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What Is Travel Assistance?

Looking for info on travel assistance? This post has answers for costs, services, and use cases.


Published on June 6th, 2023 in Travel Assistance

Travel assistance is a service consumers can buy that provides help individuals and families may need while traveling away from home. Often, the services are designed to assist people during and after medical emergencies and are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and 365 days per year.

Travel assistance is different from travel insurance in that the latter is designed to offer monetary compensation for unexpected losses while traveling. Travel insurance typically does not offer much support to resolve the issue while you’re actually on your trip.

In this post we’re going to provide in-depth answers to what travel assistance programs cover, how much it costs, how it functions, its services, and who should use it.

Let’s get started!

What does travel assistance cover?

Travel assistance programs can arrange medical evacuation, medical assistance, and repatriation … to name a few. Travel assistance is designed to help travelers who are in an emergency situation solve their problem and get home via a huge range of support services.

Every assistance program is different, but in general, here are some additional types of support you may be able to receive, depending on which program you choose (examples from EA+):

  • Arranging medical evacuation and/or repatriation
  • Help making flight arrangements
  • Real-time security intelligence
  • Emergency message relay
  • Emergency cash advance
  • Prescription replacement
  • Destination intelligence
  • Document replacement
  • Language interpretation
  • Help with lost luggage
  • Legal assistance
  • Medical referrals

This list is far from comprehensive, but hopefully you can get a sense of the services. If you’d like to see a specific travel assistance package and its associated costs, please check out our website or give us a call: 1-866-863-4460.

How does travel assistance work?

Travel assistance is simple:

  1. Enroll in a plan
  2. Access your services with a phone call when you need help
  3. The company takes it from there

The service delivery side contains a few more pertinent details, however.

Travel assistance companies can offer help no matter which part of the world you’re in—foreign or domestic. The global network of the Emergency Assistance Plus program, for example, has:

  • Access to 1,500 air ambulances
  • Response centers on six continents
  • 61 different medical provider partnerships
  • In-house medical teams of doctors and nurses
  • Multi-lingual teams managing more than 7,000 medical cases per year

This means that with a single phone call, you can activate local emergency services no matter where you are and obtain emergency medical care with ease, among many other services.

How much does travel assistance cost?

Travel assistance pricing varies based on the type of plan you choose and costs are commonly structured as an annual membership, although shorter membership terms may be available from some providers. For example, Emergency Assistance Plus offers plans starting at $209 a year, but if you are a member of one of their more than 100 partners, you can save $70 on an annual membership. Other providers will vary.

Here’s a handy pricing and coverage chart for a few popular programs:

1All providers include limits to the number of evacuations that will be provided for a single injury, illness or hospitalization – including EA+. Please review the plan materials carefully to ensure you fully understand all rules and regulations.

This comparison is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of 03/01/24.

What are the benefits of travel assistance?

Help when you need it

As we mentioned, travel insurance is great for helping you recoup costs once your trip is over, but it provides little help during your actual emergency or problem.

For instance, let’s say you needed to end your trip early due to a medical emergency and required a different flight home. With travel insurance, you would need to make all your own travel arrangements, pay for them upfront, then submit a claim to have them reimbursed when you got home.

With a travel assistance plan from EA+, assuming your medical emergency was qualified, we would make all of the travel arrangements on your behalf so you can focus on getting home. This means you also don’t have to make a payment out of pocket or submit a claim for reimbursement.

No medical or age discrimination and no trip limitations

With EA+, you don’t need to take any medical exams to purchase a plan and there are no age limits. Additionally, you can travel as often as you’d like and to any destination you choose, although countries with Level 4 travel advisories due to political unrest may have certain types of service limits.

Note: Not all travel assistance providers offer the same level of access without restrictions, so check the fine print carefully.

Reduces risk of massive financial impact

When an emergency happens abroad or on the road, the costs of solving the problem can be massive.

For example, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the median cost of using an air ambulance is between $36,000 – $40,000. Additionally, more than 550,000 Americans use air ambulance services each year.

And if you have a health emergency on a domestic RV trip and need somebody to transport your vehicle, long-distance towing rates can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. If you had travel assistance with EA+, however, all of these costs would be covered, including arranging to return your RV home.

Peace of mind

There’s nothing quite like the confidence of going into a trip knowing you can get help if you have an emergency, you’re covered financially, and you have access to a team of experts worldwide to make sure you and your family are safe and cared for.

Who should get travel assistance?

Travel assistance is perfect for frequent travelers, or for those who travel domestically in ways that they wouldn’t normally take out travel insurance (road trips, family vacations, snow birds, etc.) Considering how affordable EA+ is, everyone who takes at least one trip per year would benefit.

This is particularly important, however, for people with medical conditions and/or family members depending on them.

Here’s what one of our members had to say:

“I had planned to travel throughout South America, learning the language and the culture. While I was visiting the Galapagos I had a bicycle accident and broke my leg. The care there is very limited, so I needed to return to the US in order to have surgery.

EA+ put all my worries to rest. They worked directly with the clinic to ensure I was receiving the proper dosage of medication (good for me since my Spanish was rusty!). Once I was medically cleared to travel by the EA+ medical team, they even arranged for a flight home and a Nurse Escort to assist me on the flight. EA+ made everything so easy and I can’t thank you enough.”

Lorraine M, Colorado

Check out more real stories from EA+ members to see the benefits of travel assistance in action!

For more information on services and costs, please feel free to check out our website or call us at: 1-866-863-4460.

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Emergency Assistance Plus® (EA+®) is not insurance, it is a membership plan. This is only an outline of the plan’s features. Hospitalization (admitted as an inpatient) is a requirement to be eligible for some services. All services must be arranged and provided by EA+. Please read the EA+ Member Guide carefully to understand all the services available to you, as well as any rules and regulations. EA+ is only available to U.S. residents at this time and is not available to residents of New York. Washington state residents must be traveling more than 100 miles away from home to be eligible for EA+ services.