Every year, a handful of tour operatorsgo belly-up, leaving clients who havepaid in advance out of luck. To protectyourself, make sure the tour operator is amember of the US Travel OperatorsAssociation (USTOA; 212-599-6599;www.ustoa.com). USTOA members mustput up a $1-million bond to financerefunds to clients if the operator goesbroke. The association may also be ableto put stranded travelers in touch withother travel tour operators who may beable to make room for them on existingtrips at no additional charge. Also, don'tbuy travel insurance from the tour operator;if the outfit goes bankrupt, the insuranceis as worthless as your tour tickets.Instead, buy insurance from a third partylike Access America (866-807-3982;www.accessamerica.com).