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Two questions about whether I have been a sucker.

Two questions about whether I have been a sucker.

May 1st, 2000, 06:21 PM
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Two questions about whether I have been a sucker.

My first trips to Europe were in the mid-80s, and something about them has always bothered me. When I checked into low-priced hotels in Spain and Italy, I was asked to show my passport. On a couple of occasions, the proprietor said he/she would have to keep it, sometimes for the duration of my stay, sometimes for a few hours. I always got it back. Was this practice common or mandatory in the mid-80s, or was I just dumb to surrender my passport at hotels?

Second, I would like opinions on whether travel insurance is a rip-off. I have heard travel agents make a bundle on it. Do the insurers really pay up, or do they hassel you if you have a claim? If you don't have the insurance, will a package tour reschedule your trip if you have a problem or if the trip is interrupted? Does everyone buy the insurance, or does everyone but me know better?

May 1st, 2000, 06:57 PM
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I can't say for Spain, but Italy hotels are legally obligated to provide the Questura (Police)with the name and passport numbers of every guest on a daily basis. Sometimes the proprietor will jot the number down immediately, but usually they will keep the passpost until they have a moment to fill in the forms. Occasionally I've not gotten it back until I check out. In a couple rare instances, I've even been asked to fill in the Questura paperwork myself.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I have never bought travel insurance. It's really about peace of mind. I have health insurance, fire insurance, car insurance and life insurance. I feel that these are worth it. I don't feel cheated if I don't use my auto insurance because I managed to get through another year without smashing my car. On the otherhand, I never buy extended warranties, which tend to be overpriced for the potential savings involved.

Which brings us back to peace of mind. I've read stories about many potential disasters that were avoided with travel insurance. If you buy, make sure you know if you are buying trip cancellation insurance or insurance for health problems or accidents. Sometimes they are packaged together, sometimes not. Read the fine print to see what is excluded. If you feel better knowing you are covered, then it is worth it.
May 2nd, 2000, 12:11 AM
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Have you never seen "Day Of The Jackal?"
- the checking of passports at hotels is a crucial part of the plot!The speed with which your passport is returned to you is a measure of the clerical efficiency & customer care standard of the hotel - in can vary from minutes to days - the best places just scan/photocopy it & fill the forms in later.(normally hours to overnight)
Travel insurance is like all insurance,compare prices, also check what you are already covered for by your existing policies - your home policy may cover you for some portable goods, eg bicycles.Ask your regular company for a quote.It is worth making sure you are covered against accidents, but this could be covered by your present health insurance.
May 2nd, 2000, 11:56 AM
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All you have to do is xerox your passport pages -- the ones with your picture and personal information--and give them a copy if they ask for it
I usually make about four copies before a trip
May 3rd, 2000, 02:15 PM
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Holding onto passports is a standard practice in hotels, as far as I can understand it. While the suggestion to give the hotel a xeroxed copy of the hotel is a very good one, I've never had a problem with this.
Regarding travel insurance-- it depends upon how much you want the security of knowing that your investment in your trip will be secured. I never used to get insurance, but 2 summers ago I got it for the first time. I had rented a place for a week in Tuscany, and that money was non-refundable. As it turned out, my husband got sick before the week occurred and we had to return early. I had been able to cancel all hotels without penalty and change my airline tickets, but thanks to the investment in the travel insurance, I did get my money back.
May 3rd, 2000, 05:32 PM
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In Skopje, Macedonia the hotel weanted to keep our passport for our whole stay ... it was there way of making sure we paid our bill! I wasn't entracned with my passport being stuck in a mail slot visible and accesible so I "sicced" my Macedonian "daughter" on the front desk and got our passports back. I'll be interestedf to see what the procedure is when we return with our students this summer.
May 3rd, 2000, 05:35 PM
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Holding passports is not common in Europe. We go to Europe once or twice a year and move around. They ask for the number in some places, but I never give them my passport to hold. I cannot remember if anyone actually asked to keep it. I usually have a reduced copy of the info page laminated and in my wallet. It has worked well for hotel info and bank exchanges. Multiple copies is a good idea as it makes it easier to replace if lost or stolen.

Travel insurance: I have never purchased it and do not know whether it is good or not.

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