School’s out and the summer travel season is underway. No matter your destination or how you plan to get there, it is important to be prepared for the unexpected. From common scams to rental agreements, these tips will help give you peace of mind, so you can enjoy your vacation. If you have any questions, contact your LegalShield provider law firm. Your provider law firm information can be located on your LegalShield mobile app or through the “Ask Erin” feature on www.legalshield.com.
Planning Your Trip
Make sure you understand the terms and conditions associated with any agreements you sign. Most package tours, vacation leases, auto rentals and other agreements are completed online, and you may be tempted to click through the terms and conditions quickly. It is important to understand the terms surrounding cancellations, refunds, disputes and liability. Consider having your LegalShield provider law firm review your agreement before you sign.
Watch out for discount travel scams. Scammers will offer free trips or heavily discounted “deals” but will then require a small deposit via bank transfer. Rest assured, once you provide your account information both your money and the offer will disappear. If you receive a discount travel offer that seems too good to be true, it is likely a scam.
Packing for Your Trip
Make sure you are aware of the latest airport security regulations before you pack. The United States Transportation Security Agency and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority websites offer a great deal of information about what you can and cannot take with you when you fly.
Only pack what you need for your trip. Be sure to secure your important papers and valuables and avoid putting them in checked luggage. Leave a trusted friend or family member with a copy of your current will, power of attorney and insurance documents. If you do not have a current estate plan contact your LegalShield provider law firm today.
Contact your bank and credit card company to let them know you will be traveling and check on your credit limits. You should also check with your health insurance provider to understand coverage limitations outside of your network. If you consider purchasing travel insurance to protect you from unexpected cancellations or overseas emergencies, it is important to review the terms and exclusions carefully.
Protect Your Home
While you are away, safely store important financial documents like checkbooks or bank statements. A great deal of identity theft occurs because financial documents end up in the wrong hands. Turn off your home router while you’re away and make sure computers or other devices left behind are password protected and turned off.
Avoid discussing your travel plans on social media. It is surprisingly easy for thieves to track down your home address and knowing when you will be away makes their work easy. You should also consider asking the postal service to hold your mail while you are away. You may also notify local law enforcement that you will be away from home. Many police departments have programs that will have an officer drive by your home while you are away
While You’re Away
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash while traveling. Traveler’s checks and credit cards offer more protection in the event of theft. If you are exchanging money, use only authorized agents or banks. Keep photo copies of your passport and credit card information at home in the event you need the information for an emergency. Keep any valuables safely stored in a hotel safe.
Beware free public Wi-Fi when traveling. Avoid online banking or other sensitive activity when using unfamiliar networks. If you must use a public network or feel there is any chance your account has been compromised, contact your bank and change your password immediately.
If your plans involve traveling to another country, state or province, make sure you understand local laws. Traffic laws may vary greatly, especially outside of the U.S. and Canada. It is important to familiarize yourself with laws and customs of any other country where you may travel.
The vast majority of flights and bags arrive to their destination on time but if you do run into a problem, it helps to know your rights. Both U.S. and Canadian air travelers have some legal protections for common issues such as lost luggage, getting bumped from a flight or tarmac delays. If you have any legal questions, contact your LegalShield provider law firm. Your provider law firm information can be located on your LegalShield mobile app or through the “Ask Erin” feature on www.legalshield.com.
- Involuntary Bumping – If you are bumped from a flight due to overbooking and the airline is unable to reroute you to arrive at your destination within an hour of your originally scheduled time, you are entitled to compensation. If you are not rerouted to arrive within one to two hours of your intended arrival time, you are entitled to the value of your ticket up to $650. If your arrival time is not within 2 hours of your originally scheduled arrival time (4 hours for international flights) you are entitled to double the price of your ticket up to $1,300. If you are rerouted through a different airline, all expenses and additional charges must be covered by the airline. These rules only apply on overbooked flights and do not cover standard delays and cancellations.
- Tarmac Delays – Almost every frequent flyer has a horror story about sitting on the tarmac for hours. There are limits to how long you can be delayed on the tarmac for reasons other than, “safety, security and air traffic control.” Domestic flights are limited to no more than three hours, while international flights are limited to four hours. You are entitled to updates on your flight status every 30 minutes, bathrooms must be available, and food and water should be provided for any delay lasting more than two hours.
- Delayed or Cancelled Flights – Unlike involuntary bumping, there are no federal requirements for how airlines manage passengers on delayed or cancelled domestic flights. This means the airlines set their own policies. You may check the airline’s terms and conditions to learn more about their specific policies. International travelers may be covered for, “reimbursement under Article 19 of the Montreal Convention for expenses resulting from a delayed or cancelled flight.” You would file a claim directly with the airline for reimbursement. If your claim is denied, you may have additional legal options including small claims court. Contact your LegalShield provider firm to determine the best course of action for your matter.
- Extra Fees and Taxes – Airlines must “prominently disclose all potential fees on their websites” for meals, baggage, cancelling or modifying reservations. Ticket agents should also refer customers to the latest fee information including both fees and taxes.
- Lost or Damaged Bags – Lost luggage is another travel story that is all too familiar. If your bag is lost, the airline must refund any baggage fees. The airline is also required to compensate your for, “reasonable expenses for loss, damage or delay in the carriage of passenger baggage.” The airline is also required to compensate you for, “reasonable expenses for loss, damage or delay in the carriage of passenger baggage.” Also, there are set limits on an airline’s liability, so carefully consider the transportation of particularly valuable items. If the contents of your bag are damaged take photographs of the damage right away. If you need assistance negotiating compensation for lost or damaged luggage or contents, call your LegalShield provider law firm.
- Canadian Travelers – Canadian air traveler’s rights are subject to the airline’s tariff. The tariff, a contract with passengers, lays out both the passenger’s rights and responsibilities, which should be reasonable and fair and applied to all passengers in the same manner whenever possible. The tariff should be easily accessible on the airline’s website and in their offices. Tariffs do vary by airline, so it is important to review the information that pertains to your specific carrier. For more information, visit the Canadian Transportation Agency’s website.
- U.S. Department of Transportation – U.S. travelers can review the Department of Transportation’s, “A Consumer Guide to Air Travel” to learn more. If you have any legal questions contact your LegalShield provider law firm.
More than 45 years ago, we opened our doors to protect people and that is still what we do today for millions of individuals and tens of thousands of businesses across the United States and Canada. Here are just a few of the LegalShield and IDShield success stories that inspire us.
I am extremely pleased with the prompt service from my firm. I always feel that I am their most important client and my concerns are addressed clearly and professionally. There is a level of comfort that cannot be explained knowing I have a team of legal experts a phone call away. Illinois Member, Kenna M.
I was very happy with the way they conducted my case. I could not believe they could get my traffic ticket completely off my record and I even didn't have to pay anything on the ticket either. I was truly impressed and very pleased. Thank you so much, you guys are the best! Washington Member, Cindy F.
I am so glad that LegalShield came up as an online suggestion when searching for assistance in a Tenant-Landlord issue. Joining LegalShield has provided me with easy access to legal consultation and review; and for reasonable rate coverage for legal representation. Having this service really gives me peace of mind. California Member, Linda G.
We are inspired when we hear stories from our customers and associates! If you have a story where your LegalShield or IDShield membership helped you--whether it was a small matter or a large one--please share it with us. Click here to share your story.