Skift Take

Travelers have every right to be concerned about international travel these days but there are tools and alternative options to help reassure them that it's still a great time to take trips in safe and smart ways.

seedlingsWith last week’s terrorist attack in Brussels and the one in Paris four months ago many travelers are nervous about venturing beyond their own borders.

The U.S. Department of State issued a travel alert for the entire European continent in the wake of the attacks and a Skift survey from last week found nearly 20% of Americans with plans to go to Europe this summer had already cancelled travel plans. Travelers are justified in worrying about international travel in these scary times, but traveling has always had its risks. And in most scenarios terrorism is no reason to cancel travel plans as that only hurts a region economically and furthers the terrorists’ goals.

But there should be better options for travelers who aren’t risk takers or don’t want to deal with more security or other aftershocks of terrorism. Selling travel insurance, for example, has never been done effectively and is usually an afterthought for a lot of travelers. It’s usually something tacked on as an extra right before a traveler is about to convert. Travel insurance needs to be marketed better and the pros and cons should be presented more clearly. These startups seek to calm travelers’ fears during turbulent times and help them make smarter decisions about protecting their trip plans.

>> helps travelers compare different travel insurance plans in the U.S.

SkiftTake: Travelers aren’t always sure if the insurance plan they chose is the best one, if they even chose one at all. There needs to be an easier way for them to compare plans if they choose to go with one.

>>Freebird helps travelers book a new flight if another flight is cancelled or delayed. It provides travelers with instant notifications in the event of a flight disruption and offers the ability to rebook in fewer than 30 seconds with only three taps on their mobile devices.

SkiftTake: With the Brussels attacks, the city’s airport was the site of one of the attacks and flights were cancelled for a few days as a result. Tools like Freebird help travelers rebook flights without waiting in long lines or waiting to hear from airlines, alleviating some of the stress that comes from flight delays and cancellations.

>>Getaway lets travelers rent houses and cabins in the wood, and is currently only available in the Boston area but plans to expand to more markets this year.

SkiftTake: To be clear, we’re not saying travelers should avoid all major metro areas and give up on every planning a vacation to a city like Brussels or Paris ever again. That would only further the terrorists’ goals. Terrorism can happen anywhere. We do, however, realize that many travelers are scared of traveling abroad, and they have a right to be. Even though there’s no rationalization for avoiding travel to large cities, you can’t blame travelers for being fearful of European cities after what’s happened during the past six months.

What we’re suggesting is that there are alternatives for travelers who can’t get past their fears, such as camping destinations. While terrorism can happen anywhere, terrorists unfortunately want to target areas with large populations where they can do the most damage. Mountain and wooded areas close to metro areas give travelers another option that’s refreshing and probably less prone to the kind of violence that’s made headlines recently. Camping is a lot of fun, too.

>>Pablow helps travel brands sell travel insurance to consumers.

SkiftTake: Travel brands need to get better at explaining the benefits of travel insurance and presenting all options in a clearer way.

>>Locomote is a travel management and expense company that lets business travelers communicate with it in real-time. Locomote also recently partnered with Allianz to sell travel insurance to business travelers.

SkiftTake: Giving business travelers the option to have real-time conversations with their travel management companies and have proper insurance coverage keeps business travel going strong.

For all of our SkiftSeedlings coverage, check out our archives here.


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