What Tour Operators Should I Trust?



Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

By now, everyone has probably heard what happened to Thomas Cook, and how many clients got stranded in so many countries. That is scary, to say the least.

These are the things that travelers don’t think of everyday when they book travel online, or when they book themselves a vacation. Why should they?

Just last week I wrote about time and life not being refundable; I guess my timing was just perfectly on-time!

Would travel insurance be the answer in this case? Unfortunately, not really. In the case that a person buys travel insurance with the tour company, and that company goes bankrupt, everything is lost. And, basic travel insurance policies do not cover interruptions or cancellations for bankruptcy of tour companies. Travel insurance policies with Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage offer cancellation within 2 days, or 48 hours prior to the trip, but it needs to be purchased and upgraded within 21 days from when the trip is purchased for the full amount, and not exactly 100% will be refunded.

In this case, a better bet would be a strong credit card – one that offers coverage in the event a trip is canceled or delayed, or if an airline becomes insolvent. Some of these cards may also cover the cost of a booking a hotel room when a traveler is stranded. Please make sure you read the small print of the credit card agreement and ask questions before you sign up and use them for payment of your travel.

Now, what are the chances of reputable tour operator going out of business? It is not a big enough number that one should worry about it.

My advice: always feel protected, buy the trip with a credit card that gives you enough points AND protects your trip, but also purchase the travel insurance policy that makes you comfortable. Some prefer to buy through the tour company with the price included in the tour package (always cheaper), many buy through an independent travel insurance company, and some people with any history of any illness prefer the insurance with coverage for pre-existing medical history.

Life happens, and it makes us think about better ways to protect our happy dreams coming true.

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