SOURCE: Western Union

July 14, 2008 08:00 ET

Even the Best Laid Vacation Plans Sometimes Go Awry

Western Union Survey Reveals Missing Piece in Vacation Planning Puzzle

ENGLEWOOD, CO--(Marketwire - July 14, 2008) - As the Summer Travel Season officially kicked off last week, people across the country are putting the finishing touches on summer vacation plans and preparations. However, one critical factor often gets left out of the planning process -- having a contingency plan in case your wallet gets lost, or even stolen, while away from home. Half the respondents in a recent survey conducted by Western Union/Synovate indicated the single thing most likely to ruin their travel experience would be the loss or theft of their wallet and its contents. And yet, a whopping 70% of those same survey respondents have given little or no thought to what they would do if this unfortunate turn of events came to pass.

The Economy May Be Down, But Not All Travel Plans Are Out. . .

Due to the rising price of gas, which affects everything from road travel to the price of an airline ticket, more than 1/3 of Americans have changed or cancelled this summer's travel plans. For those fortunate enough to be hitting the roads -- or skies -- advance planning and preparation are the keys to stretching every dollar to maximize their family's enjoyment. Yet, with such a focus on the economics of travel, travelers have given little thought to what they would do if they found themselves without money while away from home.

When Western Union recently polled 1,000 Americans inquiring about what they would do to secure emergency funds if the need arose, the only clear answer that came through was that there was no clear answer.

--  10% had no idea what they would do in case of loss or theft.
--  15% of survey respondents would borrow money from others traveling
    with them - which only really works if one is traveling with close friends
    or family.
--  21% would ask a friend or relative to wire money through a bank - but
    typical banking hours (closed after "business hours" and often on Sundays)
    could delay receipt of transferred funds.
--  The largest segment of responders -- 30% -- said they would call their
    credit card companies and take out cash advances.  However, many consumers
    are not aware that cash advances from credit cards are often subject to
    higher interest rates and fees from their credit card companies, making
    this a somewhat expensive option!  For example, a $500 cash advance could
    result in service fees of $15 and higher interest charges (20% - 25%) on
    the advanced amount with no grace period.
--  21% of survey responders would use a money transfer service, such as
    Western Union, if they found themselves away from home and without their
    wallet.
    

With the Western Union Money Transfer® service, a vacation need not come to a screeching halt due to a stolen wallet -- a friend or relative can quickly transfer money to nearly anywhere in the country, or the world. "Speed, reliability and convenience have always been hallmarks of the Western Union Money Transfer service," said Michael Hafer, Vice President Marketing, Western Union. "When it comes to traveling away from home, we want to educate travelers that should the unfortunate situation arise where your wallet or cash goes missing, Western Union can quickly put you back on the path to enjoying your trip."

Friends or family can send money using Western Union via any one of three convenient options: Money can be sent by calling 1-800-CALL-CASH®, logging onto westernunion.com or in person from any participating Western Union® Agent location. With over 45,000 Agent locations in the U.S., chances are there's a Western Union Agent location near both the sender and recipient. For overseas travelers, Western Union's vast agent network serves over 200 countries and territories, making it equally as easy for people to pick up money worldwide. Since money sent via Western Union is available fast and funds are typically paid out in cash, Western Union is a valuable resource for travel near and far.

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global money transfer services. Together with its affiliates, Orlandi Valuta and Vigo, Western Union provides consumers with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, as well as send payments and purchase money orders. It operates through a network of more than 345,000 Agent locations in over 200 countries and territories. Famous for its pioneering telegraph services, the original Western Union dates back to 1851. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.

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