Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

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Consumer travel: Three summer story angles

June 15, 2017

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Now that the summer travel season is in full swing, business reporters across the country have likely retread topics such as how the local tourism bureau plans to attract visitors as well as regulatory issues around Airbnbs and hotel taxes. But there are additional fresh consumer travel angles ripe for localizing. Here’s a look at three options.

Travel hacking

With credit card issuers offering lucrative sign-up bonuses to new customers, a whole community of travel hackers and travel hacking bloggers has sprung up to share tips on what credit cards to use for what purchases and how best to redeem their points or miles. The Points Guy publishes 10-20 blog posts per day on this topic, and there are countless smaller bloggers and Facebook groups of travel hackers comparing notes. Who’s active in travel hacking near you? How do credit experts feel about credit card churning (opening a credit card to get the signup bonus and then closing it)? What “gotchas” should readers consider? Will consumers who open a credit card now be able to use their points for a summer trip or will they have to wait until fall?

Car rental insurance

Most consumers who fly to their vacation destination rent a car, and confusion over pricey insurance coverage runs rampant. What should readers know about car rental coverage? When might their credit card provide primary or secondary coverage on a rental car? How can they be sure they’re declining coverage if they don’t want it? What steps should they take if they need to file a claim? United Policyholders and the Insurance Information Institute may have resources and spokespeople available on these questions. Also consider tapping local insurance experts for insights.

Changes in airport security

Between Trump’s travel ban, the electronics ban on flights originating in North Africa and the Middle East and the rumors of a broader electronics ban, even frequent fliers have a hard time keeping up with changes in airport security. Meanwhile, TSA is piloting stricter screenings for carry-on bags at ten U.S. airports. Is your local airport part of the pilot program? How are new security measures impacting business or leisure travelers in your area? Are locals more interested in alternate modes of transport or expedited screening programs like TSA PreCheck and Global Entry? What should consumers know before applying to these programs? Local travel agents or travel bloggers may be able to answer these and other questions.

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