Sign up to receive this and other news in your inbox each month.
Miss an edition of Trawick International Travel News? Read back issues.
U.S. State Department issues a worldwide caution
The recent issuance of a "worldwide caution" by the U.S. State Department serves as a stark reminder of the dynamic nature of international travel. Tensions stemming from the Israel-Hamas conflict have reverberated across the world, prompting the State Department's advisory to American travelers. The caution encourages travelers to stay vigilant and well-informed about their surroundings, especially in regions frequented by tourists. Understanding the various levels of travel advisories is crucial in assessing potential risks, from Level 4 (Do Not Travel) countries with high life-threatening risks like Lebanon, to Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) destinations such as Israel, which pose safety and security concerns.
If you have a trip planned for which you purchased a Trawick International travel insurance policy and you need to change the dates on the policy, you can easily do so as long as you have not incurred any losses. If you request a date change and the listed policy dates are in the future, all you need to do is contact customer service to verbally confirm no losses and we can change the dates. If you need to request a date change and the listed depart date has already passed, then you will need to email proof of non-travel and no penalty to email@example.com. Please contact our 24/7 customer care team for additional information and help.
Please check our position statements regarding events in Israel for more information on the latest statements from our carrier partners. These statements are subject to change as new developments occur. We encourage you to visit this page frequently for the most up-to-date information and refer to your individual policy for details regarding coverage.
Holiday Travel Outlook
As the 2023 holiday season approaches in the United States, travelers are eagerly preparing for exciting adventures while being mindful of their budgets. A survey by Hopper has revealed that, with millions of Americans expected to travel for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, many are concerned about the cost of their holiday plans. However, there's good news for holiday travelers, as domestic airfare for Thanksgiving and Christmas has seen a decrease from the previous year, providing potential savings. To make the most of these deals, it's essential to book early, remain flexible with travel dates, and diligently monitor prices. Additionally, it's crucial to prepare for potential travel disruptions, such as those caused by weather or technology failures.
In this ever-evolving travel landscape, several exciting trends are expected to dominate the 2023 holiday season. Sustainable travel is a key focus, with conscious travelers choosing eco-friendly options that prioritize sustainability. Wellness tourism is on the rise, emphasizing mental and physical well-being during travel. Remote work getaways blur the lines between work and leisure. Culinary adventures offer authentic food experiences, while adventure travel continues to attract thrill-seekers with activities like hiking and scuba diving. To read more about these trends, don't miss out on our latest blog entry!
Travel Junk Fees
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has proposed new rules to combat deceptive fees charged by businesses, including those in the travel industry. These rules would require companies to upfrontly disclose the full cost of their services and whether fees are refundable. Failure to comply could result in fines and mandatory refunds to consumers. Americans spend around $65 billion annually on these hidden fees. The proposal aims to enhance transparency and fairness in the market.
The next steps involve a 60-day public comment period, potential rule adjustments, and a final FTC vote. The White House had expressed concerns over these fees, with a focus on airlines and hotels. Senators have introduced bills to mandate upfront price disclosure. The travel industry, including hotel and airline executives, has addressed these concerns, with different approaches to fee transparency.
For more information about the proposal, please visit the FTC website to stay up to date!
European Visa postponed once again
The European Union has announced a further delay in the launch of the ETIAS travel system for non-EU visitors, pushing it to spring 2025. The delay is attributed to ongoing issues with the related Entry-Exit System (EES), which must be operational before ETIAS can be implemented. The new timeline endorsed by the European Council sets EES to be ready for operation in autumn 2024, with ETIAS to follow in spring 2025. Originally, ETIAS was scheduled to become operational in 2021 but had already been postponed to 2024.
Once the ETIAS system is finally introduced, it will have a significant impact on visitors from outside the EU who currently have visa-waiver status. This includes travelers from countries like the UK and the US, who will be required to apply for an ETIAS authorization before visiting any of the 30 European countries participating in the program. The application process is expected to involve a €7 fee paid through an official website or mobile app, and each ETIAS authorization will be valid for three years or until the traveler's travel document expires. While these delays are undoubtedly frustrating for both authorities and travelers, the ultimate goal is to enhance security and streamline travel processes, which should provide long-term benefits once the systems are fully operational.
Visit the ETIAS official website to learn more.
Maui Reopening Date
The tourism sector in West Maui is poised for a significant shift as Mayor Richard Bissen has expedited the reopening of this popular coastal destination. Originally planned in three phases, the Mayor has announced that the entire West Maui coast will be open to tourists starting November 1st. This decision comes in the wake of a successful phase one, which started on October 8th, and the primary focus is on revitalizing the local tourism industry and providing a much-needed boost to the economy. Positive interactions between visitors and the local community have been cited as a driving force behind this accelerated reopening, bringing a glimmer of hope to the tourism sector.
The decision to accelerate the reopening is noteworthy, given concerns expressed by both residents and political figures who had called for a delay in West Maui's reopening. Their concerns included the need for additional time to secure permanent housing for residents displaced due to various challenges, such as the impact on childcare and schooling.
For the local tourism industry, this announcement provides much-needed clarity and a definitive reopening date for all the remaining unopened West Maui hotels, many of which had been grappling with uncertainty. However, despite this clarity, the industry continues to face challenges, particularly in terms of low hotel bookings across Maui. The path to recovery remains uncertain, and the industry is actively seeking ways to regain its footing in the wake of the various challenges posed by the pandemic and other external factors.
If you are planning to travel to Maui in the near future, visit gohawaii.com for the most up-to-date information.