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How to Find China Tour Operators

August 18th, 2012 7:56 am

When traveling to a country like China, it is wise to consult a tour operator to make sure that you are getting the most for your money, and to discover the activities that most closely match your interests. The tour operator will help book all accommodations and recommend popular structured escorted group tours with group leaders. The tour operator will handle everything from airfare to hotels, meals, tours, admission costs, and local transportation.

In China, you may choose the option of an unescorted package. While this may seem convenient, you usually end up paying. This package is purchased when you arrive in China. Therefore, any foreign tour operators you may purchase your package from are required to use Chinese state-registered travel agencies to act as local handlers. They usually quote very high rates, which become even higher when the tour operator adds the middleman fee. This is because Chinese travel agencies are controlled by CITS, (China International Travel Service) which keeps prices high.

You can check with the China National Tourism Office for a list of registered Chinese agencies that can give you information on packages tours that includes choices of airlines, hotels and other hidden expenses. Try to avoid booking with a private Chinese tour agency or guide online because many are not licensed.

Travel Insurance for Family Holidays

June 28th, 2012 10:55 am

The economy may be tough and holiday budgets stretched more than ever before but families still need, and will take, their holidays. Getting away as a family is very important for maintaining the family bond. However, the organisation of a family holiday can be daunting. There is so much to do and think about before you leave home – and family holiday insurance is just one of them.

A checklist is vital so that you don’t forget anything important. Holiday checklist examples are available online and you can tailor them to suit your family’s needs. Keep a copy on your home computer, if possible, so that you can edit it as the family’s needs change. Print out copies for all family members and ask them to add anything they think is important to them. (Be prepared for suggestions to include a tattered teddy bear or computer game; better to have all this on board – and contented kids – rather than deal with the alternative… )

One aspect of a family holiday that is easy to solve and tick off that ‘to do’ list is family travel insurance. It is best to take care of this as soon as you book your holiday so that coverage begins immediately, in case of any unexpected events that may cause cancellation of your trip.

Families can save money on family holiday insurance because kids are very often included free of charge. Let’s face it, you don’t get much for free these days – and there is no trick involved. This is something offered free that is actually worth having! (Remember to check the policy terms and conditions).

If you think you might take two of more holidays in a year it is wise to save money by choosing an Annual Multi-trip policy for your family holiday. This is a no-brainer if you consider how much it would cost for multiple trips or holidays if you were to take out a single-trip policy for each family member each time you travel.

Before purchasing holiday insurance always check carefully to ensure that it provides adequate cover for the needs of your family, as well as all your planned activities. Medical cover is the most important concern for most families. No one wants to think about possible accidents, sickness, or health emergencies when going on holiday. However, imagine how you would feel if the worst should happen and you are faced with an astronomical hospital bill. Remember to check that your insurance policy includes air ambulance and medical repatriation to your homeland – as this can be extremely expensive.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know you have an emergency number to call 24/7 when you are far away from home, perhaps in a country where you do not speak the language? A friendly voice at the end of the phone would be welcome to help with medical emergencies, and other problems such as replacing stolen or lost travel documents or credit cards, tracing lost luggage, or handling arrangements in the event of a delay in your travel schedule.

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