.

“How are you to know that someone that has a swollen leg that they’re going to have cancer or going to have a terminal illness and they’re going to die?”

So what can consumers do?

“I can give all the advice in the world, but it makes no difference until the insurance industry reforms itself and by that they need to make sure that people have a better understanding of what they’re buying and what it actually covers,” Stanley said.

Plevy’s mother passed away this past August. Plevy may appeal again, but isn’t sure if it’s worth her time.

Hot summer days are coming to an end. Autumn in Canada – Things to Do and See!

Hot summer days are coming to an end, but this doesn’t mean the end of the outdoor fun! September marks the start of the autumn season in Canada, and with it brings breathtaking foliage, fun outdoor activities, and the preparation for the upcoming autumnal holidays: Thanksgiving and Halloween!

Colours of the Fall

One of the most beautiful aspects of a Canadian autumn (or “Fall” as many Canadians refer to it) is the changing colours of the trees. Bright yellows, fiery reds, and brilliant oranges create a kaleidoscope colour pallet across the Canadian landscape.  This sparks a peak in hiking season, allowing trekkers to walk amidst the scenic view; and just a few of the best places to experience the colours are:

  • The Rocky Mountains – Alberta, (Banff National Park & Jasper National Park)
  • Algonquin Provincial Park – Ontario
  • The Laurentian Mountains – Quebec
  • The Cabot Trail – Nova Scotia
  • Fundy Coastal Drive – New Brunswick

These are just a small sample of the many places in Canada that you can indulge in the spectacular colours of the seasonal changes.

Autumn Activities 

While Mother Nature’s impressive display of colour is enough to capture even the least of enthusiastic outdoor people, there are plenty of other activities that become more popular during the autumn months in Canada. The cooler temperatures make many activities more enjoyable to participate, some of which are:

  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Apple picking
  • Biking/Cycling
  • And many more!

 

Thanksgiving in Canada falls in October as well, and this brings many fall activities including decorating homes and dinner tables with fallen pinecones and colourful leaves, big traditional dinners, and a fun weekend spent with family and friends.

Halloween at the end of October is an exciting time for kids and adults! Visiting orchards for apple picking and pumpkins, decorating outdoors with hay bales and spooky scenes, and costume shopping for trick-or-treating! A very fun occasion for the entire family!

Regardless of the time of year you choose to visit Canada, every season offers lasting memories for years to come for the entire family!

 References

http://gocanada.about.com/od/canadatravelplanner/tp/fallfoliage.htm

http://travelsquire.com/autumn-in-canada/

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