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Hottest Domestic and International 2014 Summer Destinations

by Lux Joseph 9. August 2014

The summer is coming to an end, but there is still time to enjoy some of the hottest travel destinations of 2014. Orlando and Las Vegas are the top two most popular summer destinations according to the 2014 Hot Spots for Summer survey. Orlando came out on top with a 17 percent share of responses and Las Vegas maintained the second spot with 14 percent.

“Orlando and Las Vegas remain on top as affordable, family-friendly and fun destinations," said Zane Kerby, ASTA President and CEO. "They are also the type of destinations where a travel agent can enhance your trip from helping navigate Orlando’s theme parks, to making sure you pick the right Vegas hotel that matches your unique needs."

Following Orlando and Las Vegas, the other top ten domestic cities are Miami (4 percent), San Francisco (4 percent), Los Angeles (3 percent), New York City (2 percent), San Diego (2 percent), Honolulu (2 percent), Washington DC (2 percent) and New Orleans (2 percent).  New Orleans is new to the list, moving Seattle out of the top ten.

While remaining at the top, Orlando and Las Vegas have been slowly decreasing in response share for several years, as have most of the other top ten destinations. Ten years ago the top ten destinations represented 75% of the responses, and today it represents 51 percent. This year, over 100 different domestic destinations received at least one vote as a hot summer destination, reflecting the consumer trend for more unique vacation experiences.

When asked about 2014 state destinations, Florida again topped the list for the 2014 summer season with a 23 percent response rate. Rounding out the top five state destinations for summer travel are Nevada (13 percent), California (12 percent), New York (11 percent) and Hawaii (11 percent). As with the cities, the percentage share of responses is down for the top states, except for Hawaii which had modest growth in response share.

Do you have more than a few days free this summer? Are you looking to travel abroad? London and Rome as the two most popular summer destinations according to the annual Hot Spots for Summer survey. London received a 9 percent share of votes followed by Rome with an 8 percent share.

 Over 150 cities made the hot list, with the top ten cities accounting for 37 percent of the responses. Beyond the typical tourist cities, travel agents say they are also planning many trips to many unique destinations like Yerevan, Armenia and Johannesburg, South Africa for this summer with both cited by agents as hot locations.

In addition to London and Rome, Paris (8 percent), Cancun (5 percent), Punta Cana (3 percent), Barcelona (1 percent), Riviera Maya (1 percent), Amsterdam (1 percent), Madrid (1 percent), and Montego Bay (1 percent) round out the top ten international cities. Amsterdam and Madrid are new to the top ten pushing out Venice and Athens.

For countries/regions, Italy remains at the top with an 18 percent share of the votes. Mexico (11 percent) moves up to second place after two years in third and fourth place. The other countries/regions in the top five include France (11percent), United Kingdom (11 percent) and the Caribbean (8 percent). The same five countries/regions have remained in the top five for over eight years and represent 61% of the votes.

Commercial Medical Escorts utilizes a travel agent to make all their travel arrangements. We believe this adds cost savings to our clients, the most up to date travel information, and an educated individual in the area of medical escorts. We encourage travelers who would like to experience these hot spots to find a helpful travel agent who specializes in the destinations that they dream of visiting.

Stay Calm, Cool, and Collected for Summer Travel

by Lux Joseph 6. July 2014

Recent headlines are full of reports predicting that this summer will be a record-breaker when it comes to airline passengers being bumped from their flights. For many, the prospect of being bumped is frustrating at best, and for those who are unaware of their rights, the results can be maddening, not to mention costly. For Commercial Medical Escorts, this could affect a medical repatriation significantly and is something our travel department watches very closely. Add to that ever-changing security rules and new passport requirements and summer travel can seem daunting. With this in mind, Commercial Medical Escorts has prepared a list of tips to help summer travelers stay calm, cool and collected.

Airline Bumping: What You Need to Know 

To avoid being bumped:

  • Get an advance seat assignment. Passengers with seat assignments are typically only bumped if they arrive late and their seat assignment is released.
  • Check-in online. If you do not have an advance seat assignment, or you want to change your seat assignment, check-in online. Most airlines allow you to do so within 24 hours of departure. Seat assignments that were not available at the time of ticketing may be available when checking in online.
  • Don't be late. If all else fails, get to the airport early. Some airlines reserve a portion of their seat assignment inventory for airport check-in. If you are denied a seat assignment at check-in, put your name on the "standby" seat assignment list. CME advises our medical escorts to arrive to the airport 3 hours in advance for international flights and 2 hours in advance for domestic flights.

If you are bumped or wish to take advantage of airline's request that you give up your seat:

  • Know the lingo. Voluntary bumping occurs when a passenger with a confirmed seat assignment agrees to give up his seat for negotiated compensation. It is not regulated by the DOT. Involuntary bumping occurs when an airline forcibly bumps a paid passenger from a flight because it has been oversold. The DOT regulates compensation for involuntary bumping.
  • Know what questions to ask. If you volunteer to give up your seat in response to an airline offer of a free ticket, it is important passengers ask about restrictions. Ask about expiration and blackout dates, such as holidays.
  • Know your rights. If you are involuntarily denied boarding, and substitute transportation is scheduled to arrive at your destination between one and two hours after your original arrival time (between one and four hours on international flights), the airline must pay you an amount equal to your one-way fare to your final destination, with a $200 maximum. If the substitute transportation is scheduled to get you to your destination more than two hours later (four hours internationally), or if the airline does not make any substitute travel arrangements for you, the compensation doubles (twice the cost of your fare, $400 maximum).

Navigating Security 

  • Remember 3-1-1. New regulations limit the amount of liquids passengers can take through security in their carry-on luggage to travel-size toiletries of three (3) ounces or less that fit comfortably in one (1) quart-size, clear plastic zip-top bag and the one (1) bag per passenger must be placed in the screening bin. Items purchased after clearing security may be brought on-board. (Visit TravelSense.org to learn about restrictions in Canada, the U.K. and the European Union.)
  • Know your limits. Pack light and know baggage limits. Most airlines now charge for a first piece of checked luggage. Southwest Airlines and JetBlue are one of the few carriers that still do not charge for that first piece of checked luggage.

Traveling Internationally? 

  • Better get a passport. Effective Jan. 1, 2007, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requires a passport or other accepted document for all air travel from within the Western Hemisphere for citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda. U.S. citizens returning directly from a U.S. territory (Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) do not need to present a passport.
  • Plan (way) ahead. The U.S. State Department's Passport Services unit is experiencing a major backlog in processing applications. Rather than taking four to six weeks, routine applications or renewals are now taking 12 weeks. Even expedited service takes about three to four weeks. And, because the service uses a centralized system, travelers cannot get their documents faster by submitting applications directly to a regional processing facility.

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